Week of February 4, 2004

Mashed Potato
Weltner's tired fascist innuendo: Rebutting the "Crotch Potato"'s unspeakably bigoted attack on the Anti-Defamation League's Karen Aroesty in your letters section is like trying to plug Niagara Falls with a cork ["Vituperation Watch," January 21]. The outrageous bile that spills from this wacko's letter has more holes than Krispy Kreme -- and exponentially less redeeming value.

Let's begin with the truths in Spud's article. Okay. Now, let's move on.

The ADL is a noble organization whose mission is to protect all of us -- not just the Jews -- from the kind of mean-spirited and misinformed bigotry and hatred exemplified in Weltner's attack. He is the self-proclaimed poster boy for small-minded, small-town, small-world, self-indulgent bigotry. This guy hosts a Web site titled Jew Watch and purports to intimidate a minority segment of the population to simply "sit down and be quiet" or the big, bad Couch Potato will come after them. If this mook weren't such a caricature, he'd be dangerous. But he's not. He's laughable.

I mean, "Couch Potato?" That's Mr. Potato Head without any legs! Does that image really strike fear in anybody' heart? The worst this guy could do is aim his remote control at you. The Jews kill giants with slingshots, Frank. They haven't got a spitball small enough to waste on you.

We've all heard Weltner's brand of fascist innuendo before -- that Jews control the banks, the media, Hollywood, Wall Street, fashion, government, mass transit, auto parts, refuse collection, paper clips, home furnishings, greeting cards, whatever -- all because somebody's mother or second cousin on his father's side was Jewish. Give it a rest, Frank. It's tired!

You hit below the belt -- barely legal and far from clean. And hard? You gotta have substance to hit hard, Frank. That tripe in your letter is just a hollow echo.
Don Ferman

A man in need of serious rehabilitation: I have just finished reading with amazement the anti-Semitic diatribe by Frank Weltner, the "Couch Potato." I am not sure if this is a real person or not, or maybe someone simply hallucinating. I am surprised that the Riverfront Times would print this garbage. Normally, I would respond in kind to these accusations, but the contents are so gross that they appear to come from a deranged mind, and therefore this drivel is useless to discuss. I hope WGNU (920 AM) has a good health plan, because it appears to me that Weltner is in need of serious psychotic rehabilitation in an institution for a long time.
Isaac E. Young

Historical ignorance + gall = Weltner: Frank Weltner's letter to the editor is a gross insult that cannot pass unremarked. By what conceivable justification can he claim that an official of the Anti-Defamation League "seems to have forgotten her place in America; considering her Jewish group's scant 1 to 2 percent of the population, she and her relatives should simply sit down and be quiet and not cause trouble"?

First of all, "her place in America," anyone's place in America, is wherever she wants it to be, without fear of being bullied or silenced by the likes of Mr. Weltner. That's one of the major reasons people bothered coming to America in the first place. You know that little "land of the free, home of the brave" line, Mr. Weltner? Well, some of us take it literally, thank you very much, and I'm having a really hard time squaring it with your vision of a nation in which minorities of any kind are denied our precious, God-given right -- consecrated by the blood of soldiers, demonstrators and various hard-truth tellers throughout our history -- to stand up, be heard and cause the forces of repression and bigotry as much trouble as humanly possible. (Surely Lizz Brown has made this case already to Mr. Weltner, her colleague at WGNU?)

Second, it takes a lot of gall -- and a lot of historical ignorance -- to somehow pin the blame for Stalin's atrocities on Judaism, as Mr. Weltner tries to do later in his screed. Stalin and the Soviet regime were deeply anti-Semitic, and the notion that they were going to allow Jews (whom they dismissed as capitalists and cosmopolitans) to manipulate the levers of murderous Soviet power is a delusion worthy of Hitler, Goebbels or Osama bin Laden. If Jews really had such immense pull in the old USSR, Mr. Weltner, why were so many of them so desperate to leave at all costs?

Third and finally, Mr. Weltner enjoys righteously invoking the name of Christians and Christianity, referring to the ADL as "a dastardly anti-Christian hate group" and to the humble, downtrodden Ted Turner as "a mere Christian" hounded by "the Jews running AOL Time Warner." I try to live as a Christian myself, Mr. Weltner, and I do not understand why you aspire to set Christianity against its mother faith, the faith that established the belief in One God and produced the extraordinary example of Jesus Christ, a devout Jew who instructed all of us to overcome hatred and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Mark Ribbing
St. Louis

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