From Our Readers

Hampshire College’s Moral Police and Shokazoba; One Man's Meat; No New Sanctions on Iran

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hampshire College’s Moral Police

That crank faction of Hampshire college students who went after the Valley band Shokazoba needs to get a grip (“Racial Shock at Hampshire Halloween,” November 7, 2013). It took a couple reads of this piece to fully comprehend the weight of tangled thinking that could ever lead anyone to, in effect, charge this band, or the promoters of the event for which they were scheduled, with some sort of racist inclination.

Geez, how does one get started throwing this football? Well, first, does anyone have evidence, any at all, to support a contention that race is an issue here, or do we just have some folks upset with musicians playing music “owned” by others? Is the Hampshire College Student Moral Police (HCSMP) claiming prejudice on the part of Shokazoba or the promoters? And who says specific styles of music simply must have culturally “appropriate” or credible representatives? Okay, Hampshire zealots, time to go after the region’s white Zydeco bands! And while we’re at it, let’s smack down Kenny G’s holiday albums! But good luck finding others to join in, as his album Miracles is the best-selling Christmas recording of all time.

Let’s be clear about something: this goes way beyond sanctimoniousness. It is a neurotic totalitarianism of self-righteousness, an arbitrarily constructed citadel-of-self amplified by group think, in which a few establish the way the world should be. Does any of this sound similar? Yes, indeed! It’s emblematic of the right-wing dogmatism that this Hampshire sect certainly also decries. Ego totalitarianism knows no political or other bounds; of relevance here is only the self, and what one wants the world to see of, or know about, this self. The arrogance of moral rectitude just feels too good.


One Man’s Meat

Your article on meat (“Is Meat Killing Us?”, November 7, 2013) is a fine example of selecting one’s evidence to support an opinion. I realize that the Advocate is not so named because of balanced views, but this article is a little extreme. Meat is an excellent source of many nutrients. If some people don’t like meat, then they shouldn’t eat it, but that doesn’t mean that meat is unhealthy for others.

My advice on diet is taken from “Silver Spoon” by the Jefferson Starship: “I say you/ Ought to eat what/You will—shove it /In your mouth any way /That your can.” 



No New Sanctions on Iran

The success of U.S.-Iran negotiating efforts demonstrates that when our nations commit to serious diplomacy, historic progress is possible. The United States and Iran are within reach of a deal to guard against a nuclear-armed Iran and a devastating war. Congress should not sabotage this diplomatic victory with new sanctions and saber-rattling measures that would jeopardize the progress our diplomats have worked so hard to achieve.

I hope Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey vote against new sanctions, and would publicly support these efforts toward a diplomatic resolution of the decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. The Friends Committee on National Legislation has more info on how to peacefully prevent war and a nuclear-armed Iran:



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Fifty Years Ago:

I was a H.S. sophomore, just starting to come out of a deep haze of grief from my father's death 9 months earlier. In gym class, the announcement came; school was closing early. In the locker room, our teacher gathered us around, and in a large, hard voice, said, "GIRLS: you’re going home. YOUR PRESIDENT IS DEAD". Not OURS. YOUR President, she said. I felt hit in the stomach, and I bent over. Others cried too. We shuffled home slowly, heads down.

I remember campaigning for JFK at 12, handing out flyers at the subway entrance. I told my mother that when I was older, I would change my Russian Jewish name to Kennedy. I was ready to help Africa, but Mom said I was too young for the Peace Corps.

It was incongruous to walk home early that Friday afternoon, to see that everything appeared the same - the shops and signs, traffic lights, buses, cars, wind moving the trees, the grass growing between the cracks in the pavement - when in fact, nothing could ever be the same. It was as awful and unthinkable as losing my father, again. Mom was sitting on the couch, crying, TV on. My sister Helen, Mom, and I sat on that couch for those four days, impaled by fresh images that are now history: Mrs. Kennedy's stone face and bloodied suit, the rifle held high for the press, "Oswald's been shot!", the riderless horse, the muffled sound of funereal drums, the little boy salute.

Of course, time passed, and the grief lessened. The coming of the Beatles re-lit my pilot light, and life went forward. But on a soul level, we knew the truth of it, that some element of our United States ran its terrible, REAL business on an invisible track. And I think we learned that soul lesson over and over again, with the murders of Martin and Bobby and others. The presentation of Court Dorsey's "Project Unspeakable" on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination elucidates the story of America's broken heart, and makes it manifestly clear. In hindsight, when I think of these murders (by 'lone gunmen', they assured us), I now feel the double-pain: we were robbed of great or would-be great, inspiring, beloved leaders, and America could not ever be seen again without its dark and terrifying Shadow.

Posted by Dinah Kudatsky on 11.23.13 at 17:37



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