Letters

EVERYTHING THAT RISES DOES NOT CONVERGE

Norah Vincent, in her Higher Ed column ["Standard Issue," May 1], argues that "classifications are inherently elitist. Meritocratic, but elitist nonetheless. Meritocracies are elitist institutions, after all, though laudable ones." This premise is inherently flawed.

Taking liberals to task for the demise of standards, Vincent assumes that the classifications of ye olde Western canon were meritocratic, though they were not. Legions of mediocre poets, writers, and philosophers who were white, affluent males were placed in the canon (by other white, affluent males) without merit. Singularly gifted women, people of color, and folks from lower economic classes were denied recognition or assigned token spots and "classified" with condescending labels. (Prime example: Flannery O'Connor was classified as a "regional" writer.)

The true challenges to the canon are to rid it of political, class, gender, and race bias, and to apply truly meritocratic standards in evaluating human achievement in the arts, letters, and philosophy.

Lyn Isbell
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


CITY LIMITS

Chisun Lee's article "The Curse" [April 17] points to the stark realities women face when running for office. In New York City, while talented and qualified women are ready to serve as mayor and in other elected positions, stereotypes about gender roles, bias against women's leadership abilities, and media coverage that often emphasizes "style" over substance stymie women's efforts at winning public office.

Our research indicates that voters are still more comfortable electing women to legislative positions than to executive positions. Until we break down gender barriers, we will continue to see a dearth of women in public office across the country.

Marie C. Wilson, President
The White House Project
Manhattan


SWING SHIFT

Richard Goldstein was accurate, in his article "Beyond the Pelting Pot" [May 1], when he stated that "in a close race, Latinos, Asians, and gays could swing the result."

Asian Americans now constitute more than 10 percent of New York City's population and are registering to vote at record rates. Many have not yet made up their minds about the citywide candidates. Yet despite their presence, Asian American New Yorkers have never had representation in the City Council, citywide office, the state legislature, or Congress.

This year, there are a record number of candidates of Asian descent (13 by our last count) running for City Council seats. As a result, we predict that there will be a noticeable increase in Asian American political participation.

In a closely contested mayoral race, a higher turnout of Asian Americans could make the difference.

Parag Khandhar, Policy Analyst
Asian American Federation of New York
Manhattan


TEARS FOR JOEY

I'm sitting at my computer, crying my eyes out, having just read Lenny Kaye's tribute to Joey Ramone [April 24]. I discovered the Ramones before I discovered girls. "Teenage Lobotomy" made it okay for me to feel like a frustrated outcast. I lived vicariously through Joey Ramone, and now he's gone. To whoever is reading this, please do me a favor. Put on Leave Home by the Ramones, crack open a beer, cry during "I Remember You," and pay homage to my childhood hero.

Andrew Stevens
Moreno Valley, California


CBGB FOREVER

Thanks for Lenny Kaye's obituary of Joey Ramone: For a kid who grew up in Brooklyn in the early '70s listening to the Stones, Zep, Sabbath, and Rocky Horror cover bands, the Ramones were more than a breath of fresh air. They were awesome! I first saw them at CBGB in 1976. They played a furious set of maybe 12 to 15 songs in 20 minutes. I was open-mouthed in awe. No more conventional two verses, guitar solo, and third verse rock for me. The Ramones forever changed my way of looking at rock and roll.

Joseph Mazza
Manhattan


BUFFALO '84

My favorite memory of the Joey and the Ramones: In 1984, I was working as part of the stage crew at the University of Buffalo for our annual "Springfest," which the Ramones were headlining. They were scheduled to go on at 7 p.m., but were an hour and a half late. Some 5000 ugly upstaters were getting drunk and restless. The equipment was all set up, Ramones banners were everywhere, but no Ramones.

Then I hear a car engine and see, packed like four leather-clad punk sardines into a dark green Ford Falcon with fins, the Ramones, two in front, two in back, drive around the lake, crushing dividers and orange plastic cones, and slowly creep past the guard positions. The four of them, looking angry and saying not a word after a nine-and-a-half-hour drive from Queens, pull up to the stage steps. The crowd goes insane, the band take up their instruments, and Joey screams, "One-too-t'ree-faw!" The next 30 minutes were pure bliss.

Michael Roth
Manhattan


FOOT AND MOUTH

I was heartened to see the section "Profiles in Outrage: What's Eating the Dance World?" [May 1]. I hope the Voice will continue to present such articles, discussions, and interviews. Your paper could play an exciting role in helping the dance community. Through new artistic models, we can create an inspiring future. Communication like this is necessary so that we can emerge from isolation and step functionally forward.

Macushla Hill
Manhattan

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