I know about this because I served on two of the subcommittees that helped write the 1994 edition.

Psychiatric diagnosis, unlike the prescription of drugs or implantation of silicone breasts, for instance, is virtually unregulated. We need congressional hearings to investigate the unspeakable harm that has been done to many in the name of diagnosis.

Paula J. Caplan
Providence, Rhode Island

Proper Poke

Re The December 22 letter by vice presidents of Local 375, DC 37, Uma Kutwal and Sreedhar Gowda:

Kutwal and Gowda "demand" an apology from The Village Voice and Robert Fitch for Fitch's alleged "misuse" of a quote of mine in the piece "DC 37 Crashes" [December 1]. However, Fitch accurately portrayed my view.

Kutwal and Gowda claim that Fitch's use of my description of them as "puppets" to Mike Gimbel, political action chair of Local 375, was an "offensive" and "racist" attack on the Indian membership of our union. Now, unless the word "puppet" is some as yet unknown derogatory slur against people of Indian background, I fail to see the racism. Race, national origin, religion, gender, shoe size . . . whatever, were not even mentioned, and clearly had no bearing on the quote and its highly proper use in Mr. Fitch's article.

Certainly, I would hope they find it offensive . . . so I'll give them that.

But racist? Please.

Robert Parkin
Lindenhurst, NY

Rudy Doody

What a welcome treat to read Nat Hentoff's two columns on the ineptitude of New York City's public schools chancellor Rudy Crew, and Hentoff's call for him to resign ["Children Lost in Our Schools," January 5 and "Fire Rudy Crew," December 29]. I can only marvel at the over-three-year honeymoon Crew has enjoyed from any scrutiny or criticism in the press. Certainly, few place much credence in the hollow, backslapping self-congratulations of Crew, Weingarten, Giuliani, et al., re the remarkable turnaround in our schools.

Cary Abrams

Growin' Giants

James Hannaham's review of They Might Be Giants' all-ages New Year's Eve show was damned good ["The Kids Are All Right," January 12]. He managed to comment on the breadth of the Johns' influences and the depth of the fans' enthusiasm without once using the word "quirky." (This may be a first in mainstream media criticism of TMBG.)

My only quibble is with his assertion that the band is "eminently outgrowable." Many of the people at Tramps that night heard TMBG for the first time when they saw the animated videos for "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" and "Particle Man" on Steven Spielberg's Tiny Toons. They'd probably tell you that TMBG is a band you grow into, rather than out of.

Shana Carter

Hurt Hurt

Re Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide [December 29]:

Any mention of my beloved Mississippi John Hurt is always more than welcome but, alas, he was not considered to be "Mississippi Delta" by any stretch of the musical imagination, as the writer suggested.

"Delta" refers to the musical style of those who live alongside the river and John lived quite far from there.

Dick Waterman
Oxford, Mississippi

Complicated Courting

Rebecca Segall's piece "Sikh and Ye Shall Find: The American Face of Arranged Marriage" [December 15] quite accurately portrays the perspectives of persons from such cultures. I myself have done a great deal of research on this subject and feel that a bit more focus could have been put on the amount of violence and the subordination of women in such marriages. Without getting into too much detail, I speak from experience.

May your articles continue to encourage self-thinking.

Krys Koszykowski
New Brunswick, New Jersey


The Voice's expressionistic cover art sums up well what Gotham life has been like under Giuliani's bloodsucking administration ["Heartless Bastard: Hundreds of Clients at a Brooklyn Mental Hospital Suffer as Mayor Giuliani Plays Payback Politics," January 12].

While only a minority of the NYC population can actually be considered anemic, most need a shot of iron and several dosages of good red steak.

From Queens to Staten Island, public investments in health care, jobs, schools, transportation, arts, and areas of leisure have faced the vampirish cuts of NYC government. (Giuliani's not the only vampire, but he is the main representative!)

Under our mayor, public life, like the unhealthy colors of the front-page artwork, can seem cold, pale gray and sickly yellow; it can seem like the warm blood has been drawn right out of it. So what the people need are generous servings of the good life, higher wages, availability of quality health care, and safe and reasonably priced housing. These are but a few of the vital necessities of the ordinary citizen that must be addressed.

I hope the Voice continues to be a watchdog for the public.

Louis Michael
Staten Island

Winning Waitress

I guess it was Guy Trebay and Toni Schlesinger's intention to be funny in their article "Alphabet City: The Year in Letters" [January 5], in which the waitress service at the Second Avenue Deli is alluded to as being less than conscientious.

For the last year I have been a regular customer at the Deli, and I have never had a bad experience with any of their personnel.

The specific waitress named in the article, Diane, is very charming and professional. This particular restaurant is one of my favorite places in New York, due to the quality of the food and the special attention I receive. I really feel the characterization was unfair and unnecessary. Next time pick on a place that deserves it!

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