Carl Faiella
Hoboken, New Jersey

HMO File

It's great to see Sharon Lerner bringing attention to the problems with managed health care [HMO Watch, October 20]. It's important that people get to read consumer stories, such as Lou and Anna Fay's difficulties getting coverage from Oxford for home care. Without the legal jargon, the problems seem more real.

Change can only be instituted through legislation. HMO liability is an important policy debate this year. The threat of being sued is the only thing that will get HMOs to listen. Make them liable, and access and quality of care will improve.

Aurora Cole-Reimer

Word War

I admire Carol Brightman ["Vietnam Lore," October 13], who as editor of Viet-Report was one of the alternative press journalists who brought home the truth about the Vietnam War. That's why I was surprised that she relegated her main critique of the Library of America's Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959-1975 to the last few paragraphs of her review.

That this two-volume set concentrates on the work of mainstream reporters who were eager to find good in the Vietnam atrocity, and largely ignores the work of reporters who weren't cutting the truth to serve corporate media bosses, reveals some basic problems with the editorial thinking behind the Library of America.

It's time for someone to launch a real Library of America. Let's start with a two-volume Reporting the Real Vietnam.

Eric Laursen

Korn Power

Why did Robert Christgau expect violence at the "Family Values" Tour ["Nothing's Shocking," October 13]?

Christgau's emphasis on Korn's "white male" audience is a direct affront to me. My enjoyment of Korn's music isn't a result of my sex or race. To assume that these things dictate my likes is to deny my value as a human being. I know only one other Korn fan who is white and male. The majority of the fans I know are neither white nor male.

Korn's audience, which I am proud to be a part of, loves Korn because Korn empowers them. In a world where they are objects of disdain and prejudice, Korn gives them a chance to be whole people.

J. M. White
Hoboken, New Jersey

Starry Eyed

In Gina Arnold's review of the new PJ Harvey album ["Love Taps," October 6], she states that Harvey's oeuvre and the Starr Report are "ignoble" narratives of "obsessive love."

While we're all patting ourselves on the back for our mature, appropriate, committed relationships, let's not forget that "obsessive love" was a primary force behind the works of Petrarch, Dante, Donne, and Shakespeare. We're all potentially vulnerable. It's the unmerciful prying by investigators that looks "delusional and dumb." How about some compassion for commonplace behavior?

Jill Becker
Lambertville, New Jersey

Class Issues

I was impressed with Nat Hentoff's column "Kids Left Far Behind" [October 20]. I've felt for a long time that many students are overlooked as liberal white leaders pretend that education has improved and black leaders spout anti-white sentiment. Meanwhile, the children suffer.

It's difficult to support any leadership on education or race issues when those at the forefront are so far from the crux of the issues.

We need more people like Hugh Price, president of the National Urban League, and less Al Sharptons and Bill Clintons.

Jennifer Carr

Lubavitch Lives

Re Rebecca Segall's "Holy Daze: Young Lubavitcher Hasidim in a World Without the Rebbe" [October 6]: The good that Lubavitch and its youths do is far greater than the bad. Lubavitch has changed thousands of lives. Lubavitch helps the homeless, offers counseling and youth programs, and is a spiritual haven for all.

Instead of focusing on how some fell after Rebbe Menachem Schneerson's passing, why not focus on how many more rose?

Chaya Schochet
Miami Beach, Florida

Border Brouhaha

Re Item #45 on C. Carr's list of 51 "great" moments in avant-garde history ["A Brief History of Outrage," September 22]: "1988: Guillermo Gómez-Peña's Border Brujo begins to shape the multicultural debate."

Multiculturalism was disastrous to the avant-garde--interdisciplinary and performance art in particular. It was seized upon by curators and administrators who needed a justification for spending the taxpayers' money in the wake of the debate over works by Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe. It provided them with the illusion that they were contributing to society. It was also embraced by (mostly white) critics who wanted to lay claim to the art scene. It was a distasteful spectacle to watch them play Gertrude Stein to the "savage" artists.

In its application, multiculturalism often meant the artists' "heritage," "ethnicity," or "race" took precedence over their ideas and individuality--this certainly goes against the spirit of the avant-garde as delineated in Carr's list.

Because so much boring community theater and artless social commentary were produced under the banner of multiculturalism, interdisciplinary and performance art stopped being "sexy" to the press as well as the audience. When public funding stopped coming, artists were left without a support system, unable to sell tickets or attract private funders.

Rika Ohara
Los Angeles, California

Avant Guard

Call me A sentimental old Marxist/ Dadaist revolutionary, but I wept that C. Carr's list of the 51 greatest avant-gardisms omitted the '68 Paris Revolt, the Yippies attacking the Stock Exchange with dollar bills, and the Soviet constructivist threat to a capitalist state. Is avant-gardism merely a collection of pranks?

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