However, I question Musto's reference to Khallid Abdul Muhammad as someone "who riles up African Americans with his distaste for Jews and gays."

Muhammad only riles up the bigots— i.e., those who are already converted. Black Americans are not a bunch of patsies waiting for the right demagogue to "rile" them up. That implication has as much validity as the view that gays and lesbians recruit.

Robert K. Lightning

Glam Lit

In response to David L. Ulin's "Boyle Wonder" [November 10]: True, like many current writers, filmmakers, and musicians, T. Coraghessan Boyle often settles for highlighting the "absurdities and petty hypocrisies that motivate so much of modern daily life."

And while Boyle's high-trajectory stories sometimes fall short or ultimately feel vaguely unfulfilling, the ride never lacks in glitter and showmanship. Boyle is glam-rock literature.

Lets face it, as easy as it is to criticize Marilyn Manson's moderately successful stab at glam rock, it's more enjoyable and refreshing than the alternative (insert any band that reminds you of Matchbox 20).

So, too, is Boyle. Sure, sometimes the artifice outshines the content, or the ego is too large, but in a crowd of mild, overly folksy writers, Boyle is loud, bold, and obnoxiously exhuberant. Hip to the shortcomings of modern fiction, he casts himself as the hero, putting on the biggest, glitziest show he can.

If T.C. Boyle Stories doesn't put him in the pantheon of contemporary literature, we'll find a place for him in rock & roll, somewhere between David Bowie and Iggy Pop.

Daniel Driscoll
Westfield, New Jersey

Measuring Up

In Rob Sheffield's review of R.E.M.'s new CD, Up ["38 Special," November 3], he writes that "R.E.M. floundered big-time with their Not Terribly Good Trilogy of 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant, 1987's Document, and 1988's Green."

While Lifes Rich Pageant is not R.E.M.'s strongest CD, I disagree with the assertion that Document (and Green for that matter) was a big-time flounder. Many critics believe that Document is R.E.M.'s best album.

Although Sheffield calls the aforementioned CDs a "trilogy," actually, Fables of the Reconstruction should be part of the trilogy, not Green. Critics often lump Fables and Lifes Rich Pageant together, but not with Green. Also, Green was the band's debut on Warner Brothers Records, which was when the band started to move away from their previous work and become the R.E.M. we know today.

Paul Nolan

Finds Gold

Michael Feingold's review of the Judy Garland reissues ["Pure Presentation," November 3] was the most honest, objective, and perceptive review of Garland's work that I have seen.

After reading Feingold's review, we see the simple truth: that Judy Garland was one of the most talented vocalists of the century.

Terry Minton
Oakland, California

Ice Baby

Chuck Eddy was a little late jumping on the nine-year-old bandwagon, trashing Vanilla Ice's show at CBGB ["The Iceman Cometh Back," November 3].

Never mind a sellout show— credit is due to Vanilla for showing his face!

I guess Chuck Eddy was upset that he couldn't sell back his copy of To the Extreme, because the show wasn't half bad.

Dermot Walsh

Velvet Crush

Thanks to Amy Taubin for her article on Todd Haynes, the director of Velvet Goldmine ["Fanning the Flames," November 3]. I appreciate her insights, and Robin Holland's photos were fabulous. I'm too young to have lived the glam lifestyle, but I admire Todd Haynes for his ability to bring that era alive again. Damn they look good!

Rebecca Kirkland
San Diego, California

Rx For Death

Regarding Jennifer Gonnerman's article "The Terrorist Campaign Against Abortion" [November 10]: It is the abortionists who are doing the killing.

People used to call the nonviolent demonstrators who prayed and sang hymns outside abortion clinics terrorists. Maybe the abortion cabal's histrionics have resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy. If nonviolent demonstrators had not been restricted from protesting in traditional ways and exercising civil disobedience, a few wouldn't think their only recourse is to fight a war of last resort.

Although I understand their anger, I know that this is counterproductive to our cause. This only garners sympathy for people who don't deserve any. And it diverts attention from the debate about the butchering of the innocent to more histrionics about conspiracy.

Patrick Grant
Rocky Point, New York

Sonnet On It

Enclosed is a modern sonnet for a modern scandal. I wrote it for an assignment given in my English class at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Cold winds blow early up on the hill now.
Slick ice of lies is causing him to slip

Upon the ground, could this be his last bow

In part due to the hidden trap of Tripp?

A child is caught with hand in cookie jar,

His desires indulged in spite of risk.

The mother knows not whether she should bar

Divulged indulgences or say '
'tsk, tsk!"
People on edge as parties point across

The partisan gap, neither sure of crime.

All with one thought: Should we fire the boss?

We don't think on the importance of time.

Attention spent that might be better paid

Than thinking on Bill Clinton getting laid.

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