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September 6-12, 2006

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Letters to the Editor


Re "It's Educational" (Fly, Aug. 23): Wow! I happened to see the Anti-Psychiatry exhibit when it was at the San Jose Convention Center and man—what an eye-opener! I dragged my wife in with me and watched all the video displays. In the first three or four I whispered to her "Yeah! Like this stuff is still happening!" which was my reaction to the barbaric treatments done in the early to mid-1900s. Just so gruesome I nearly had to throw up! But as the exhibit continued, in a chronological exhibit line, I had to eat my words! I saw a connection between this "pseudoscience," as Tom Cruise put it, and schoolyard massacres of late, suicidal musicians like Kurt Cobain, and many other tragic occurrences. Sickening, but I'm glad I watched it. Now I know what I've always suspected about this ... pseudoscience!

ML Joseph Percival, San Jose

'Death' Watch

I saw the "Psychiatry: Industry of Death" exhibit mentioned in Fly's column this week ("It's Educational," Aug. 23). I saw not only the historical atrocities mentioned in the column, but also photos and videos of things that are going on now behind psychiatric hospital walls, such as electric shocks given to people 65 and over (Medicare pays for it), and children killed by excess force used during restraints. I'm glad someone is willing to stand up and be an advocate for these unfortunate people.

Judy Wood, San Leandro

It's Brainwashing

I don't doubt that the pictures of the insane exhibition from the anti-scientific concurrence of psychology was horrible to look at. If Scientologists/CCHR's people were honest, they should also show this image, between lots upon lots of similar ones:

Here we see indeed one of the hundreds people killed directly or indirectly by the Scientology Hubbardian cult. Read more on the 2 million-plus references on Scientology on the net.

We can therefore presume that it is utter bad faith from Scientologists to attack a group of mostly goodwilled and honest people trying to help beings, while Scientology's most evident purpose attacking them is to get their clientele, which could then be ruined through their brainwashing system.

Roger Gonnet, Cublize, France

More Nerdly Than Thou

Re "Confessions of a Bike Nerd" (Cover Story, Aug. 16): I enjoyed Felipe Buitrago's great article on the local bike cultures. As a fellow bike nerd, you may get a kick out of what I've found in my hobby of building homemade bikes. Check out how easy it is to build your own unique bikes at

Tom Kabat, Menlo Park

This About Covers It

1. Ms. Newitz characterizes John Updike (Techsploits, July 5) as possibly "an obsolete luddite." I guess this would include similar people like, oh say, Shakespeare.

2. Enjoyed Steve Palopoli's "Smitten" column (Cult Leader, July 5) and will watch the show.

3. Don't see many letters about Amy Alkon's column, but she is genuinely funny and smart. Enjoy The Straight Dope column and Gary Singh, and Richard von Busack is amazing—I don't understand how he can see all these movies and find time to write these in-depth reviews. Your cartoonists Dangle and Tomorrow are talented, but they have been doing the same basic cartoons for four plus years now—i.e., Bash bush. I grew tired of it (and yes, I don't agree with them), so just skip them now. What's that definition of insanity? "Keep doing the same thing over and over ... expecting a different result." Or "a dog barks but the caravan moves on."

4. Sercan Ersoy in June 7 issue ("Trouble With Tribes," MetroNews) notes: "The more-than-a-century-long series of battles between the U.S. government and every tribe from Georgia to the West Coast." While there were certainly battles with the army and settlers in U.S. history, I think this may obscure a more nuanced view. There are a number of books by scholars coming out now on this part of our history. William M. Osborn, author of The Wild Frontier, studied every known atrocity committed by both Indians and "settlers" (which includes, soldiers, militia, trappers, etc.): The bottom line result was 9,156 deaths caused by Indians and 7,193 deaths caused by settlers from 1511 to 1890. By the way, Osborn states: "There is no evidence that settlers attempted to use diseases to exterminate Indians."

This is interesting history, and I only wanted to point out that sometimes comments are made that do not equate with the reality of continuing scholarship.

Ronald Brackney, Santa Clara

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