Vance Mclaughlin
Savannah, Georgia

Civil Service

I've printed Karen Houppert's "Jailhouse Shock" from the Internet to share with my daughter, who is taking criminal justice courses at our local community college: How not to be a good cop. Thank you for staying on top of stories like this.

Shellie Miranda
Santa Cruz, California

Clinical Psychology

Sharon Lerner's depiction of health care at the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center ["Clinic Depression," February 2] was a compelling and dramatic rendering of the scene at many community health centers throughout New York City and the entire state. As Lerner vividly demonstrates, it is a constant struggle for the dedicated people who staff and run these centers to provide adequate care to those in need.

If the New York State health care system is to move smoothly into the 21st century, policymakers and health care professionals will have to focus on the importance of community health centers and the work of people like Ulysses Kilgore III and Dr. Monica Sweeney at Bedford Stuyvesant. They and their colleagues at other centers perform a task that daunts most others: delivering care to anyone and everyone; working with patients on everything from domestic violence to nutrition; and, of course, treating patients humanely.

Health centers must remain committed to providing such service, and we must do everything possible to ensure they remain open and viable. But it will take some effort. Those policymakers who acknowledge the importance of health centers must convince those who don't that these centers are necessary, and that the people who use them do not deserve to be left behind by market-driven medicine.

Jeffrey A. Wise
Executive Director
Community Health Care
Association of New York State

Dictated Art

Does Gary Dauphin know what happened to all those bearded men who came down from the hills in Cuba? Which ones were murdered when they questioned Fidel Castro's sudden change from liberator to dictator? In response to Strawberry and Chocolate's "gay/straight group hug," what about that AIDS community where HIV-positive people were forced to live, separated from their friends and family?

In a revolution that claims to promote freedom and democracy, why have thousands of Cubans desperately left the country in rafts made out of tires? And why are Cuban artists often thrown in prison when they express their opinions on what Dauphin describes as these "features of contemporary Cuban society"?

Cuban directors work with the material that is presented in Cuban cinema because it is the only subject matter with which they are permitted to work. It's called censorship. You either use prorevolution themes or you don't make art. This is just a little technicality that comes with living in a country run by a dictator.

Ana Estrada

Fantasy Fox

I'd like to compliment Evelyn McDonnell on her assessment of Foxy Brown's new album, Chyna Doll ["Foxy on the Run," February 9]. McDonnell was able to articulate the fact that industry-driven hip-hop functions in much the same way that Hollywood movies do— it serves to distract and prevent individuals from analyzing their social and economic conditions. People are so reluctant to relinquish their champagne wishes and caviar dreams that anyone who questions the merit of this material-based trash is called a playa hata. I like a lot of hip-hop, but it gets a little frustrating watching these pretty thugs go multi-platinum off selling the fantasy of wealth, position, and power when a lot of their fans can't afford to buy their CDs. It's no wonder so many young people get into trouble when the only models they have to emulate are people like Foxy Brown.

Djibril Toure

Fab For?

The most interesting thing about Michael Musto's column these days is his ambivalence about New York's gay elite. Between the bold type of each club opening or movie premiere, Musto spills more and more ink bitterly decrying the fey elite's shallow obsessions with money, the Aryan body type, and those soulless glitterati who prefer to remain in the closet instead of fighting for civil rights.

Despite his frustration with the scene, Musto still seems genuinely dedicated to queers and the fight for queer liberation. However, the question I always ask myself when I read his invective against the rich and shallow is: Why bother? By now it's glaringly obvious that the fabulous queers on the scene (i.e., those with money and/or beauty), are mostly interested in a few things: fucking without censure, living in luxury, passing for straight, and remaining beautiful for as long as possible. Oh, and of course generating enough cash flow to maintain the aforementioned lifestyle. Musto insists on positing these vapid individuals as thinking, responsible members of a queer community. Isn't he forgetting that the only people who can afford to go out clubbing in Chelsea these days are wealthy foreigners, designers, stylists, and trust -fund babies?

The reality is that no cohesive, politicized queer community exists, just a loose collection of groups delineated by class and ethnicity. It gives one pause to consider that those groups with the greatest buying power, and those who are most superficially appealing to the mainstream, have become the de facto queer community for the 21st century. What's really scary is the possibility that Musto may just be right— maybe these same steroid-soaked zombies flapping their tits around Twilo are the new vanguard.

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