The beautiful rainbow country of South Africa needs to look no further than its own Nelson Mandela to cite a prime example of the power derived from a respect for and joy of reading.
While he was imprisoned on Robben Island, Mandela craved any information from the outside world. He mentions in his autobiography some of the ingenious strategies he and his fellow inmates devised to smuggle messages in and out and to share newspapers and books. Robben Island became known as Mandela University.
Mandela's life demonstrates that reading is not only "cool," it is revolutionary.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Re "Chick flick TV," Opinion, Sept. 22
There is no such thing as "just entertainment." Images that are disseminated to mass audiences are always about identity and are always laden with meanings. It's about time that responsible journalists learn that and stop buying into Hollywood's PR.
The revival of bimbo sex-object femininity in TV shows such as "The Playboy Club" and "Pan Am" speaks to the increasingly entrenched and dangerous anti-intellectualism in American culture. Let's deflect women away from the site of their true empowerment — their intellect — and get them fixated on their appearance and sex appeal. Whom does that benefit?
Hollywood is part of the problem, and it's about time for America to acknowledge that, even if you live in L.A.
The writer is a film studies instructor at Santa Monica College.
PTSD and you
Re "Perils of the PTSD defense," Editorial, Sept. 23
Post-traumatic stress disorder is not, as you put it, "a talisman for leniency."
Fundamental to "your" constitutional rights in a criminal case is the principle that a crime requires the concurrence of an act and criminal intent. If an accused suffers from PTSD, then that disorder, under certain circumstances, may lawfully excuse or mitigate a crime because the required mental element (criminal intent) necessary for a conviction is not proved. It has nothing to do with leniency.
Before you limit the rights of others, remember it's not their rights you are limiting, it's also your own. Legitimate and recognized defenses protect you.