Going Postal February 23 2005

Kids play

I was glad to read Felicia Feaster's serious and thoughtful review of Because of Winn-Dixie (Flicks, "Power of the pooch," Feb. 17). I have not yet seen the film, but the book is stupendous. It's nice to hear that the screen adaptation holds its own.

Unfortunately, however, I must point out a troubling entry in Ms. Feaster's film lexicon: the word "kiddie." She used it two or three times in the space of a single column. To those of us who make our living promoting and critiquing art and literature for children, that word is like nails on a chalkboard. It implies that anything written for or marketed to children is, by nature, mediocre.

That just isn't the case. Yes, there is formulaic "kiddie stuff," but there are also many magnificent books and movies that happen to be directed to children (Spirited Away and the His Dark Materials trilogy, to name two). In this post-Harry Potter world, where celebrities like Madonna, Katie Couric and Billy Crystal are given carte blanche to publish reams of patronizing drek, it's more crucial than ever that we separate the wheat from the chaff.

When a serious film critic gives a positive review to a children's movie, only to backhand it with the dismissive "kiddie" label, she only encourages Hollywood to continue plying our children with commercial pap. If you're eager to see the release of more movies like Racing Stripes, by all means, keep it up.

- Rachael Vilmar, Atlanta

Not that hardI commend CL for bringing important cases to light, but I don't think that April Hadley's case is one of them (News & Views, "MARTA confusion ends in woman's arrest," Feb. 17). I have ridden MARTA about three times a day for three years. In that time, I've seen dozens of people walk or drive into entrances clearly marked "Buses Only/Not a Pedestrian Entrance/Violators Will Be Arrested," but have seen no arrests. When a MARTA police officer was present, they simply asked the person to turn around, giving them directions when necessary. Even if the violators were upset, each one complied with the officer. Hadley admits to copping an attitude. While she was running her mouth, I assume she wasn't moving her ass. That Hadley is a leasing consultant and had $91 with her are trite points. People from all walks of life evade fare machines and toll booths, and class discrimination has no place in prosecuting violators. Placing the blame on the construction of the station is also ridiculous.

Thousands of people find and use the correct entrance to Lenox Station each week. My advice, as someone who's mistakenly entered the "Buses Only" entrance at North Avenue, is twofold: 1) Look for the big, bold, conspicuous signs. Failing this, 2) do as the officer tells you rather than getting belligerent.

Transit systems provide a service in exchange for a fare. Not everyone who uses the wrong entrance is intentionally evading that fare, but all succeed in doing so. CL, mi vida, I'll catch up with you on the train next Thursday. Bring a nicer, more honest friend, because I'm not feeling the one I met this week. I predict that her attitude is going to get her into a lot of trouble.

- Nikki Swiney, Atlanta

Close tiesI read your story (Fishwrapper, "A daughter who deserves choices," Feb. 10) and I was moved to write to say that the love you obviously have for your adopted daughter, Amy, is very beautiful. It made me feel so good to know that adoption can become so close that you would be moved to such a breakdown at the prospect of losing your daughter during surgery.

- Alfred Studwell, Stone Mountain

He says it rightI have to say, when you first started featuring the Creative Loathing column (News & Views), I was a bit perplexed as to why you would offer space to someone like Reeves Jackson when we are already bombarded by corporate media outlets with people sympathetic to his point of view. Then it occurred to me that giving Mr. Jackson a forum in your paper helps expose the hypocrisy that he and the other soapbox moralists on the right operate with.

I had to laugh when Mr. Jackson employed the right's tired rhetoric of "only conspiracy theorists" believing that Operation Iraqi Liberation has nothing to do with PeakOil, and of course his gratuitous swipe at Michael Moore was more than predictable.

I now see the brilliance of offering Reeves Jackson room to rant. With his own words, he shows the right's intellectual dishonesty and moral bankruptcy.

- Bob Bernstein, Lilburn

Cure themIn the article about UGA "Barbies," I believe the term was used to connote something other than hair color and gender ("Bulldog Barbies," Feb. 3). I have lived in Athens for 15 years as a spiritual, environmental and animal rights activist, and can state emphatically that today's average UGA student is quite a different species than what I first encountered.

While a few thoughtful and considerate students do remain, there has been a great increase in those emitting a vile, repulsive materialism. A creepy selfishness and indifference to suffering in the world, who are here, seemingly, only to acquire those skills necessary to join the rapacious corporate conglomerate that is the modern USA.

If the purpose of life, including university life, is self-improvement, these minions of the "family values" party are quite off course! Careening from bar to bar every night, trying to supplant the meaningless void of their existence with intoxication, they bode ill for all life on earth, including their own.

May they actually learn something of value before they "graduate." May Creative Loafing be part of the "cure."

- Gordon Lee Stelter, Athens