Letters to the Editor

Published the week of July 26-August 1, 2000

Thanks for running the article on Jeanette Mott Oxford ("A Twist of Faith," RFT, July 19). I've known Jeanette for about seven years. Jeanette is a good person, one of the most caring, concerned people I've ever had the privilege to call my friend. She is not concerned with herself or what she will gain. Jeanette's concern is how she can help others, especially those living on the margins of society, how she can make St. Louis and all of Missouri better for all who live here. She has the remarkable ability to sincerely feel the pain of others and knows where her own faults, fears and phobias lie. Missouri needs this young woman in Jefferson City!
Joan Kernebeck

Once again, thanks to Ray Hartmann for another excellent column about the person telling the truth and refusing to lie on her citizenship oath ("Sage Advice," RFT, July 19). One question? Since the Bill of Rights states that the government can neither endorse nor discriminate against religion, wouldn't it be against Article 1 to force someone to acknowledge a supreme being? What if that person was an atheist? Wouldn't atheism be considered a form of religion and the government, by forcing an atheist to subscribe to a supreme being, in violation of that person's choice of religion?
Greg Bacon
Columbia, Mo.

I've never been a huge fan of your new New Times film critics, but David Ehrenstein's utterly useless review of But I'm a Cheerleader was a cry for help ("Film," RFT, July 19). He starts off fairly competently by relaying the events of the film (though the film's concept is far too simple for the space he gives it), and then just as he's about to lift off into forming an opinion, he goes off on a strange tangent about being gay in America. This would be an interesting essay, but I care about the film, not about his life, especially not his carnal plans for later in the day. Even when he does voice an opinion, it's suspect. Saying that homophobia is the sole reason for the film's universally bad reviews makes Ehrenstein sound like he's basing his own opinion on the very same issue. Furthermore, his assertion that a comedy is not "the sort of movie" for "getting to the bottom of (sexual hypocrisy)" is rather unjustified. Satire has always been one of the most powerful tools of criticism around, especially in film, where more serious attacks often come across as pompous and self-righteous. Coincidentally, these are qualities Ehrenstein's nonreview seems to share. Tell this writer to leave his personal life at home next time.
Niles Baranowski

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