Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have helped me remember that one person truly can make changes occur.
--DONNA LARKIN, STATESVILLE
Jumping to conclusions
I was surprised by James Morrison's diatribe against my book on Robert Brasillach, especially since, as he notes, The Collaborator has been attacked by the right wing for its political correctness and gay solidarity ["Lightly Veiled," June 19]. What baffles me is that Morrison uses my own arguments against me: Yes, Brasillach was guilty of hate crimes, but he was also scapegoated (and executed) by a culture that feared and punished homosexuals. I maintain that the facile link between homosexuality and fascism made by his contemporaries, gay and straight, was part of that culture's bias. So where's our argument? In all his assumptions about my own identity as a writer, I had the feeling that Morrison was putting me in a hetero-normative box that served his arguments more than it represented my actual positions.
--ALICE KAPLAN, DURHAM
James Morrison's article, which claims that Alice Kaplan's The Collaborator links homosexuality and fascism, is at best disingenuous and at worst smacks of paranoia ["Lightly Veiled," June 19]. As Kaplan clearly states in the book, Brasillach, the collaborator in question, may or may not have been homosexual. His writings though suggest that he was at least strongly attracted to men, and that even if he were not homosexual, his contemporaries believed that he was. Kaplan's book is not an argument about whether there is some attraction for homosexuals to facist culture, but the footnote on that subject that Morrison eyes so skeptically does discuss four widely respected books that do exactly that. Clearly, there were quite a number of heterosexual collaborators attracted to Nazism as well, and Kaplan names any number of them. Kaplan's subject is Brasillach, and it is not clear whether Morrison would prefer her not to mention Brasillach's reputed homosexuality, or if he would simply have preferred that Kaplan not write the book at all. As for Brasillach's trial, it was the prosecutor, not Kaplan, who made homosexuality an issue--an issue he brought up precisely because he knew it was likely to sway the judgment against Brasillach. And as Kaplan points out in another footnote, the reason that Brasillach received the death penalty could not be pinned solely on the insinuation of homosexuality, since at least two other collaborators whose alleged homosexuality was an issue at their trials were not executed.It is not quite clear to me why Morrison wants Kaplan's book to be homophobic, when attacks against it by right-wing homophobes show it is obviously nothing of the sort. Why The Independent would print such drivel, when you clearly had so many other solid articles for your issue to choose from, is not clear either.
--DAVID LEVINE, CHAPEL HILL
In a story on cigarette taxes in North Carolina ("Tax Taboo," June 12) we underreported the extent to which citizens favor raising such taxes. As we stated, a survey by the N.C. Center for Health Statistics found 43 percent of citizens would support a tax increase of up to $1 per pack. We neglected to add that the survey found another 29 percent would support a tax hike of more than $1, making the total in support of a cigarette tax hike more than 70 percent. Also, in describing a survey by the American Association of Retired Persons, we correctly noted that voters are split 50 to 46 percent on raising the cigarette tax from five to 50 cents a pack, but we neglected to say that when it comes to raising taxes to 30 cents a pack, 62 percent are in favor. The Indy regrets the omissions.