Every week, the Mountain Xpress receives a steady bundle (or packet, in Internet terms) of letters, mostly through e-mail, from readers in our community. Whether the subject refers to a specific Xpress article, an experience in Asheville or a reader’s opinion on politics, the economy or any other topical matter, we always welcome contributions. Below are the three most-viewed letters of 2010, according to our Web stats. The variety of writing styles testifies to the diversity and intelligence of our readers. Send letters as follows: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (plain-text e-mail only; no attachments or HTML); postal mail: Letters to the Editor, Mountain Xpress PO Box 144 Asheville, NC 28802.
If you have further questions, please contact News Editor Margaret Williams at (828) 251-1333, ext. 152, or Editorial Assistant Jaye Bartell at (828) 251-1333, ext. 127, or simply: email@example.com.
“Wanting More Than ‘War, War and More War,’” published Jan. 28
I am often distressed at how our country and elected officials keep making war, war and more war. It is a failed and unproductive policy that will bankrupt us financially and spiritually, and has destroyed the lives of millions of innocent people. And there is no end in sight.
Remember "shock and awe"? That bombing campaign was supposed to get Saddam and his imaginary WMDs, but it only killed innocent people who lived in Iraq. That was well over six years ago, and today the Iraqi people are seeing extraordinary increases in birth defects and cancer rates. Millions of them fled the country of their birth and they are not going to return. It is a hideous, murderous crime we fostered on them.
And now it appears we will be doing the same thing to Afghanistan under a different president. Afghanistan currently has one of the most corrupt governments in the world. President Karzai was recently "elected" for the next five years in a fraud-filled election. We are fighting over there to preserve a very corrupt government that the native population does not support.
Mr. Obama somehow managed to get a "peace prize" while running two occupations and bombing a third country, Pakistan. Hundreds of civilians have been killed by drone bombings in Pakistan, and in just one year, the Obama administration has killed more civilians there than the Bush administration ever did. …
I really don't think the CIA knows what they are doing. They are sure killing people though, and those deaths are inspiring protests in Pakistan, just like the Afghan deaths are inspiring protests in Afghanistan. I would bet they are inspiring more than protests.
Just last month, I heard that the U.S. was behind some bombings in Yemen that killed almost two dozen children. If this turns out to be true, we will be occupying two countries and bombing two more. Who knows? Maybe there are even more countries we are bombing.
We are spending more on our military, wars, bombings and occupations of foreign countries than we are spending on infrastructure here at home. "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom." This is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., and I agree with him.
— Susan Oehler, Asheville
“Disclaimer Bit on Church Puzzle Project is Unworthy of Even the Birdcage,” published Feb. 10
The piece in the Asheville Disclaimer page about Mills River Presbyterian Church ["World's Largest Puzzle Completed," Jan. 27] was tasteless and crass. I appreciate creative satire and humor, but this spoof was neither. It sadly demonstrated the extreme lack of creativity and poor judgment of managing editor Jon Elliston and the entire management staff of Xpress. In my 27 years as chief creative director of Philadelphia's leading ad agency, I have witnessed some brilliant creative efforts, and I can unquestionably state this is the worst I have ever seen.
This insensitive piece has degraded your publication, [making it] unworthy to even be considered flooring for my parrot.
— Hap Del Buono, Hendersonville
“Ashevilleans Not so Tolerant of the Differently Clothed,” published Aug. 24
Asheville is the kind of place where a guy can confidently step out on the streets wearing a loincloth, army boots and a live ferret on his head. Weirdness is a cottage industry here. The sophisticated and tolerant folks of Asheville celebrate eccentricity and diversity. Well, maybe not so much.
[On a] Friday afternoon, I made a rare trip into town to take in some of the studios in the River Arts district and to visit the downtown galleries. As I usually do, I put on my boots and bib overalls (Pointer brand overalls, proudly manufactured in Bristol, Va.). With my long hair and beard, [I may not be] a pretty sight, but it is what I look like – and this is, after all, Asheville.
Barely a minute after I got off of my bike in the River Arts district, a gentleman yells from a passing vehicle "Farmer Brown! Have you lost your pig?" Granted, dressed as I was, pig farming was a reasonable guess as to my occupation, but this certainly did not merit a public announcement. For the record, my last name is Greene, and I have not been involved in pig farming for 40 years or so.
Leaving the River Arts District, I made my way uptown. Just outside the Blue Spiral [Gallery], a young lady about 20 [years old] took a quick look at me, whipped around to her friend and loudly exclaimed, "Oh. My. God (unintelligible) turnip truck." I got the gist.
My final encounter, just outside of Gallery Minerva, was the most "in your face." I say this because the guy was literally in my face. While I talked on the phone to my wife, a gentleman in his mid 20s stopped in front of me, looked me in the eye and said, "You need to go back to Waynesville or wherever you came from."
"What was that all about?" my wife asked. I did not have an answer.
Did I just happen to meet three unusually rude people, or have I badly misinterpreted the Asheville dress code?
— David Greene, Arden
— By Staff