By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Letter of the Week
The truth is out
I loved Michael Musto's "Did I Ruin My Chances With Anderson Cooper?" [villagevoice.com, March 17]. It was refreshing in its honesty about celebrating rather than cloaking gay individuals. I agree that outing "horrible" or "straight-trying-to-get-publicity" people must be balanced with truthfully covering the lives of ordinary and celebrity gay people. The notion that everyone else must go along with cloaking gay people unless they do something hypocritical or shocking is obnoxious. Maintaining these semi-closets is insulting to those all-out gay people who live their lives authentically and thus help advance truth and understanding.
I would like to commend Kristen Lombardi on her sober treatment of Satanism and express appreciation for her distinguishing true Satanists from the fringe ["Sympathy for the Devil," March 16-22]. Though I have moved on and have been engaged in a new career in the 20 years since leaving Anton LaVey, when I read this I felt that old sense of outrage.
For many years after Anton and I founded the Church of Satan in 1966, I "rode shotgun" against the neighborhood shit-disturbers who thought it was great sport to vandalize our building on California Street with everything from paint and eggs to rocks and rods shot from a crossbow, the latter of which missed going through my head by inches as I sat at my desk near the upstairs front window. Many of the perps were teenage boys from the local Catholic schools, whose daddies actually encouraged such "playful pranks." It is disappointing that anyone would try to pass off attacking Daniel Romano with an ice scraper and a metal pipe as boyish roughhousing. It appears the social climate has backslid into the stultifying psychological state of the '50s and early '60s. Whether I or any Satanist believes there should be a "hate crime" category is beside the point. There is such a designation, and if it's applied to one social, ethnic, or religious group, then a Satanist is entitled to the same redress.
Romano sounds like a level-headed young man and I wish him the gods' speed in his philosophical and artistic pursuits. He may find himself and his band with a spot on my grandson Stanton LaVey's late-night TV show pilot.
Founding High Priestess,
Church of Satan
San Francisco, California
I'd like to comment because I am the aunt of one of the accused. This was not a hate crime but a fight among kids that may have gotten out of hand. My nephew has always been a quiet, easygoing kid, never in any kind of trouble. I have never ever heard him say a discriminatory word against any group of people. Some people need to get their 15 minutes of fame, and that is what Romano is doing. Why not take advantage of all this free publicity? As a mother myself I do see his mother's side: Her son got hurt, and yes, you want retribution, but sending two kids to prisonI can't see that. Give them community service and let them repay any medical bills. She should also get her son some help. The Church of Satan has disavowed any connection to him and has labeled him a liar. Three kids fighting may not be very exciting to the media, but it is true. That's all it ever was.
Witch way to tolerance
I am a witch on the path of Wicca and want to say that this is an outrage. Any hate crime should be looked upon by the law as the highest crime, and I make this statement going back to Hitler and his henchmen, to pagans in the burning times. I may not agree with the path that Romano is on, but he has the right to believe and follow any creed or religion in America and I will stand up for that right. If one would learn respect and tolerance, this world would indeed be a better place.
Ted Goings a/k/a Griffen Gowan
Los Angeles yays itself
I saw the film, and frankly, her personal view of Los Angeles is what's shallownot the city itself. The city she depicts is not the one that has one of the country's most vibrant art scenes, with the country's best art schools and world-class museums; a history of groundbreaking architecture (including buildings by the current Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and Frank Gehry); and is home to influential authors, thinkers, and some of the world's leading scientists (at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech).
No, Morris chose to primarily focus on a New Yorker's continuing perception of Los Angeles as the city of drug-addicted phonies. Sure, some of that exists here, as it does in New York, Miami, and elsewhere. She should have called her movie Hollywood Idiots.
Los Angeles, California
Jerry Saltz replies: I love L.A. I don't think it is any shallower than any other American city. I said Morris plumbs the depths of L.A.'s shallowness.
Re "Did I Ruin My Chances With Anderson Cooper?" [villagevoice. com, March 17]: A-bloody-men, Mr. Musto! If I might use that quote about Jack McFarland, Anderson Cooper is "gayer than a clutch purse at the Tonys." It shines out of the boy, and I'm sure he'll be proudly public with it eventually. My theory is that CNN has "suggested" he not make an issue of it (though he often features gay guests and gay-themed stories on 360°). Anyway, I'm in your corner; outing only those who have been "bad" is not building us up.
Caribou are stealing our oil!
Re James Ridgeway's "Bush Digs Dry Well in Alaska" [villagevoice. com, March 17]: So it's all the right wing's fault, huh? It seems to me that the energy policy for the last 30 years has been to ignore possible oil shortages, regardless of who's in the White House or who controls Congress. In fact, prior to Bush's proposal, when was the last time anyone seriously talked about actually funding alternative fuels? Bush's ideas are far from perfect, but at least they're workable and realistic!
I agree that we're reaching the breaking point on energy, but as usual for a lib, Ridgeway has plenty of criticism and no solutions, except for a line about "moving away from fossil fuels." How? We're dependent on fossil fuels and have been for nearly a hundred years. It'll take decades to wean the world off the stuff, especially given that there is no viable alternative. The transition will be difficult no matter what, but in the meantime, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge makes sense and, contrary to Ridgeway's assertions, it can be done with minimal impact on the environment. Whatever happens, it's the least of us who will bear the brunt of the burden. Or maybe you don't mind telling a poor family that the porcupine caribou are more important than affordable heating oil.
I think we should drill for oil in the Village, next to your offices. I am tired of New Yorkers demanding more and more oil but wanting to find it somewhere else. How much oil or natural gas did New York produce this year? How much did it consume? Put up or shut up.
Ridgeway is ridiculously misinformed. You people who are from outside are spewing these nonfactual stories on things about which you know little. We here in Alaska are quite sick of your silly opinions.
Bones to pick
Bravo for publishing Rachel Kramer Bussel's Lusty Lady column debunking the bad rap sex without strings gets ["Casual-Sex Myths," March 16-22]. You can have a phone-and-bone relationship or a sexual hit-and-run and have a deep and meaningful sharing because it is honest; it is what it is and that is all it is. "Socially acceptable" relationships are economic relationships, and the strings can be more like holier-than-thou straitjackets. Straight women still are judged the harshest for enjoying casual sex, and what a coincidence women are still struggling for economic power here and around the world. As usual the harshest judges (and that includes women) are usually those with the most skeletons in their closets. The more women can accept themselves as they are and embrace their vaginal pride and pussy power, the more they will enjoy their sexuality whether alone or with a partner for the short term or the more conventional term.
Suzannah B. Troy