Letters for , March 4, 2004

He's no anti-semite: People who plunk down their own money to see The Passion of the Christ, just as Mel Gibson used his own money to make it, will find a movie as diverse in its effect on them as the teachings of Jesus Christ has been on history ("Suffer unto Mel," Robert Wilonsky, February 26). Some will like it, some won't. Some will find it too bloody, some will find it an accurate depiction of a typical Roman crucifixion, which was one of history's most brutal forms of execution. Some will feel it is true to the gospels, some will not. Some will find reason to see it again, others will wish they hadn't seen it the first time. How very much like the life of Jesus is this movie.

However, I will venture to guess that not many people who actually see the film will find any reason to hate Jews. In fact, I do not see any anti-Semitism in this movie whatsoever, despite the naysayers. Quite the contrary is true, actually. In a major and poignant scene, a Jewish bystander who is forced by the Roman soldiers to help an exhausted Jesus carry the cross is depicted heroically as a man with humanity and sympathy. The Jews who are depicted as villainous, just like the Romans similarly depicted, are perceived as amorphous cads and cowards. The specific ethnic identities of the villains are clearly known but are clouded within the larger panorama of their generic villainy itself.

Regardless of what one carries away from the movie, one thing is certain: It is unjust to judge this movie without viewing it firsthand. To pre-judge this movie without seeing it is the very definition of prejudice and represents what the movie's villains are most guilty of: fear of the unknown. And that, we all can agree, is certainly not in the spirit of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Bill Lemocks


He's no Joe Grano: In response to Trevor Aaronson's February 19 story "Rainbow Colors," I feel it should be said there is only one person who should be the mayor of Wilton Manors, and that is George Kessinger, Jr. There are many who share this opinion throughout the state. George is the founder of the boom in Wilton Manors. He was the first one to take the gamble, and it has transformed the area from a Piggly Wiggly, one-horse, redneck town to a thriving, on-the-move community that in fact reigns as the one of the gay capitols of the country, with Provincetown, West Hollywood, etc.

George is fair, entirely community-minded, a behind-the-scenes donor to every charity and group that is needy and some that are not.... I personally worked for George for many years and found it a pleasure to be associated with this fine, upstanding citizen. If he ran for mayor, it would be a landslide, a no-contest deal. He is a very humble man of high moral and ethical values and is very family oriented.

Many are jealous of his success with Georgie's Alibi, but even these backstabbers wouldn't be in business if not for George. The old saying, "Let George do it," certainly applies here. He doesn't have to have sex or sit in bars boozing all day to get backing as some do. He can fly on his merits and genuine popularity with the voters -- Yes, even the straight ones respect George. Think of all the famous Georges starting with Washington and excluding the current joke of a president and go forward by LETTING GEORGE DO IT.

James Lynch

Fort Lauderdale

The Sun-Sentinel sucks, though: Thanks to Sam Eifling for his February 5 story, "Liar-Liar." Bravo to Aaron Rubin for driving the car and opening the dialog. If nothing else, it should be a lesson in First Amendment rights to that taxi driver who expressed fear and expects retribution from the Republicans. Even though these are the tactics used by the current administration, they are very un-American. Freedom of speech means even if you don't agree, you give respect. The fact that someone in a white Escalade "spit" at Mr. Rubin in the middle of a tourist area is very embarassing for Fort Lauderdale. The city is trying to portray a "family" atmosphere at the beach. Or has "hate" become a family value here, too?

I plan to cancel my subscription to the Sun-Sentinel for its abysmally inadequate coverage of this event. Thank you for your fine publication.

Vera Dulaney

Via the Internet

Or at least bad bad bad: Regarding your February 5 cover story by Sam Eifling, Liar, Liar Little Johnny was in class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the common answers came up: Storekeeper, doctor, mechanic, carpenter, etc. Johnny was quiet, so the teacher asked him about his father.

Looking down, and speaking low, he said, "My father's a psychotic monster, pathological liar, con artist, redneck, moron, extortionist, thief, arms dealer, imperialist, assassin, terrorist, bomber, and mass murderer, and is determined to have worldwide westernism, fascism, corporatism, piggism, racism, tyranny, an evil type of Christianity, fear, hatred, violence, war, destruction, pollution, global warming, species extinctions, famines, riots, and suffering on our planet".

The teacher, shaken by his statement, hurriedly set the other children to working on their coloring books. Taking Johnny aside, she asked, "Who is your father?" "George Bush," he replied.

Tom Matthews

Fort Lauderdale

Save her from the hit man: Congratulations to Bob Norman for having the guts and balls to do what he did: expose those crooks. ("Deliver Us II," February 5). I am a 20-year employee of the North Broward Hospital District and am not shocked at all that the district is robbing us. I am a nurse in an area that is going to be affected by the change in census that this mess is going to create. Hopefully no one will lose their job; nurses are always the ones to pay for financial messes.

I also found it quite interesting that the only rebuttal Wil Trower could come up with was that Norman violated privacy laws; sounds like a guilty man to me. Keep up the good work. Please don't disclose any personal information about me. You know, they could get a hit man after me!!

Name withheld by Request

Via the Internet

An unholy mess: I recently read the restaurant review by Lee Klein in the January 29 issue of New Times about Chez Laurent ("Chez Blasé"). It was one of the most unfair critiques I have ever seen.

My husband and I have had dinner there frequently since it opened, and we have never had a bad meal. We have always found the food and service excellent. We have often ordered the coq-au-vin, New York strip steak, duck breast, and other entrées and always found them delicious. The accompanying vegetables were perfectly cooked and hot. The sauces were expertly made reductions that had obviously taken time and expertise.

We enjoyed the scallops and chocolate espresso cake so much we wrote to Suzanne Jones, who authors the "You Asked for It" feature in the food section of the Sun-Sentinel to see if chef Laurent Altvatter would share the recipes. He graciously did, and they were featured in one of her articles last year.

Chef Laurent has a saying: "Fast food isn't good and good food isn't fast." When food is cooked to order, it takes longer than at a burger joint. If Mr. Klein wants speed in getting his meal he should go back to a Denny's or Wendy's type of restaurant. Lee Klein mentioned "fake flowers" but there are fresh, lovely roses on every table daily. What he called "mismatched busily patterned table lines," are four distinct, authentic, expensive fabrics made in and imported from Provence, France.

Mr. Klein seemed upset because he was asked if he had a reservation when he entered. The hostess told me there is a good reason to ask this logical question even if some tables are empty. They check the names off the reservation list when people arrive. Or if customers request a special table, she can direct them to the correct one.

Mr. Klein's opinions are completely opposite from ours and our friends' who dine there regularly. We and many others love Chez Laurent, and that is why we keep going back so often.

Audrey Van Becelaere

Lauderdale by the Sea

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