By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Letter of the Week
One for posteriority
Yay, Sloane Crosley ["Butt Seriously," The Essay, August 11-17]! My boyfriend has been telling me for years that my ass (or "caboose," as we call it) is where it's atguys like the asses on porn stars, he says, not the ones in fashion mags. I've never been able to buy it, since I'm bombarded with media images as much as the next girl, but lately I've begun to feel like there's a tiny possibility he may be right, and lo and beholdSloane says so too. It's in the zeitgeist, I guess. I'd never consciously thought about my insecurity as a black/white thing, but a big ass may be one of the few things black women can get away with that white women can't. Not fair, I say. I remember hearing that white girl Denise Richards had her ass photographically augmented for those Undercover Brother movie posters, and she looked head-turningly hot. I second the call for a movement embracing my hot white ass, and I thank Ms. Crosley for noticing.
In "Nature Is a Vacuum" [August 11-17], Nick Catucci writes, "Thurston Moore sleepily declares, 'Nature sucks.' "
Hey Catucciget a lyric sheet. The line is "nature sex"you think I'm some kind of sentimental nihilist or sumthin'?jeez . . .
I really liked the piece on the white-girl-big-ass phenomenon [Sloane Crosley's "Butt Seriously," The Essay, August 11-17]. I was enlightened as well as amused. My only wish would have been for more research on the interracial aspect, to maybe highlight why some black men prefer that asset (bad pun) on a white girl.
The article also cleverly dismantles the white-girl-flat-ass misconception, while at the same time celebrating this peculiarity in genetics. The bottom line (last bad pun): We, as Westerners, are even more bewildered by Asian women with back.
The Dong show
As a black African woman with a generous gluteus maximus gained from years of strenuous exercise, I really wish that Crosley would worry more about why women's behinds are being objectified in the first place in lieu of wasting our time celebrating the idea that soon, hip-hop videos may begin rampantly exploiting white women as well.
I find it pitiful that the unstated premise of her article is that there is something wonderful about men congratulating women on how large their behinds are. Perhaps Crosley wants us to rejoice in the fact that there is probably also a "secret society" of long-donged men who can't jump, or for that matter, whose last name is Dong.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
8 is enough
Thank you, Sloane Crosley, for articulating thoughts I hadnever been able to put into words. Sweetie darling, we are kindred spirits. I, too, am a white girl. And not just a white girla really, really white girl. The kind whose makeup foundation is always called "alabaster" or "delicate porcelain." If I were any whiter, I'd be transparent. Possibly even a reflective surface. And I, too, have what Southern men call "junk in the trunk."
For years, I have tried to cover it, camouflage it, diet and exercise to make it smaller. But it is quite stubborn, and all but refuses to let me be any smaller than a size 8.
It used to distress me, but quite frankly, life is too short to waste my mid-twenties angst on a part of my body that simply is what it is. I will wear my Lilly Pulitzer sundresses and sip my bourbon and Cokes this football season, knowing that someday my ass will be appreciated like a fine piece of vintage couture. As well it should be. Freddie Mercury told us we make the rockin' world go round. So, I'll take Sir Mix-a-Lot's advice to turn around and stick it outeven white boys got to shout.
Nice tan, cornrows
Re "Butt Seriously": I remember when even the most minuscule features of black women were thought to be uglythe "nigger lips," the "kinky" hair, the big thighs, the big ass. Now we have white women getting fat implanted in their lips, cheeks, and anywhere else money can buy. We have them wearing year-round fake tans, torturing their hair into locks, and being celebrated as perfect 10s for the cornrows that black women still get fired for wearing on the joband now we even have them bragging about what black women just accept as facts of life.
Angela R. Carter
Booty is truth, truth bootyand we love it
I love the booty. I could care less if it's attached to a white, brown, or blacker-than-black shorty. Yes, I am a Latino, but I suspect that my pasty white brothers might be feelin' me too.
And Sloane, sport that ass, white girl, and, ahem, gimme a holla!
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
No stopping us now
Interesting Letter of the Week from Robert Tannen [Letters, August 4-10]. When the Supremes finalized the stolen election, we had a budget surplus and jobs. Now? A record deficit and no jobs. So how is that rescuing "an economy that was heading south"? And I'll bet those Iraqis enjoy being tortured by Americans instead of Hussein's goons, except for the ones that we've so thoughtfully liberated from their lives. Maybe Saint Ronnie and George the First shouldn't have given Hussein all that support, huh?
And regarding David Caplan's letter: Maybe it's time to fight global imperialist, cutthroat, radical Christianity. When it comes to wholesale slaughter, global imperialism, and fanatical religious self-righteousness, the good ol' U.S. of A. makes Al Qaeda look like children.
Re George Smith's "That's Entrail-tainment!" [The Essay, August 4-10]: I am quite appalled by his position. How can he demean the Iraqi abuse victims by comparing what they went through with Fear Factor, a game show? Granted, the basic tenets are the same (torture for pleasure); however, the circumstances are quite different. Fear Factor contestants choose to put themselves through this torture, motivated by lots of money waiting for them at the end. I don't believe the Iraqi prisoners had this choice, nor do I believe they will get any compensation for their pain and humiliation. It's attitudes such as Smith's that foment radical Islamicism today. I believe Smith owes an apology to every abused Iraqi prisoner.
George Smith replies: Abu Ghraib prisoners were demeaned by the U.S. military and its contract flunkies, not me. And Iraqis in the prison and the "volunteers" of reality TV are the same in that they're just objects to their masters, playthings for two sets of geographically separated but like-minded owners.
As for compensation, most reality show contestants appear to me to get squat and the handful of "winners" not nearly as much as the makers of the things. Anyway, I think what may be bothering you is that "Entrail-tainment" took a wide-angle look at the unpleasant but common end of America: That is, if you wind up in our power, whether you volunteer because you are a sap or get volunteered when we invade, expect abominable treatment because it's a natural made-for-video thing, as comfortable and familiar as putting on the old underwear. As for apologizing for comparing the Iraq experience to a game show, have you forgotten the majority of the country and media regarded and handled the run-up to the war (and that part of it in which not too many Americans were landing in the Sunday obits) as joyous, fun TV?
Profiles in penury
Re Chisun Lee's "Civil Rights Rollback" [August 4-10]: I strongly agree that racial profiling has never been more obvious, but there is another kind of profiling that also happens frequently and is based on economics.
I am a 55-year-old white woman who tries to follow rules; I drive carefully and have insurance, a driver's license, and current registration, yet I have been stopped by local police six times in the past year. Why? I drive a rusty 1970 Volkswagen with peace signs on the bumper. I started keeping an unofficial tally of the cars I saw being stopped by the police, and out of the 50 cars I have counted, 48 of them have been over 15 years old.
Of course this is not enough to validate my hypothesis, but what has happened to the way people treat the homeless? And don't get me started on the rules for women on public assistance. In this era of outsourcing and wage cuts, why is it now a crime to be poor?
North Bend, Oregon
Ed Halter's "Media Cool" (August 18-24) misspelled the names of two people involved in August in the Empire State. The correct spellings are Keefe Murren and Cheri Honkala.