Don't expect to learn history through Hollywood

Attention all British annoyed by recent American movies: Movies are not history. History is not movies. Ever. ("Brits take brunt as Hollywood rewrites history," July 14.) "The Patriot" was not billed as a dramatic microcosm of the American War of Independence. It was advertised as a movie in which Mel Gibson plays a guy in the Revolutionary War who beats down large numbers of enemy soldiers. I found the movie pretty much delivered accurately what it promised. Where do apparently intelligent people get the idea that somehow "The Patriot" was a historical depiction?

I detect an element of unseemly nationalism in the British attitude. They are upset that a handful of British soldiers are portrayed badly in this movie. Why are modern-day Brits identifying with these soldiers in the first place? Their ancestors may not have supported the British action in the North American colonies to begin with - many British politicians, soldiers, and common people did not. Before charging American movies with a narrow nationalism, it might be wise to look at the source of English indignation. At the very least, can't we avoid choosing sides or taking insult from a story about a war that was not our own?

Deitrich Parsons Middletown, Penn.

How ironic and interesting that the issue of Hollywood's inaccuracies and liberties with historical facts should only surface when the alleged movie villains are a civilized Western ally. As an Arab American and Muslim, what I wouldn't give for such a "civilized" debate with Hollywood. There were no complaints heard or written about when Hollywood, for decades, created a cottage industry of bashing Arabs and the glorious faith of Islam as a violent, barbaric, and "terroristic" people and faith. (Consider the early stereotypical Arab of Rudy Valentino as a male chauvinist sheikh with a large harem of slave women, to the '80s and '90s version of the Arab "terrorist.") So I say to the Brits: You've got it easy, just be glad you're not an Arab or Muslim.

Mohamed Khodr Winchester, Va.

Ralph Nader support in California

Regarding Dante Chinni's July 13 opinion column "Nader's potential": Here in Silicon Valley, double the minimum wage makes it just about half way to a wage that is livable. Much ink has been used to cover this issue in California, showing just how important the wealth-gap and equity issues raised by Ralph Nader are for us out here.

While the issue of drastically raising the minimum wage may not make sense on a nationwide basis, it most certainly makes sense for those of us trying to survive the booming economy in San Francisco. Perhaps that is why California has the largest base of support for Mr. Nader - a level of support that will continue to grow as it becomes clear that neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore are capable of producing a vision that addresses the needs of this state's electorate.

Karl Sanchez San Jose, Calif.

Some voters who fear and possibly despise presidential candidate George W. Bush are attempting to scare people away from voting for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader by saying that voting for him reduces Vice President Al Gore's chances to be elected president. Voters should vote for the candidate with the best comprehensive and constructive program for our country. Mr. Nader is by far the most experienced, knowledgeable, and honest of all presidential candidates. He has always been dedicated to civic good. In classical terms, he is an inspiring public figure. It's time to get beyond our limited two-party political system by voting for Nader, whose Green Party represents an improvement in our democracy.

William Becic Oak Park, Ill.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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