No, you're certainly not "the only viewer to register ... resistance to digital fakery," Mr. Cheshire ["The Romance of War," May 30]. Thank you for calling attention to the noisome trend. The acceptance of this particularly odiferous chunk of cinematic cheese probably hastened Stanley Kubrick's death.
However, in fairness, it would be exciting to have Industrial Light & Magic come up with something that uses the technique to good advantage. How about, say, having the Titanic sink in the middle of the Coliseum while an air war between alien spacecraft, the Apollo 13 command module and a flock of vintage zeros rages overhead?
--ALEX WEINTRAUB, DURHAM
A few words to balance Mr. Morrison's review of the new Merchant-Ivory film, The Golden Bowl, ["Bowl-dlerized," May 30]. Moviegoers may be tempted to dismiss the film as an intellectual tragedy.
The enemy of the intellectual ego is purity, beauty and true love. We have been conditioned by our external world to believe they no longer exist. Perhaps we are deluded by the absence of such qualities within ourselves, so that we cannot recognize the true nature of beauty when it confronts us.
James Ivory is a treasure as a filmmaker. His ability to enrich our lives should not be dismissed so easily. Rarely in a film do we have the opportunity to share a world of truly noble and beautiful character. The pictorial beauty of the film is no less life-giving and enchanting.
I speak from experience as a visionary architect-designer-filmmaker, an artist who repudiates the corrupt intellectual criteria that has dominated serious art for most of the last century, be it painting, film or literature. Novelty and superficial sham have replaced beauty and we are left impoverished.
Without my telling you what's wonderful about The Golden Bowl, go see it for yourself, and be enriched beyond mere intellect. It may help you remember what a beautiful soul you have.
--TED TRINKAUS, CHAPEL HILL
Mo' money, mo' problems
Bob Geary's report on progressives and the Senate budget ["Team Players," June 6] was even more depressing than the average reader would believe.
The progressiveness of government shouldn't be measured solely on the programs it provides, but on how the money is raised to provide for these programs. While I fully support raising revenue to save services, care must be taken to raise the revenue in a fair and equitable manner. Both the sales and the alcohol tax, supported by the progressives cited in Geary's article, disproportionately affect low- and moderate-income taxpayers. They aren't fair taxes and progressives should reject them.
Our tax code is broken. The sales and corporate income tax need updated and reformed in order for government to continue to be able to meet the needs of a vibrant public sector. Raising rates on regressive taxes only makes it harder for real reform to happen. The Senate loophole-closing initiatives, fashioned by conservative Democrats through lots of heavy lifting, should be applauded and broadened. That's the task for the House as it begins to act on its budget.
Saving services is an important conversation that progressives are winning. Raising revenues fairly is the other part of the equation.
--DAN GERLACH, DIRECTOR, N.C. BUDGET AND TAX CENTER, RALEIGH
Still too obscene
Having seen plenty of The Independent's hagiographic portrayal of Phil Harvey over the years, I wasn't expecting to see your much-vaunted investigative journalism in action on this particular topic ["The Siege of Adam & Eve," June 6].
But just in case anyone's interested in what Harvey is actually selling, instead of in the Indy's uncritical echoing of his own self-congratulation, I recommend a brief perusal of Adam & Eve's recent catalogs. They include ads for the "nightstick" dildo (just what it sounds like), the "Super Shirley" sex doll--complete with gaping orifices, an unmistakably childlike face, and little bow-ribboned pigtails--who "never says no," the "Barely Legal teens" phone sex line, and a video called Swap Meat (tag line: "screw my wife, please!"), just to name a few. And of course, there's a steady supply of the inhumanly pumped-up breasts, "double penetrations," and "money shots" (men ejaculating into women's faces) that are the staples of mainstream pornography.
Harvey may have the legal right to peddle his wares, but we can at least tell the truth about what it is--the same old stultifying, damaging, misogynist crap.
--REBECCA WHISNANT, CARRBORO
I have no problem with lingerie, lubes and dildos. I agree it's not the government's place to tell people what the can do in their bedrooms, or what props they can use while they do it. I genuinely appreciate Phil Harvey's effort in this area, and I believe his motivation is sincere ["The Siege of Adam & Eve," June 6]. However, it is exactly Mr. Harvey's own mission statement, "fun for cheerfully consenting adults," that keeps me from joining you in celebrating his "strong beliefs" and "stubborn streak."
Adam & Eve doesn't just sell sex toys; it sells adult videos and magazines. Anyone who has had even the briefest contact with this trade will tell you it is by no means an industry made up of cheerfully consentng adults. Some of the actors and models, particularly the women, are drug addicted, runaways, down and out, desperate to stay off the streets, etc. Young women throughout Asia and Eastern Europe are routinely deceived, abducted and literally enslaved--mostly for prostitution, but also for pornography. There is nothing noble or patriotic about supporting and profiting from this industry.
We liberals are a funny bunch. We're all over UNC and Nike for supporting sweatshop labor in Vietnam, but we'll champion a company that profits from sex slavery in the Ukraine once it becomes a First Amendment issue. We have to be very careful not to be the naïve left-wingers that the uptight right thinks we are. Just because the government wants to suppress something, doesn't mean that it's worth defending.
To Mr. Harvey I say please consider keeping true to your own mission statement and consider dropping adult films from your catalog. To the ACLU and The Independent, I encourage you to educate yourselves and be very deliberate about what you celebrate and defend if you want the continued support of the open-minded, genuinely free-thinking members of this community.
--JOSHUA LOZOFF, DURHAM
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