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
One for the roll
Lenny Kaye's article on the closing of CBGB ["Downer at the Rock & Roll Club" September 1319] was great. Kaye put it all in a tightly packaged nutshell. I designed the CBGB shirt logo back in 1976 while I was working as a layout artistbefore I became the original lighting designer for CBGB. I recently found the original layout, which had been stashed in my warehouse for the last 30 years. God bless CBGB, Hilly, Charlie Martin, Taxi Briell, Norman and Dennis Dunn, Cheri Heim, France Terry Ork, and all the other musicians, artists, designers, writers, and filmmakers who have played, partied, and worked the hallowed ground known as CBGB and helped to create the most important rock club in the world.
Re Catherine Wigginton's "Can Bill Gates Rescue Evelyn Cabrera?" [September 2026]: Wigginton writes a morbidly obese feature about a loser and presents a portrait both shallow and dull. An example of the shallowness is the opening description: "five feet four inches tall, with a round face, gray-blue eyes and light freckles . . . " Wigginton seems to be blinding herself with the most striking features of her subject. Some description is given of the structure and staff of the alternative school that Cabrera attended, but there is no analysis of how her life is or is not different, because of this experience, from what it would have been in a regular high school. Wigginton may have thought that she was embarking on something fascinating, and when she ended up with something tedious she managed not to see that. I understand that Wigginton might have been absorbed in her own work, but how could an editor looking at the story not realize that it was tedious, and why choose to fill eight pages of the paper with it?
Not so green pastures
Re Tom Robbins's "Mark Green Exits, Stage Left" [September 2026]: Robert Kennedy, Dr. King, and some of the greatest world leaders have died. We do not need to inject false expectations into a shallow, self-absorbed, and hypocritical man like Mark Green. Whatever good he has done is quickly overshadowed by his selfish, snooty, and smug personality. I supported him in every election up until this past summer. I even voted absentee for him from Nairobi in 2001. In 1991, when he was the commencement speaker at my graduation from Yeshiva University, I sensed what many people sensed about Green: He is full of himself. He never mentioned Dinkins during his hour-long speech to graduates and their families, although he was Dinkins's consumer affairs commissioner and that was the summer of the Crown Heights riots. Green probably reached more voters in his concession speech on September 12 than at any other time.
There is a place for Mark Green in public life, maybe even as a candidate again if he returns to his Ramsey Clark and Ralph Nader roots. During his race for mayor, Green criticized me for opposing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, for backing restoration of free tuition at the City University, and for elimination of work requirements for welfare recipients. He also called for the abolition of parole. Despite this, allegedly liberal journalists such as the Voice's Tom Robbins and Wayne Barrett provided Green with unstinting support. There is need for a progressive voice representing the policies of Ralph Nader and Ramsey Clark. Green was once this type of person. He might consider at least one more race as this type of candidate. At the very least, the public would find out if supporters like Robbins and Barrett are the progressives they say they are despite a consistent record of supporting only candidates such as Green and a similarly departed Ruth Messinger, who also morphed into a "new" Democrat.
George N. Spitz
Lost in transmission
In Nat Hentoff's article "Stoning Women to Death" [September 2026], Hentoff writes: "Mazahery, the Persian American lawyer whose mission has long been to save Iranian women from this and other brutal treatment, tells me that sangsar, 'dating back to the dark ages,' was, for a time, suspended by the pre-revolutionary regime due to pressure from international human rights organizations, combined with protests from civilized persons around the world. But when the mullahs took over in the 1979 revolution, they brought back Shariah law, and when this president came to power, he reinstituted public stonings, as a 'religious principle,' against women." Something must have gotten lost in communication during this part of my conversation with Hentoff, most likely due to inadequate cell phone reception on my part. What I told Hentoff is that the practice of stoning did not exist in Iran or the Persian culture until the Islamic regime came into power in 1979. International outcry regarding this practice forced the Islamic regime, in 2003, to announce the banning of the practice. Despite such an announcement, the practice continued, mostly in secret where journalists could not report the incidents.
President, Legal Rights Institute
Made in America
Nat Hentoff is in denial about the role the U.S. has played in bringing death and destruction to Iran and Iraq. Hentoff leaves out how the United States toppled the democratically elected government of Iran and put in its place a puppet regime. The U.S. helped put Saddam Hussein in power and supported him strategically and financially when he was committing his worst atrocities. Hentoff and the rest of the media refer to what is going on in Iraq as a civil war. But how can you call it a civil war when foreign governments (mainly the U.S. and Britain) bombed the country and destroyed its infrastructure?