By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Certain irate writers have questioned the ethics of my selling the Rock Critical List (the $1 price barely covers copying costs), but we know what's really pissing them off: a brutally funny "10 worst rock critics" list topped off by a dead-on accurate indictment of the current state of rock journalism.
Ted R. Gottfried, Owner
See Hear Fanzines & Magazines
How long has it been since Austin Bunn took a math class? In "Slaves of the Machine" [April 13], he claims that the largest known prime number is only six digits long, and cites 909,562 as the actual number. First, that's an even number, which, if I calculate correctly, is divisible by two. Also, the largest known prime is 909,526 digits long.
Austin Bunn replies: My last math class was seven years ago (which is also a prime number). You are right.
Death To Diplomacy
It's heartening to witness the steady euthanasia of the "politically correct" michegass that hung like a dark curtain over many aspects of academic life on campus in the early '90s [Jeff Howe, "Speech Therapy," April 13]. The entire PC movement, though its genesis in the impulse not to offend remains unassailable, was doomed to failure, and not just because it led to things like a septuagenarian University of Wisconsin professor being yanked from his classroom in mid-lecture, as Howe reports.
The pace with which (contestably) righteous indignation morphed into legislation, in the form of speech codes, was phenomenal. The PC mentality was forced on a lot of people, stemming as it did from the pouting of a few, not the will of the majority. Had the sensible majority spoken out sooner, the '90s might've been more fun, in the classroom and out. Unfortunately, out of apathy and apprehensiveness, if not fear, no one really questioned the zeal of the presumably offended, and from lecture halls to student newspapers the politically incorrect were effectively gagged.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this, it is to question know-it-all policymakers early and often. In the case of political correctness, we hoped the idiocy would dissipate without any action on our part. Fortunately, it's beginning to fade.
Bravo to Andrew Hsiao and Deirdre Hussey for their excellent article "Mothers of Invention" [April 6], about women who have lost children due to police brutality. As a parent, I can think of nothing more painful than losing a child. How wonderful that these families have turned the loss of their children into something meaningful for an entire community.
Nahdiyyah Parker Jarnagin
Lumberton, North Carolina
Real Life Crime
Guy Trebay's article "Tale of a Beheading" [April 13], about the brutal murder of Eddie Northington, was moving especially because Trebay did not depict him as a stereotypical, defenseless gay man but as a complex human being. I also appreciate the attention Trebay brought to this story, which was largely ignored by mainstream media. The apathetic response from the gay and lesbian communities was disheartening.
Giles Foden's review of two new South African books ["Who's Sorry Now?" April 6], was extremely well done even given an unfortunate headline, which showed a complete lack of understanding of what has happened and is still happening in South Africa. Our history is diverse and complex; assigning blame to one particular philosophy is tempting, but won't ultimately help solve our various social and economic problems.
Foden's suggestion that certain parts of The Country of My Skull ask too much of foreign readers in terms of language and scope of reference is valid. However, Antjie Krog's book is extremely important for the numerous South Africans who are living in New York. It's an amazing and moving account. I urge any South African who has not read it to do so.
Re: Danny Hakim's "King Pong" [April 13], about the Atari Historical Society: As an Atari aficionado (I've owned every version from the VSC 2600 to the Jaguar), I was pleased to read about Curt Vendel's fantastic work in creating the Atari Historical Society.
Sadly, most people look back at Atari and dismiss it as junk forgetting that Atari started the computer game industry. Without Atari's early work, systems like Nintendo 64 and Playstation might not exist today.
Atari showed the world what could be done with video games.
It's about time the Voice reviewed a restaurant in Manhattan! What's up with all of those outer-borough restaurant critiques?
Due to a computer error, Gary Giddins's preview of the 92nd Street Y's April 10 concert, "Hoagy's Hundredth," was inadvertently omitted from last week's Music Choices listings.
Letters should be brief, and phone numbers must be included. All letters are subject to editing for clarity, legal, and space considerations. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, The Village Voice, 36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003. Or fax to 212-475-8944 or e-mail to email@example.com. E-mail letters must include phone numbers.