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
Trippin' out loud
Re Sarah Ferguson's "Life Imitates 'South Park': Rolling With the Worldwide Marijuana March," [villagevoice.com, May 8]: i kinda feel its a bit too much to edge kids on to smoking weed. cause i didnt know what it was till i was like 15 and i feel now that im older i was old enough to make the decisions of whats right but.. what is wrong with pot? honestly! it makes you feel like everything around you is much happier and more peaceful. its a plant! the only reason people dont like it is because the government makes such a big deal out of it. of course..its illegal, watch, when marijuana becomes legal, we'll all be blazin it up, and everyone will stop cutting down trees hopefully the world would be a little more at ease.. just thought id get my word out a bit.
Barnegat, New Jersey
Re Cindy Carr's "Life in the Footprint" [August 28]: I find it fascinating that no one gave a damn about Fort Greene and all the changes until a bunch of white people decided they were being treated badly. Basically, they don't want to happen to them what they did to the neighborhood in the first place. It really shows where the media and society stand when groups like Develop Don't Destroy, the anti-Ikea people, and the Gowanus Project are all run by white people and no one brings that up. They are the defenders, the great white hopewith the exception of vote-whore councilwoman Letitia James you see no black faces. Boo hoo, white people; change happens long before you show up. Fort Greene is a beautiful and vibrant neighborhood. I have lived here for seven years and seen many changes, both good and bad. Change happens; you can't stall progress.
Words do hurt
Nat Hentoff's " 'Hate Crimes' Trap" [Liberty Beat, August 28] is based in unsound reasoning. The issue of racial epithets being used during the commission of a crime has nothing to do with free speech; it is an issue of intent. If you drive your car into a crowd of people and scream, "Die, you bastards, die," we can assume that you are using your automobile as a weapon and are not the victim of some sort of mechanical malfunction. The same is true of using racial slurs during the commission of a crime. Had Nicholas Minucci screamed "nigger" at Glenn Moore and let it end at that, no crime would have been committed. Minucci's right to be an asshole is unchanged by hate crimes laws. What is changed is the concept of aggravating factors in sentencing violent criminals. Minucci is a violent criminal. His criminal activity centers around a course of conduct that Americans feel is especially reprehensible: targeting of others for violence because of their race, color, or creed. As a society we have a right to choose what constitutes a grievous offense and increase the punishment accordingly.
Rock of ages
In "A Month on the Town" [July 26August 1] Robert Christgau coughs up nearly 5,000 words after seeing 30 bands in 30 days to tell me that Robert Plant was the best act he saw in New York in June. Robert freakin' Plant? Did Christgau write this story in 1972? Other things I learned in Christgau's piece: Ornette Coleman is a great musician; there were several people onstage who were nearly as old or older than the 65-year-old Christgau; in the end he really would have rather stayed home and made out with his wife. Yech! I know the old codger has been writing these knotty, impenetrable reviews since we were all in our baby diapers, but isn't it time the "Dean of Rock Critics" handed over the chalk to one of his students?
Hunters Point, Queens
Beards of a feather don't rabbi together
Re Kristen Lombardi's "Silence of the Lam" [July 26August 1]: This character Mondrowitz is a dirty lowlife who deserves to go away (prison, not Israel) for a very long time. What I do take issue with is the use of the word rabbi. This isn't the first time the Voice has referred to a Jewish perp as a rabbi. I know it has shock value and attracts more readers, but the fact remains that a beard on a Jew does not a rabbi makeneither does calling oneself rabbi. Most rabbis are upstanding leaders of the Jewish community but every race and religion has its bad eggsgiving that moniker to this sort of miscreant only besmirches good people by association. A headline like this one can have the effect of defaming rabbis in general.
It's one thing for Michael Atkinson to give a positive review of the excellent documentary My Country, My Country ["Unembedded," August 28]; it's quite another for him to make the baseless and false accusation that my film, Iraq in Fragments, is an embedded prevarication. I certainly never embedded while making the film, and if I am to be charged with making a prevarication I think I deserve some explanation. After spending two years of my life in Iraq making my film, I find it more than a little disturbing that the Voice would publish such a libelous accusation without a shred of substance to back it up. In the world of nonfiction, war zone filmmaking it is not a trivial thing to accuse a director of lyingit's much the same as accusing a journalist of inventing sources. If you make the charge of prevarication regarding a documentary film it is not sufficient to argue that the director didn't follow what you wanted him to follow in the aesthetic style you would have liked; you have to show that the actual content itself is dishonestly portrayed.
Michael Atkinson replies: I'll admit that the use of "embedded" in this context was both generalized and suggestive of the film's attitude, not an explicit accusation about Longley's activities. But prevarication (not lying per se; see Webster's) pervades the film, each and every time Longley invents a reaction shot he could not have had the additional cameras to capture. (Multiple cameras hovering around Iraqi children would have entailed its own compromises.) Robert Flaherty and Walt Disney did it too, and it's dishonest.
In last week's issue of the Voice, Cynthia Carr's piece stated that owners of the "Bonanza" condos on Pacific Street were each offered $1.2 million to vacate. In fact, Forest City Ratner offered owners $850 per square foot.