By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Amy Phillips replies: Only medieval plainchant was monophonic. Organum, another popular form of chant, was indeed contrapuntal. I learned that at my Ivy League university. As for the computers, someone has to push those buttons.
NO PANE, NO GAIN
Kudos to Joshua Clover for his review of Jeff Ferrell's book Tearing Down the Streets ["Nerf Anarchy," December 25]. Thanks for finally having the balls to mention, even post-9/11, that the point of anarchy, and all the other revolutionary radical-leftisms, is "the liberatory moment of the riot, the music of smashing windows"not just hackysacking around the drum circle scarfing vegan treats. I have encountered too many lefties like Jeff Ferrell for one decade, and I had hoped the crises of personal freedoms currently going down in our fair land would serve to re-radicalize the Movement away from platitudes and into action. We'll see what we'll see, but I am more than ready.
Re Lisa Marie Williams and Katie Worth's "A Tale of Two Schools" [December 25]: With all due respect to New York City's community colleges, including Borough of Manhattan Community College, it is entirely appropriate that Stuyvesant High School be the focus of energy and resources in the recovery of downtown Manhattan. Stuyvesant's continued excellence, along with a handful of other academically selective high schools, is one of the anchors preserving the commitment of the middle class of this city to the public school system.
Not only do these schools serve their 10,000-plus students excellently, but they also foster an environment of excellence and high expectations at many primary and intermediate schools throughout the city. The extent to which high-performing neighborhood school environments serve to make our neighborhoods vital and to combat suburban flight cannot be overstated.
One doesn't have to travel far (Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are far enough) to see the disastrous effect first upon schools, and then upon the vitality and diversity of a community as a whole, that occurs when an urban public school system no longer devotes significant resources to rewarding and fostering excellence and high achievement, and instead becomes wholly devoted to struggling to help the poorly prepared attain basic proficiency.
Re Richard Goldstein's article "The War on Identity" [December 18]: Don't get me wrongsome of my best friends are Log Cabin Republicans, but when I hear some of their ideas, I just want to scream. You would think after enough "luxury cruises" to who-knows-where, one would have some sense of a world beyond his tiny privileged own. The next time some of them are, as the Liberty Education Forum's ad quoted in the piece states, "filling black-tie dinner halls to hear keynote addresses from Hollywood celebrities," someone should ask a gay member of the wait staff what he thinks of their new think tank's anti-gay agenda.
UNITED WE FALL
Thank you very much, Richard Goldstein, for your refreshing and on-target analysis of the new movement to whitewash the diverse gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender movements into one "united" group ["The War on Identity"].
The reason our movement has no one leader is because there is no way for any one person or group to speak for all of us. Certainly, this new agenda of setting aside the push for gay-rights legislation in the name of a united country plays right into the hands of our enemiesboth in the U.S. and around the world. Most corporations and candidates want our gay dollars, but not our truly diverse gay politics. A "centrist" approach is just another way of saying that wealthy white gay male views matter, and everyone else is on the fringes.
They want us to come join their party, never the other way around.
Tracy Baim, Publisher
Windy City Times
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
I must respond to an item on Stanford University coach Tyrone Willingham, criticized in Brian Dunleavy's "The Real Top 25" [December 25] for "his desire to join, and expand, the ranks of minority head coaches in the NFL, even though Stanford reportedly pays him roughly $800,000 per annum on a contract running through 2004" and for considering coaching posts at Ohio State and Notre Dame.
Willingham and the student-athletes he is able to attract to Stanford surely represent what college athletics should aspire to be. In criticizing his desire to coach in the lily-white ranks of the National Football League, Dunleavy has done him, aspiring African American coaches, and talented minorities everywhere a disservice.
Brian Dunleavy replies: I have no problem with Willingham's desire to join the NFL coaching ranks. There is no question the league needs more minority coaches and executives. And Willingham is certainly qualified. However, his public declarations are merely one example of the lack of respect extremely well-paid college coaches give to their contracts.
TRIPPINGLY ON THE TONGUE
Michael Feingold's return to the Voice's theater section is most welcome. However, Feingold is mistaken in asserting that Iago is "the longest role in Shakespeare" ["Less Is Moor," December 18]. Line counts vary a little depending on the edition. But there are four Shakespearean roles that exceed 1000 lines. Heading the list is Hamlet, at 1500-plus lines. Second is Richard III, with about 1150. Iago is next, with just under 1100, followed closely by Henry V.