Swimmin's Lib

Articles like Joanna Cagan's "The Second Sex and SI: Women Models Win Out Over Women Writers" [February 23] pop up every couple of years, and make the same mistakes every time.

It must seem like an easy example of gender wrongdoing— the exposure of beautiful women in skimpy swimsuits in exotic locales. However, such protest pieces are sheer, lazy opportunism, written without careful journalistic investigation or a considered analysis of the facts.

Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue is a phenomenon somewhat in the tradition of the Miss America contest. However, though logic would dictate that these parades of female pulchritude are designed for and principally consumed by men, the swimsuit issue is edited by a woman, and read by over 19 million women. It's about fashion. Men who buy stroke books want nipples and pussy— conspicuously absent from the swimsuit issue.

Just as I don't know a male who watches the Miss America contest, the swimsuit issue— despite TV comics using it as a punch line— is actually a woman's idea of a man's idea of sexy women. For men, it's nothing more than snooty models posing in places no one has the money to go to. The fantasy is all female, the tacit fulfillment of which is the purchase of a new swimsuit.

If Sports Illustrated were trying to attract a large female readership, it would feature women's sports and, one would assume, have a sizable contingent of women sportswriters.

As Dylan once said, "Take the rag away from your face, now ain't the time for your tears."

Candido Perez

Urban Myths

The lack of any real design critique in Steven Johnson's article, "Urban Prophets" [VLS, February 16] resulted in a very limited review of John Hannigan's and Bettina Drew's books, Fantasy City and Crossing the Expendable Landscape, which explore the form of the contemporary American city.

Johnson posits the simplistic and reactionary notion that any expression of the marketplace on the built environment must be okay since, after all, isn't New Urbanism just a form of nostalgia for those marketplace- derived urban spaces of the 19th century? Yeah, just give those malls another 100 years to mature and we'll be waxing poetic about them too. As if! The miraculously transformative effects of time and nostalgia do have their limits. Ever been to a Wal-Mart?

The multinational superstores, today's most ubiquitous marketplace manifestation, will never achieve the status of landmarks, since they are typically disposable cinder block boxes at the edge of enormous parking lots, not meant to last more than 20 years. Sort of the architectural equivalent of Pampers or Bic pens. These sprawl- inducing strip boxes represent egregiously bad architecture, landscape architecture, and planning, with an appalling lack of connection, community, permanence, human scale, sense of place, environmental sensitivity, or regional awareness.

Ricardo Hinkle
Registered Landscape Architect Manhattan

Capital Hill-ary

James Ridgeway, in item in Mondo Washington headed "Hill of Beans" [February 23], lists a number of reasons why Hillary Clinton's possible run for Pat Moynihan's seat in the Senate won't work.

Perhaps Ridgeway should consider the enormous advantages that a Senate win by Hillary would give New York State. Even as the junior senator, she would attract media coverage far above the more senior members of both political parties. Her contacts within the international community would be continued through the UN, helping to maintain New York's status as one of the world's great cities.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's intelligence, energy, creativity, and dedication to the rights of women and children could make her an exceptional public servant despite much of the press trying to smear her with Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, and even Monicagate— which most voters consider over-the-hill issues.

George A. Dean
Southport, Connecticut

Time for a Change

Re James Ridgeway's evaluation of Hillary Clinton's possible run for the New York Senate: As far as Giuliani is concerned, don't bet on him drawing big numbers in a statewide run. His doctored figures on the crime rate just don't wash anymore.

Hillary would clean his clock.

John Davis
Middletown, New Jersey

Jock Shock

Why is the Jockbeat column worrying about the treatment of women by the IOC [Laura Robinson, "IOC SOBs," February 23]? I could understand the outcry if such sarcasm and rudeness took place at a UN General Assembly meeting, but the Olympics is no longer about healthy amateur competition.

Since professional athletes (many of them corporately sponsored) are now allowed to compete, the Olympics is about showcasing the world's corporate giants. Real news would be that the Olympics was once again about unifying the world through sport, and that the post­Cold War IOC was staffed with earnest individuals doing their best to move the population's ignored half— women— toward the level of respect enjoyed by the exalted half.

Kenneth G. Corwin

Bull Market

It is ironic that the market in Sara Delano Roosevelt Park , once reviled by vendors, is now embraced by vendors [Andrew Hsiao, "Chinatown Take Out," February 23].

I was a member of the Grand Street Task Force in 1993, when the idea of moving vendors into the park was first discussed. The vendors, along with their lawyer, Jennifer Lim, were adamantly opposed to it. The vendors wanted to continue peddling on Grand Street; they believed their businesses would suffer in the park, and they claimed the proposal was a form of discrimination against them because they were Chinese.

Next Page »