By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I agree 100 percent with Lynn Yaeger's article "Lifestyles of the Rich and Heinous" [September 11]. The fall fashion magazines are sickeningand I believe they are way out of step with public attitudes on social issues. You can promote style and fashion without celebrating prostitution, animal abuse, human exploitation, sweatshops, and fur everywhere. I am not amused.
On the positive side, the issue of W I bought was so revolting it inspired me to write some checks to animal- and human-rights groups. Screw you, W, et al. I can be stylish without your crap advice.
When I started reading Lynn Yaeger's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Heinous," I thought, "This is laughable. Someone complaining about the vapidity of fashion magazines?" Empty affection for the leisure classes seems harmless enough.
But the author saved her ammo for the end of the piece, where it was revealed that Wuses images of prostitution and sweatshops in Thailand to sell haute couture. Hmm. Any 13-year-old knows that cruelty and beauty go hand in hand. But does anyone look to these magazines for examples of social responsibility? The answer most probably is yes.
However, you can't legislate against idiocy. You can only write shaming Village Voicearticles about it. So I have come full circle in my opinion of this article.
Many thanks to the author.
'TIS PITY, SHE'S A HO
Kera Bolonik, in her review of Tracy Quan's sharply observed comic novel, Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, dismisses the book because she sees its narrator as shallow and opportunistic ["The Ho Truth," September 4]. I thought readers had long been disabused of the notion that a novel has to be about characters they admire. New Yorkers who perhaps move in different circles than Bolonik does will find much in Quan's novel that they laughingly recognize.
Since the back of The Village Voice is full of high-revenue sex-work ads, I find Kera Bolonik's judgmental and "whorephobic" review of Tracy Quan's novel about a sex worker's life a bit odd.
Research and Policy Coordinator
North American Task Force on Prostitution
DEATH OF THE COOL
I relish Ted Rall's cartoons for their pointed political and social commentary. But as a jazz musician based in New York, I question the point of the one titled "19th Century Fox" [Search and Destroy, September 4].
Successive frames present a young woman, Belinda, who has a taste for "antique entertainment," finally enhancing her amorous prospects by showing a taste for jazz"Isn't Miles just the most?" she asks in the last frame. The irony would then lie in the fact that Miles peaked 35 years ago, making his a "dead and irrelevant" form of expression like the ones in earlier frames.
OK, so there's no "new wave" in jazz today (tell me some branch of the arts where there is one). But that doesn't mean jazz has spent itself. I think what's really going on is that the corporate media machine, which once marginalized jazz, figured out during the last two decades how to standardize and commodify it. To say that nothing new is being done in jazz, if that's what Rall intends, is to chime along with the cant of youth-marketing moguls themselves. They try to transmit the idea that our culture must undergo a thorough makeover every five or 10 years or so, but they really just want turnover to make way for their latest product offering.
Ted Rall replies: Shull understands my cartoon only partially. The piece is about irrelevant and outdated forms of expression. Examples include opera, theater, and poetry. Jazz, which peaked during the last half of the 20th century, is another.
DARK AND STORMY
Thank you, Jane Dark, for exposing New Yorker pop music critic Nick Hornby as the out-of-touch dilettante that he really is ["How to Be Smug," September 4]. As one of the inexplicable minority who found his novel High Fidelity exasperatingly wrong and wholly undeserving of the attention it received (I used to work in the same kind of indie record store as the one portrayed in the book), I am not surprised to hear that his foray into the field of pop music criticism is equally hollow. Anyone who truly luxuriates in the constantly morphing world of pop music would be as prone to enjoy today's gems as yesteryear's chestnuts.
On a different note, I do like The New Yorker, and their recent music issue had some good stories in it. Too bad they just seem to be looking for recognizable bylines when hiring new writers.
EVERGREEN AND BLACK
During a two-minute phone interview I had with Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson, I was not told that the article she was writing was about "The Building of a Blacker Green Party" [August 28]. I thought I was being interviewed on my run for City Council in District 20 in Flushinga district that is 37 percent white, 35 percent Asian, 22 percent Hispanic, and 6 percent black.
"What have you done for African Americans in your community?" Anderson asked.
"I'm working on housing and tenant issues," I replied. "Blacks are being affected by the gentrification in Flushing, and I want to see that they are able to stay in this community."