By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Before Ward Sutton attempts to be the Great Pundit, emerging from the pages of The Village Voiceon Halloween to heap scorn on Nader supporters and anyone else willing to repudiate the manipulations of our corporate-dominated duopoly ["It's the Great Third Party, Charlie Brown!" Schlock 'N' Roll, October 31], he should at least take the trouble to learn a thing or two about the candidate with whom he seems to sympathize.
Nowhere in his strip does Sutton manifest any awareness of Al Gore's queasiness over abortion rights and gun control throughout his congressional career. Or the protests of racial minorities in the civil service over the ill effects of his "reinventing government" schemes. Or his silence on gay issues. Or the current child-poverty rate of near 20 percent in the U.S., cited by Nat Hentoff in his October 24 Voice column ["The Other America 2000"]. Or the fact that the prison population has more than doubled under Clinton-Gore.
Good grief! Even a blockhead should be able to see that much more certain than the prospective rulings of the next president's Supreme Court appointees are all the features of the current system that will continue no matter which major-party candidate is the winner: rampant corporate welfare, weapons systems we don't need, deepening complicity in the bloodshed in Colombia, health care policies dictated by the insurance industry, etc.
If any Charles Schulz image comes to mind, it's Charlie Brown rushing up to kick the Democrats' football of bogus rhetoric and empty promises every four years, only to have Lucy pull it away and wind up flat on his back once again after Election Day.
So think again, Gore zombies. We Naderites have our eyes open. The willingness to forswear our remaining rights and interests to a bought-and-paid-for regime in the hopes of securing one or two areas is a dangerous trend, which imperils them all in the long run.
What schizophrenic coverage of the Nader campaign in your October 31 issue! Ward Sutton's Schlock 'N' Roll cartoon (page 6) insults him and the Greens; James Ridgeway's "Dear Ralph" item in Mondo Washington reports that Reform Party people are coming over to Nader; Eric Weisbard's article "Proxy Music" details the emotion at the "Nader Rocks the Garden" rally; and Dan Savage's Savage Love column takes another vicious swipe at Nader and the Greens. Depending on which page you opened, you got to pick your coverage!
West Queens Greens
Good Grief, Harry Browne
James Ridgeway, in "Three Right-Wingers and a Transcendentalist" [villagevoice.com, October 24], makes two misrepresentations regarding Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate for president. Although Ridgeway writes that Browne "supports abortion rights," Browne is personally opposed to abortion, even as he notes that it is not a federal matter any more than murder is a federal matter. According to the Constitution, both of these matters fall under the jurisdiction of the states. The Libertarian Party takes a laissez-faire position on abortion. It is also inaccurate to state that Browne is a "right-wing anarchist"unless that is also how Ridgeway would describe the founding fathers. A more accurate description would be "strict constitutionalist." Harry Browne believes in holding government to its constitutional limits.
Brooks No Babble
Patti Smith, in her review of Graham Robb's biography Rimbaud ["The Legend of Arthur," VLS, October 31], writes: "Those who are not poets, who are not filthy, who have not happily camped on horsehair mattresses, who are not innocently heartless, can never understand the nomadic truth of a poet." It's language like this that made Rimbaud quit poetry. What the hell is she talking about? What is nomadic truth? Is she writing ambiguous poetry or a literary review? Is she trying to say poets are dirtbags? Who the hell has ever seen a horsehair mattress in the last 50 years? And what does innocently heartless mean?
After suffering through Smith's embarrassing and incomprehensible wailing, I was hoping to avoid her in The Village Voice. But it seems she has invaded the VLS.
Poetry In Motion
Patti Smith's descriptive take on Rimbaud certainly hit the point: that he is many things and cannot be described in any one person's view. And who better to make that point than Patti Smith. Thanks for the fine review.
Sand Springs, Oklahoma
Thank you for Alisa Solomon's article on dissenting voices within the Jewish community and the ideological setbacks of the American Jewish left following the advent of the so-called peace process ["The Silence of the Left," October 24]. As one of a number of critical, progressive Israeli Jews participating in the recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in New York City, it's nice to be reminded that while we may still be anomalous, we certainly aren't alone.
Rachel Leah Jones
The photo spread of a graffiti-painted subway car that appeared with Robert Christgau's article "Timo's Dance, Roger's Trance: Transfixing a City and a Game" in last week's issue was miscredited. The credit should have read: Photo montage by Tracy 168/WiLDSTYLE. Courtesy of Martinez Gallery.
The article "Outsider Providence" by Nick Catucci and Hillary Chute (The Sound of the City, October 31) erroneously reported that Texas musician Jandek had performed at the 20th annual CMJ Music Marathon. In addition, singer Jack Mudurian's name was misspelled.
"Working People: The Art of Ralph Fasanella" will open at the Bread and Roses/1199 SEIU Gallery, 310 West 43rd Street, Manhattan, on Thursday, November 9, and run through the end of December. Admission is free. For information, call 212-603-1186.