By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
In Richard Goldstein's column "On Being Called a Commie" [August 6], he contends (coyly yet in cowardly fashion, without directly mentioning his name) that Andrew Sullivan has been bashing him on Sullivan's eponymous Web site and then later deleting the "evidence" from his Web archives by altering archived posts.
I can assure you that nothing of the sort has ever happened. As webmaster of Andrew sullivan.com, I manage the archives, not Andrew, and not a word of any archival post about Richard Goldstein has ever been changed. All the archives are exactly as they were originally published, so there's no reason short of incompetence why Goldstein shouldn't be able to find every single unkind word Sullivan wrote about him in its original form. We're not in the business of playing games with our content.
Every now and again Blogger's servers go down and temporarily take our archive links with thema common Blogger problembut after a short while all content reappears, always in its original unedited form.
I can only wonder if Goldstein's values include the belief that his ends justify even the most mendacious means? Or perhaps the explanation is even more depressingmaybe he's fallen to the point where he actually believes the ridiculous nonsense that cascades from his mouth.
Richard Goldstein replies: Sullivan has a history of altering or deleting embarrassing items from his Web site. (For a recent example, check out Joe Conason's Journal of July 26 at Salon.com). Now, after denying he ever Red-baited me, Sullivan has posted an item doing precisely that. At long last, has he no decency?
FURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Regarding Dan Savage's column Savage Love [August 13] where he answers a letter questioning where to find a fursuit for use in sex: I admit that there are fetishists out there who fantasize about having sex in their fursuits, but they really are a minority among the fursuit community, and looked down upon when they fail to maintain discretion, like the few who have been featured in recent articles. That being the case, I still feel that Savage's article was very well written and will probably help the respondee find what she is looking for.
My beef, however, is that Savage made the same crucial mistake in his article that many members of the media have been making for a few years nowhe did not acknowledge that there is a very distinct line between "furry fandom" and "furry fetishists."
I run the original furry convention, "ConFurence," and nothing at our event has anything to do with catering to Furry Fetishes. However, thanks to careless reporting by the media, people are afraid to come to my events. ConFurence 2003 (in April in Burbank, California) will even have a children's programming track, and I really don't like this fandom being tarnished with references to fursuit sex.
Darrel L. Exline,
The ConFurence Group
Lemon Grove, California
I have been faithfully reading and relying on the Voice for honest and irreverent reviews of new pop music for over 12 years now, but I have never been so offended and dismayed at the callousness and vicious cynicism expressed by Keith Harris in his review of The Rising ["Lift Every Voice," August 13]. Harris states, "If there hadn't been a September 11, Bruce Springsteen would have had to invent one." This is so depraved a comment that it does not fall within the purview of good record review, much less civilized dialogue.
A fan said it best when he told Springsteen a few days after 9-11, "We need you." What I understood the fan to have meant was that we needed him to put his talent for creating positive music to work to help us through a time of national grieving. Perhaps if Springsteen had not written The Rising, Harris would have had to invent a towering pile of positive songs to knock down.
Seaford, New York
BOSS NOT LOST
I disagree with Keith Harris's review. What he calls Springsteen's vagueness is what makes him such a great artist. The album is not a blow-by-blow account of September 11. It is a careful reflection from several points of view. The artistry is that at least 12 of the 15 songs on the album can be listened to outside the context of 9-11it is simultaneously timeless and mindful of the times. That's why this album is a masterpiece and one of his best to date. An artist with Springsteen's authority and experience doesn't require a tragedy to make great music, but those attributes are what make him qualified to respond to one.
'LIE' DETECTOR PEST
I am appalled by the vitriol and lies of Geoffrey Gray's article "Ready, Willing & Under Fire" [August 6]. That the Voice would print such a story gives new meaning to the depths that a free press will sink in order to sell advertising.
Beyond the vilification of Doe Fund president George McDonald, several of Gray's facts are incorrect.
Gray states that "all environmental concerns were missing from the report [on the Porter Avenue property]," but a judge has already ruled in favor of the Doe Fund, finding that all environmental reviews were completed. Both J.P. Morgan Chase, which is financing the project, and the New York City Investment Fund, a project investor, verified the original appraisal through their own independent appraisal. Contrary to Gray's claims, Comptroller Alan Hevesi never found the Doe Fund unqualified to operate the facility. The New York Times (September 28, 2000) states that Hevesi said, "There was no evidence to suggest wrongdoing by the Doe Fund." In addition, the government report quoted by Gray and signed by Susie King, D.C.'s homeless services contract administrator, was never more than an unsent draft, rejected by King's superiors as false.
The truth is that Ready, Willing & Able is the most successful work program for homeless adults in the nation. We've had wonderful press from The New York Times, the New York Post, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, the Daily News, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Ready, Willing & Able has always been about the desire of all human beings to work hard to build a better life. To belittle their efforts through slanderous lies is a disservice to all New Yorkers.
Harriet Karr McDonald,
Ready, Willing & Able
Geoffrey Gray replies: To clarify, it is not I who state that "all environmental concerns" were missing; rather, it is me reporting the contents of an unreleased memo. It is also not I who claim Hevesi alleged wrongdoings; rather, it is the letter from his office which states that under normal contract procedures, Doe's Porter Avenue site would have been disqualified. McDonald's success should not go unnoticed, but that success should not excuse any private nonprofitespecially one that receives hundreds of millions in taxpayer moneyfrom the scrutiny of third parties and, ultimately, the public.
DOE IN THE HEADLIGHTS
Geoffrey Gray did an important job in exposing the previously unreported dark side of the Doe Fund's 22-year, $180 million contract with the city for the Porter Avenue Shelter ["Ready, Willing & Under Fire," August 6]. I have one clarification: Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A ("Brooklyn A") only represents local residents and their associations; the businesses and other plaintiffs in the underlying litigation and appeals were represented by Greg Wallance and Liz Kann of the law firm of Kaye Scholer, on a pro bono basis, and are now represented by Scott Mollen and Adam Paget of Herrick Feinstein.
We are appealing the case because the city has failed to abide by the City Charter-mandated Uniform Land Use Review Process. The city's putative excuse for avoiding the ULURP, which requires review by the local community board, the Borough Review Board, and the borough president, was based on the claim that the transaction did not involve the city in either the ownership or lease of real property. In fact, the city's contract with Doe dictates every aspect of the acquisition and renovation of the Porter Avenue site, and every detail of the operations there. That the project is funded from the capital budget is another reason why legally the city was required to follow ULURP. If the Porter Avenue avoidance of ULURP is allowed to stand, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.
As a 32-year-old son of a lesbian I was struck by the degree to which Peggy F. Drexler's article "Lesbian Mothers Making Men" [August 13] spoke to my own experience. As a young boy and then as a teenager, I did all the same things every normal son does: play sports, have girlfriends, break curfew, have parties when my parents were away. Like most teenagers, I was confused about a lot of things, but my sexual preference was not one of them. In that sense my growing up was perfectly "normal."
In my case, I was lucky to have a loving father who made every effort to be in my life. But his presence was never about providing a masculine role model; it was about instilling good values and providing a sense of security and love.
Ultimately, good parenting is not about gender or sexual preference, but about creating a stable, permanent, and loving home where true family valueslove, respect, honesty, and tolerencecan be taught.
FRIEND OF THE DISAPPEARED
Not to sound tetchy or anything, but I found Michael Atkinson's characterization of my friend Susan Walsh's contributions to the Voice a trifle dismissive ["Naked Ambition," August 13]. Yes, Susan "bylined a few sex-trade articles" for your paper, but she also contributed a perceptive and engaging interview with Mary Gaitskill to the Voice Literary Supplement [September 25, 1995] and did tireless research work for James Ridgeway, much of which helped shape Ridgeway and Sylvia Plachy's book Red Light. At the time of her disappearance she was working on a very promising piece about so-called "vampire cults" on the Lower East Side.
Atkinson is correct in saying that Susan "has been missing for over four years." As of July 16, it's been six.
Nate Schweber's and Wayne Barrett's article about Dick Armor ["Pataki's Poster Boy," August 13] made my jaw drop. I was amazed that Pataki would tacitly support someone who felt children's educable potential was tied solely to their parents' financial situation. Anyone who has been to public school anywhere in America, let alone New York City, has witnessed people from backgrounds of poverty succeed.
Having money helps, and Armor's statistics may imply that much. But to go on and make the normative conclusion that it is the only factor is careless and foolish. The suggestion that money earmarked for education should be spent on social welfare programs is equally absurd. That is half-assing both issues.
Coming from Missouri, I remember when John Ashcroft was governor. He spouted the same load of shit about being "the education governor." Like Pataki he succeeded in gutting funds for public schools. Fortunately more progressive administrations followedsomething the children of New York City deserve.
SELF-PROMOTION MY BUTT
Last week I read the great review of the Queers' Pleasant Screams by Metal Mike Saunders ["God Only Knows My Butt," August 6]. As a fan of the band, I was surprised to see the review, considering the album had come out over three months ago. I started thinking of buying the album and investigated further. It was then that I saw that Metal Mike had written one of the songs on the album ("Tic Tic Toc"). This conflict of interest was not clearly mentioned in the article, and I'm a bit disappointed in the Voice for not catching it.
Hillsdale, New Jersey
ACT OF CONTRITION
Re the book review "Bearing Witness" [August 13]: David Mills's confession in June Jordan's honor touched me. It was a small act, but a profound read. More people should be courageous in such small acts. The next step is apologizing to that woman for making her endure his pain. But besides that, the tribute to Jordan was beautifully written: "Read her words, risk your own unveiling." Thanks.
Kyra D. Gaunt,
Professor of Ethnomusicology
New York University