True it is that HillaryClinton's senate campaign will mean a lot of aggravation, at taxpayer expenseno less ("MUGGER," 6/16). But in a way I hope she runs, because itwill provide some much-needed entertainment of the kind that has been in relativelyshort supply since her lying husband was given a free ticket out of jail byhis scumbag friends in Congress. People like the Clintons bring out the bestin some people - Peggy Noonan, to pick one example. Her June 8 opinion piece onHillary in The Wall Street Journal should be made required reading. Of course, if Hillary runsthere's always the danger that she'll win. But if New Yorkers are stupid enoughto elect her, then they deserve her. The Clintons are birds ofa feather. It's no accident that they chose each other. The only differencebetween them is Bill's sexual obsession problems, but that's all. They are bothself-absorbed, crooked and without scruples. Most of all, they share the sameaudacity and total disregard for the truth. It really is true that truth andfalsehood have the same moral weight for them. As Noonan points out, the Clintons'complete equanimity in lying, even when they couldn't possibly expect to getaway with it, only underscores their contempt for people. Witness Hillary'sstatement a few days ago that she has always been a Yankees fan. Why do so many people seemto take her seriously as a candidate? Who would want a liar who doesn't givea fuck about New York, who is totally out for herself and would be a convictedfelon rotting in jail if she didn't have very powerful friends, as their representativein Congress?
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Last Letter From Memphis I enjoyed Andrey Slivka'scolumn about the AAN convention in Memphis ("Media Roundup, 6/2). I'veoften wondered how it's possible that so many presumably toughened individualsmorph into a collective wimp after cluster-fucking at the conventionno matterwhat the issue. As far as the dailies-in-our-midst debates, I truly believeit has less to do with our not being willing to kick out our friends, and moreto do with the silent realization of many AAN publishers that they are not preparedto gore a cash cow that might one day liberate them to Sun City. I write also to complimentyou on your website. We've been framing like that since we went online, andit's nice to see another paper doing what I think is a very smart way to presentan online newspaper.
John Saltas, publisher, Salt Lake City Weekly, Salt Lake City
Know Depression RE: "Top Drawer,"6/16: When one wakes up and finds oneself without the ordinary set of visceralfeelings and cognitive realities that one takes for granted and assumes alwaysto exist, and in their place finds only feelings of negativity and crisis, thisis far from being "a little blue." When one finds that onecannot read, sleep, eat, digest food properly, have sexual relations or, mostimportantly, work, this is hardly a minor occurrence.What it really is, in fact,is a devastating illness and a potentially life-destroying experience.Public figures such as TipperGore and Mike Wallace are serving the public interest by telling their storiesand relating the experiences they have had with major depression. Their hopeis that others less prominent and less financially secure than they are willrecognize that they suffer from a debilitating sickness and seek help. There is much confusionabout the term "depression." People say "I'm depressed"to express that they're experiencing a feeling of sadness mixed with a viscerallyfelt pessimism. Usually they can escape this state by talking to a friend, doing something they like or eating ice cream. When, on the other hand,people who have suffered from "clinical depression" or "majordepression" say, "I'm depressed," we're referring to somethingdifferent and far more devastating: to a separation of the consciousness fromthe emotional and visceral body, and to the mind's inability to connect directlywith the visceral body; and to a state in which there exists between oneselfand one's visceral body an emotional void that's best described as a black hole. This is not an insignificantproblem. Families become dysfunctional. People fail through no fault of theirown. Opportunities are passed up because, as the singer Nick Drake sang, "Thisis the time of no reply." Finally, vodka or any otheralcoholic drink will have no effect on depression. At best, it will do nothing.At worst, it will make the depressive crazy, violent and more inclined to self-destruction.This is not conjecture, but knowledge gained from the fieldwork my own depressionforced me to undertake.
Arthur C. Hurwitz, Manhattan
Napalm Over the Dust Bowl Mr Strausbaugh: You mayhave noticed that, while advocating the abolition of the Second Amendment inresponse to your column ("The Mail," 6/9), I ignored the businessabout the Swiss Militia. That's because I couldn't think of a decent answerto your point. This bothered me enough that I repeatedly caught myself mullingit over and trying to come up with some reasons why that example of universalgun ownership isn't applicable to our situation. In the interest of advancingthe discussion and assuming you actually care, I think I've got something. First off, while every able-bodiedSwiss man may possess at least one rifle, it is important to note that it'sa rifle that's been issued to him by the government. This way, not only doesthe government know who has firearms, they also must know their correspondingidentification. If your gun's bullet marks match the ones on a bullet that killedsomebody it's going to be hard labor trying to explain how you had nothing todo with it. In a country where gun ownership is not an option but an obligation,disposing of your weapon after you've murdered somebody with it becomes almostas incriminating as holding on to it. Another practical consideration is thatif you want to get in and out of a crime scene without being noticed, handgunsare a lot more discreet. And let's not forget that since the government issuedthe gun as a piece of military equipment, it stands to reason that the rulesfor search and seizure would favor the government. Compare that to the U.S.,where the government has only limited knowledge of who does or doesn't haveguns, and where there is a much higher rate of theft. Therefore, if you killsomebody and dispose of the weapon, it's very likely that investigators willnever know you had one, or if they find out you do, you can try weaseling outby claiming it was stolen and you didn't report it. I guess what I'm tryingto get at is the difference in the expectation of getting caught between hereand Switzerland. If you can't deny that you have access to a weapon, or plausiblyget rid of it, and the government has considerable freedom to investigate, thenit becomes increasingly delusional to convince yourself that you're going toget away with it. Also, in a society where murder is rampant, investigatorsbecome fatigued and overwhelmed. In a well-ordered society, where murder isextremely rare, however, each murder is going to get a lot of individual bright-eyedattention. So, I think it does standto reason that the chief culprit for our appallingly high murder rate is thefact that there are just too damn many guns, because the supply tends to beunaccountable and inexhaustible, as well as versatile. The one potentially fatalflaw with strict gun control, as I see it, is in trying to implement it, whichis going to require no small amount of confiscation and coercion. You may havenoticed that gun owners tend to be a wee passionate about their rights, andthat a small, but significant (not to mention crazed and belligerent) minoritysee gun control as a vital cog in the New World Order's plan to turn us intotheir slaves (which won't be so bad really, as it'll give me a chance to boneup on my French). This means that if strict gun control becomes a reality, sodoes far-right terrorism, I betcha. I suggest terrorism because they're toopuny to stage a credible insurrection. In fact, if you really want somethingto worry about, consider that homegrown terrorists have a distinct advantagein keeping their motivation for blowing up us effete Yankee intellectual types as opposed to their foreign brethren. Let's say a bunch of Iranians acting ona lark succeed in vaporizing Manhattan. What would Washington's response be(aside from some grotesquely cold-blooded real estate speculation)? GoodbyeTeheran, natch. But now let's say the next Timothy McVeigh tries it. What arewe going to do? Bomb Oklahoma or whatever clodhopper state he's from? I thinknot.
Michael Fonda, Astoria