Down Wit

You've got a wicked, gripping story in Frank Owen's article "Wu-Tang Clan Is Sumthing Ta Fuck Wit" [May 30]!

It was refreshing to read about New York City's seedy underbelly and the kind of scumbags and out-of-town riffraff that gave New York of old its well-deserved reputation and hardcore character.

We need more of this kind of reporting to run the yuppie white-collar, drug-party types out of town and scare the crap out of professional informers. Well done.

Sydney, Australia

Fucked Wit

It's a shame that Frank Owen apparently felt the need to overplay the Michael Caruso/Wu-Tang link to sensationalize "Wu-Tang Clan Is Sumthing Ta Fuck Wit." The story should have been fascinating just on the strength of the facts: that the somewhat checkered Caruso is the personal manager of Cappadonna—an important, but not key, member of the group.

However, the constant implication was that Caruso was some kind of Svengali. And the description of him as "a manager for the world-famous hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan" suggested a far more prominent role than Caruso actually plays—described later in the piece as "making sure [Wu-Tang rapper Cappadonna] gets to recording sessions on time, and handling money and arrangements when Cappadonna is on tour." An actual professional manager negotiates contracts, determines career moves, etc.

This story could have stood on its own. The transparently sensationalist spin that Owen imparted to it left me disenchanted.

Eddie Brannan

Rap Trap

Frank Owen's "Wu-Tang Clan Is Sumthing Ta Fuck Wit" was a great story! Just from the specifics about this rat, I can feel the heat coming on to the Wu from down here. As an ex-rapper acquainted through managers with the Wu clan member Remedy, I can't believe that brothers like them would even come close to falling for this guy. Ghost, Cap—please son—wake up. This guy Caruso is bad news. He won't make it in the bing. He knows this as well as everyone else. RZA should gain control over his creation and bring back a high level of knowledge and respect.

Rashaan Fitch
Fort Worth, Texas

Frank Owen replies: Following the Voice's exposé, the Wu-Tang Clan fired Michael Caruso.

Wayning Influence

I am in no way a supporter of Rudy Giuliani. However, Wayne Barrett's "Catharsis or Collapse?" [May 30], taking Giuliani to task for a "rambling New Age monologue," was counterproductive.

In Giuliani's withdrawal speech, he spoke of breaking down barriers that he himself had created. While the mayor may not have had the gonads to own up to what these barriers were, perhaps we can take some solace in the fact that he is moving in the right direction. Barrett is correct, of course, that the true test will be in his actions, not in his words. It is certainly more productive to criticize empty promises once they are proven empty.

Even Darth Vader had a catharsis that brought redemption. If it worked for him, maybe there's hope for Giuliani.

David Gran

'Pissing' Context

In Nat Hentoff's paean to Cardinal O'Connor ["The Cardinal, Gays, and Lesbians," May 23] and in his [reply] peeing on George De Stefano's letter lamenting Hentoff's defense of this antigay bigot [May 30], there were several gross distortions of truth.

In Hentoff's reply to De Stefano, he wrote that "no Catholic prelate took a different position" on issues such as gay rights and AIDS education in schools. However, many Catholic prelates, including Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, supported gay rights laws. The Brooklyn Diocese agreed with us in 1986 not to oppose our city's bill until O'Connor got on the horn with Rome to get them into line.

As for Hentoff's further claim in his reply that O'Connor "established the first AIDS-designated center in a New York hospital": That facility, St. Clare's Hospital, was on the verge of closing and was saved by AIDS money. In this regard, Hentoff referred to O'Connor's "emptying bedpans": Well, many of us carried a lot of shit in those days, as our brothers and sisters were dying right and left—a situation which was compounded by O'Connor's opposition to basic public health measures needed to stem the raging epidemic.

As for the St. Patrick's Day Parade, yes, organizers have a legal right to exclude the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization, but O'Connor's support for their exclusion was immoral. In Catholic Ireland, gay groups are welcomed in St. Patrick's parades.

As Hentoff noted in "The Cardinal, Gays, and Lesbians," we in the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights organized a meeting with O'Connor "soon after he came to New York" (the meeting was in 1984). Karen Doherty of the Conference for Catholic Lesbians may have written the nice letter to him afterward that Hentoff quoted in the column, but she wept as O'Connor condescendingly replied to her plea for rethinking church opposition to homosexuality, "My dear, I cannot change church teaching, nor am I interested."

O'Connor once threatened to close church-run child-care centers rather than abide by a mayoral executive order forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation—reviving the hateful canard that gay people are a threat to the young.

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