Letters to the Editor

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Barry Allen
Los Angeles

Rally 'round the flag, boys: Why is it the ones who are most pro-war don't have a fucking clue what they're promoting? (See Michael Roberts's "Rally Time," April 3.) How many of them can actually say "Been there, done that"? Floorwax, can you say you ate dinner with a buddy, then two hours later watched him get shot through the head? Lewis, tell me how you felt when that enemy soldier smashed your teeth out with the butt of his rifle. War is the most inhuman experience possible. Ask the men who were at Iwo Jima or the Chosin Reservoir or Hamburger Hill what they think of war. You won't hear, "It's great; I didn't really need that leg, anyway." People like Lewis and Floorwax should promote the war in Iraq. They know as much about it as Bush and Cheney -- which, of course, is nothing! Non-combatants, one and all.

If you have any pro-/anti-war qualms, do one thing: Follow the money. Yeah, right. Now it all makes sense, especially if your name is Boeing, Martin-Marietta, Lockheed, Grumman or Halliburton, etc. War is very profitable -- more so for those who don't have to fight. In America, war is good for all people who believe killing poor people isn't bad (that includes poor Americans). In case you're too young to remember, one of our sayings in Vietnam was "Killing for the sake of peace is like fucking for the sake of virginity."

Lastly, think about how the capitalistic/ democratic (ahem) system actually works. When the government buys something -- say, a $600,000 missile to replace one of the 750 fired in Iraq -- that creates a taxable income to the seller. Instant rebate! Then, when that seller's employee spends his already taxed income on groceries, more taxes on more profit. The grocer supplier pays taxes, the farmer selling to the supplier pays taxes, the diesel fuel for the tractor to make the food is taxed, the guy selling the fuel is nauseam! The more missiles the government buys, the more it makes in taxes. It's not really money; it's just taxes in motion. God bless America.

Steve Fickler
Wheat Ridge

Veiled Threat

The belly of the best: The beautiful art form of belly dance, or Oriental dance (its correct name), has long battled the stigma (mainly in the U.S.) of being scandalous. Throughout the years, burlesque dancers and images from movies and TV have misrepresented the dance. Oriental dance has its roots in Middle Eastern folk dances done to celebrate joyful occasions, community festivals, weddings, childbirth, etc. Granted, many (but not all) performance costumes can be sexy, but no more so than ice-skating, cheerleading and many ballroom-dancing costumes (not to mention young ladies' street fashions, à la Britney Spears). The movements are also considered sexy, but they are natural feminine movements. They are intended to celebrate the feminine form, not as sexual come-ons. There are many men, all over the world, who dance the same moves (hip circles, shimmies, undulations, etc.) that women dance.

I regret that Julie Dunn did not do any research on belly dance for her April 17 "Belly, Belly Good." With statements like "forget the stripper pole and tassels and try belly dancing" and "less tacky than amateur night at Shotgun Willie's, belly-dancing could lead to all sorts of other exertions," Ms. Dunn implies that belly dancing is merely a step up from stripping and that the main motivation for pursuing it is titillation. As a personal friend and student of Dahlia (Dianne Losasso), I am certain she was disappointed by this correlation. Belly dancing is a difficult art form requiring years of study for a dancer to become truly proficient. More accurate motivation factors are learning an art form, self-expressing through movement, fitness and health.

Although I imagine Ms. Dunn meant to promote belly dancing, the Oriental dance community has been working hard for decades to dispel this type of misconception. Articles like this just set us back at least a few steps.

Teresa Wright

The bare facts: I was very disappointed to read the article that slammed an ancient art form by lowering it to the level of pornography. I have only been a student of belly dancing for six weeks, and personally, I find it very rewarding. The musical phenomenon best-known as belly dance has entranced its listeners and dancers for over a hundred years. The dance is more evocative than provocative and requires skillful body control and a disciplined isolation of every movement of the body. For a lesson in the history of belly dancing and an in-depth explanation as to why this popular and respectable form of dance is related to, and has so often been compared to, stripping, go to:

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