Love/Hate Mail 

Spare the rod

Brantley Hargrove's piece on Elliot Lash really hit home for those of us who have long been trying to raise awareness of the fact that sexual abuse can take the form of spanking or paddling ("The Stranger in My House," Feb. 18). Society has been slow to recognize this particular type of abuse, which often occurs under the guise of "discipline." As a result, countless children, teens and sometimes even adults have been horribly exploited, as will many others as long as we continue to be naive about the subject.

Hopefully, the tragic case recounted by Lash's widow will open a lot of people's eyes to this extreme dark side of corporal punishment. To learn more, please visit www.SpankingCanBeSexualAbuse.org.

Tom Johnson, Tennesseans For Nonviolent School Discipline —Nashville

Carnivorous dogma

I don't really know who is most to blame for your restaurant review titled "Herbivore's Dilemma" (Feb. 11). (The dilemma, by the way, is never actually articulated by the author.) At any rate, it was no doubt a poor decision to publish this review. Aside from the painful writing ("But The Wild Cow vegetarian restaurant in East Nashville puts the best hoof forward that we've seen in a while"), it's pointless to review a vegetarian restaurant when the review is driven by the author's belief that vegetarian fare is inferior to non-vegetarian fare and when the author spends the bulk of the review hammering away at that idea. Whether or not vegetarian fare is less flavorful than non-vegetarian fare is perhaps an interesting question. But why would you send someone to review this restaurant that clearly was not willing to see past this dogmatic belief? The only reason that I can think of is that the editors share the same dogmatic belief.

It's interesting to note that the author doesn't once mention the moral issue of eating meat, which is a serious question to anyone who takes ethics seriously. How can it be ethical to cause unnecessary suffering to sentient creatures that we simply do not need to eat to maintain our health? "Because animals taste good," clearly doesn't answer the moral question. Perhaps you should send a vegetarian to review a steak restaurant, so we can read about the restaurant's dearth of vegetarian options. That review might be just as interesting as Fox's.

Casey Woodling —Nashville

'Turmoil' causes turmoil

Gotta say I'm with those who are fans but who don't really like this article ("Wake up, Hubs — it's time to make the baby," Feb. 11). The criticism is NOT about people not being happy for Lindsay and the happy ending here. It's about the lack of compassion or acknowledgement for those whose tales are MUCH longer and not so happy. There is much humor to be found in the crazy things we women do to get a baby. This just could've been handled with more sensitivity.

Kelly Stevens —Burbank, Calif.

Marijuana: it's not just for the sick

A great plan for the few who qualify, but it buys into the prohibitionist myth that the general population is better off without using marijuana, which is baloney ("Let's Roll," Jan. 28). Millions of responsible adults use it (and millions more would if they were not oppressed by drug testing), not because they are enslaved to the demon marijuana or some other unfulfillable inner compulsion, but because it works for them, in much the same way that drinking coffee works for so many Americans. For millions of people, things go better with grass. Why should we continue to alienate and criminalize such a huge proportion of our population?

Think about it — if we kept track of how many people involved in accidents of one sort or another were "jacked up" on coffee at the time of their mishap, it would make marijuana look as safe as it really is. Coffee makes people jittery and rude, and causes them to be in a hurry and take chances they wouldn't take with a clearer head — maybe we should ban coffee and legalize marijuana? Just kidding ... but hey, deprive a java junkie of his fix and you've got an emotional crisis on your hands, while prohibition-minded psychiatrists have been stretching the boundaries of the DSM to create the appearance of some kind of "marijuana-deprivation syndrome." Truth: there is no evidence that marijuana is addictive. Legal, widely available coffee (and tobacco!), on the other hand ...

The high-security growroom mode that Bernie [Ellis'] plan suggests is another manifestation of the "marijuana is a dangerous drug" myth. Those healthy enough and possessed of the inclination to grow their own should be allowed to do so — although I suppose there could be problems with outdoor grows and marauding teenagers. Kind of a cross between raiding somebody's watermelon patch and swiping the beer from a tub of ice in an unguarded backyard. (Oh, and legal, widely available alcohol!? Don't get me started.)

On the other hand, Bernie's plan is a carefully thought-out, rational way to introduce marijuana into America's social fabric, and I especially applaud the economic aspects of it, which ratchet down the insanely high prices that have been brought about by prohibition. Our legislature has demonstrated plenty of chutzpah lately, on issues from guns in bars to repealing verifiable election laws. Do they have the nerve to "get the government off peoples' backs" on this issue? We'll see.

Martin Holsinger —Nashville

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