By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY
I was deeply moved by Michael Kamber's portrayal of heroin addicts in his article "Heroin (and Heartache)" (July 16). It's so real and close. When I was in New York, I was amazed to see so many socially rejected people who were totally forgotten. They are like bumps on the roadyou see them, but you do your best to avoid them and when you meet them, it hurts. In a society that pretends to grant happiness and material security a "traveler" has no place.
SAME OLD JUNK
I'm shockednot at the young junkies in the East Village, but at Michael Kamber's incredible naïveté. Has he been living in some kind of Rip Van Winkle coma? Otherwise, how can he explain his claim that the couple is unique?
Since I was shooting dope, there has been a steady stream of kids just like me doing the samethousands, millions of them. As sorry and pathetic as these two kids are, in the context of their relationship they are no different from me and my boyfriend in the early '70s, and all our friends at that time, and no different from that famous junkie couple, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. All junkies in love are the same. The point of addiction is that the addict lives in a very, very small world: It's all about getting the stuff. Relationships must fit within these narrow parameters and become necessarily simple.
Couldn't Kamber come up with a fresh angle? I believe heroin addiction is a tragedy, but recycling the same old sob stories trivializes these kids as if they were starring in some reality-TV soap opera.
UNDER COVER OF NIGHT
In his article "From the Cradle to the Street" (July 23), Alexis L. Loinaz seems to offer little hope for a real solution to the problem of child prostitution in New York when this is not the case. I wrote a similar story in 1983 for Us magazine focusing on Children of the Night, a nonprofit organization based in the L.A. suburb of Van Nuys that houses street children from across the U.S. in a caring environment and gives them rigorous, individualized schedules of counseling, education in a fully accredited on-site school, and job placement. Pioneered by Los Angeles area sociologist Lois Lee, the program has become a model for dealing with child prostitution. Lee has shown that with the proper care abused children who escape dysfunctional homes for the streets and resort to prostitution can be rehabilitated successfully.
Vicki Jo Radovsky
Los Angeles, California
Re the article "From Cradle to the Street": When I read about Peaches who said she "was trying to think of . . . being somewhere in a happy place" while she turned a trick in a strip club I cried. Loinaz asks why more girls are "choosing to sell their bodies at such a young age?" I don't think it is a conscious choice. They are victims of demand. As long as there are men willing to pay for sex, there will be work for girls who see no other options for making a living. Perhaps an appropriate follow-up story would be interviews with the men who choose to pay for sex with young girls.
San Francisco, California
Alexis L. Loinaz' article "From the Cradle to the Street" hit close to home. As a teacher in a rural high school in Georgia I know that the teenage prostitution problem is not exclusive to New York. For years it has been unspoken knowledge that many young girls in our area prostitute themselves, in some cases for little more than trinkets. At least New York is trying to deal with the problem. Here, too often problems that involve sex are swept under the rug because they expose the hypocrisy of the moral code that many southerners would rather believe is still in effect.
Scott Seward's review of El-P's Fantastic Damage ("Tigers in a Spotlight," July 16) is the most interesting heap of steaming bullshit I have ever consumed. I appreciate the Voice's printing something different, especially a review by somebody who shows he recognizes the possibilities of rhyme in rap by writing in a skeleton of the style. But if Seward knows anything about hip-hop, he should hear at least a little something worthwhile on the album. "The Hang, the Front, the Bush and the Shit" is full of army references that parallel the music industry, and "T.O.J." is a glorious love song. Did El-P piss in Seward's milk in third grade or something? I've rarely read such grand, sweeping judgments that ooze with such proud ignorance.
After reading Scott Seward's El-P review I wondered how such an absolute farce of an attempt to communicate anything, other than a masturbatory fascination with words and the self speaking them, got printed in the Voice. One would expect a reviewer to offer something more tangible than useless literary name-dropping and meaningless pop-culture references like "El-P's sound tries to come across like some William Burroughs cutup of the B-boy's Bhagavad Gita but turns out more like Nabokov's Lolita holding down a slab of Velveeta so it can get fucked by Chester Cheetah." The point of a review is to express cogent thoughts about a piece of work, not rhyme one's way through a gleefully nonsensical diatribe against music one clearly has not taken the time to listen to closely.