By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Even by Village Voice standards, "A.I., a Butch-Dyke Fantasy" by Eileen Myles [July 31] was a lamentable stretch. Did Myles also marvel at the erotic dyke plunges of Tomb Raider (Lara Croft as spelunker through Gaea's artifact-filled sex chambers) or the empowering gay message of Kiss of the Dragon (the beauty of male sexual love in martial arts)? As for A.I., I would be hesitant to attach a refreshingly gay-friendly viewpoint to a film that will go down in history (after Eyes Wide Shut) as the most expensive movie ever made from the rough draft of a screenplay.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND WRONGS
As the former chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, let me take my turn at writing history. A letter to the editor [July 31] from Assistant Professor Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes of Rutgers University regarding Richard Goldstein's article "¡Visibilidad! The Making of a Latino Gay Movement" [July 17] states that it was the intervention of "state human rights officials" that assisted in helping gay and lesbian Puerto Ricans into the Puerto Rican Day Parade. As someone who was present at the time, I can tell you that it was the New York City Commission on Human Rights that negotiated with parade organizers. Although some other groups were involved, "state human rights officials" were nowhere to be seen. And in reality, it was the gay/lesbian and AIDS groups themselves that decided enough was enough and just walked in with style and verve. There is a great videotape of the whole event.
Dennis deLeon, President
Latino Commission on AIDS
LIB AND LEFT LIB
I must express my gratitude that someone in the liberal press would dare to speak the truth ["Baiting 'The Beast,'" Norah Vincent, July 24]. The knee-jerk hegemony of the liberal caucus is abhorrent, and the recent matter of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's being so unfairly slandered over his scheduled appearance at a First Amendment conference is but the latest gaffe in a long line of shameful displays. Unfortunately, the once mighty liberal righteousness has devolved into a wretched self-righteousness.
It is shameful that any person would compare Thomas to Adolf Hitler; the sheer idiocy of the misassociation boggles the mind. What happened to the campus as a bastion of free speech and open debate?
James M. Johnson III
Re Bakari Kitwana's article "Uncivil War" [July 10]: Although I don't know enough about the squabble between Molefi Asante, the former head of Temple University's African American studies department, and his successor, Joyce Ann Joyce, to comment on the issue, I think I can understand Asante's ideological standpoint. It does seem to me that Afrocentricity is in danger of being co-opted to the point of bastardization. The problem is fighting for and defending the Afrocentric idea within a Eurocentric academic institution, which could easily raise up a figurehead more amenable to its own ideology. Imagine a Eurocentrically sponsored idea of African centeredness! Until the African-centered community can create complete, independent, self-sustaining academic institutions of its own, capable of raising, nurturing, financing, hiring, tenuring, and funding Afrocentric research, this problem will persist.
SIREN'S WAIL It was quite shocking to see the Voice's sarcastic tone and lack of genuine enthusiasm regarding its own Siren Music Festival [Amy Phillips, Choices Short List, July 24]. While any regular Voicereader could expect that a paper of your integrity would relegate self-promotion to the Choices section, it is profoundly ironic that one of the Voice's main competitors (Time Out) ran a much larger and more laudatory preview. Shame on you, Village Voice! As an artist and participant in this fantastic youth festival, I must say that Siren was a most newsworthy and praiseworthy event, regardless of the corporate bank account from which it emanated. Indeed, your surly music critics must always get their jabs in, but when Phillips decided to include her unfounded meteorological prediction ("Catch a cold from the rainstorm that will inevitably begin during your favorite band's set!"), a line was surely crossed. (By the way, Coney Island never saw such a beautiful, cloudless day!) The individuals in your company who produced this affair obviously put in many hours of hard work to create such an overwhelming success that yielded an estimated 50,000-person attendance. Not to mention the numerous artists who gave their greatest efforts. For my part and that of my bandmates in Jazz Beard Jr., we had a wonderful time and are hoping to be invited back next year. But I ask you, where's the teamwork from Editorial? R. James Bagget
Brooklyn A TARHEEL IN BROOKLYN It's almost 3 a.m., and I have been sitting at my computer reading Toni Schlesinger's July 31 Shelter column ["Two-Bedroom Apartment in Middle-Income Development"].
I have never laughed so hard in the last few months as I did reading this column. I used to live in Fort Greene and I could definitely relate. It's good when you can find some humor in living in the city instead of the stress it brings.
I look forward to reading more stories like this, and I am happy to be reunited with The Village Voice once again.