Readers’ Forum, Feb. 10, 2006

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    Different doesn’t mean inequality

    I loved how the words of Samuel Smith echoed that of a disgruntled middle-class person who’s never suffered racism. His letters shows that he hasn’t seen acts of racism practiced against our fellow Americans. Holidays and other things promoting a celebration of another’s culture are to help other people understand and love another’s differences. In northern Idaho, I heard about hate crimes against minorities (Hispanics, African-Americans) more often than not. Here in Provo, I work at a location where a former employee (African American) would get harassed about the color of her skin and was even called the “n” word. If you’re an African American on trial, you are more likely to get the death penalty than if you are white. Just because we celebrate each other’s differences, doesn’t mean that we are “less equal” than those we are celebrating. In fact, going with your logic, maybe we should get rid of St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas and Native-American History Month as federal holidays and events; after all, not everyone is Irish, Christian or Native-American.

    Larissa Estes

    Frisco, Texas

    Quasi-honest sales

    I loved the viewpoint “Beware of free pizza and $40,000.” It’s the closest to the truth (something most sales companies are missing) that you’ll find about summer sales. The letter to the editor titled “Why wouldn’t you sell?” contains many of the classic half-truths and sales pitches that companies use to get you to sell. The writer says that 30 percent of the reps at his company made over $30,000. Is that 30 percent of people who made it to the end of the summer or 30 percent of all sales reps who started at the beginning of the summer? That’s one of those little details sales recruiters love to leave out.

    I worked for part of the summer as a security sales rep, and could not regret it more. It nearly put me in financial ruin, and I grew tired of getting fed lies from management and passing those lies onto customers (yes, I did sell many more than one system). Now I’m sure all of the successful sales reps out there will immediately say they weren’t lying, but half-truths count as lies, my quasi-honest friends.

    So be careful, all of you would-be “make money for nothing” dreamers as I was. An honest sales company and an honest, successful sales rep are about as rare as a truly “free lunch.” Or should I say “free pizza.”

    Mike Tricarico

    Brewster, N.Y.

    No justification for violence

    I find it amazing how much toleration and justification everyone wants to give the Muslim community in regards to its violent protests. People act as if the western world is the problem for its lack of understanding, for not respecting the Muslim religion.

    I have great respect for the Muslim religion and its peaceful, devout followers; it is the minority of Islam that is violent, and the majority are upright, wonderful people. However, much of what the minority is so upset about, they follow. Arab news agencies show anti-western propaganda all the time, much of it offensive and incorrect. If for every disagreeable thing printed, reported and stated, the western world was to react by burning mosques or middle-eastern embassies, no one would give any degree of justification. There is no justification for the violence and destruction.

    The cartoon was awful and inappropriate, but in no way does it merit the reaction it has received. Both sides need to let go of the generations of misunderstanding and hurt, start with fresh eyes and learn to love and accept, not hate and fear. We need to all treat each other as brother and sister, not Jew, Muslim, Christian, East and West. But honestly, that is an idyllic hope I don’t see any way of happening in my lifetime.

    Rob Au

    Belmont, Calif.

    No buts about it

    Muslim reactions, following the Muhammad cartoon, have been appalling to me. Bigotry is nothing new, nor is it in any way limited to, or overly focused on, Islam. Why is it that as our experts condemn this violent reaction, as a matter of course, they counter with a justifying “but” clause?

    “The violence is inexcusable, but tensions are high.”

    “Violence is not the answer, but this was extremely offensive.”

    I’m sorry, but sometimes there are no “buts.” Is our world so politically correct now that wickedness cannot be condemned outright? The fact of the matter is that people are dying, property is being destroyed and the economic livelihoods of nations are being threatened because of a cartoon. I recognize that it was extremely offensive, but the Muslim “hot blood” referred to in Wednesday’s cover article should in fact be limited to “[defending] a person’s home or family when under attack,” and not to avenging a religion from offensive cartoons. Islam is a part of a world-wide conglomeration of faiths and nations. Muslims cannot avoid this. Part of living in harmony is being able to stifle our baser reactions. How can peace ever be reached when a cartoon is sufficient justification for war?

    Matthew Pitts

    West Jordan

    Pedestrian hater

    I hate pedestrians. Yep, all of them. When I was young, my mother taught me to look both ways before I crossed the street. If there were cars in the street, I was not to cross. Many of the students here at BYU missed this lesson or ignore it entirely. I am tired of dodging pedestrians as I drive through Provo. Please, for your own safety, look both ways before you cross the street. If there are cars in the street or cars quickly approaching, do not enter the crosswalk. Do not expect these cars to stop for you because someday they won’t.

    Severin Nelson

    Pittsford, N.Y.

    Bad ‘Aida’ crowd

    Wednesday night, I was privileged enough to go to “Aida” with my husband. We were really looking forward to the performance and the break from studying. Right after the theater crew informed us to turn off cell phones and we had a prayer, the performance started. Not two seconds into the performance, a cell phone went off.

    The audience only got worse from there. There were people who actually shouted to the actors. Then there were people who giggled through the entire evening. Lastly, there were those who made comments throughout the performance, loudly enough for everyone to hear. If the performance wasn’t so incredible, some of the actions could have been tolerated, but the cast did a wonderful job. It was sad to hear these uncultured cretins destroying the mood of such a beautiful story!

    Chesnye Gardner

    Noble, Okla.

    Women in the past

    From recent readings in my history textbooks, I learned that there really is much that we can learn from our ancestors. Especially enlightening to me was my readings of a certain section called “Women in Classical Societies.” Although I may be highly criticized for this, I feel it my duty to express my opinion that these ancient societies got it right with women.

    My first lesson came from the Chinese. They understood the true value of a woman: to serve her husband. The husband, of course, is also left with responsibility: to create an atmosphere in which his wife could serve him. Think how much more orderly our society would be if we just adhered to this basic principle.

    Next, it was the Romans’ turn to further enlighten me. They spoke of the danger of giving women too much power, and gave the wise insight that “it is for the weaker sex to submit to whatever you [the man] advise.” So I call on all to consider these important messages from our ancestors long gone, and help bring our society up to the level that it once held.

    Josh Kacher

    Midway

    Mormon films are hopeless

    What the Hale is wrong with Mormon cinema? Most of it kills brain cells. The Daily Universe carried a Washington Post article in last week’s paper that was probably overshadowed by Richard Dutcher’s pitiable dressing-down of Mormon cinema (note to Brother Dutcher: guilt won’t even get people to do their home teaching). In the Post article, one of the hacks at HaleStorm Entertainment said the theme of their newest C-grade picture, “Church Ball,” transcends religion. They also announced their intent to create a new studio that doesn’t do Mormon pictures.

    You know the 11-year-old boy who keeps telling the same joke hours after it ceases to be funny? Well, he’s changing venues. I predict that HackStorm’s first foray into the non-Mormon cinema realm will about as successful as Dutcher’s perennial attempts at producing the Joseph Smith story. The biggest problem with Mormon cinema right now is that its leading voices are becoming increasingly godless and/or hopeless.

    Now, there have been some very good (though far from stellar) films made in the genre. Unfortunately, the ones done with decent budgets have not made enough money to warrant repetition. Avoid the mind-numbing drivel that keeps getting passed off as Mormon Cinema. Let’s admit it: we’re all dumber for having seen “Singles Ward.”

    Joel Frost

    Show Low, Ariz.

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