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 write in response to Touré's article on John Forté. It pains me to think that Mr. Forté, a man of such intelligence, a man so well-educated, a black man graced with opportunities and resources so far beyond the imagining of most of his fellow black men in America, could so stupidly throw away his freedom. Don't get me wrong: Drug laws in this country are preposterous, and drug sentencing even more absurd, but Mr. Forté, as a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, was surely not a man under any illusions as to his rights and freedoms. He fucked up. He alone bears responsibility for his incarceration, with no possible rationale built around a life of poverty, ignorance, and low expectations. What a waste. This is not a tragic story, however: It's pathetic.
J.M. Johnson III
A person need not be wearing his doomsday glasses to see that Richard Goldstein's quick sweeping under the carpet of recent anti-Semitism ["Never Again? The Great Second-Holocaust Debate," June 4] is a bit suspect. It is not merely the existence of anti-Semitism in the Islamic world that is cause for alarm, but the institutionalization of it elsewhere recently that requires Jewish vigilance.
Exactly how did Europe react "forcefully" to anti-Semitic "outbursts"? By German police telling religious men not to wear yarmulkes and prayer shawls? By the French saying that attacks weren't anti-Semitism? By the French re-electing Chirac out of guiltof possibly electing an anti-Semite, anti-immigrant candidate? Certainly, as Mr. Goldstein points out, there are other forces at play, but it is the existence of a strong Jewish state that provides our people with the stability necessary to counter these horrors. And a strong Jewish state is not a state that cedes its territory to people who still refuse to acknowledge it on their maps.
PROFILE IN COURAGE
To dispel one of Richard Goldstein's own myths in his article "Never Again?": I, as a Jewish American male, think Mr. Goldstein is a brave manand an exemplary Jew. Peace is our heritage. To heal and repair the world is our mission. Mr. Goldstein represents the best that is in all of us, and I say: God bless. Keep this important debate alive. Your voice is not just your own. You are the de facto representative of millions of sane but scared Americans who only want peace.
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
Thank you for Tom Robbins's article on the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice ["Real Estate 101: Hard Knocks for Brooklyn Alternative School," June 4]. It's comforting to know that communities are taking education into their own hands, but disheartening to find that others within the same neighborhood would be so self-minded and petty.
It pains me, as a Jew, to read that a school that seeks to teach harmony and justice should have to defend itself in the face of those who should, through their religious beliefs and practices, uphold similar values. It would seem that the education of William Muschel [the owner of the property who reneged on a deal under which the school would have purchased its own building] has fallen short in the area of goodwill and righteousness. I can only hope that such circumstances will not prevent others from taking such commendable initiatives for their children's future.
Michael Atkinson's review of the Norwegian film Elling ["Double Jeopardy," June 4] was insightful and flavorful as usual, but he made a rare factual gaffe in his list of worthier Foreign Film Oscar nominees.
Most of the films Atkinson mentioned were not eligible by the Academy's arcane one-film-per-country nominating system. Of the seven films Atkinson listed, five were in fact ineligible: Kandahar, Y Tu Mamá También, Time Out, Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, and Fat Girl.Still, Atkinson's point is well-taken. Oscar shamelessly encourages simpering crowd pleasers (Belle Epoque, Life Is Beautiful) over more thoughtful, oftentimes darker works of art.
Michael Atkinson replies: Any movie released in its homeland from November 2000 through October 2001 was eligible for that nation's single vote. Thus, the films I listedexceptTime Out andWarm Water, both November 2001 debutswere contenders.
I'd like to point out a factual error in the lead item of James Ridgeway's June 4 Mondo Washington column ["While You Were Freaking"]. While both the men's and women's NCAA championship hockey teams hail from Minnesota, they do not represent the same university or share the same mascot. The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (Twin Cities campus) took home the men's hockey crown, while the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs earned the women's title. It probably seems like a small distinction in New York City, but definitely fightin' words up north.
FRIEDMAN WINS '9/11' FEATURE AWARD
Andrew Friedman has won the New York Press Club's special "9/11" Feature Award for his articles "What Color Is Your Parachute?" which appeared in the November 20, 2001, Voice, and "From the Margins Erased," which appeared in the December 4 issue.