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A paper tiger's growl

Just a word of praise for John Yewell's recent critical piece regarding cream puff reporting by The News & Observer [Feb. 14]. It was particularly amusing to see the indignant reply from The N&O editor in these pages, since The N&O has become a veritable toothless paper tiger since it was taken over by chain ownership. In the days of Claude Sitton The N&O featured provocative, investigative reporting on a regular basis. But that's history. Now the most interesting items in The N&O are the women's lingerie ads.james l. wilson

raleighCompassionate criticism

I found it hard to believe that James Morrison, in the Feb. 28 edition of Front Porch, equated the apparent anti-federalism of our present government with the supposedly fascist, warrior spirit of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Mr. Morrison proceeds to dish out criticism after admitting that he has not seen the film to its completion, even drawing parallels between Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl's work and Ang Lee's latest film. In light of such a scathing semi-review, I feel compelled to argue that Crouching Tiger is neither a glorification of the triumph of good over evil nor a fascistic fable about the warrior's way. Much of Crouching Tiger's most daring leaps and bounds are contained in the film's artfully woven subtext, rather than in the showy martial arts stunts that fly across the screen.

Below the surface, one may discern that Crouching Tiger is a testament to the unpredictability and illusive nature of "reality." This lies in contrast to Mr. Morrison's appraisal of the film--that Crouching Tiger is about being all that you can be, and in the meantime, crushing the forces of evil. If he had attempted to penetrate the film's luscious facade, perhaps Mr. Morrison would have found that the forces of good and evil are not as clearly differentiated as he had claimed, nor is the warrior spirit always so triumphant. In addition, I think that further exploration and consideration would also reveal that which lies at the film's center; i.e., not a spirit that echoes the Nazi party, nor the absolute tone of a fascist leader, but the searching soul of an adolescent who has realized she is fallible and vulnerable. yael rice

chapel hill

Is there anything more tired than someone who hasn't seen a movie or read a book telling us what that work means? Well, if there is, it's probably the over-used trick of describing ideas or policies or works of art with which one disagrees as "fascist." Congratulations, then, to James Morrison for pulling off both in a mere five paragraphs. I had thought that fascism was characterized by the forced subordination of the individual to the national will. I had thought that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon told an interesting story about the poisonous effects of the warrior myth, about the choice between love and duty, about the struggle for self-determination. Apparently I was confused by having stayed for the whole movie. Thanks for clearing that up for me.georg patterson


James Morrison wrote in his article "Compassionate Fascism," that the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was, in his opinion, a "fascist vision, pure and simple," and compares the film to early Leni Riefenstahl films that were later used as Nazi propaganda. He even has the temerity to go on and claim that Crouching Tiger is a reflection of the current fascist state of this country, when he also admits that he didn't even see the whole film. What I would like to ask Mr. Morrison is how he came to the conclusion that Crouching Tiger is part of these evil things. We obviously didn't see the same movie. What I saw in the theater was a cinematic masterpiece, grand and sweeping on every scale, with excellent acting, strong characters and a wonderful story. I saw a movie that celebrated the triumph of the warrior spirit, but also illustrated how tragic an end that spirit can come to. I didn't see any fascist propaganda, crouching or hidden, in any of the film. I didn't find it "cute" that three of the strongest characters in the film were women warriors, nor did I find it "cute" when they fought. So, as I mentioned, I don't think we saw the same movie.

I'm sorry that Mr. Morrison is upset about the "election" of G.W. Bush. I share his opinions on that matter, and on the so-called "compassionate conservatism" that's being shoved down our throats. But he should not let his anger taint everything he sees. I suggest to him that the next time he decides to call a movie a "fascist vision," he should see the whole movie. As it is, he is not entitled to his opinions, just as I am not entitled to call the live-action version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas pure crap, because I haven't seen it yet. See the movie with your third eye, not your clouded, cynical one, before you pass judgment on it. sidra grove


I had to write in to respond to James Morrison's non-review of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Unfortunately, unlike Mr. Morrison's habit, I read to the end of his piece. But having done so, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Morrison is a fascist. Why? Well his long-winded, meandering writing style in combination with his faulty reasoning and cultural ignorance reminds me of Mein Kampf. That persons like Mr. Morrison can write such drivel and get published is truly a sign that fascism has taken over the hearts and minds of the United States. Please.

P.S.: Oh, thanks for the brilliant insight on "W." I'm sure the readers of The Independent Weekly had no idea that the new president was really more conservative than his rhetoric suggested. Kudos to you!kevin moore

carrboroKeep growers accountable

In "Silence in the Fields" [March 7], Barry Yeoman states that "A six-month investigation of the [H-2A] program by Mother Jones reveals widespread complaints that growers have denied [workers] medical care after exposing them to pesticides."

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Pesticide Section enforces the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), a regulation that protects field workers from pesticide misuse on the farm. The Section is keenly interested in being informed about such alleged incidences, if they have occurred in North Carolina.

Last year, the Section exceeded EPA regional expectations for WPS inspections. The North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) has been working with our inspectors to help bring its members into full compliance with this important regulation. At the NCGA's invitation, our agency speaks directly to thousands of H-2A workers at their orientations, disseminating information about the law and pesticide safety.

However, investigations into alleged violations are essentially complaint driven. We urge all interested parties to inform us of any pesticide misuse in North Carolina that may be affecting agricultural workers, including those who are not in the H-2A program. peyam barghassa

bilingual pesticide specialist

pesticide section

food & drug protection division, ncda&cs

Contact NCDA&CS at 733-3556, write P.O. Box 27647, Raleigh, NC 27611, fax 733-9796 or e-mail

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