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 Covering up the crime
Paul Moses's article on crime statistics ["These Stats Are a Crime," November 28]greatly interested me. My daughter Leah was murdered in Woodside, Queens, on April 5, 2002. The 108th Precinct refused to call it a murder (even though her death was the result of ligature strangulation) until June 8, 2002. I kept hearing that it was being investigated as a "drug investigation." In late May 2002, when I asked the detective handling the case when the autopsy would be completed, she told me autopsies take upward of six months. Was this to keep the 108th's statistics low for murder? Only by calling the medical examiner was I able to get the true cause of her death released. Did they put me through this torture just to keep their statistics in order?
Long Beach, New York
Coming of age with the Voice
Re the Voice 's 50th anniversary [October 26November 1]: I have been an avid Voice reader ever since I was a high schooler back in the late 1970s, a time when I discovered such things as punk, William Burroughs, and the 1960s. To this day, I look forward to picking up the Voice, and reading the feature articles, reviews, and notices about what's happening. I have had particular favorite writers over the years, including Ridgeway, Hentoff, Giddins, Newfield, Sarris, Bell, Trebay, Wolcott, Cockburn, Robbins (I was once interviewed by him while doing some organizing work in the Bronx), Barrett, Conason, Hoberman, Schanberg, Willis, Christgau, Rall, Musto, and many others (I am a bit too young to have read Mailer as a Voice writer, though he'd undoubtedly be on my list too).
I even owned The Village Voice Reader, which you once put out, and with you, I celebrated the history of the U.S. counterculture, particularly that which was situated below 14th Street. Most recently, I have followed Robert Sietsema's suggestions and experienced some wonderful and cheap Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine in my own Jersey City neighborhood.
Let me just offer you the warmest congratulations on your 50th anniversary. Thanks for being an important part of my life as a progressive, NYC-loving, metro-area resident. May you continue on for many years to come.
Jersey City, New Jersey
Desperately seeking truth in Staten Island
I would like to thank Tom Robbins for his candid and troubling article ["Bloomy's Staten Island ally," October 1925]on the current borough president of Staten Island and his friendships with men who are currently under investigation for real estate scandals. I am upset that such articles could not and will not end up in the local newspaper, the Staten Island Advance. Last week I attended a debate between James Molinaro and Democrat John Luisi. Much of the debate tackled Molinaro's friendships with mob associates, and an incident where he wrote on Borough Hall stationery on behalf of some of those men. Yet the Advancepurposely leaves out all of these details when reporting on Molinaro. Instead, an editorial from yesterday's Advance associates Luisi with the word mob when referencing his stance against bringing Wal-Mart to Staten Island. The Advance is afraid to report accurately on the facts related to their politicians, and I wish that everyone on Staten Island had access to The Village Voice, especially for the truth that you write in your articles.
Mind your manners
The headline "Our Immortal Thug" [October 28, villagevoice .com] is completely disrespectful to the life of Rosa Parks. Surely your editorial staff possesses a bit more intelligenceor is black life only seen in stereotypical terms at the Voice?
Owings Mills, Maryland
Dancing in Gotham
Tricia Romano's "Short Memory" [Fly Life, November 28] paints a vivid picture of what is happening and why the cabaret laws are still relevant, but what can we do about it? I came across legalizedancingnyc.com, and according to the front page there is already a lawsuit against the city. I have been a DJ for 12 years in New York City, mostly at these East Village unlicensed venues, and I can assure you no law can keep people from dancing. This city is famous for dancing, for God's sake.
Military mom gone wild
Cindy Sheehan is an idiot. She is nothing even remotely close to a political candidate ["Cindy Sheehan for President," by Kristen Lombardi, November 28]. Instead, she is a member of the bandwagon, who somehow made her way to the forefront with obnoxious rhetoric that has no basis in fact. She simply repeats what she hears and reads from the liberal media. Furthermore, she disgraces the sacrifice of her own son. Let us not forget that her son enlisted in the military of his own free will to fight a battle he believed was right. Before the death of her son, Cindy Sheehan was a proud military mom, albeit a naive and simpleminded one. Her son was in the military and was sent to war. If she didn't know that there was a chance he might die, she's dumber than anybody previously thought. Had her son not died, the name Cindy Sheehan would have remained unknown, and she would very likely be pro-war in support of her son. Cindy Sheehan is a follower, not a political candidate.
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.
I read The Village Voice 's review of Innocent Voices [October 1218], 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 peopletwo parents, 11 children, and one grandchild.
It would be the house of 17 people, but three children died during the warone 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 importantespecially 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.
Copycats muscle in on copyrights
Julian Dibbell's article on Google Print ["Book Fair," Site Specific, November 28]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.