Drawing praise

Re M. Wartella's 'You Call This Art?' [September 19–25]: You've done it again! I thoroughly enjoyed this week's cartoon about DUMBO. Wartella has an uncanny eye for capturing the essence of New York's many, varied neighborhoods, and this week was no exception. It is now the first feature I look for when I pick up the paper. I work in DUMBO, and while I love it, the constant construction and unbridled developers are in danger of killing this neighborhood's cinematic charm. Bravo to the Voice for highlighting this issue.

Ira Metz

A man's home is his hassle

Re Graham Rayman's 'Poor Relations' [August 29-–September 4]: I hope our dear Mayor Bloomberg never loses his money and finds himself homeless in New York (it could happen). He should have quit his "no-pay job" of serving the people when he couldn't solve the problems of homelessness and affordable living for all. I am 65 years old, and if it wasn't for rent stabilization, I'd be out on the streets—and now, with the mayor's plan to charge the homeless a fee to stay in a shelter, I'd probably end up dead. Most people just want to be able to live on their income in a truly affordable apartment without handouts from the government and special favors. Not everyone wants a co-op or condo; we just want an affordable apartment to call home. Is any politician listening?

J. Carol

Mad about you

Re Maria Luisa Tucker's 'You Don't Know Jack: The stunning comeback of electroshock and other harrowing treatments for the mentally ill' [September 19–25]: Having battled with my spouse's illness as a support person, caregiver, and proactive mental-health advocate and activist for some four decades, I wanted to take the opportunity to compliment Tucker for her reasonably well-done article, which is not as alarmist in nature as many that I have read through the years, but instead captures the intelligence and astuteness of Colleen Kelley, and the true pain and suffering that must be endured by depression patients and their loved ones. The article also demonstrates the desperate need for newer treatment options, as many of the older therapies—especially for the severely depressed patient population—are ineffective; as well as the reality in the case of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and their decisions, which appear to based upon power, politics and money games at the expense of the wellness of the citizens of this wonderful country.

Herbert Stein
Weston, Florida

Thanks to Maria Luisa Tucker for exposing the bizarre and extreme psychiatric experimentation that desperate people are being tricked into trying. However, I hope it's clear to readers that countless people have had negative experiences with this type of experimentation. Also, causing brain trauma has been a theme in many psychiatric procedures for a long time, so in a way this is nothing new. It is well known in neurology that fresh brain injury can cause personality changes—such as denial problems, amnesia, and even giddiness—that can be misinterpreted as an improvement of mental and emotional well-being. This is my 31st year working for human rights in mental health, and psychiatry is constantly coming up with supposedly new techniques that keep doing the same thing: traumatizing the brain. Just as shocking your garden with chemicals and genetically modified seeds may appear to have short-term benefits, the real question is: What is sustainable? That is, what leads to true long-term recovery of the whole mind, body, and spirit? Too often, a full range of holistic alternatives to drugs, shock, and surgery are not even offered in our overly mechanized Western medicine. Consider that two World Health Organization studies showed that people with severe mental-health problems were far more likely to recover in the poorest countries with the least access to modern Western medicine. There is something missing from our society, culture, lives, and spirit that the latest versions of psychosurgery can never replace.

David W. Oaks,
Director of MindFreedom International
Eugene, Oregon

Tortillas flat

Question for Robert Sietsema: I don't get it. There's no shortage of Mexican culinary talent here in New York—Mexicans run just about every commercial kitchen in the city—but the vast majority of Mexican restaurants here suck compared to California, Texas, hell, even Chicago. Even the neighborhood taquerias and torta joints in Queens and Brooklyn are lame. What's the deal? Also, why doesThe Village Voice run an "Ask a Mexican" column, but not "Ask a Puerto Rican"? Because I got a real question for the Boricuas: reggaetón—WTF?

Tom Pryor
Via e-mail

Notre damn

I want to congratulate you on hiring a sportswriter who merely quotes stupid things he hears on ESPN. That is so original and clever—way to go. Allen Barra argues that Notre Dame "just can't recruit anymore." Anyone who actually watched college football would know that Notre Dame had a top-10 recruiting class last year (which is a number quite higher than Army or Navy) and currently has the No. 1 class for next year. We had several players drafted in the first round of the NFL. I am no genius from Rutgers, but it seems like the recruiting at Notre Dame is doing just fine.

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