As a farmboy teenager in Illinois, I was addicted to television. I foolishly wasted hundreds of precious hours, and I poisoned my mind watching violent programs. But I have owned no TV in Albuquerque since I first moved here 43 years ago. We can wake up! We can wise up! We can change!
Now I would not watch most movies even if they were free. They are a stupid waste of time, talent and money. I damn the outrageous pay movie actors and producers receive. Most actors and producers are highly paid prostitutes—selling their talent with little or no conscience about how their movies harm the viewers. If the pay is big enough, most actors will take the role regardless of the movie's message. Why should movie actors make more money than farm workers who labor hard, by hand, in the hot sun to harvest the fruit and vegetables we eat.
I want to be enlightened and inspired. I want to become wiser and more compassionate. I want to be moved to tears and to good actions.
In order to enter the movie industry, a movie production company receives 25 percent off whatever it buys in New Mexico for film production. The state approves movies loaded with glamorized murder, rape, robbery, booze, revenge, money addiction and war to receive this large subsidy.
However, the state would reject any movie about passionate romance between Romeo and Juliet, or Judy and Juliet, or Romeo and Roger that has scenes of affectionate, naked lovemaking. Sadly this society accepts glamorized violence far more than naked bodies making love.
I watched no episodes of “Breaking Bad,” but I heard some about the story. To condemn the very popular, big money “Breaking Bad” is much like condemning Sandia Weapons Lab. What local politicians, pastors and community leaders have the conscience and courage to condemn both “Breaking Bad” and Sandia Weapons Lab?
If your beloved daughter died from using meth, would you enjoy “Breaking Bad”? If your closest friend died from using meth, would you be a fan of “Breaking Bad”? Would you attend the funeral of a real-life major meth dealer Walter White?
If “Breaking Bad” were instead “Breaking Good,” about a meth user or meth dealer breaking free from meth, would it be as popular? If not, why not? Are there any meth addicts who stopped using meth because of watching “Breaking Bad”? If Walter White were your brother, how would you feel about his getting filthy rich from ruining lives and killing people, and then dying without apologizing or changing his life?
What does it do spiritually to any actor who invests enormous emotional energy and countless hours depicting cruelty, greed and evil? And to be identified lifelong with that role in the minds of millions?
By contrast, I compliment the African-American actress Cicely Tyson, who starred in Sounder and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. For years she chose to act only in inspiring and uplifting movies.
Why would adults who reject violence enjoy watching glamorized violence as entertainment?
I do not want to spend too much time watching even enlightening, inspiring, deeply moving, free documentaries. Even the best movies must never become safe spectator substitutes for living truth as best I see it. I am glad to wear second-hand clothes, but I choose to live first-hand on life's stage—not just watching others from the sidelines.
UFO photo faux pas
I love the Weekly Alibi, but I want to address a small inaccuracy in last week's “Crib Notes” section. As I skimmed the pages of the Alibi while having my Hurricane’s [Restaurant] breakfast, it was to my surprise to find a picture that I took about three and half years ago. Right out of the blue, I'm peering off my home's rooftop. Thank you, wherever you found the picture.
However, about “Crib Notes: Nov. 14, 2013,” yes, I accidentally captured some objects in the sky. But no, it wasn't cigar-shaped. They are bell-shaped. The location and date are wrong as well. If the truth about the sighting piques your interest, I posted the pic and an incident report on my Facebook page approximately three and a half years ago. I was also interviewed by investigative reporter and Albuquerque resident Linda Moulton Howe. You may find the transcript on her site at earthfiles.com. Search for Alan Ramon, UFO sighting, bell-shaped, 2010.
"Keep looking up."
Editor’s note: Your bell-shaped UFO evidence was a visual trick; we try to keep our “Crib Notes” readers on their toes. P.S. I want to believe.
Green tea for Christmas
Now that the holiday seasons are imminent, many of us plan to gather with various and peculiar relatives—cousins from upstate or downstate uncles, aunts and sundry relations, who seem so different that we cannot recognize our similarities. I'd like to mention two American political cousins who often commence to argument after the first dram or two of Wild Turkey is downed. We see the Tea Partiers and the Greens grudgingly sit at the same table. They see in each other an unfathomable annoyance—which, as is often true, is the recognition of familiarity.
I recommend a few moments of quiet mutual contemplation before the harsh words begin and furniture is thrown.
Each seems to carry a humorless and solemn attachment to what was once known as Yankee Thrift—when something is used up, it's used up, that's all there is to say; and all things that are unsustainable end, usually in an abrupt and untidy way.
Each has a grim mistrust of profligacy and a moral disdain for waste. Spoiling things for those to come is a common thread afire for each. Each believes that a remote and powerful minority are eating up the seed com, destroying what ought to be personal; and the average American will take the brunt of the consequences as the perpetrators reap unrestrained and unmerited profits.
Each has examples from the American past—from some of America's amazing wealth came from the unfair theft of land, as Indians might point out; and from the theft of labor and its profits, as African-Americans might mention.
In such theft, there is no treasure that remains. The profits are largely squandered and lost. There is no treasure house for recompense. The only real remedy is to stop doing it, or at least, stop exulting in it.
We should, this Thanksgiving, perhaps drink a bit of green tea and appreciate some of these old and once ubiquitous American principles. To exert prudence and thrift, so that the things which should be maintained can be renewed; and to view prosperity as preservation rather than profligacy. A balanced budget for renewable government; and a balanced presence on the planet, so as not to lay waste to it for the generations to come. What is really so different? Neither idea would seem that unfamiliar to a Republican Ohio farmer of a century ago. Our Amish fellow citizens seem to do just right by it. What has made these uncomplicated ideas so marginalized and discomforting?
I have read opinions by Don Schrader, a writer whom I thoroughly enjoy. He often chronicles his life in terms of similar beliefs. He sounds no more radical than that Concord yankee, Thoreau. What is unfamiliar in his narratives seems radical, but it is only quaint, and in the proper use of the term, very conservative indeed.
So, green teas perhaps—or the crunch underfoot of plastic Chinese Christmas toys.
Steve Vaughn, MD, PhD
What the frack?
Cecil Adams’ recent “Straight Dope” column, which the Alibi ran, (Oct. 31 - Nov. 6) misled your readers about the environmental cost of fracking and our energy future.
While Adams mentions some of fracking’s environmental dangers—its use of carcinogenic chemicals, its contamination of drinking water and its consumption of vast quantities of fresh water which drought-ridden states like New Mexico can ill afford—he defends the practice by claiming its environmental cost “beats alternatives like coal.” This is untrue.
Gas is a fossil fuel that emits methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Anthony Ingraffea, an oil and gas engineer who’s helped developed fracking techniques, has written in the New York Times that methane leaks—which, according to the industry’s own studies, affect about 5 percent of all wells and worsen over time—make fracking for gas just as dangerous for the climate as burning oil or coal.
Adams’ other argument, which is that we have no choice but to frack because switching to alternative energy is a “fantasy,” is also false. The study he cites to support his point does not consider solar power, a fast-growing clean energy source; furthermore, the study, authored by MIT professor Daniel Nocera, actually advocates for more investment in solar. By selectively distorting Nocera’s point, Adams clouds the truth about the energy choices we face.
If we want to avoid climate catastrophe, the time has come to leave fracking and fossil fuels behind and invest seriously in clean energy like solar and wind power. Don’t let frackers tell you otherwise.
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.