Gabriel Ramirez
Clinton Hill

Flashback: 1969

Thank you for printing Alisa Solomon's "Soldiers Choose Canada." I sincerely hope both Brandon Hughey and Jeremy Hinzman can obtain the amnesty they are seeking. It is good to see someone act solely on conscience, and good to see someone take a stand against the Bush war machine.

I was drafted in 1969 and will never forgive LBJ for taking from me the only chance of a career I could have had. We had no business in Vietnam, just as we have no business in the Middle East. It is not our oil, it is not our land, and it is not our right to shove our brand of capitalist democracy down their throats.

Rick Raleigh
Tipton, Missouri

Stadium seething

"Ratner Rules" by Matthew Schuerman [April 7-13] reminds me why taxpayers should just say no to using public funds for any new major sports stadiums. In ancient Rome, the government attempted to curry favor with the masses by offering free bread and circuses. Today, we have sports pork.

How sad that New York City taxpayers are continually asked to pay for new stadiums. Public dollars on the city, state, and federal level are being used as corporate welfare to subsidize a private-sector business. The only real beneficiaries of these expenditures are team owners and their multimillion-dollar players.

It is impossible to judge the amount of new economic activity that these so-called public benefits will generate. Between selling the stadium name, season skyboxes, and reserve seating; cable, television, and radio revenues; concession and souvenir sales; along with rental income from other sports, rock concerts, and commercial events, it is hard to believe that New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner can't finance his new stadium on his own.

Professional sports are not an essential service and shouldn't qualify for government subsidies. Increasingly scarce taxpayer funds would be better spent elsewhere. Let the current team owners float their own bonds or issue stock to finance new stadiums!

Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York

Not Necessarily the Nude

While Richard Goldstein's "Grinning and Baring It" [March 31-April 6] definitely contained very eloquent examples of women's empowerment, and, more to the point, men's abomination of women's empowerment, he seemed to overlook one aspect of the whole phenomenon.

Many acts of nudity, as in the case of Karen Finley, are very much rooted in activism à la performance art, but I am hard-pressed to see quite the same motivation in those Girls Gone Wild videos. Surely Goldstein can't be equating all forms of tit chic with empowerment? Americans may nurture a perverted sense of sexuality steeped more in Puritanism than progressivism, but that isn't to say that the objectification of women still isn't alive and well.

The image of drunken, self-disrespecting sorority women lifting their shirts can hardly be grouped with Liberty Leading the People in the sense that it's at all empowering. Although I do think that Goldstein was very much on target about Courtney Love's own pathetic escapades as a woman on the edge, ascribing politics to it is a bit of a stretch. Instead, the rocker being suckled by a stranger outside Wendy's seems more a case of someone taking advantage of a train wreck than an expression of girl power.

Natalie Hope McDonald
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Truman Show

Goldstein's article comparing Courtney Love to Janis Joplin is an insult to the memory of one of America's great musical voices. Janis was charged with sexual energy, while Courtney just acts whorish and slutty. If that is female power, then women have no hope of dignity in this violent man's world.

Pete Truman
Avenel, New Jersey

Another Little Piece

Goldstein talks about Janis Joplin, saying that her death was "why I stopped writing about music in the early '70s," and adding, "but that's another piece." I'd love to read that piece, and I'm sure others would agree. I hope Goldstein writes it and the Voice publishes it.

Ana Bozicevic-Bowling
Prospect Heights

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