The Cooper Square Committee's own press release refers to "54 low-income units," falsely suggesting that the housing is available to anybody, when in fact it is a home-care facility. The committee has regularly taken credit for every aspect of the urban renewal area, and as early as 1970, City Planning had approved a 50/50 housing development of low- and middle-income units. The mid-'90s negotiations were interrupted by the protest of Councilmember Antonio Pagan, who justifiably protested and filed (along with CB3) the Community Board 3 Cooper Square Report that, to this day, has received no response from HPD. Based on a history of complaints to the board, Pagan accused the sponsoring organization of "collusion, deceit, and double dipping," which he wanted addressed before any land disposition was approved. I suggest the same.


Re Hua Hsu's "Foucault's Turntable" [January 8-14]:

I'm frustrated by the continuing need of scholars to define and dissect hip-hop music as a culture in and of itself. These scholars feel so "out" of the "movement" (if one exists) that they must write about it, to hold on to a semblance of their pre-ivory-tower selves. I find it very disheartening, because I don't think that hip-hop is any more a culture than jazz or rock.

There's a fine line that these hip-hop scholars walk, because the study of hip-hop music indeed belongs in the academy (as all forms of art deserve contextual analysis). But the current approach—inventing a culture based on breakbeats—is plain wack.

Maori Karmael Holmes
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Re "George W. Bush's Constitution" [January 8-14]:

I wanted to know what Nat Hentoff meant when he said, "It's a pity the Democratic Party cares much less about civil liberties than about Bush's tax cuts."

Is this a response to the party not releasing a published opinion about Mr. Hamdi's plight? In which case, why did he single out Democrats? Why not make the same observation of all our political parties and the rest of our "public" new media?

Kay Mejia
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Nat Hentoff replies: Neither Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt, nor Joe Lieberman, among other leading congressional Democrats, has said anything about the Bush administration's attacks on civil liberties. I doubt that the administration believes that The Village Voice is afraid of it.


Phil Dellio's lovely piece about George Harrison ["Shiva Shiva Y'All," January 1-7] contains two points I wish to contest: first, that the lyric "five Hail Marys" in "Last Saturday Night" (from the new Brainwashed album) sounds like "Hail Murrays" and thus is a sly reference to "Murray the K"; second, that "Marwa Blues" contains a deliberate quote from "Within You Without You." "Mary" sounds like "Murray" because of Harrison's lingering trace of Scouse accent. If Harrison wished to pay winking tribute to his Fab years, I doubt he would have done anything so incredibly obscure. "Murray the K" was not likely to have been in the forefront of his thoughts, at least not since about 1964.

As for "Marwa Blues," the alleged quote is in the Indian instrumental backing. The passage is a common enough device in Indian music. The only obvious reference to the Beatles on the album is the vocal "shh!" bit on "Pisces Fish," deliberately recalling "Come Together," and almost certainly added by producer Jeff Lynne after Harrison had passed away.

Rip Rense
Los Angeles, California


Eva Yaa Asantewaa did an excellent job of reviewing the three books about gurus ["For Adults Only," Mind Body Spirit, January 8-14].

Even in the Bible Belt city of Atlanta, there are gurus of various stripes claiming to have "the answer." The caveats mentioned concerning giving up personal power to Eastern-style gurus also apply to the leaders of some of the area's Christian mega-churches. Often members speak more of "my pastor" than God.

Peggy Lumpkin
Atlanta, Georgia


I've really enjoyed the last couple of stories Wayne Barrett has done, "2002 Wacko Awards" [December 25-31, 2002] and "Bestselling Bigotry" [January 8-14]. I agree with awarding Ray Harding the Custer Scalp, but what about his son Russell? Shouldn't he have been given some kind of award too? Why not bring up Rudy's connection to Russell Harding? Barrett should go after them and expose all their misdeeds before Rudy's able to win any other political office. Harding should be made to serve time. It's bad enough that he spent city money on himself and others, but that he made light of people he was supposed to be helping makes me see red—not only at him, but also at Rudy and Ray.

Philip Fisher
Upper East Side


Re "Looking Back" [January 8-14]:

As longtime Voice readers, we were somewhat puzzled at Jerry Saltz's disclaimers as to his journalistic role within the art system.

He doesn't care for artists, art critics, curators, and dealers; curiously, he doesn't mention collectors. Who, then, is the mythical reader he is writing for? The respect and power that writers acquire derive from the originality of their ideas, projected writings, and the risks they are willing to take.

As far as we can gather, the only thing Saltz seems to be pushing and believing in is Jerry Saltz.

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