Presidential election needs leaders, not celebrities

In response to the Feb. 28 Opinion column by John Hughes, "Character – not celebrity – should count in news and politics": What we need in politics is leadership and knowledge of other cultures.

Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with a particular candidate, one should vote for the person with leadership qualities. We don't need people with good character but who govern by ideology, as we have now in the US. We need people who have an understanding of global issues and cultures with the ability to lead our country in a positive direction.

Yes, elections have become popularity contests, and anybody who has done anything wrong in the past might as well not run. But look what that system has brought us: disfavor throughout the world, a Middle East tinderbox, poor relations with Russia and North Korea, and only mediocre relations with China.

Leaders should influence, not destroy.
Bill Davis
Santa Maria, Calif.

'Google killers' don't stand a chance

Regarding the Feb. 28 article, "Is a 'Google killer' on the horizon?": While the article suggested that Google might be replaced by a start-up company, the truth is that Google is in no danger of being supplanted by any new search-engine technology. It is too deeply woven into the fabric of our society for any slick new search engine to beat it.

While Google did originally beat some other search engines to gain leadership, it did not beat an established market leader: There was no significant market leader back then. Now that Google has come to dominate the field, it is no longer in danger of being replaced by a new search technology.

Market gorillas cannot be beaten by start-ups that use new technology to attack the leader's market. Start-ups that attack a giant head-on are often either crushed or purchased – remember Netscape? Google will crush small competitors just as quickly. Market leaders can, however, be supplanted when a start-up uses technology to create a new business model.

The interesting question is not whether Google will be replaced by a no-name search site. It is whether Google, with its free email, word processing, spreadsheets, and calendar, will replace Microsoft. That's a giant-slaying story that is waiting to be told.
Ray Salemi
Framingham, Mass.

For good filmmakers, violence looks real

The Feb. 23 article, "As violence rises on screen, new tactics to curb it," concludes with a quote from actor James Morrison: "People know the difference between fiction and reality. We have to respect our audience and trust their good sense."

In more than 40 years of writing and producing films, I never forgot the two phenomena that make it all possible: persistence of vision and suspension of disbelief. The first is an ability to envision still pictures as moving images. The second is what lets us, the filmmakers, take the audience where we want them to be.

If you take a group of people, no matter how educated or sophisticated, and put them in a dark room, and then put before them pictures that are larger than life and sound that is louder than life, you have the perfect setting for both of those phenomena to occur.

Those who cannot erase, or at least blur, the distinction between fiction and reality for their viewers, aren't doing their jobs as filmmakers – or as actors, for that matter.
S. Paul Klein
Head Waters, Va.

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