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Reader feedback 8.3.05

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FINDING RACISM

As the owner of a club in the East and Alexander area, I find Corey Adams' letter --- "Something's Sour in the SuffragistCity" (July 12) --- to be insulting, hypocritical, incendiary, and without merit.

For a person who does not appreciate being stereotyped, and rightfully so, he seems to have no problem characterizing the thousands of people who frequent Rochester's many bars, nightclubs, and restaurants as 90210 meathead yuppies and Barbies from the suburbs. In fact, the majority of those who patronize the downtown area on any given night are city residents. As for those folks who do venture in from outside of the city, I am sure that I speak for every business owner when I say that they are more than welcome.

As a lifelong resident of the city, I cannot disagree more strongly with the writer's assessment of the crowd downtown as a "homogenous zone." On the contrary, I am quite happily surprised at the diversity of the people I see all over the area --- depending on the establishment, of course --- when compared to just a few years ago. As for his disgust at the lack of culture present in some of these places, I concur. But when I seek culture I visit a museum or go to the theater, or perhaps even to the library, but not a nightclub.

Unfortunately, we live an in imperfect world, and the Rochester bar scene suffers from an inordinate amount of violence. Thus as a proprietor, regulating who I allow into my establishment is not a matter of privilege, but of survival. (Try dealing with the police or the state liquor authority sometime).

A dress code is one very effective measure for avoiding a potential problem, and although it's not a science, it proves quite effective. The bottom line is that the purpose of these tactics is to keep out a certain behavior, and not people of a certain color.

To Mr. Adams, I can only say that racism is a crime against all of humanity, one that is disgraceful and heinous. And as a society, we must confront it whenever it exists. But we also have a responsibility, and that is to make sure that it exists before shouting about it.

Richard Kusminsky, Beverly Street, Rochester


OH, GODZ

Thanks to Craig Brownlie for his brief but fun history of the Godzilla franchise (!Fiz, July 27). Brownlie, however, incorrectly states that Godzilla: Final Wars, the latest and possibly last installment for the rubber-suited reptile, will be available on DVD in late July.

While Kenji Sato of Toho Co., Ltd informs me that no firm release date has been set for the DVD in the US, Rochester-area Godzilla fans should know that they'll be able to see the big green guy in all his glory when a 35mm print of G:FW will be projected in the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House on Saturday, September 3, at 8 p.m.

Fans should also know that one sequence in this film features the traditional Godzilla giving a right thrashing to the CGI-created Godzilla from the 1998 American remake.

I wasn't aware of Proust's fascination with Japanese monster movies, but I believe it was Henri Langlois, founder of the CinemathequeFrancaise, who said, "There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich. There is only Godzilla!"

Jim Healy, Rochester. (Healy is assistant curator of exhibitions, Motion Picture Department, George Eastman House.)

Craig Brownlie's response: Unfortunately for North American Godzilla fans, Jim Healy is correct. Toho did release the DVD, but it is currently compatible only with Region 2 DVD players. The Dryden's showing is truly a mega-event anyway, and worth the wait. In related news, Godzilla has apparently not ended his box-office reign. Godzilla 3D to the Max, a 40-minute 3D revisiting of Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (Hedorah) has recently been announced. It is due in IMAX theatres worldwide by the middle of 2006.


IT'S ONLY ABUSE

City's June 27 Urban Journal "Blood on Your Hands," about President Bush ignoring international laws for treating people captured in his War on Terror, still haunts me, especially your question: "Are we so far from the horrors of the Soviet Union that the Bush administration's behavior doesn't disturb us?" The complete lack of concern by the administration is as disturbing as the treatment of captives itself.

The word "abuse" provides a key to understanding what has happened. Used instead of "torture" in early reports about Abu Ghraib, it has now appeared in a report on Gitmo, which concludes that the cases there were abuse, since torture involves inflicting physical pain or withholding food, water, or medical care.

We hear about abuse in the US every day, it seems, of people of all ages, including the abuse of children by their parents. Although childrearing experts have shown that abused children will likely become abusers themselves, not everyone agrees, or cares.

Dr. James Dobson is currently the evangelical right's leading proponent of violent authoritarianism in the family. Founder and chairman of Focus on the Family since 1977, he is the leader of millions. Following are two excerpts from his book Dare to Discipline and one from The Strong-willed Child.

"It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely." "Minor pain can provide excellent motivation for the child... There is a muscle, lying snugly against the base of the neck... When firmly squeezed, it sends little messengers to the brain saying, 'This hurts; avoid recurrence at all costs.'"

"Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less, but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining.... I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears."

Anyone who accepts abuse or torture of a child as suitable punishment may also see extreme treatment of prisoners as appropriate. If so, a multitude of people are disturbed neither by such treatment nor by the administration's lack of concern.

Byrna Weir, Brighton


WRITING TO CITY

We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester14607.

Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media --- and we don't publish form letters generated by activist groups. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than about once every two months.

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