Nate Shain
Elmhurst, Queens

Scrumming Out

Re Christopher Stahl's "I Ruck, Therefore I Am" [the Queer Issue, June 23-29]:

This is such a great snapshot of a subgroup of a crazy subculture. I have been playing rugby for 10 years. Being a rugger first and a lesbian second doesn't come as a shock to many people. The dynamics of the game have changed over the past 10 years. However, a lot of the macho-straight-guy attitudes haven't. Most of the guys you run into are the ones that didn't make the football team in high school or college. Therefore, they are more bitter and unfortunately have a tendency to be closed-minded, thinking that "fairies can't play rough sports" (an unsavory quote from a straight-male rugger I know).

The beauty of rugby is that you step onto the field, beat the crap out of each other for 80 minutes, and then party together like the best of friends. It shouldn't be dominated by straight males. I smile knowing that other people can experience the indescribable camaraderie and bonding that take place both on and off the field.

Heather Ekey
Columbus, Ohio

Hey, I'm Queer Too

Re the Queer Issue:

You forgot to include lesbians. I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for a separate lesbian issue.

It seems that in this year's Queer Issue, the only way to get any ink was if you were a man or changing into one. Since Ellen mainstreamed her way into daytime success, all of us queer women should be thankful that we do not need mentions in the Voice this year. We're no longer queer! I am writing this letter on behalf of my fellow queer women because some of them have forgotten how invisible we are and actually got offended that the Voice excluded us from this year's Queer Issue.

We are interesting and add to the communities we live in and build for ourselves. Maybe we do not need the validation of the press, but it'd be nice for our stories to be told.

Michelle Lee Shin
Godwin Terrace, Bronx

Perils of Pauline

Re Joy Press's "Catfight Scorecard: Humanity and Virtuosity 1, Loftiness 0" [June 16-22]:

May I add a bit of embroidery to Joy Press's review of Craig Seligman's Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me? In every review of this book I've read, the reviewer has bent over backward to accept Seligman's core premise, which is that Susan Sontag and Pauline Kael are comparable cultural figures. This is, on its face, a piece of solipsistic nonsense. Pauline Kael spent her entire career reviewing other people's movies, in writing that grew increasingly intemperate, biased, vulgar, grotesquely exhibitionistic, and finally, mindless.

Sontag has directed many films and theatrical works, in several languages and countries, and has written novels, plays, and seminal essays on art, photography, politics, philosophy, film, religious heterodoxy, modern warfare, anthropology, literature, dance, theater, and most importantly, ideas, of which Kael had about three, or perhaps two, which she reiterated in ever more desperately pointless ways, as a gymnast stricken with aphasia might repeatedly attempt to perform a somersault without ever managing to land on his feet. Craig Seligman's sole excuse for linking these two writers is their shared Semitic ancestry.

Oh, yes, and they both came from the West Coast. I don't think that whether Seligman "loves" or "reveres" one of them more than the other is very much to waste a book on.

Gary Indiana
East Village

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