High Gas Prices Save The Planet

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This is in response to the item in the Newscity section in the June 22 edition, about Heather Wilson being selected by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) as one of the Dirty Dozen federal officials least supportive of the environment [“La Docena Sucia”].

In the story, the spokesperson for the LCV, Maggie Toulouse, is quoted as saying that one of the reasons Rep. Wilson is on the list is because she is not doing enough about high gas prices and that is hurting consumers. Come again? High gas prices may be a concern for some people but why would they be a cause for concern to conservationists? Lower gas prices encourage more consumption of oil, don’t they? This doesn’t make sense. Was the LCV spokesperson somehow misquoted here?

I am hoping Patricia Madrid defeats Rep. Wilson this year, and Democrats gain control of Congress. I hope the Democrats don’t resort to lame demagoguery on high gas prices in the process, though—it hurts their cause in the long run and it should not be necessary.

Flaming Monks

[RE: Art News, “Bright Enough to Blind You,” June 22-28]

While Jimenez has mentioned that he created his sculpture “Man on Fire” during the time when Buddhist monks were burning themselves alive to protest the U.S. war in Vietnam, he also stated, in the catalog for his 1994 retrospective exhibition at the Albuquerque Museum, that, characteristically, the primary inspiration for this piece came from his Mexican roots:

“He’s based on the historical figure of Cuauhtemoc, who was an 18 year old that organized the Mexicans, after Montezuma had led them into the city, and they drove the Spanish out of Mexico City. When the Spanish came back in, because he had organized the resistance, they burned him at the stake. The Mexican muralists were looking for a positive image for the Indian. Before that time, the Indian had been regarded as the low man on the social totem pole. My grandmother told me all these Mexican revolutionary stories. She said ‘The Spaniards burned Cuauhtemoc’s legs off and he never cried.’ So I grew up as a kid who was taught that you actually use your mind and just turn it all off, because Cuauhtemoc did it."

Let The Mud Flow

Thanks to John Dendahl for letting us know in advance that we will be getting no discussion of anything substantive or risky during his gubernatorial run, but only attacks. At least he’s honest about what we can look forward to. Isn’t this exactly what Republicans are always pretending to complain about Democrats for—all criticism and no solutions?

As for Dendahl’s opponent, the governor’s spokesman has let us know he will not commit to debating Dendahl. If the governor doesn’t have the self-confidence to rebut Dendahl’s attacks in person, in real time, and doesn’t have enough respect for us voters to favor us with a public discussion, I would never vote for him again.

The fact that I have to worry about whether that statement will bring down the governor’s wrath—as so many others evidently do—shows what a banana republic we’ve become. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve asked or been given any favors by Him, so hopefully don’t have much to lose.

Finally, the fact that the governor and Sen. Bingaman are so bloated with campaign funds that they’re already battering us with warm, fuzzy ads about how great they are, speaks volumes about how corrupt the system is and how badly public campaign financing is needed—an issue we will not be hearing anything about from these three gentlemen.

Boy, I can’t wait to vote in this exciting process!

Black Critical Mass

I have to respond to the lukewarm review of the movie, Tsotsi , which Devin O’Leary casually dissed. First of all, see it. Like his culturally naive reviews of Drumline and Rize , Mr. O’Leary has difficulties when people of color on screen cannot be categorized easily or objectified. Instead of becoming more culturally savvy, Mr. O’Leary dry heaves his ignorance onto the rest of us.

First, O’Leary,
Drumline was not about black “band nerds.” You see, at predominantly black high schools and colleges, there is more respect for musical performance in general and band members are “cool”—black critical mass stuff, you wouldn’t understand. But, thank goodness Rize helped you to understand “krumping,” since after 500 years of slavery and white supremacist oppression, it’s no wonder that African-Americans express themselves through dance so we don’t kill each other or most of the dominant culture.

Tsotsi might have been more worthwhile for you if you could cast off the need for Black males to remain unconscionably violent. A more culturally aware person could embrace a film that provokes complex feelings about the sources and consequences of apartheid, violence and poverty with beauty and integrity in the shadow of the AIDS epidemic in the “new” South Africa. After all, Athol Fugard, the author of the novel on which the film is based, is a White fella from South Africa. He managed just fine.

Instead of merely boxing this and other cinematic expressions of Negritude into something like a “gritty examination of life in the impoverished and crime-riddled South African townships,” try considering that even so-called violent gangsters might have had a past, a history and a soul that could, if triggered, make more humane choices. I assume that the same might be said of you.

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