Butt-Head Bill

As a sculptor and animator, I was thrilled by David O'Keefe's clay sculpture work of President Clinton on the cover of the September 22 Voice. His caricature of the president's face made of naked women in various positions was a great visual trick--the best Clinton cover I have seen.

John Norwood Jr.

E-Wrecked In Washington

Richard Goldstein, in his article "Sexual McCarthyism" [September 29], exposes the hollowness of the Lewinsky imbroglio when he writes, "The perception that the red-blooded male has been dethroned is as powerful today as was the fear in the '50s that America was losing its power in the world."

It staggers the mind to think that the hypocrites on the Hill consider that dropping bombs on the Sudan or gassing mentally retarded criminals is morally sound, but are outraged at a few sexual encounters between consenting adults. Clinton ignored a genocide in Rwanda, and a dress stain has become the emblem of his administration's degeneracy. Common sense is on vacation in Washington.

I'm not sure I agree with Goldstein that Clinton has revealed himself to be "the ultimate premodern pig." Clinton's greatest crime seems to have been his lack of manliness: his dithering, his wimpiness about the affair (and his objet d'affection, Monica, is no Marilyn). The details of the affair as they were dumped on us via Internet and cable didn't seem robust and heady, JFK-style. They were merely pathetic. Starr's report didn't titillate; it made you groan.

I wonder if the adulterous McCarthyites--Hyde, Chenoweth, Burton--whom Jason Vest, speaks of in "House of Hypocrites," in the same issue, aren't projecting their own sexual discomfort onto Clinton in an attempt to purge themselves of sin. It won't work; impeachment won't provide purification. Perhaps when considering the stain, they ought instead reflect on the wisdom of Julian of Eclanum, a Pelagian bishop who opposed Augustine's notion of sex as inherently sinful: "God...gave power to the semen, and operates in the nature of the semen, and God made nothing evil."

Albert Lee
Princeton, New Jersey

Seeds Of Trouble

I find it rather curious that in his article "Sexual McCarthyism," Richard Goldstein left out Bill Clinton's own contributions to these witch hunts. In firing Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders for the crime of advocating masturbation, President Clinton has helped sow what he has reaped.

Joseph Dixon


Re Lisa Jones's "Hair Police State" [September 22]: How can a state cosmetology board say with a straight face that someone needs a license to braid hair?

Hair braiding, be it cornrows, box braids, or any other form, is our African heritage. It is passed down from generation to generation, and is not something that can be taught at cosmetology school. Our ancestors, men included, wore their hair in beautiful braids. I learned to braid from my mother, and my mother learned from her mother. The next thing you know, Hasidic Jews will need licenses for their curls.

Donna Cox
Staten Island


In Gary Indiana's interesting review of Mike Davis's Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster ["City of Blights," September 15], he writes, "The more white-flight communities encroaching on 'wilderness,' the more cougars, mountain lions, and coyotes roaming suburban back yards."

Yes, Gary, but don't forget to mention all the pumas, panthers, catamounts and long-tailed cats as well!

Marc B. Fried
Gardiner, New York

Conspiracy of Silence

In James Ridgeway's rant about conspiracy theories ["Paranoia Runs Deep," September 22], he refers to believers who wake up and smell the coffee as "buffs" and "fringe" types.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to smell out conspiracies, major or minor. Only a wide-eyed Pollyanna would see the activities of Kenneth Starr and his cronies as a search for truth and justice. Sure, there are valid and invalid theories; it just involves doing some real research to separate the two.

People in high places seldom do things in the open. Dismissing conspiracy theories, as the majority of the Fourth Estate has done for years, results in their own conspiracy: a conspiracy of silence.

John Davis
Middletown, New Jersey

Plane Murder

Re James Ridgeway's "Paranoia Runs Deep": In his analysis of the crash of United Airlines Flight 553, Ridgeway reports that the pilot's body "had significant amounts of cyanide in the blood." Then, he cites three government investigations--one conducted by the FBI--that all found that the crash was an accident (even though the wife of E. Howard Hunt, the Watergate burglar, was suspiciously on board).

As a nurse, I can tell you that cyanide is not supposed to be in the blood--in any amount. If there were even traces of cyanide, and the black box was missing, that would be a damned good indicator to me that the plane was sabotaged.

We all know what Nixon was about. He was capable of the Watergate crimes; why not arranging murder or airline sabotage?

Frances Fontaine
Montreal, Canada

Babe Truth

Allen St. Jphn hails Mark McGwire as the winner in St. John's staged competition between baseball's great home run hitters ["Swinging Sixties," September 22]. However, he gets some of the facts of Babe Ruth's career incorrect.

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