Perhaps the editors of next year's list of the VLS's 25 favorite books could avoid revealing significant events in the story lines of the books selected ["Hit List," December 8].

I was more than halfway done with Barbara Kingsolver's wonderful Poisonwood Bible, and one of the key elements of dramatic tension was not knowing which of the four Price daughters would die in the Congo.

You bastards! You killed Ruth May.

Bob Cohen
Rockaway, New Jersey


Hooray for Linda Stasi's questioning of why the media ridicules women's appearances but not men's ["Scandalous Beauty: Crooks With Looks," December 8]. How is it that former senator Al D'Amato gets away with calling Manhattan congressman Jerry Nadler "Jerry Waddler" when D'Amato himself is no Baldwin brother (with the possible exception of the fat one)? "Poor, beautiful, dead Diana" was one woman who was loved by the media. As Stasi points out, look where it got her.

Natalie Dixon
Deer Park, New York

'Crash' Coarse

Robert Fitch's article "DC 37 Crashes" [December 1] was in error in at least four material aspects.

I was neither responsible for, nor involved, directly or indirectly, in the November 1997 Local 375 election, including the receipt, counting, or securing of ballots, or, indeed, any election involving District Council 37 or any of its affiliates.

I did not change the locks on the door of Roy Commer, president of Local 375, at the direction of Stanley Hill, executive director of DC 37, but rather did so at the direction of the Local 375 Executive Board.

I am not cooperating with the district attorney and, indeed, have not even been requested to appear for an interview or before a grand jury.

In addition, I am not the DC 37 chief of operations but rather am the District Council 37 real estate manager.

Ralph N. Pepe
District Council 37

Indian Bummer

Robert Fitch's article about DC 37 was highly offensive to the Indian membership of Local 375. Fitch took the lowest road possible when he misused a member's quote to assert that as the highest-ranking Indian officers of our union, we are mere puppets of our union's Labor & Political Activities chair, Mike Gimbel.

The quote that we find so offensive stated: "[Sreedhar] Gowda and [Uma] Kutwal are just his puppets." This quote, in our opinion, is a racist attack on the Indian membership of our union. Indians make up the largest nationality in our union. We are probably the highest-ranking Indians in a major union in this country. Despite the fact that Indians in this union are the largest nationality, it was not until we were elected this past March that this union has had a single Indian officer.

There is a nationwide, right-wing attack against all immigrants. Fitch's racist and repugnant characterization of our union's leadership only serves to feed this right-wing attack. The majority of our union members are immigrants from all over the world. This union has fought for the rights of immigrants and has fought against racism in this country.

We demand an apology from The Village Voice and from Robert Fitch for the racist characterization of our union leadership.

Uma Kutwal
Sreedhar Gowda
First and Second Vice Presidents
Civil Service Technical
Guild, Local 375

Robert Fitch replies: Local 375's letter is smeared with Mike Gimbel's clumsy ideological fingerprints. Having failed in his coup attempt against the reform president twice elected by the members, Gimbel understandably wants to change the subject. In fact, it was "Brother Mike Gimbel," executive committee minutes show, who moved to charge the Voice with "racism shown toward the Indian membership." Bob Parkin, who accused Gimbel of manipulating Kutwal and Gowda, denies he was misquoted. He insists no one even asked him if his quote was mishandled. More broadly, no one who read "DC 37 Crashes" would think that its point was to attack Indian immigrants.

Bad Vibes

As a journalist who has been involved with hip-hop culture (as opposed to the "rap industry") for nearly two decades, I was disgusted to learn about the alleged abuse that Jesse Washington and Danyel Smith, the editors in chief of Blaze and Vibe, endured at the hands of rappers D-Dot and Foxy Brown. However, I was equally incensed that Peter Noel ["Revenge of the Mad Rappers," December 1] insisted upon characterizing this behavior as germane to "hip-hop culture" or the "hip-hop community."

I was at the rap industry party in Los Angeles mentioned in Noel's article, at which Dee Barnes was brutally beaten by Dr. Dre— the incident took place only a few feet away from me. Little did I know that that night would be the beginning of a trend. While the actions of these so-called artists may be ever-more typical among "playaz" in the rap industry, they have nothing to do with the true culture and community of hip-hop.

The true hip-hoppers I see in the house at every Rock Steady Crew anniversary jam and B-Boy Pro-Am represent for the love of their culture, not greed for greenbacks. Recently, at Blaze magazine's B-boy competition in Miami, top rival dancers got down and dirty in the dance-floor circle, but finished each battle round with a handshake and a brotherly hug. That is typical behavior in the hip-hop community.

Next Page »