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 J. Hobermans review of Apocalypto [Mel Gibson Is Responsible for All the Wars in the World, December 612]: I understand that Mel is not the most popular person in the world today, and he deserves that reputation for his actions. But as an American Indian, I found the spillover of Mr. Hobermans dislike for Gibson into his review disturbing.
I think we deserve better than the monikers noble savages and Sugar Tit tribe. My people can have good looks and family values. Even though the true hell of our existence started with the arrival of Christians, our traditional good looks and traditional family values will continue to exist.
Mel was drunk when he made the anti-Semitic comments. What is Mr. Hobermans excuse?
David Brown Eyes
Castle Rock, Colorado
Ammo, amas, amat
In "Guns Gone Wild" [December 612], Sean Gardiner mentioned that NYPD cops tend to be poor shots. Partly this is because the NYPD doubles the resistance of the trigger in the Glocks they use [a point noted by GardinerEd.], making the guns less likely to fire accidentally but also more difficult to shoot accurately. Another factor is the lack of experience with guns among NYPD recruits. Even after joining up they rarely practice because the NYPD now prefers to hire cops who don't like guns. This dislike for their own gun can add to their panic in a gunfight.
The guns did what guns are supposed to do: They fired when sufficient pressure was applied to their triggers. Peoplein this case, members of the NYPD"went wild."
And what was described as "undercover officers' unwillingness to give up a gun collar to the uniforms [uniformed cops]"? Seems as if the undercover cops were the only ones armed. As for the rest of it, the numbers game inherent in "giving up a gun collar" sounds suspiciously like the rubbishy antics of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), which your paper might well spend some time investigating.
By the way, I lived in NYC for more than 30 years, and I'm not criticizing the entire NYPD. But there are a goodly number of truly rotten apples therein, no small number of them in management positions. "Stuff" tends to flow downhill, as you might have noticed.
"NYPD gunfire goes up while crime goes down."And you don't see a connection there? The street criminals don't give a rat's patootie about going to jail, but they are a little worried about being shot up by the cops!
On at least three occasions, the Times has had headlines like "Number in Prison Grows, Despite Crime Reduction." Despite?No, schmuck, crime was reduced because criminals were kept in prison for a longer time.
Similarly, the Voicefront-page headline "NYPD gunfire goes up while crime goes down" is clearly meant to expose some sort of paradox. Perhaps. But it may well be that NYPD's greater readiness to use gunfire has deterred some would-be criminals.
Retired chairman of the department of sociology, City College
And what about all of the police officers injured or killed in the line of duty? My friend Patty Parete, a Buffalo, New York, police officer, was just shot by an 18-year-old. Where is her story? Police officers don't just sit around waiting for innocent bystanders to shoot.
We need to support our police officers, not condemn them for making critical decisions with no time to mull it over. I think they should shoot far sooner than they doone warning, then fire. If you are not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
I was shown a copy of this week's Voice showing what appears to be an NYC police officer holding a belt-fed pistol. I am not sure what type of message the illustration is supposed to convey to your readersmaybe that of having fear or distrust for the NYPD. However, as liberal a piece of propaganda as it is, I wish to tell you that your illustrator should inform himself that Glock pistols are not belt-fed nor automatic, except the Glock 18, which is not available in the U.S., and the ammunition belt attached to the gun and wrapped around the "NYPD officer" is rifle ammunition.
I very much enjoyed seeing Howard Huang's fanciful cover illustration that depicts a handgun that takes standard magazines plus linked belts.
Where can I acquire such a weapon?
San Diego, California
In the Apocalypto review ["Mel Gibson Is Responsible for All the Wars in the World," December 612], J. Hoberman writes: "Mel's sense of history does have a logic: JP's trip to hell ends when the Christians arrive."
Ah, there it is in the very last sentence. Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferer Hoberman finally tips his mitt on what really, really irks him about Mel's flick: Christians save the Indian.
Your writer's diatribe on the Mayan civilization (of which he obviously has no concept or awareness ) shows nothing but a shallow brain with a vocabulary no better than the moronic qualities he assigns to Mel.
Los Angeles, California
The review of Mel Gibson's film was such a waste of my time. So, what, no one can ever be drunk and lash out at Jews? Get over it, Hoberman. You can do betterI think.
I'm rather appalled by J. Hoberman's review of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. I haven't seen the movie yet . . . [We stopped reading hereEd.]
Durham, North Carolina
If your opinion were written with better taste and did not marginalize Mayan history, civilization, and culture, I would have had a bit more respect for your opinion. You call the Mayans barbaric? The United States government and its elite class have supported slavery, exploited workers, dropped atomic bombs, and supported dictatorships around the world. Should we be considered barbaric? Simply put, your review was horrible. Lighten up.
It's in their jeans
Re Rachel Kramer Bussel's "Spanker's Delight" [November 2228]: Those who have been in the scene for most of their adult life have a true understanding that it is a part of their very being. They are born with the BDSM gene and can never purge it from their system. It defines who they really are, and for most it is their secret world, as they search out others who understand what they must live with. Pleasure-pain is a craving and an addiction, in all its many forms. It's not a game for a weekend party. For serious individuals, they immerse totally into the head space of their calling. It's like breathing; they can't do without it, whether they are "out" or not.
Thanks for printing the article on spanking, a subject close to my heart. I do not know exactly how many people are into this, but I have a feeling it's more than we know.
I think he's funny. So do I. Me too. And me.
How is it you have Musto on staff?
In the end, it's still sex
I hardly know where to start with "Drawn Together" by Eliza Strickland [November 2, villagevoice.com]. Next time you do an article on yaoi, could you hire a reporter who can talk about something besides young girls and "butt sex"? (Could you at least get someone who can talk like an adult and say "anal sex," maybe?) I'm a yaoi fan; I'm 49 years old; I don't scream, "Butt sex!" in public (or private); I don't take the shrink-wrap off books in bookstores; I don't buy willing young males at consensual slave auctions; and I don't think being raped with a corncob is hilarious. Too bad you felt you had to hide the truly substantial points of your articlethe conflict between an artist's freedom of expression and the boundaries of pornographyin all that sensationalism that was more suited to some Girls Gone Wild DVD.
Mack the knifed
I just read the article about Walter Mack ["The Man Who Wanted to Know Too Much," Tom Robbins, November 17]. If there were more like him, the world would be a better place. What a travesty that the system that hired him is afraid of what he uncovers. This is a true story about the good guys finishing last.
Leslie Camhi's review of the Ecotopia photo exhibit ["Thin Ice," December 612]is interesting, but she is wrong about our "Pyrrhic" victory over nature. Two important members of the natural world are doing just fineeven flourishingunder the blindly expansionist and exploitative behaviors of humans: bacteria and viruses.
Our policies are pushing them to evolve resistance to just about anything we can come up with to protect ourselves: MRSA [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as the superbug], drug-resistant TB, AIDS (we may have antivirals but we're unable to stop the rapid spread of HIV or "cure" itjust how stupid and self-defeating is Bush's gag order and promotion of abstinence? How much stupider could a human be?), as well as other viruses which appear to be finding the human population an agreeable host. We're destroying the habitat of the former hosts, forcing these viruses and bacteria to look for new hosts.
Maybe there should be some photos of the HIV virus, drug-resistant TB, and others, so human "successes" are exhibited as well.