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Letters to the Editor, #36

The powers that be tell lies disguised as truth. THINK tells truth disguised as lies.

 

Readers Write Finally!

A publication that caters to the self-conscious cynics, immature existentialists and sarcastic unemployed fake bohemians. I love it!

Since I honestly don't "think" I could live even a somewhat happy life back home without this magazine, what must I do in order to keep receiving this work of purely artistic nature when I descend again upon the other side of the world? And who is this Jeremy Hurewitz character and is he as funny in real life as his articles?

- Sandra Abramson

J. Hurewitz replies: Did this girl send a photo? If so, please send on.


Just in town...

I pick this thing up, on page 10 you have the save-the-shark article, and on page 30 a restaurant review featuring a Shark special! Is there any editorial oversight to this thing at all? The few good articles, like Zaitchik's, instead of glowing amid the muck of the mag, instead get smothered in the sh*t.

But do you even care? Doesn't look like it. Well at least it's worth the price tag.

- Michael Topp

Editor's reply:

We admit to a certain degree of anarchy within our pages. Some of our contributors love sharks, some eat them. We leave it to the reader to choose his own path.


Thank you Think,

... for sharing with us Christopher Lord's treatise on Czech xenophobia, pan-Slavism and what not. This is a typical example of a vacuous expat who assumes that two years of community college are enough to become a scholar in East Europe.

Christopher, apparently, read a book on Czech history to find a theoretical justification for his hostility towards the Czechs, and his sophomoric, reefer-soaked mind came up with the following nonsense: the Czechs are basically nothing but simple peasants whose envy of their smarter and hard-working German and Jewish compatriots had turned them into pan-Slavs and skinheads. Now they vent their inferiority complex on the Gypsies, but they hate everyone, really.

Havel is a bourgeois democrat and, as such, he's not much better. Perhaps the most offensive, however, is the suggestion that, in their xenophobia, Czechs are somehow uniquely evil. They are not. Czech intolerance and suspicion of foreigners are the result of isolation and ignorance, as opposed to aggressive nativism in countries with large minorities, but the outcome is sadly similar.

I've seen English skinheads (and soccer rowdies) in action, and they looked just as scary as their Czech counterparts. Illiterate pseudo-analyses from people like Lord who, it seems, got dumped by his Czech girl-friend are unhelpful, to say the least.

- Karel Matousek

Christopher Lord replies:

Mr Matousek's 'summary' of my article shows that he has entirely missed the point I was making, so it is difficult to know how to respond. But the letter itself shows that Czech xenophobia is alive and well.

[Editor's note: Christopher Lord is the author of several books, including the insightful title Central Europe: Core or Periphery? Two of his books have been translated into Czech. ]


EMAIL FLAME:

Yeah, you people, I don't know. You fill your rag month in month out with open mike rants against consumerism, American cultural imperialism, the mistakes that rest of the world are making and that you surely wouldn't if you were in charge, etc,. etc., all very laudable but a steaming pot of sh*t when you print this stuff long side full page promo's for the crap your criticizing.

What did we have this month? Twist; South African Breweries (monopolisers of the Czech beer market - a multinational less worthy of support I haven't met), months before we've had tobacco giants and American-Way marketers; Phillip Morris, then there was Gaulloise; etc.

Do you really expect me to believe that you care about what you're printing when you follow up a lecture telling me to save the rainforest with a full page ad of five perfect kids leaping into the air over the orgasm they get when their mobile phones are shoved up their arses and I could get too if I just dipped into my pocket for that extra 1000Kc a month and shoved their little black plastic box up my back passage and wore the same perfect designer clothes and haircuts they do.

f*ck that.

You know, it's not the advertising I mind, nor is it the rants (entertaining but not very productive), it's the refusal to recognise the fact that you yourselves sell out every f*cking month when you publish this sh*t. And why does everything worthwhile seem to have to have the word "underground" attached to it. When will you wannabe's wake up to the fact that there is no "underground"?

Alternativity is not a life style option, it's necessity. How many f's in f*ck off? 3. f*ck off.

- Preston B. Grebes, The Downstairs Man

Dear mister effective protest man:

How many publications do you know taking system money and printing truth? How about none? Secondly, ads don't create desire, they only raise brand awareness (image advertising) or inform about services and service providers (display advertising).

If looking at a cowboy makes you want to smoke, then you already wanted to smoke, or are a complete moron. Information is the structure, evolution is the goal, and printing, television, community building actions and low rate long-distance communication systems is how we do it... how are you changing the world, when you can't even get the joke?

- Undergroundlifegroundunder

The Downstairs Man replies:

Very good points and ambitiously argued. What a radical plan, the subtlety slipped past me until you explained it. Just when I thought Americans who take themselves too seriously had gone out of fashion, up you pop. Look, as a moron you really get in my face with all your bleeding on and self righteousness.

Morons have lives, loves, worries, hopes, fears the same as you do. Funnily enough they take money from the system too. They do it to survive. It's called expediency. But then isn't that something like what you're doing? Oh but I forgot, you bang on about the "Truth".

You cannot justify your actions above others because you think your aims are more worthwhile, an action is an action. You said it yourself, you take the system's money. Besides, let's look at the aims: Printing the TRUTH.

What exactly is that? There are very many publications out there who endeavour to publish HONEST journalism. You are doing nothing special. They are available on your news stand, admittedly they aren't free, but then some of them are cheap and they have a more mature attitude to the ambiguous nature of Truth.

Some of them even refuse to take multinational company advertising (Respect, but then you'd have to learn Czech to read that?). [Do you have to speak Czech to spell it?- ed.] Which brings me round nicely to your thoroughly insightful analysis of the psychology of advertising.

Strangely uncanny in resemblance to statements prepared by psychologists paid by Philip Morris. Am I to understand then that you would like to encourage your readers to change their choice of beer and choose one brewed by Czech beer monopolists South African Breweries?

Aside from the accuracy of your claim (we would be hear all day if we tried to approach the truth of such a matter) there is the small matter of your giving publicity to these products. The tobacco companies were found guilty last year of intentionally misleading the American public about the harmful effects of smoking. They are not nice people. Do you really want to give them access to a magazine distributed for free in all the bars and pubs in this city?

You're right, I didn't get the joke. It was far too clever for me. It seems you will remain in nappies until you realise that: A load of sh*t is a load of sh*t. Changing the world is next to impossible because you have to start with yourself. This takes up most of my energy.

- Yours Sincerely, the Downstairs Man.

Think replies:

Another thing, is there some rule that a publication is not allowed to have opinions if they have advertisements? Because I seemed to have missed that in righteousness school. And if anybody misleads anybody about the harmful effects of smoking, it's the moron who smokes.

All mammals purposefully avoid smoke inhalation, except the extremely unfit. They should not reproduce. I myself suffered a club foot because of my mother's tobacco consumption. Do I hate cigarettes? No. Do I smoke tobacco? No. And another thing: Unlike Respekt, which is subsidized by the state, which itself takes tax revenues from multinationals, we are FREE.

Which means we have to have ads, so that we may continue to publish without relying on the state for handouts. And who the f*ck said we're amerikaners? If anybody's banging on, it's you and your spell-checkerless Microsoft™ dicksoft email rants.

- Upstairs.

The Downstairs Man replies;

Oh, the old spell check insult. How can I match the challenge of someone who really knows how to put me in my place? I can't, I give up. You're right, everyone's entitled to an opinion and to voice it. Every month you tell me how dirty my arse is. I'm pointing out that yours needs a good wipe too. Widen your trousers and get off the hate campaign against smokers, or stop advertising them. Hypocrite.

"And if anybody mislead anybody about the harmful effects of smoking, it's the moron who smokes. All mammals purposefully avoid smoke inhalation, except the extremely unfit. They should not reproduce." Your mail to me on 10 Aug. "Morons? Extremely unfit? They should not reproduce???" Should we be weeding the weak smokers out of our society and placing them in camps to be sterilised then?"

Replyky:

Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too. - Voltaire


Dear Think

I recently read an issue of Think Magazine while at the Globe, and you look to me like the kind of guys who could offer some insight on a matter that is occupying a great deal of my thoughts these days. I am in a bit of a dilemma.

I am a 49 year old language teacher, married to a Czech-American woman and have been living in Prague since 1990. My 16 year-old daughter has many friends from single parent homes, many who come to me for private English lessons. While most of them look upon me as just a father figure, there happens to be one young lady that has on occasion shown me intimate attention (e.g., when I was driving her home she reached across the front seat and massaged my crotch).

Now, if I was having a satisfactory sexual relationship at home, I would probably just ignore the incident, but at 15, she is physically mature and I very much desire to pursue this once in a lifetime opportunity, as I'm not getting any younger.

The temptation to 'educate' this relatively naive young Czech girl excites me. Do you believe my experiences would lend to or detract from establishing a sexual relationship?

- No name please

Think replies:

Go for it. f*ck her good and f*ck her hard, she's asking for it, and the lovely is probably tighter than a dolphin and hornier than Katherine the Great with Viagra stuffed in her chopped liver. After you're done with her, please drop her off at the Think offices, drugged if possible.

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