Lenny Kaye's obituary for Joey Ramone [April 24] was beautiful. Very well written, and it summed up Joey's contribution and the importance of the Ramones. It seemed like his death came at a strange time. At 49, Joey was too old to die young and too young to die. Just as the Ramones made a career out of threatening the status quo, Joey managed to take us by surprise in death and do things his own way.

Like many Lower East Side aficionados, I saw him often around the usual drinking holes. His death really affected me, as I'm sure it did everyone who runs in that pack. His presence will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Thanks, Joey, for paving the way for all the misfits around the world.

Anna Blumenthal

Thanks for Lenny Kaye's obit on Joey Ramone. I saw the Ramones perform in the U.K. 11 times. Great gigs, great fun. The Ramones (Joey's lyrics in particular) somehow got me through hard times. A euphoric chant was heard in the chorus of nearly every song. I used to lie in bed thinking of when they would be back. I never thought Joey would die so young. A feeling of togetherness and anti-violence pervaded at their gigs, but now loneliness prevails once more.

Stuart Diggle
Blackpool, England

Re the piece on Joey Ramone: I can't remember ever feeling so sad about the loss of someone I didn't know, despite in some ways feeling as though I did know him. Joey Ramone was rock! Unfortunately this will only be recognised by the masses after he is gone. But for those who grew up to da bruddas, this may have been the best way to have it.

Simon Hadfield
Sydney, Australia


As the student from Brown University who spoke at the International Socialist Organization meeting at Columbia University and who was quoted in Nat Hentoff's column last week ["Ruffian Fake Radicals"], I have to say that Hentoff's column was completely off the wall. A Colombia student told me that The Village Voice had printed David Horowitz's ad [questioning the idea of reparations for slavery], and I said that it was shocking that the Voice did so. I never said anything about wanting to shut the Voice down. Hentoff is the one who needs to get his "facts straight."

If Hentoff actually knew what I said, he would not have demonstrated his ignorance of the situation at Brown. I must have said more than 10 times that copies of The Brown Daily Herald were not confiscated just because students found the Horowitz ad offensive. The very same day that Horowitz's ad appeared, a student column with the headline "Homosexuality Inherently Destructive to All Societies" was printed. The outrage boiled over because accusations of racial bias in the Herald were haughtily snubbed by the newspaper and ignored by the university.

All Hentoff is defending is the "right" of a few students to abuse people with their media monopoly. The students who took those newspapers rebelled against this unjust system, and pointed out that what goes on at Brown (and in the corporate media outside Brown) is not free speech. It is might-makes-right speech.

Brian Rainey
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island

Nat Hentoff replies: I did not write that Brian Rainey said the Voice should be shut down. A Columbia Spectator member who was at the meeting told me an Asian female student wearing a blue shirt, who would not give her name—and who may not have been a Brown student—called for closing down the Voice. A second Columbia Spectator columnist present said that Brian Rainey did not object. No matter what a newspaper prints, stealing its entire press run is not only a crime, but is also contemptuous of other students' rights to read and respond. That is might-makes-right.


I was disappointed that Chisun Lee, in her article about the difficulties women face running for citywide office in New York, chose to give voice to only one of the two women currently brave enough to do it ["The Curse," April 17].

As Lee demonstrated, it's a battle every step of the way for these women—and the battle to have your voice heard amid the cacophony of men's voices is one of the hardest tasks. Lee spent 30 minutes on the phone with my boss, public advocate candidate Betsy Gotbaum, and I was dismayed that she chose not to include a single word of that conversation—while giving valuable ink to Gotbaum's opponent and to an unnamed source.

It seems to me that Lee just contributed to the very problem her article addressed.

Jennifer Bluestein, Communications Director
Betsy Gotbaum for Public Advocate


A bull's-eye for Tom Robbins's deft account of attorney Thomas Puccio's personal enrichment as a nonperforming watchdog over Teamsters Local 295 ["The Clean-Up Man," April 24]. Puccio came close to bankrupting the local by spending far more than the members paid in dues some years. Federal district judge Eugene Nickerson should end this boondoggle.

The late Murray Kempton, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and erstwhile labor reporter, was congenitally suspicious of all nostrums. Kempton sagely observed: "To be in business is generally to find out that reformers cost you more than extortioners. Every Mafia don has to envy any former U.S. prosecutor who commands a $250,000 annual retainer for languidly supervising the purgation of a mob-controlled local labor union."

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