Letters

EAT YOUR GREENS

Wayne Barrett's article "The Giuliani Dilemma" [October 9], about Democratic mayoral candidates Freddy Ferrer and Mark Green, was excellent. I am a Democrat but have not participated in many elections due to lack of real party leadership. As a result I did not vote in the recent primary. When Giuliani started campaigning for a term extension I was in disbelief—and astounded that Green and Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg (whom I considered voting for) agreed to this outrageous demand. I was so impressed by Ferrer's position that I have decided to vote for him in the runoff election. We need real leadership in this city, not carbon copies of bygone administrations.

Patrick Christofer Riley
Manhattan


JUMPING THE GUN

Sylvana Foa is a danger to herself and those around her. In the photo accompanying her article "Travels With Harry" [October 2] she is violating one of the most fundamental rules of firearms safety: Keep your finger off the trigger until your target is in your sights. She doesn't even know where the muzzle of her gun is pointing because she's too busy hamming it up for the camera. And if she claims, as so many do, that "the gun isn't loaded!" she's violating another basic safety rule: Treat every firearm as though it's loaded, all the time. Gun safety is the business of everyone who possesses a firearm. Please set a better example in the future.

Floyd Kennedy
United States Navy Reserve, Retired
Director, Pistol Programs
Virginia Beach, Virginia


BLOWN AWAY

Thanks to Tom Robbins ["Working-Class Heroes," October 2] for recognizing the union workers who lost their lives in the September 11 attack, and those who worked night and day hoping to save lives. I wonder, though, about the fate of the illegal immigrants who were working in the buildings at the time. What recognition will there be for those who took the jobs no one else wanted, and for less pay than the union scale? Will the lives of the illegal immigrants who met their demise in the "Attack on America" simply disappear in the wind along with the ashes that were once the majestic twin towers? Any memorial built to commemorate those who died should also include these unknown persons, since it might well be the only recognition that they receive.

Karen Bertram
Copenhagen, Denmark


STAINGUARD

In her article "The New Terrorism" [October 2], Jennifer Gould states that CIA-supported death squads are "a permanent stain on America's conscience." On the consciences of those Americans who still have one—none of whom seem to have positions of influence in the government or the news media—would be more accurate. Remember, we recently had a secretary of state (Madeleine Albright) who, while serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under U.S.-imposed sanctions was "worth it." We must not allow our appreciation of the liberties we've still got in this country to again be manipulated by our greed-driven "leaders" into support for ever more massive intervention and repression abroad.

Ron MacKinnon
Manhattan


GHOSTWRITING

The misnomer headline of Donna Ladd's article "Naming Names: The New York Times Blacklists 13 Writers After WTC Report" [www.villagevoice.com exclusive, September 25] was trumped by her blatantly disingenuous story. Only her article is "black," conjuring up the dread of McCarthyism and Hollywood and network blacklisting for those of us who remember it.

The issue Ladd wrote about seems a matter of contract law, plain and simple, with each party having the full opportunity to redress wrongs and publish anywhere they choose. This article smells of Ashcroft: much heat, little light.

Irwin H. Moss
Los Angeles, California


NAKED TRUTH

I must admit being somewhat taken aback by Darcey Steinke's review of Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America ["Dirty Dancing," October 2]. Those who read Lily Burana's Strip City will quickly come to the realization that Steinke deliberately ignored vital components of the story.

Steinke claims the central message of Burana's book is that "stripping empowers [women] and helps the feminist cause." Even a cursory look inside the pages of Strip City is enough to disabuse anyone of such a notion. Burana writes, "For a long time, I swore stripping couldn't affect me deeply because I was working with my body, not my soul. However did I get the idea that the two functioned separately?" I believe the perils of stripping are made pretty clear by the author.

Strip City is an honest and touching book, one that explores both an industry and Ms. Burana's life. Think stripping requires courage? Hell, it takes even greater bravery to put yourself out there in print. Ms. Burana has done so with dignity, wit, and class. Steinke's review comes across as shrill, bitter, and unprofessional, much to her discredit. Perhaps she should consider returning to "nights waitressing and days in bookstores."

Michael Colarusso
Fort Meade, Maryland


GENDER DEFENDER

Michael Atkinson is certainly entitled to hate Pauline Kael's work. But what in the world did the late film critic, who died on September 3 at the age of 82, do to deserve such a gleefully hateful "obituary" ["As the Lights Go Down," September 18]? The late New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wasn't subjected to this sort of slander in his Voice eulogy. Then again, Canby was a man—and it's the fact that Kael was a woman that evidently sticks in Atkinson's craw. How else to explain his descriptions of her as a "maenadic Mrs. Grundy," a "high priestess," "the wolverine bitch," a "hot-pants Queen Victoria," and "a miniature tigress with gray hair and barbed tongue." Or Atkinson's ridiculous contention that Kael's "relentless eminence" was, in part, a result of her gender. Does he honestly think that Kael became celebrated because she was a woman? Does anyone?

Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles, California

Michael Atkinson replies: I don't "gleefully hate" Kael or her writing, but the national brown-nosing performed upon her at the perpetual expense of much wiser critics has been absurd. Canby never garnered such overripe praise, and saying so doesn't imply he deserved to. As for Kael's sex, guess what: The American media got off on her doughty-dame public profile, as her unprecedented (for a film critic) eulogization demonstrated. Pick a knee-jerk gender fight if you want, but her writing still isn't all it's been cracked up to be.

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