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
Re Jarrett Murphy's "Bernie, In His Own Words" [Power Plays, villagevoice.com, July 3]: The scientific name for the American cockroach is Periplaneta Americana. This species is known to live in sewer systems. It is mainly active at night and hides in cracks and crevices during the day, preferring dark moist sites. Cockroaches eat almost anything to survive, including grease. They can contaminate food with excrement and leave an unpleasant odor. A particularly bold and unpleasant variation was recently identified in New York City. It shits on everything and wraps itself in the flag. It has been named Kerikanus.
King of the (re)ports
Re Tom Robbins's "Still On the Waterfront" [June 28July 4] : In a head-on journalistic competition Robbins bested The New Yorker's William Finnegan as both veteran authors took on the history and changing personalities of New Jersey's container ports in recent articles. There is no doubt that Robbins is a master English- language prose stylist whose gifts include a marvelous economy of words that in no way diminishes a sweeping and creditable narration of changing port life and conditions. Though neither writer's treatment is shabby, Robbins's portrait of story protagonist and docks' labor leader Hanley gives the reader a much better sense of the measure and mettle of this man than does Finnegan's. In this rare one-on-one competition between The New Yorker and The Village Voice, the latter won.
(Un)real estate tips
I appreciated "10 Worst Landlords" [July 511] in New York. I am in the process of looking for an apartment, and one of the listings I was going to inquire about was from the management company of one of those landlords discussed in those articles. While there is a possibility that this is a livable apartment, I decided not to take the risk after reading about the horrors committed by this landlord. I think it is wonderful that the Voicedecided to provide this essential information to people. While there are legitimate and reasonable landlords in this city, the articles point out how landlords greatly abuse their ownership powers and make their tenants suffer.
Are these landlords really so bad? Or is it that the tenants want to live for next to nothing in luxury real estate locations? They are trying to pay next to nothing and live on the Upper West Side or in Chelsea. Can you blame the landlord for not wanting to do any maintenance? These tenants are free to leave and go elsewhere but they won't. Why? Could it be that the joke is on the landlords, as these tenants pay a few dollars a month for a Chelsea flat?
Re Danial Adkison's "They Did It for the Kids: High Court Nixes Gay Nups" [Power Plays, villagevoice.com, July 6]: I wish to commend New York's Court of Appeals for upholding the state constitution banning gay and lesbian couples from marrying and raising children.
The familyand through it, all human societyhas its source and origin in marriage. Marriage is still ordered to the procreation and education of offspring. As the basic expression of humanity, marriage can only be understood as the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
Dissenting chief judge Judith Kaye is simply misguided in claiming that the ban on gay marriage is an injustice akin to the laws that once barred interracial marriage. As natural law implies, sexual orientation does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnicity, gender, or age in respect to nondiscrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective behavioral disorder and evokes moral concern. In suggesting otherwise Kaye is exploiting tolerance in the service of a particular ideology.
Future generations will see this vote as one of courage and foresight.
Paul Kokoski Hamilton, Ontario
I read The Village Voice faithfully, whether the writing is good or not. However, I have to say that some of the articles are hard to read. The premises are goodJheri Curls gang, Mafia report, et al. But have the writers or editors ever heard of rhetoric? These articles are just plain difficult if not impossible to read. It seems like you would reach a larger audience with articles that are easier to read.
Justify your hate
Re Rob Harvilla's "Crazy for You, but Not That Crazy" [Down In Front, July 511]: Obviously, Harvilla is still stuck in the Madonna-bashing era, or he attended a different concert than I did (or both). I have never seen such a blatant personal attack on an artist since, well, since the last time Harvilla wrote about Madonna. The Voice needs a writer who isn't so biased to critique the next Madonna concert, because it seems to me that Harvilla went out of his way to give the worst review of this concert that I think I've seen in the entire run of the Confessions tour. It was plain mean-spirited. Really, Rob, if you can't find anything positive to say about Madonna, why don't you do the rest of us a favor and just stay home next time and take your vitamins and Ex-Lax?