Letters to the Editor
You wrote: "With this year's pissing match so close and so wide open—it's the first presidential election since 1928 devoid of a presidential or VP incumbent—there was no shortage of political stagings and rhetorical circle jerks for Iowans to attend." ("The Wizards of Odds," 1/9/09)
Please check your facts. The year 1952 was the last presidential election devoid of a presidential or VP incumbent. In 1952, the Republican candidates were Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon and the Democratic candidates were Adlai Ewing Stevenson II and John Sparkman.
Ronald G. Lietz, St. Paul
Matt Snyders responds: The year 1952 was the last general election devoid of a presidential or vice-presidential incumbent, while 1928 was the last primary without a presidential or VP incumbent. Sorry for any confusion.
God is in the details
I just read Emily Condon's article on Christopher Hitchens ("Artists of the Year," 1/2/08). Nice article on Hitch, but I came to a screeching halt at this sentence: "Far from the vitriolic diatribe of a God-hating misanthrope like Richard Dawkins, Hitchens's work is both appropriately respectful and right."
Having read both books that I infer are in question—The God Delusion by Dawkins and God Is Not Great by Hitchens—more than once each, I can only conclude that Ms. Condon did not read either before writing her article.
To describe Richard Dawkins as a "misanthrope" is so far wide of the mark it would be laughable if it were not a common misperception in the U.S. Spreading such nonsense is deplorable. I suggest Ms. Condon read Mr. Dawkins's books—there are many of them and they are excellent. I don't think his feelings toward the non-existent God idea rises to the level of hate—he couldn't be bothered to hate imaginary friends. You might be able to make a case for his hating organized religion, especially its fundamentalist ends.
If Ms. Condon were to actually read The God Delusion carefully, she would see that it is careful and measured throughout. The religious person in general appears to be unable to brook any criticism of their particular metaphysics. Therefore, if one does criticize them, in any terms whatever, then one is immediately mislabeled as strident, vitriolic, God-hating, misanthropic, etc. (Hence the clichéd admonition to never discuss religion.) I think her ad hominem attack on Mr. Dawkins is more vitriolic than anything in the The God Delusion except for his description of the God of the Old Testament in the opening paragraph of Chapter 2. However, if you read the Old Testament, you will see that this is simply a description of the God you find described there.
In contrasting the two books in question, I would not have called Hitchens's book the more respectful. Obviously, her piece was an opinion piece, but I nevertheless feel that her misrepresentation of Mr. Dawkins needed comment.
Jim Blilie, St. Paul
What he said
In her Artists of the Year article, Emily Condon writes, "Far from the vitriolic diatribe of a God-hating misanthrope like Richard Dawkins, Hitchens's work is both appropriately respectful and right."
Did she read either book? For starters, Dawkins doesn't hate God, he simply doesn't believe in God. Also, far from being a misanthrope, his love for humanity is evident in all his writings, including The God Delusion. And what makes Hitchens's book more "respectful and right"? Even the title, God Is Not Great, seems vitriolic and disrespectful.
Both books show the proper level of (dis)respect to the second-century superstition that is Christianity. What's the matter, Emily? Did Dawkins piss on your Special K or something?
Brad Cook, Minneapolis
Hating on Lil' Wayne
Why on earth do you bother to hype this unbelievably cliché piece of garbage?
Heather Tarnowski, Minneapolis
Re: "Bring on the Backlash"
I am so sick of Diablo Cody.
Rob Workman, Minneapolis
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