Philip Bellezza
Wantagh, New York

Looking down on NASCAR

David Wright's article on the lack of African Americans in NASCAR ["Why America Loves NASCAR," October 14, villagevoice.com] is one of the most pretentious and elitist pieces I have ever read. It fits perfectly with the New York notion that anyone who is even slightly less educated, enjoys country music, or watches NASCAR is a lesser person altogether. I wonder if Wright would have written the same article if Olympic swimming or figure skating were as popular as NASCAR. My guess is that he wouldn't, as he wouldn't dare criticize the middle-class Americans who watch those sports. When will the bashing of the millions of NASCAR fans by the "intellectual elite" ever end? Never, as long as people like Wright can't simply accept people as people, warts and all.

Bill Haydis

Desensitized eyes

I read The Village Voice 's review of Innocent Voices [October

12–18], and it boggled my mind. I don't know the frame of mind in which the reviewer watched the film, but I watched it during holy week last year in El Salvador, on the floor of a four-bedroom house that shelters 14 people—two parents, 11 children, and one grandchild.

It would be the house of 17 people, but three children died during the war—one due to malnutrition, one tortured and shot by soldiers, and another in a bombing. All these children were under six years old. As we watched the film, tears streamed down our faces, because it showed a glimpse of the pain the Salvadoran people have suffered and the sacrifices they have made. It began to explain why that country is still experiencing such poverty and violence even now.

I hope that people ignore Ben Kenigsberg's review and see this movie. I don't know what cinematic experiences could have desensitized him so he would not have more of an emotional response to this story. It's beautiful, it's affecting, and it is important—especially now. Hurricanes didn't only affect the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Stan caused deaths and destruction via mudslides and flooding across the tiny country, which also recently suffered the eruption of one of its many volcanoes. It's important that we North Americans look outside our own world and see what is happening elsewhere.

Kristen Wares

Copycats muscle in on copyrights

Julian Dibbell's article on Google Print ["Book Fair," Site Specific, November 2–8] does a disservice to all creative people protected by copyright, writers first and foremost. Without understanding any of the crucial issues presented by "look-up databases" such as Google Print and Amazon's Search Inside the Book, he proceeds to side with the corporate monolith that is threatening the livelihoods of every writer in the world. We writers' advocates and lovers of literature would appreciate the opportunity to explain to Dibbell the complexities of this wholesale infringement of copyright. Clearly he doesn't understand the practical implications on publishing.

Stuart Bernstein

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