By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Nat Hentoff replies: Bill Clinton, chief protector of our rule of law, did commit perjury, under oath, before a federal grand jury. It was relevant because Paula Jones's lawyer wanted to show a pattern of behavior. As for Tripp's wiretapping, no lawyer I know thinks anything will come of the Maryland grand jury probe because it is a political move, and Tripp has federal immunity.
I've encountered a similar situation, and believe it's not bureaucratic craziness driving HMOs but cold-blooded reasoning. When there is more than one treatment option, it makes fiscal sense for them to cover the one that is least appealing, even if it's more expensive.
HMOs assume people will give up on coverage rather than accept treatment they don't want.
Sharon Lerner's October 13 HMO Watch column about "Raymond R." points out the absurdity of the claims made by proponents of "marketplace medicine."
The marketplace isn't the solution to our health-care mess, in part because health care isn't a real marketplace. Raymond R. went to extraordinary lengths trying to differentiate between the health plans he was offered. In the end, he gave up and chose the plan whose phone representatives were nicer.
Fact is, if he'd chosen on the basis of coverage limits, those limits could have been changed after he signed. Another deviation from a true free marketplace is that most buyers of health care namely employers are not the users of health care, and have different agendas. Most employees in small firms, if they're offered health coverage at all, are given only one choice again, not exactly a free market.
And, of course, the ever growing number of uninsured, now topping 43 million Americans, have no choice at all. That is a national embarrassment, and the ultimate failure of profit-driven care.
Timothy Mccall, M.D.
I Read Guy Trebay's "The Myth of the Starving Artist" [October 27] with great interest, having been fortunate enough to make my living as a musician and a teacher of music in New York City.
I was struck by the situation of photographer Mimi Wlodarczyk, who teaches part-time at the New School and the Educational Alliance. I am also an adjunct professor at the New School. What Wlodarczyk said about the near impossibility of getting health benefits from academic institutions today "because schools only hire adjuncts" couldn't be more true.
Readers might be interested to learn, though, that through the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign, organized by Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, the New School's jazz program which has about 75 adjunct professors has been forced to accept a unionized faculty. We are currently in the final stages of negotiating a contract that will include our first meaningful pay raise in the program's 14 years (only our second overall), cost-of-living adjustments, job security, health benefits, as well as a pension plan. This is an extremely meaningful development, given that many members of the faculty have worked in the jazz field for 30, 40, even 50 years without health insurance or the peace of mind that having a pension can bring.
I hope that all artists will take heart from our example and organize to strive for the decent treatment that workers deserve in a wealthy, industrialized nation like the United States.
As a 16-Year-Old filmmaker and artist, I feel that Guy Trebay's "The Myth of the Starving Artist" underlined what my future may be like.
My teachers are professional artists, who encourage young people to pursue art. Because of such teachers, many teenagers are beginning to explore art. There aren't enough programs for teenage and adult artists. It's time we come together and do something for the arts sort of like the older generation meets the "next generation."
Yu Yu Din
Mother Of God
It is not "hysteria" when people are offended by blasphemous references to God, the Blessed Mother, and disparaging remarks about the clergy. Even gays should be ashamed of the Catholic-bashing in Corpus Christi.
Michael Feingold replies: The divinity that Catholics worship in the body of Christ is predicated on his having lived and suffered as a human being. Consequently, the true Catholic-bashing is the assumption that any human experience, including homosexuality, was alien to him.
Michael Musto's "Hate of the Union: Why Homophobia Has Become America's Favorite Pastime" [October 27] was excellent.
I wish you would allow him to write more journalistic pieces like this.
Sex & Typesetting
An advertisement for the novel Masters of the Club, in the October 20 VLS, uses terms such as "vivid exhibitionism" and "bondage" to describe the worlds the novel explores. One term, however, "spaning," eluded me. Is this a practice I don't know, or was it a misprint? I have asked all my friends, and no one has heard of "spaning."