IN his interview with Hirsi Ali and comments on her book Infidel ( Review , May 19-20), Geoff Elliott states that while the author is credible, given her experience in the Muslim world and the fact she now lives in the West, she is ‘‘ hardly an objective voice in the debate on Islam and the West’’. It is just this background that gives her the experience to speak with some objectivity.
While she may have her faults, like all of us, what a woman she must be! To continue her campaign, while receiving death threats and having to surround herself with bodyguards, speaks volumes for her grit and determination. Long may she continue with her dissent! Infidel is on my to-read list. Ken Moore Glamorgan Vale, Queensland FOR what it’s worth, Deborah Hope, if you want your sons to be well read ( Review , May 19-20), get them to read Primo Levi’s If ThisisaMan, Ronald Glasser’s 365Days and Robert Pirsig’s ZenandtheArtof MotorcycleMaintenance . None of these is fiction, but all deserve a ranking among the 20th century’s greatest literature. Grantley Anderson West Beach, South Australia LEAVING aside the demise of John Wayne’s character in TheCowboys , the film definitely halted the career of the actor who did shoot the great man (in the back no less), Bruce Dern. Unfortunately for Dern, shooting someone such as John Wayne made studios wary of his popularity with moviegoers. Many years later, in the 1989 film TheBurbs , Dern is encouraged to get moving with the line ‘‘ we’re burning daylight’’, the phrase used throughout TheCowboys by Wayne’s character to encourage his cattlehands to not waste time. James Sampson Mornington, Victoria ALTHOUGH neither a historian nor a journalist, I take up Les Sullivan’s challenge to those professions ( Review , May 12-13) to rebut his claim Australians ‘‘ did not refer to American soldiers as ‘ overpaid, oversexed and over here’ ’’. Thus Bluey describes to Curley (Sullivan will remember them) overhearing a sheila being chatted up and interspersing each frame of the cartoon with ‘‘ jangle jangle’’. Curley is mystified. ‘‘ Oh, that’s the silver dollars in his pocket,’’ Bluey explains. (The pair were a rough imitation of Abbott and Costello.) ‘‘ Over here’’ was the punchline because (as in Britain, from where it probably came to us) what gave the phrase its point was its derivation from the wellknown US World War I song, OverThere . Gavin Robinson Burwood, Victoria EVAN Williams’s otherwise excellent article on the centenaries of the birth of John Wayne and Laurence Olivier ( Review , May 19-20) requires one correction. John Wayne’s character in TheCowboys was not killed by his teenage cattlehands. They were on his side, being the only crew he could hire. Hence the double meaning in the title. Peter West The Vines, Western Australia