Letters

Upsetting is the point, and you don't have to be trailer trash to understand that. As for the switching, Eminem's lyrics don't surprise me or anyone like me (stupid-looking, poor kids whose intelligence is often underestimated), because they are reiterations of trailer-trash personas put on display. It's reality mixed with an exaggeration that creates hardcore sarcasm. Who knew all that high school dirty-talk would one day make it into a hit song, and people outside of trailer parks would actually listen?

Elizabeth Lara
Kearny, New Jersey


Finger On the '50s

Amy Taubin wrote an excellent review of Hilary Brougher's The Sticky Fingers of Time ["Show Time," March 30]. As Taubin notes, the film was witty and accurate in re-creating the 1950s.

Brougher is a great director who reckons with some serious issues here: e.g., what could be in light of what has been, what women find important, even where the soul resides.

Taubin is also right about the cinematography by Ethan Mass— it really evokes the mysteries of the sci-fi genre.

Marlena F. Lange
Middletown, New York


Para Psychology

It was nice to see a paramedic featured in Toni Schlesinger's Money column [March 30], except that she didn't come close to conveying what paramedics really go through.

There's nothing fun about this job when you have to tell someone a loved one has died. Or when someone you're trying to help gives you no respect because they assume you're merely an ambulance driver. As the paramedic quoted in the piece says, doctors do set up protocols for us, but we have to have a lot of medical and pharmaceutical knowledge, as well as psychology and street smarts.

Mark Harris
Staten Island


Healing Herb

Cynthia Cotts, in Press Clips [March 30], confirms what so many of us already knew: that marijuana isn't addictive, isn't a "gateway drug," and can ease the suffering of some people with cancer and AIDS.

Painful and hazardous side effects occur with many of the powerful, man-made drugs we currently use to fight illnesses, yet the FDA continues to approve them. It is despicable that the government delays legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Paul Lewin
Arlington, Virginia


Fly in the Ointment

In Amy Taubin's article about the Sundance Film Festival ["Slippery Slopes," February 16], she briefly mentioned a short film about basketball and attributed it to Tony Bui, a Vietnamese American director.

There is no short film by Bui that matches that description, although there is a film named Fly that does. Fly was directed by Abraham Lim, a Korean American filmmaker, and is in no way related to Bui's work.

I believe Taubin confused the directors.

Peter X. Feng
Newark, Delaware

Amy Taubin replies: I apologize for crediting Abraham Lim's fine and moving film to someone else.


Vibrant Web

Bravo to David Kushner for his excellent article, "Joystick Nation" [March 30], about the booming business of vibrators on the Internet. Good writing, and interesting assignment. Keep him going . . . so to speak.

Richard Estren
St. Petersburg, Florida


Get Your Kicks

Denise Kiernan's article about Mike Petke and the MetroStars ["The Chemical Brothers," April 6] was great. There are lots of all-American soccer fans out here who live for this sport, despite the lack of attention it gets from the mainstream media. In the aftermath of the Final Four hoopla, it was a relief to read some soccer news!

Mark Baldwin
Los Angeles, California


Tom Terrific

Tom Tomorrow's cartoons in This Modern World are happening! I've been offended in the past by some of his material (who hasn't?); nevertheless, I really enjoy his candor. He thinks that he leans to the left, but I'm a populist/libertarian, and I agree with about 85 percent of his stuff.

I particularly like how his cartoons point out that we worry about inconsequential things (like sexual stories) when the real issues include matters such as illegal campaign funds, IRS audits, Whitewater, Lippo Group involvement, perjury, and the murder of 76 people at Waco, Texas.

Don Jacobson
Portland, Oregon


Bugged

In Jane Dark's Sugar High column [March 23], which referenced a Volkswagen ad, she should have written about the commercial as it is rather than as she remembered it.

It is hard to follow a line of reasoning when the premise is skewed. The sounds in the ad that Dark referred to are not synchronized to external events alone; they start with the car's windshield wipers, move to the street, then go back to the car.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but when one builds an argument about how racism is inherent in the advertising world, one should be careful about the accuracy of what one builds the argument upon.

Gerald Himmelein
Hanover, Germany

Jane Dark replies: The factual touches you note are just so, but I never argued about racism being "inherent in the advertising world" (it's too obvious to debate). I'm interested in the anxieties about race and music and their arrangement in America: anxieties which result from unpaid debts. The VW ad is a 60-second piece of ethnomusicology, which strips bare those anxieties and debts so precisely I can only bob my head in admiration.

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