More Boos for `Boondocks'

I would like to know what is supposed to be funny about an angry kid with a super-bad attitude cracking a toy light saber over a young girl's head, then complaining that the toy is "worthless" because it didn't kill her ["The Boondocks," comics, June 4].

Don't we have enough violence going on in this world? Must we turn it into a joke on the comics pages?

My advice: Dump "The Boondocks." It doesn't make me laugh, and I'm sure victims of violence don't find it funny either.

-- Dale Barnhard

Deserving a Brief Mention

Vernon Loeb should check his facts more carefully. Adm. Thomas R. Wilson's "informative and cogent" briefs are prepared by none other than Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysts, whom Loeb subsequently disparages ["Media-Savvy Admiral Moving to DIA," Federal Page, June 3]. DIA analysts remain at the forefront in providing top-quality military intelligence assessments. Loeb got one point right, though; DIA analysts welcome Wilson as the incoming director.

-- Yvette Wooley

The writer is a senior intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Friends and Aides Agree

When I read the front-page article "In Handling of Crisis, a Different President" [June 8], I laughed out loud. Here was presented a piece of propaganda worthy of Stalinist-era Tass publication: President Bill Clinton, man of steely resolve, staying focused on his goals through the firestorm of negative publicity and criticism, according to his "friends" and "aides," most of whom remain anonymous.

Are the readers of your paper really stupid enough to believe such distortion?

-- Andrew J. Haraldson

Flag Waiver

Your article on the stifling of freedom of expression regarding Robert E. Lee's depiction in a Richmond display contained a reference to southern states still flying the "stars and bars" atop their capitols ["Confederate Image Casts Shadow," Metro, June 4].

They never did, and they don't now. The flag you had in mind was the Confederate battle flag, with its familiar cross. The "stars and bars" was the first national flag of the Confederacy: two red stripes, one white one and a blue field in one upper corner with stars -- stars and bars.

If you are going to report on the persecution of cultural symbols, at least get the names right.

-- William J. Watson

Struck by Shells

Reading the news story "Police Find More Stray Bullets in Fairfax" [Metro, June 3], I came to the conclusion that its author knows too little about guns.

In writing about the spent bullets found in neighborhoods near the Lorton firing range, your reporter twice refers to them as "shells." In his second paragraph he says, "Some of the shells were found strewn on the decks of homes and in parking areas." Later in the story he says, "Several homes were struck by the 45-caliber shells."

I am not an NRA member and have never owned a gun in my adult life, but as a boy I had a single-shot .22 rifle and practiced with it at a firing range.

Surely most people know that the shell is the cartridge casing, which is ejected from the gun after its bullet has been fired. One finds empty shells around a firing range, and at the scenes of shootings. Any shells from the firing-range mishap that sprayed a nearby neighborhood with bullets would remain at the Lorton range. Those were bullets found "strewn" through that neighborhood.

-- Ted White

Dead Language Skills

I agree with Michael F. Williams [Free for All, June 5] that Richard Cohen gave an inept definition of the French "droit du seigneur," which Cohen misspelled. Williams, however, not only quotes the incorrect spelling; he then proceeds to murder a Latin expression. There is no "J" in Latin, and the words "prima" and "nox" call for the genitive in this phrase. The proper expression is therefore "ius primae noctis."

-- George Zinnemann

Cast Out

The ballerinas Fiona Chadwick, Emily Piercy and Isobel Mortimer will be surprised to learn from the Style article on the Tony awards [June 7] that they were members in an all-male cast of "Swan Lake." In fact, more than a dozen women danced in Matthew Bourne's award-winning production. Perhaps your reporter meant to refer to the dancers who portrayed the swans, an all-male corps de ballet whose dancing produced a powerful and haunting new interpretation of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet.

-- Gregory J. King