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
Keep it light and sweet
As a Starbucks employee, I couldn't agree more with Nina Lalli's "Coffee Abuse" [Bites, December 16, villagevoice.com]. The specials they have every season drive me and other Starbucks employees up the wall. When there's a new drink, there's a new standard recipe that follows. What's wrong with coffee and espresso in their natural states? If you want to add something, just add milk. Also, the customers who practice learning their drinks make my day. When they order a "decaf, triple grande, soy, 140-degree latte," I want to tell them that working at Starbucks is their true calling. I don't like coffee, can't have coffee, and at the end of the day, I'm tired of smelling like coffee. Reading Lalli's article made my night because there is somebody out there who isn't sucked into the Starbucks conspiracy. Ooh and the barista who mentioned she wanted to go home, that was probably me.
No hatred here
Re Kristen Lombardi's "Hillary's New Haters" [December 1420]: A simple word search of the article reveals the word hate used only once, in the headline. Not a single quote appeared in the piece by anyone saying that they "hated" Clinton. Headlines should accurately reflect the subject matter and not just pejorative, ad hominem speculation.
Many of usespecially Vietnam veterans like myselfhave serious issues with Senator Clinton and President Bush over their jointly sponsored, unnecessary, debilitating, and counterproductive war in Iraq. These differences have more to do with their obvious lack of historical knowledge, reckless gambling with America's military and fiscal resources, and cynical belief that public relations image mongering can substitute for judgment and integrity. None of these valid and deeply held concerns have anything to do with "hating" these people.
For the record
In response to Tom Robbins's article "Law and Disorder: Special Victims Unit" [December 1420]: The changes I made to office procedures to ensure that I read all complaints and examined every substantiated and unsubstantiated case were all made in the first month after I took office and were not in response to the former investigator's letter, which was sent to the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) some seven months later. I did not promote Regina Loughran. My predecessor Commissioner Stancik promoted her to deputy commissioner in January of 1996 and to first deputy commissioner in January of 2001, some 18 months before I took office. I mention this not to disassociate myself from Loughran but to point out how unlikely it would be for Stancik, who is described in the article as a "publicity hound whose investigations were measured mainly for their TV and news ink potential," to twice promote an attorney simply because she was hardworking and wrote clear reports but "had dropped the ball in several important cases, either delaying arrests or letting the bad guys get away altogether." As I indicated in my October 2004 letter to DOI commissioner Gill Hearn, the allegations against Loughran arose out of differences of opinion between her and investigators as to how to proceed in several investigations that occurred as long as 10 years ago. In the end Loughran made decisions that were hers to make, subject to the approval of her two superiors. There was a rational basis for each of these decisions, and they were not changed by either Stancik or his former first deputy commissioner. Furthermore, there is no indication that any investigator sought to have Loughran's decisions overturned.
Richard J. Condon
Special Commissioner of Investigation Manhattan
Munich to my ears
J. Hoberman has always been one of my favorite critics. He might still be, but in his review of Munich ["Catch Them If You Can,"December 2127] he selected my film Forrest Gump as a depoliticized example of my work. We can argue whether that is so . . . but I thought it was a rather selective use of memory, as I also wrote The Insider and Ali, which have never been accused of being depoliticized films. As for Munich, happy holidays . . .
Los Angeles, California
Re J. Hoberman's King Kong review ["Spanking the Monkey," December 1420]: I didn't know there were educated film reviewers left in America. I thought people were either "hollaback girls" or were waiting for their complimentary passes for the next Cannes festival while remembering the days when they used to be penniless film geeks. Hoberman is right; many people thought the 1933 Kong was the better one, though the ape in this one would make the better pit bull. Thanks for an educated review.
Out of the loop
I read Elena Oumano's "Get Down, Moses" [December 2127] and I can't believe that she didn't even mention Chutzpah. They are the newest wave of hip Jewish music, Jewish hip-hop in fact, and they're getting attention all over the place. While in New York I saw them on Good Day New York, and live, down at the Mercury Lounge, two weeks ago. Oumano needs to get hip to what's happening.
Los Angeles, California
Laughing out loud
Dennis Lim's review of The Family Stone ["Anything but Sly," December 1420] had me laughing aloud in the solitude of 3 a.m. computer surfing. It was smart and colorful (I wonder how many people know what a Genet sodomite is, much less how to pronounce Genet). Lim is a splendid writer who conveys his point of view without the annoying "I think" and "I feel" of most film reviewers. Thanks for summing up the film and its genre with such a humorous pinchit reminds me of Southern women who sweetly say hello to someone they dislike with a loving pat on the cheek that's practically a slap. There is a warning hidden in Lim's review, but I'll still see the film, because I still buy Santa crap for the little ones sodomites under 30 years old.
Sydney H. Schanberg's critique of the Bush administration "How Do They Deceive You?" [Press Clips, December 713]is brilliant. Here we obviously have a gentleman who is not afraid of telling the truth. Bravo to him, and I hope Schanberg continues to present us with the truth. He is correct that Americans are undergoing a psychological battering by our leadership. When Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others were spouting their rhetoric concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, yellowcake uranium, and aluminum tubes for the construction of nuclear weaponry, we Americans were frightened out of our wits. Then came the possibility of the mushroom cloud, and we cowered in fear until that was proven false.
Their psychological battering has not come to an end yet. There seems to be no limit to the techniques they will use to keep Americans under control and reluctant to protest the gross unfairness practiced by the administration against its own people.
I visit the Village Voice website almost every day and love reading the various articles, but I have to say that I found Nathan Deuel's "I Survived the Staten Island Mall" [November 30, villagevoice.com]offensive. I'm not from Staten Island, but as a minority I am offended by the very unfavorable and stereotypical way in which Blacks and Latinos were described. Granted, this may very well be what Deuel observed, but the specificity of race was not relevantit may not even be accurate. I'm quite sure ethnicity would never have been mentioned in the article if the individuals being referred to were Jewish, Irish, or Italian. I am surprised and disappointed that such shoddy work made it into the Voice.
It's too bad Nick Sylvester doesn't seem to understand the complexity of jam band music ["Pavlov's Dogshit," The Sound of the City, December 713] . It's OK to dis a band (even though moe. rock), but to whine about the fans and the Grateful Dead tells me Sylvester would be happier if he were sitting at home alone. We would be too.
Publisher, Relix magazine
The piece "Sex and the Single Squaw" [Jump Cuts, December 2127] referred to reports that love scenes in The New World had to be reshot due to concerns over child pornography laws. New Line, the studio behind The New World, firmly denies the allegation.