Letters

Sheila Reed Findlay
Queens


TO A TEE

Re "The 'Wrongs' of 'Mr. Civil Rights' ": It's about time! With the revelation by Peter Noel of Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker's overt and specific denunciation of Jesse Jackson's 30 years of duplicity, perhaps the monolithic community of black leaders will finally be motivated to condemn people like Jackson without fear of being called "self-hating blacks," "Uncle Toms," etc. No group can ever gain credibility if they fear and reject any and all self-critique.

I hope that African Americans throughout the country will now realize that the few blacks who've had the temerity to be critical of Jackson and his ilk have been expressing nothing but love for their community and desire for its betterment. They've been demonized much too long, and deserve recognition and acceptance. Kudos to Mr. Noel.

Mike Simms
Phoenix, Arizona


IMITATION OF LIFE

I appreciated Sharon Lerner's article on homosexual conversion therapies and the recent focus on youngsters ["Straightness 101," May 8]. I went through six years of ex-gayness myself, and have met virtually every ex-gay spokesperson mentioned in Lerner's article. I finally came out at age 28. Although I still believe that ex-gayness should be an option for those who have the ability to choose it for themselves, I think that in most cases manipulations that are encouraged by groups like Focus on the Family are damaging.

I grew up feeling loved, but also like a second-class citizen. It was incredibly damaging to my self-esteem and confidence. It is discouraging to read that a more streamlined approach is being taken to masculinize boys who may not be so in the traditional sense.

If I've learned anything in my life, it is that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Imitation is suicide."

David G. Christie
Memphis, Tennessee


THE ACCEPTANCE WORLD

Reading Sharon Lerner's article "Straightness 101," I was alarmed. Since I direct a gay and lesbian youth center, I am reminded on a daily basis about what gay youth have to deal with.

The pressures of growing up are challenging for all young people, but even more so for young gays. Gay youths are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. In addition, the overwhelming majority of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths report feeling isolated from not only their friends, but their families as well.

In our area, we provide a safe environment for these youths to be themselves. Despite the uneducated ignorance referenced in Lerner's article, it is acceptable to be gay. People should not try to change these youths. They must be accepted for who they are.

Jack Bishop, Executive Director
The Phoenix-Rainbow Youth Center
Springfield, Illinois


GEEK LOVE

I'd like to thank Sinclair Rankin for the story on the New York City Yo-Yo Open Tournament at NYU ["The Kings of String," May 8]. As a yo-yo judge described by Rankin as a "sort of ambassador for the sport," I thought the article did a decent job of re-creating the laid-back atmosphere of the event. Although there were quite a few points where Rankin went out of his way to be mean, the article was interesting, and maybe because of it more folks will know about yo-yoing and be able to embrace its geekiness.

Brian Roberts ("Dr. Popular")
Minneapolis, Minnesota


BACK TO BRECHT

In the April 17 edition, the Voice published a letter from Ngo Than Nhan stating his opinions on the long-standing conflict between the SoHo Alliance and the Asian produce merchants on Broome Street. The letter was headlined "Brecht on Broome," and was signed by Mr. Nhan as "Member, Board of Directors, The Brecht Forum," giving the strong impression that this was an official organizational position.

The Brecht Forum is proud to have been recognized in the Voice's "Best Of" issue [October 3, 2000] as "the best place to start thinking about the revolution," in part because of the many activists on our board. However, as a board, we have not taken a position on this particular controversy, and in this instance, Mr. Nhan was speaking solely for himself. The letter should have made it clear that Mr. Nhan's signature was for identification purposes only, and did not represent a formal position taken by the board of the Brecht Forum.

Nan Rubin, Co-Chair
Board of Directors
The Brecht Forum
Manhattan


PARKER POESY

The film reviews in the article "Smackdown" by Ed Park [May 15] are truly swell. Gawd . . . I sure have been missing that most invertebrate of textual fun . . . you know, wit. Blessed by St. Dorothy Parker, he is.

Elizabeth Fischer
Vancouver, British Columbia


TOILET TRAINING

Re "Banned in the U.S.A.: Annals of Dicks, Drugs, and the Devil" [May 8]: While mentioning the Mentors in print is always a good thing, getting the facts right is even better. The song Tricia Romano quotes ("bend up and smell my anal vapor/Your face is my toilet paper") is called "Golden Showers," not "Anal Vapor." It is on the disgusting but mildly amusing album You Axed for It. The late El Duce thanks you for your diligence.

Jim Adams
Brooklyn


CORRECTIONS

  • A ShortList item stating that Etta James would be performing at the Village Vanguard was erroneously printed in last week's Voice Choices, along with a photo of James. In fact, the performer was Etta Jones. The Voice regrets the error.
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