Letter of the Week
Surface pension

Re "The End of Democracy" [October 20–26]: Rick Perlstein's piece was indeed spooky, especially seen from outside the country. It's odd, of course, that the media people haven't picked up on this fact of American life, or when they have, as Jeff Greenfield apparently did, they take a rather cavalier attitude toward it. "Follow the money" is the old exhortation: Many media workers have become jobholders and would rather not lose their cushy pay.

They should all read Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here—perhaps not his most famous novel, but certainly one that bears reading in these trying times.

Marton Radkai
Munich, Germany

Sleeping on the job

Vince Aletti had it exactly right about the late Richard Avedon [October 13–19]. Avedon relished the challenge and rose to it time and time again.

While working as his assistant on In the American West (2003), I watched as he bounced around the studio like a kid in a candy store. I asked him what his secret was and he just laughed and said, "Catnaps!"

I'm going to take mine right now!

Drew Carolan
Los Angeles, California

Word up

Rick Perlstein's "The End of Democracy" [October 20–26] states that George W. Bush is not a fascist. How does Perlstein reach that conclusion? When I look up the word's meanings, I see that Bush's actions match up with fascism. What does your dictionary/encyclopedia say?

Richard A. Gilmore
Wailuku, Hawaii

American splendor

Franklin Soults's "A Swinger's Diary: Stars Descend on a Dying Town in Hopes That Cleveland Rocks the Vote" [October 20–26] gave this old Midwesterner hope. A great piece! I felt I had actually been in Cleveland, rockin' with the locals. Guess I'll be reading The Village Voice more often. Thanks.

Pauli Kendrick
Kansas City, Missouri

Everybody loves Raymond

Re Curtis White's essay on the success of The Da Vinci Code ["Faith Off," VLS, October 13–19]: Perhaps this is all only as it should be in a culture that believes it can learn about theology by reading a pulp novel. Assuming that a "culture" can believe (or disbelieve) anything, why shouldn't it learn through pulp fiction? Shades of Raymond Chandler!

Julian Rowe
Tunbridge Wells,Kent, England

Goddess only knows

Re "Faith Off": Only a man would find something new and heretical in The Da Vinci Code.

Feminists have always known that the church has usurped the place of the Goddess and the sacred feminine. This is old news! But I'm glad that Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code. It's about time the men in this world think about an alternative to "the Truth" as they see it.

Gerrie Jackson
Seattle, Washington

The whole thing is over

Re Luc Sante's "Eyes Wide Shut" [VLS, October 13–19]:

"Hip" died the year David Byrne was the coolest guy in the country. There are no secrets for the cool folks anymore.

David Fahl
Houston, Texas

Bohemian rhapsody

Sante seems to have missed an earlier history of hipness, Richard Miller's Bohemia: The Protoculture Then and Now (Nelson-Hall). Miller tracks the history of hip back to the Parisian garret, the Germanic proto–Boy Scouts, and, later, the Beats. As in punk North Beach, San Francisco, where Miller wrote the book, there was in these garrets (and other "hip" locales) a spirit that caused a decline in the value of real estate, derided the values of the bourgeoisie, and celebrated the spontaneous and polymorphic.

Gina Maranto
Miami Beach, Florida

Follow the money

The line Sante wants to draw between advertising and art doesn't hold entirely true today. There is a lot of art being made, especially at the very center stage of the art industry, that conflates completely the art product and its own built-in market-aware pitch.

Some would call this just more "postmodernism." Whatever it is, it sure generates a lot of cash and market expansion.

Robert Shapazian
Los Angeles, California

Gifford thriller

I'm pleased the Voice has created a new review format for jazz and jazz-related recordings, as seen in Tom Hull's pleasurable and informative article "The Caribbean Tinge" [Jazz Consumer Guide, September 29–October 5]. Hull and Francis Davis are emerging as real surrogates for Gary Giddins.

I've been impressed with The New Republic's David Hajdu's the "A" Rotation, in which he describes his current favorite recordings; Hull's Voice article rivals that. Thanks.

Tony Gifford
Toronto, Ontario

Press clips

Joy Press wonders how anyone could believe the New York–based media could have an urban, middle-class, liberal tone in their journalism ["Liberal Comforters," October 6–12].

This comes after the CBS forged memo scandal in which a leftish producer, Mary Mapes, working for a network run by Clinton friend Leslie Moonves and owned by Viacom, a corporation stuffed with Democratic fat cats, works with Democratic operative Joe Lockhart to plant evidence on a guilty man, for nonpartisan journalistic ends, I'm sure. Press has nothing in the way of an analogous scandal involving a Democratic politician and the "nonpartisan" establishment media to cite.

Mark Richard
Columbus, Ohio

Wish fulfillment

Mollie Wilson's "Second Spin to the Right" [The Essay, October 13–19] was awesome! The Family Feud scenario is the perfect analogy, as it describes the whole "wish it so" phenomenon. "I do believe in fairies, I do, I do, I do . . . "

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