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
I am appalled that the Voice has decided to cut back its dance coverage to half a page.Cultural news, events, and information are primary reasons New Yorkers read the Voiceand dance is an area that people depend on the Voice in particular to cover. Your dance criticsDeborah Jowitt and Elizabeth Zimmer in particularare some of the most intelligent dance writers around. What is the editorial policy behind cutting it back? Do you need to increase the amount of space you devote to sex ads? Your reduction in dance coverage is a disappointing and enraging turn of events. I hope you reconsider your editorial priorities.
Chanel Lee's article "Tookie's Long Goodbye" [December 13, villagevoice.com] failed to detail the starting point of Stanley "Tookie" Williams's journey; it began when he chose to end the lives of four people. What were the last thoughts of the 26-year-old victim as he lay bleeding to death on his stomach among the cardboard boxes and soda cans of a 7-Eleven store? I guess a bleeding heart can prevent one from seeking to understand the whole story.
I do not think Williams was innocent of the crimes he was convicted of, but I really believe he matured and I believe his words were full of deep regret. God forgive him, since only some of us were capable of doing so.
When Americans applaud killing someone on death row, it affirms that our nation is in trouble. Stanley "Tookie" Williams should not have been executed. Should he have stayed in jail? Yes. As a gang member, was he involved in crimes early in his life? Yes. Can people change their lifestyle? Absolutely! There isn't one person alive who can say without a shadow of a doubt that Williams committed four murders. Our judicial system is far too careless to rely on evidence. How many people have been executed for something they didn't do? How many cases were never reopened while judges made decisions based on unconfirmed evidence? There are millions of people who have done things but never got caught. Then these same people stand up and pass judgment on others. Am I against the execution of Stanley Williams because he is black? No! I am against it because you have to be a sick individual to honestly convince yourself that killing a man will help you rest better at night.
Re Nick Sylvester's "The Rules of Redemption" [December 12, villagevoice.com]: It may be bigger than your brain can comprehend, but clemency is not just some fancy word game, as you idiotically and poorly portray it in this non-article. One of the things that separates humans from animals is that even in horrifying circumstances, we do grant clemency. That is, we do not summarily execute people upon hearsay, without due process. We do not kill fellow citizens gang-style, revenge-style, as the state of California has done to Tookie Williams. What makes America exceptional is its ability to protect the worst of us in order to preserve the functionality of our society. Williams was killed by my state while you ate and watched television or listened to music. Damn both this country and your promotion of callow, sophomoric, and by virtue of non-effort, hateful commentary.
Greg Tate's article "Richard Pryor, 19402005" [December 1420] is by far the best and most complete look at the amazing life of Pryor. His fans were holding out for a comeback, but as Tate appropriately suggests, Pryor has been waiting to rest. Yet he leaves many behind that he sculpted for the encore.
Unfortunately, I read Gary Indiana's article on Brokeback Mountain ["West of Eden," November 30December 6] before seeing the movie. I saw the movie twice, the first time having the cynical viewpoint of Indiana in the back of my mind, wondering, Did he even see this movie? The second time I watched it for pure enjoyment. Not too far into the movie it became clear to me that Indiana has probably never experienced real love before, knows very little about relationships. Sex is a driving force in a man's life, and it is possible to have an ongoing sexual relationship for 20 years, especially if it is one denied and infrequent. Brokeback Mountain did exactly what it set out to dotell a love story.
Indiana's grumpy article on Brokeback Mountain leads me to believe that he hasn't read Annie Proulx's short story on which the film is based. It is perfectly clear in the story that Jack and Ennis are totally baffled by what they feel for one another and that their feelings are about more than sex. The men treat each other tenderly as well as roughly. Theirs is a doomed love affair, and as such, the passion that they both feel lasts over 20 years. It is similar to the passion between a man and a woman who are married to different partners but carry on an illicit love affair that lasts 20 years. As Indiana says, an affair based on sex burns out very quickly, but that's not what happens to Jack and Ennis. Indiana seems to have problems believing that Jack and Ennis actually do love each other.
Rachel Kramer Bussel should be told that there are some things that just can't be printed ["What's Behind Rape Fantasies?," Lusty Lady, December 713], even if they are someone else's words: "Delfino tells me, 'I think it's innate for every woman to have an internal need to be wanted so badly that a man would take sex from her.' " Maybe the editor should have stopped Bussel from printing such an absolute lie. It puts all women in danger for some stupid bitch to say that it's innate for women to want to be raped. That's not true, so stop printing such bullshit.
Why pussyfoot around the World Trade Center fiasco ["The 9-11 Files," December 713]? Jarrett Murphy and the Voice must know by now that the reason the buildings came down was that they were imploded. Even a Bush believer must be confounded by the collapse of 7 WTC. The truth of 9-11 would bring this administration down as well as the entire rationale for war and the massive military budget. This is why The New York Times and other papers will never get to the truth of 9-11.
In Jarrett Murphy's "Vote of No Confidence" [November 30December 6], Lee Daghlian of the state board of elections says that electronic voting machines in Saratoga County worked well. As a Saratoga County voter, I requested our county results last November, and picked up what I was told were the final tallies in early December. After my inspection of these results, I asked why there were some 7,500 more votes than voters in the presidential race. The county board of elections responded by giving me two more sets of "final" printouts, where the number of voters and votes got closer each time. I asked but never got an explanation for what had caused the discrepancy. Is this what Daghlian calls "working well"? I have voted absentee (on a paper ballot) in the last few elections because I have no confidence in electronic voting machines.
Clifton Park, New York
Your magazine is chock-full of apologies for homosexuals, justification for black anger, attacks on the U.S. government, denigration of the president, support for liberal ideas, publicity for weird ideas, and sympathy for the losers of American society. In fact if it wasn't for the Voice I think I would have ended up hating America. Please continue to prove that not all Americans are murderously insane right-wing wackos.
The article "Primary Directive" [November 915] incorrectly characterized the nature of Lyle Walford's tenure and departure from P.S. 50. Walford served as interim acting principal at P.S. 50 during the period that the region searched for a new principal. Once a candidate was chosen, Walford was transferred to a high school within the region.