Dear Alibi ,
I feel compelled to respond to the letter to the editor outlining the myriad, alleged justifications for population control and using government power to reduce populations [“Population Control,” March 15-21]. They are all based on the faulty assumption that we are running out of (insert natural resource here).
The reality is far different and was largely settled back in 1980 when free market economist Julian Simon made a wager with Paul Ehrlich, who continues to make a living spreading fear about “overpopulation” and other supposed crises.
The two men bet on a mutually agreed-upon measure of resource scarcity over the decade leading up to 1990. Simon had Ehrlich choose five commodity metals. Copper, chromium, nickel, tin and tungsten were chosen and Simon bet that their prices would decrease, while Ehrlich bet they would increase. Ehrlich ultimately lost the bet, and all five commodities that were selected as the basis for the wager continued to trend downward during the wager period.
Prices of these and other commodities fluctuate in the short-term, but over the long-term, humans use the one unlimited resource that exists (human ingenuity) to find and put new resources to use for human benefit. The centuries-long trend is for more people to live more comfortably where their governments allow them to do so.
Cultural Plagiarism Stems From Ignorance
[Re: News, “Faux Navajo,” March 15-21] I work with several groups locally interested in protecting their content. But this article really brings up an important differentiation between protecting our intellectual property and protecting our cultural identity. My brother creates handcrafted tin items in the style passed down five generations. But, all too often, unsuspecting buyers go to an adjacent store to buy a roughly similar piece in style to my brother's at less than half the cost that was mass-produced in Mexico. I don't mind that someone is selling cheaper (as in lower quality materials) imitation items, but I do mind when they are being sold as souvenir trinkets. It devalues all local works. It's a long road to explain the whole story to educate consumers on what is authentic. But, ultimately, I think it's the best defense.
I also think creating avenues for larger entities to market the culture while honoring it and giving something back would be a positive investment. For instance, if Urban Outfitters approached the artists of the Navajo Nation to create some designs that would be mass-produced and marketed in a way that educates people on the art and history of the Navajo Nation while offering some percentage of sales, it could be a wonderful way to spread a message about the cultural roots of these images we take for granted. We could have T-shirt designs of actual Navajo art with a smart code printed that takes someone to a video on the artist and imagery.
In general, I believe the people that engage in cultural plagiarism aren't really intending to disrespect a culture. Especially in fashion, "borrowing" style trends from iconic items is completely common and accepted. However, sometimes that borrowed material isn't properly considered. It's just simple ignorance. And the antidote to ignorance is education.
Yeego Dineh Yeego!
[Re: News, “Faux Navajo,” March 15-21] I think it's a great thing for the Navajo Nation to pursue this because for far too long I have seen this go on.
What offends me the most is putting our tribe's name on a flask and undies! We are a modest people, and to parade our name on someone's rear end or down their gullets is downright disgusting.
Urban Outfitters and other clothing designer should consider using talented Native American designers who do a better job and adhere to their cultural teachings. Why copy when you can get it straight to the source?
Living in the Light
Secrecy is largely about shame, fear and guilt. I refuse to live that way.
My beloved longtime friend told me in our deep, last conversation two days before his sudden death that he wanted first-time sex with me but not a relationship. He said if I told anyone he would kill me and maybe kill himself. I did not have sex with him. I want to celebrate sex with a friend—not hide it as a poison secret to keep him from killing me or himself. As he left my home that day he told me, “I love you”—maybe the only time since he and I met 39 years earlier. Several days later I was devastated to hear he was dead! This was my most heart-wrenching experience of 2011.
My mother was my all-time closest friend. She bared her soul to me. She taught me to speak truth and to stand up for what I believe. She was quick to forgive me and to ask for my forgiveness.
Many children of alcoholics and of miserable marriages learn young to keep secret the hell at home. Many people carry many personal secrets to their graves. Why hide the precious and the painful?
Families, churches, corporations, governments worldwide, Mafia, Masons, U.S. military, CIA, FBI ... have tons of toxic secrets. The person exposing truth can get kicked out, fired, jailed or killed. I strongly commend U.S. soldier Bradley Manning as a hero of conscience. He may suffer a lifetime prison sentence for blowing the whistle on massive U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have contacted Obama and all five N.M. Congressmen to urge Manning’s release.
The more secrets we carry the more we risk bullshitting ourselves and others. Privacy often breeds lies and cover-up. Evil thrives in darkness.
I open my life to those who know me. I invite my friends to ask me any questions about my ways and actions. I want others to hold me accountable to walk and talk and to confess humbly when I fail. I aim to live in the light!
I'm outraged by an email sent from Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign asking us to “fill the tank” for her fund raising drive. It is insensitive and trivializes a very difficult situation for working families. Many of us are trying to figure out how to deal with high gas prices while paying for food and medicine, and this politician uses hardship as a big gimmick. If she's this blind to the real problems we face every day, how can Lujan Grisham expect us to send her to Washington?
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.