Don't touch it: Although I agree that the Kennedy Memorial should not be moved ("Just Shoot Us," December 12), who gives a flying fuck what the New Yorker or The New York Times thinks about it?
I won't cry: To the question, "Where is there a precedent in the world for moving a memorial to a slain leader for urban design convenience?", start by asking, "Where in the world are there memorials to slain leaders?" I can only think of seven: two to Abraham Lincoln, two to JFK and three in Mexico City. Add one more that the Japanese put up for Tojo. OK, OK, add one for Jesus Christ, one for St. Peter and one for Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq.
Back to the pertinent subject: Dallas' Kennedy Memorial stinks. It is a bad location. It is a bad design. I won't cry if it goes away. I think only culture vultures who think the government owes them funding will tut-tut. There have to be better concepts.
10, 9, 8... : I just wanted to verify...so you didn't like the movie? I'm just checking to make sure. That was the best Worst Movie review I have ever read in my life ("Jenny From the Crock," December 12). Thank you. I have no desire whatsoever to see J.Ho in anything but a rocket speeding toward the sun...and for that I'd pay $8.50, unless there's a matinee showing. Thanks again.
North Miami Beach, Florida
The Human Weed
Short-sighted solutions: I read the article titled "Green Giant" (December 5) and thought I would drop you a few comments about it. I guess the first problem I have is with the title, since Norman Borlaug is in no way "green" as the term is usually applied to things. Terms like "green" and "organic" are quickly being molded into something that can be sold by industry. My concern is that you reach a large number of people and that they might be influenced to think that "green" means short-sighted solutions, with little thought given to what might happen in the future.
First of all, I do think that Borlaug's heart is in the right place by wanting to help people, and he is to be commended for that. However, if we as humans continue to pump out short-term, quick-patch solutions to world problems, these sorts of concerns will continue to mount, resulting in crisis after crisis. The issue with some pesticides and fertilizers is sustainability. The article is correct in pointing out that organic farming methods have less of a yield than ones sprayed with pesticides. However, it fails to mention the fact that organic farming uses other crops in order to create a small cycle of life where everything is in balance and handles itself without need of massive amounts of industry-bought technology. Other food sources will be grown alongside the main crop in order to attract insects that will keep away more harmful insects without destroying the crops--so looking only at the single crop yield is misleading.
What we are moving toward now is creating an abundant and available short-term food supply, inviting later disaster and resource wars. Pesticides and fertilizers can destroy the lands they are raised on quite quickly. You can tell an organic farm from a non-organic farm by looking at the soil--the non-organic one is almost devoid of life and color because it has been sanitized again and again in a futile attempt to try and ward off bacteria and insects. These pesticides run off into water supplies and are, of course, on the food as well, but hey, there have been studies that say the pesticides aren't harmful, right? On some farms where pesticides are used, the workers are not allowed in the fields for 24 hours on the days pesticides have been sprayed. Who were these studies financed by? This all sounds pretty similar to tobacco company arguments from 10 or 15 years ago and the current ones from the meat and dairy industries.
The article also proposed the future massive growth in human population in countries that have a lack of food supply as a fact, without making any mention of a few things that can drastically help: education and planned parenting initiatives. Also, it takes 16 pounds of grain and a massive amount of water to raise one pound of beef. A question that was not asked was, "How much of the grain in these countries is being used to raise meat, and what percentage of the population is able to afford and eat it?" For example, in the United States, more than half of our corn and fish go to feeding the billions of livestock animals slaughtered each year. A modification of eating habits can help with food supply issues as well.
So what's the solution, then? Is it better to have 1 million people starve now, or 1 billion people starving and desperate later on? I definitely agree that a short-term solution should be provided to immediately help people that are in need, but that thought should be given to the long term as well. The mechanics and logistics of how this would work I don't know; I just think that the approach should be balanced between the two.
The reporting should be as well.
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Rising cancer rates: In "Green Giant," Mark Stuertz quotes those who note the presence of naturally occurring cancer-causing chemicals in many of our commonly eaten foods. They neglect to point out, however, that these naturally occurring carcinogens are usually accompanied by other substances that neutralize their cancer-causing potential. No such protective mechanism is in place when we ingest pesticides and other chemicals from our food supply.
Interesting, isn't it, that over the past several decades, the increasing use of synthetic chemicals in our food supply so closely parallels the rise of cancer rates in the industrialized West?