Letter of the Week
It's saliva!

Luc Sante's piece on the history of hip threw some great curves ["Eyes Wide Shut," VLS, October 13–19].

The tragedy of hip can be seen in its subversion and death at the hands of the highly advertised exclusivity that has replaced it. Schnabel and his ilk are now high-art hipness, while the real edges remain forever obscured. It's as if the Murdochian shills now covering the art scene, in addition to Iraq, have full sway.

If hip has ceased to exist, it's because the subversive is no longer allowed, thanks to a media so servile it must have Goebbels salivating.

Warren Leming
Berlin, Germany

Hip replacement

I was reading John Leland's book Hip: The History as Luc Sante's review ["Eyes Wide Shut," VLS, October 13–19] came out. Enjoyed the synopsis. Oh, by the way, I'm in marketing.

Chris Verdon
Northport, Michigan

The check is in the Mailer

Luc Sante may be correct in saying that John Leland's book is the only extant history of hip. Still, Norman Mailer's The White Negro and the recordings of Lord Buckley surely merit mention as precursors.

Howard A. Doughty
Richmond Hill, Ontario

Howard jones

Howard Hampton's "Bob on Bob" [VLS, October 13–19] is easily the best of the three dozen or so pieces I've read on Chronicles. Hampton communicates the heart that runs through the story of Dylan's gorgeous book.

D. Loofus
Orlando, Florida

Rhyme and reason

Re "The New Poetry" [VLS, October 13–19]:I read with interest the poem "I Love Artists #3" by Mei Mei Berssenbrugge, whom I had not previously read. I greatly enjoyed its ability to transport the reader to its own very cerebral realm, that constant though usually subsumed area of awareness that registers being, consciousness, and the passage of time with all the intrinsic enigma (and wonder) that our attention to such things evokes.

My only caveat (subjective, of course) was its tendency to hover between poetry and prose as I understand these two categories. The subject matter seemed "poetic," possibly in its tone, somehow bordering on the "mystical," or a postmodern version. Its form, on the other hand, seemed to take no account of the weight, measure, and sound of the words themselves and their relations to each other.

But perhaps I already answered my own question earlier when I said that the work seemed to hover somewhere between "poetry" and "prose" as I understand those categories. I suddenly find myself asking, "Why shouldn't it?" My responses to things are always more conditioned than I perhaps like to think! Keep up the good work, Village Voice!

Garry McFeeter
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Tell Aviv

Enjoyed the review of the book by Alberto Manguel and reviewed by Rachel Aviv ["Seeking Hyde," VLS, October 13–19]. Robert Louis Stevenson was one of my favorite authors in high school. Reading the review, I learned a lot about Stevenson's social life. I never thought of looking up his life in Samoa, although a friend visited his home when she went to Samoa. Now I may purchase the book. Thanks.

I.W. Oberfelder
Palm Springs, California

Survey says: We are family

Mollie Wilson's "Second Spin to the Right" [The Essay, October 13–19] is a fine piece, very clearly presented thanks to the Family Feud analogy. The problem for those who believe in democracy is that I think we have to be committed to the idea that the family can be brought around to admitting some reality into the fantasy world—and that there is a family. Hope and trust are the basis for such commitment.

Lindsay Waters
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Letter from Florida

Chisun Lee's "Political Prisoners" [October 13–19] was most timely and quite stirring to restless souls who vent at another effort by conservative forces in this country to subvert voting rights of minorities, ultimately proving that we have advanced negligibly since the Civil War.

On top of this gross injustice, Lee could have added that names that sound similar to those of prior felons have also been purged from voter rolls in some states. (My state, Florida, had been accused of employing this strategy wholesale in the previous election, affecting thousands of legitimate voters.)

This would appear an egregious act perhaps surpassing the felon lists purge, because states like Florida accused of such despicable acts could at least cite ignorance of felons' restoration rights status as rationale for their suppressions.

Thus, you would need to add substantially more to the 5 million count suggested by Lee. It appears that this election, as well as many elections to come, will be compromised and tarnished by this denial, which casts our country as one of the least democratic among representative governments.

But we have elected the representatives who enacted such gross injustices—and all of us pay for this loss of real democracy.

Sid Sussman
Hallandale, Florida

Split screen

Re James Ridgeway's "The Real President Stands Up: Even Sitting at a Desk, Cheney Walks All Over Beta-Male Edwards"

[Mondo Washington, October 5, villagevoice.com]: I just wanted to ask, were we watching the same debate? As a Republican who voted for President Bush in the past, I must say that Mr. Edwards was sharp! The fact that the vice president wouldn't address certain issues conveys his inability to "make the record straight," as it were.

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