Life and Death Election

Thanks for Tom Hayden's "Dreams of Obama" essay (issue of Aug. 20). I'dlike to add something for people who either don't intend to vote or arethinking of voting for John McCain. The

Thanks for Tom Hayden's "Dreams of Obama" essay (issue of Aug. 20). I'd like to add something for people who either don't intend to vote or are thinking of voting for John McCain.

The Bush administration, with its military aggressions and torture, has taken this country to the "dark side." McCain, from all indications, would continue Bush's policies and wars and might well expand them.

Like a lot of politicians, McCain has flip-flopped on issues, but he appears to have a remarkably consistent affinity with war and all things military. It's virtually certain that a McCain victory would mean more conflict, not less.

By contrast, Barack Obama represents at least the hope and maybe the likelihood of reversing the trend toward increased conflict. The differences between Obama and McCain are not as great as many would like, but the seemingly small differences that do exist — like Obama's willingness to use diplomacy — would translate into a lot of everyday people not being blown to pieces.

The presidential election is, once again, literally a matter of life or death.

We voters might be compared to Romans in the Colosseum.

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Hayden's dream or continued nightmare?

— Jim Byrnes, Hyde Park

Clearer Reviews, Please
While it's clear that art reviewer Matt Morris is a friend of the artist/curator and I admire his support of her work ("A Paper Trail of Ideas," issue of Aug. 20), the review's attempt to laud the current exhibition with art theory does nothing more but force the average art patron to quickly dismiss the show and turn the page. With phrases like "a substantial constant that calls attention to the unique solutions each artist extricates from the broader continuum of connotations" Morris' review reads like what my former grad school colleagues referred to as intellectual masturbation: "This is not for your eyes."

And if that's not damaging enough to the attempt to bring people to see the ArtWorks show, Morris goes on to suggest reading Jacques Derrida. Art theory should perhaps be required reading to create a show like Paper Chasers but not to view it. His reading suggestion only intimidates and discourages.

At the end of his review Morris seems to find his way back to his recognized reviewer's voice. In the end he insists clearly we should see the show.

Because he spends too much time beating his chest and our heads with art theory only to come to a plea to see his friend's show, Morris, ArtWorks and the rest of us are left to rely on CityBeat's red "Critic's Pick" that graces the review. The review thus risks not only alienating loyal art patrons but reducing the role of the reviewer to a mere editor's stamp.

— Kathy Stockman, Oakley

Who Pays?
Larry Gross' "Babies and Strollers" was a good column (issue of Aug. 13). I think many of us who take the bus, especially in poor sections of town, have noticed these strollers being lifted onto the bus. It's almost like a point of pride to some of the women — like that stroller is a trophy or something.

Know who pays for that trophy? The rest of us who pay through our taxes for these women to get government checks every month. The more babies they have, the bigger those checks get.

Like Gross, I don't have answers, but I thank him for writing about something that most people would rather not see.

— Jason Smith, Covington