By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Left, right, left, right
Re Roy Edroso's 'A Confederacy of Dunces' [April 16–22]: I found your recent cover story attacking conservative bloggers very ironic, for two reasons. First, you launched a hate-filled, one-sided diatribe against writers you apparently don't like because, in your view, they write hate-filled, one-sided diatribes. Second, you accused them of being armchair activists, talking about terrorism, for instance, from an ivory tower without actually laying anything on the line—the exact same thing you are doing in regard to the Bush administration. Liberals haven't re-elected a president with a majority of the popular vote since World War II; conservatives have managed it four different times. Reading your "analysis" of politics, it's easy to see why.
You have incurred a six-month ban on the use of the word "touchstone" from the Copy Editors' Umpire Squad. Reason: thoughtless misuse of word. Relevant rule: A touchstone is something used to test whether something else is genuine. It is not a milestone, a keystone, a capstone, a catalyst, or an inspiration. Subsequent misuse of this word may result in a two-year or lifetime ban.
Re Tony Ortega's 'Scientology's First Celebrity Defector Reveals Church Secrets' [villagevoice.com, April 15]: Jason Beghe's recent statements regarding Scientology are quite sad. He's just another in a line of people poisoned by bigots and apostates.
I've been a member of the Church of Scientology for 18 years. I have read probably all of the criticism that is out there. I have spoken personally with the bigots and apostates on numerous occasions to try to see their point of view.
And, in the end, I still know that Scientology has made me a better person—more tolerant of others, much more even-keeled, more able to live my life without spinning into depression, more spiritually aware, more loving of my family.
I still haven't figured out why that's a bad thing, and why the bigots and apostates continue to want to make me renounce an organization that I consider to have saved my life.
Ah well, I guess they can continue to live their lives of hate and skewed rhetoric, and I'll continue to live in my state of blissful denial.
Review of reviews
Re Michelle Orange's Tribeca Film Festival capsule review of 'Guest of Cindy Sherman' [April 23–29]: Thank you. It's extremely gratifying to have a succinct, good-hearted endorsement of our project. Ms. Orange has crafted the best description of Guest of Cindy Sherman, with a funny, nudgy eye that makes me feel better about doing a Q&A and not wearing a bulletproof vest.
Quinn gets a hiding
Re Tom Robbins's 'The Big Slush Hush' [April 16–22]: Speaker Quinn got a zero on the League of Humane Voters Scorecard. Furthermore, she has opposed every piece of legislation that would help animals. Regarding the slush-fund article, council members are afraid to cross her because nothing goes forward unless she wants it.
I know this from council members who have admitted that they haven't signed on to the bill banning horse-drawn carriages for this reason, even though they heartily agree with it. This is the last person we want as mayor of our great city.
The evil eye
Re Nat Hentoff's 'Our Very Own Axis of Evil in Guantánamo' [April 16–22]: Thanks for keeping this story in the public's view. I noticed the day after the 60 Minutes broadcast that the perpetrators of these crimes announced that a terrorist would be tried for involvement in 9/11. Can't let Murat Kurnaz's torture and unjust incarceration seep into the regular news.
Running rabid dog lackey
Re Nat Hentoff's 'China's Blood-Spattered Olympics' [April 9–15]: I can't help but pity you, Mr. Hentoff. You are so full of hatred and bullshit that you don't know what you are talking about. I don't particularly embrace any government, but you are the worst kind of rabid dog I've seen so far in the racist Western journalism world.
This'll learn you
Re Chloe A. Hilliard's 'The New Home Room' [April 9–15]: The lead of this article is one of the most prejudiced pieces of journalism I've ever read. It reveals a mind-set that makes tremendously biased assumptions that aren't based on reality. Did you even bother to learn the reality of homeschooled kids nationally, or did you just rely on the stereotypes perpetuated by those who worship at the altar of government schools?
Homeschooling is done by many, many people for a variety of reasons—yes, some for religious reasons, but even more for reasons involving the utter failure of government-run schools.
Start living up to real liberal thinking and quit using stereotypes. This particular one is offensive and wrong. It contributes to a further misunderstanding of why people make the choices that they do to get away from failed public schools.
The Voice is accepting applications for its summer arts internship. Candidates should have a broad familiarity with New York City's cultural scene—especially theater, film, and books—and be eager and talented writers. Applicants should mail a cover letter, résumé, and writing samples to:
Arts and Culture Editor, The Village Voice
36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003