Pop Culture: Letters to the Editor, March 17, 2005

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Pop Culture: Letters to the Editor, March 17, 2005

The Life of Brian

A comment about The Life of Brian.

I was in Valdosta, Georgia in the Air Force in the late 1970s when The Life of Brian was released.

A group of local ministers were outraged and tried to prevent its showing. They couldn't legally object on religious grounds, so they petitioned a judge for a permanent injunction on the claim that it included nudity. The judge delayed the movie's opening for one day to hold a hearing. Then he allowed it to open to the public. I never did get to see it, so maybe I will catch it on video one of these days.

Another comment about the Aviator. I enjoyed that movie because I remember Howard Hughes. He was a true wild man. The movie didn't mention that in the 1960s he bought a casino in Las Vegas just to avoid getting kicked out of the high roller's penthouse. I can't remember if it was the Sands or the Desert Inn. They also didn't mention that the CIA used him as a cover to build a deep-sea barge for recovering a sunken Russian submarine. The cover story was that Howard Hughes was going to mine manganese nodules from the ocean floor with a billion-dollar dredge. I remember reading about it in Popular Mechanics around 1971 or so. The CIA claimed that the submarine broke in half, and they never recovered the secret codes. That sounded like another cover story to me.

Philip Sagstetter

Enterprise Cancelled

Dear friends:

It may not be news to you but it came as news to me recently: Star Trek Enterprise has been cancelled.

After the cancellation of the superb sci-fi series, Firefly, the termination of the Star Trek franchise deeply saddens me because there is just no new science fiction left on television that is even remotely intelligent.

What are our children to see for inspiration? Sponge Bob Square Pants?

There is, though, something you can do about it, assuming you care: http://saveenterprise.com/

As many of you know, I am active in politics. I view the cancellation of Enterprise as just another example of the decline of the intelligence level of the American population. Have you tried getting any real news on television recently? Is Michael Jackson's trial really news or is it entertainment?

I see this reduction in the intelligence level of television as a self-perpetuating problem. Television either leads or follows. Since television is in the business to make money, it must -- of necessity -- appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Yet television does something else. Sometimes, by accident, it inspires. Sometimes, on purpose, it inspires even as it makes money.

If you care, as I do, about the vision that children will have of the future, then I ask you to take a few minutes and see if you want to be part of the campaign to improve the quality of television in a small portion of TV's enormous bandwidth.

It may be small but it is important.

Ralph Shnelvar

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