By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Letter of the Week
Hell yeah, Paris burned
Where was David Ng when he wrote the story ["CNN Got It Wrong," November 10, villagevoice.com]? I too live in Paris and saw the situation completely differently. Thousands of cars were burned, buildings were firebombed, and people stood up against a system of racial inequality that bubbles under the surface all over Europe. The government's first response was to call the residents of these ghettos "scum," which further infuriated the people. It is irresponsible of Ng to enjoy his privilege while sipping his cappuccino in a café on the Seine. These are desperate times in France for people who have been ghettoized and repressed. Their story should be told on CNN to shame the French into changing the racist policies and infrastructure that hold back all but those with French-sounding names.
I appreciate Wayne Barrett's analysis of the mayoral election ["The 2005 Wacko Awards," November 16-22]. I would like to add as Wacko candidates the do-nothing West Side "liberal" Democratic clubs, including my own Community Free Democrats. I can't help thinking they were bought out in some way. Certainly they did nothing visible to help Ferrer. I did not see one table on the street during the marathon, which took place the Sunday before election day. No signs. I signed up to work for Ferrera perfectly fine Democratic candidate to run against Bloombucks, one who should have had a reasonable chance to prevail, given the city's demographicsand was never called. Disgusting, I says.
Plamegate claims another reporter
Thanks, Sydney Schanberg, for a provocative piece on Bob Woodward and his "perspective" on the CIA leak investigation ["Woodward's Dis," Press Clips, November 1622]. After being deposed under oath for two hours, Woodward admitted he learned of the Plame-CIA-Wilson connection from a senior White House official a month before the information became public. Well, Woodward, I guess it's Miller time! Where to from here? After all, he's where he wants to be. So what if he loses the respect of his peers? He was never one of them. One thing that Woodward would not want is to be publicly despised for associating himself with one of the most morally corrupt administrations in America's history.
Barb Parker Birmingham, Michigan
Weighing in on abortion TV
Re Rebecca Raber's "TV's Last Taboo" [November 1622] : The writer missed the best show about abortion on TV I've ever seen. See the first season of Everwood, one of the last episodes. It's about a girl who gets pregnant and whose father wants her to have an abortion. Dr. Andy Brown, the liberal, can't bring himself to perform it and pushes the conservative Dr. Abbott, who is duty driven to perform this service for the locals, to do it. It's excellent. It ends with Dr. Abbott at the confessional booth in a Catholic church: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned."
Two years ago on Showtime's Soul Food, the character Bird, a happily married, middle-class African American, opted to have an abortion because she wasn't ready to have a second child. Before and after this episode, I saw the issue of abortion (pro and con) dealt with openly on TV just not on the networks. TV aside, we lost the abortion argument when it was presented to the Supreme Court as a woman's right to choose rather than a right of medical privacy. Pro-choice activists, who cry the loudest over the return of wire hangers, have done nothing to improve the physical infrastructure needed to get an abortion. If you don't live in an urban area, then you probably do not have access to abortion, because there are no clinics where the procedure can be performed. Characters on TV are not to going change that fact of life in America.
There is a distinction, at least in my mind, between pro-choice and pro-abortion. Frankly, I am tired of the highly charged feminist abortion advocates expressing a more in-your-face attitude toward the procedure. The last thing I'm for is more government involvement in our lives but for chrissakes enough already. A woman can choose; it's not my business but do I have to watch it on My Name Is Earl? I don't recall television dealing with 9-11, or Tony Danza battling cancer on his sitcom. Why is anyone hell-bent on getting the general public hooked on the idea of abortion acceptance? Deal with your business on your own time and leave the rest of us out of it.
The truth about Darin
J. Hoberman obviously has not done his research regarding Bobby Darin ["Lovesick Blues," November 1622]. Darin was probably one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived. He covered all the bases, and did them all well, in his short 37 years. He won awards for his music, was nominated for an Academy Award, and won a Golden Globe and two Grammys. He has been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He either wrote or co-wrote more than 150 songs. He was the youngest performer to have his own television series. He ran his own music company. He discovered talent such as Wayne Newton. Although Bobby has been dead more than 30 years, he still has a legion of loyal fans who will come to his defense concerning the very unfair and untrue statements made in this so-called review.
Re Andrea Gabor's "Primary Directive" [November 915]: As a former teacher at P.S. 50, I find Gabor's description of the school's culture before the hiring of the current principal Mitchell grossly inadequate. Gabor made no attempt to contact former principal Lyle Walford and give him the opportunity to offer his view of the events leading up to the change in leadership at the school.
Having worked with Walford in two schools over a period of four years, I feel compelled to disprove some of Gabor's statements. She inaccurately states that "discipline was lax; pupils were as likely to be roaming the halls as sitting in their classrooms." Walford successfully implemented standard guidelines, such as the use of passes and logbooks in every classroom where appropriate. I remember approximately five to 10 students out of over 600 as habitual hall roamers. Gabor ridiculed the viewing of films at P.S. 50, most particularly SpongeBob videos. I found her description of the films we showed our students incomplete. Had she researched further, Gabor would have known that SpongeBob was aired for pre-kindergarten through third-grade students. Older students were shown films such as Once Upon a Time . . . When We Were Colored, Separate but Equal, The Rosa Parks Story,and many others .To her credit, Gabor touched on an important issue that impacted both the students and community of P.S. 50: the replacement of a successful, Black male principal with over 30 years of classroom experience with a white woman with less than 10 years of teaching experience. Gabor chose to present this issue by using the classic stereotype of pitting the strong Black male against the innocent white woman. She states:
"Walford, who is black, was a 'black power' kind of guy, according to one parent, while Mitchell is a white woman." The issue is the removal of a successful and competent administrator who grew up in the same neighborhoods as the students and shared similar experiences. Walford, a native New Yorker who grew up in the South Bronx, was replaced by a woman from Florida whose firsthand experience of East Harlem is at best limited. The most troubling aspect of this article is that those inadequate parents who have the most invested in P.S. 50 will most likely never read Gabor's article, as they do not represent a viable constituency for The Village Voice. Rather, the Voice has chosen to placate its primary constituency with a flawed article about a dedicated white woman swooping in to save Black and Hispanic kids from inept Black leadership.
Due to an editing error last week in Kristen Lombardi's "Hillary Is Your Friend," three references to a firefighters union were wrong. Senator Clinton's first press conference with the city's bravest was with the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA). The source who said the idea of Clinton as a friend "had to be beat in our guys' heads" was from the UFA. And the meeting at which she was reportedly booed last year was for UFA members.