By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Torture: Too big a stretch
Re Nat Hentoff's 'Judging the Torture Presidency' [July 2–8]: As embarrassing as Abu Ghraib is to this country, Hentoff is off his rocker to liken it to the World War II atrocities committed by the Nazis and Imperial Japan. How can a couple of leash photos taken by some Army white-trashers be compared with the state-organized mass murder of millions by the Nazis? Yamashita sanctioned the massacre of thousands of civilians and war prisoners in Malaysia and the Philippines. At least we don't behead innocents on the Internet.
Hentoff needs to lighten up. He sounds like Michelle Obama.
Hoboken, New Jersey
Mourning becomes electric
Re Graham Rayman's 'A Quiet Little Death' [June 18–24]: On behalf of all of us who care about the scores of quiet little deaths that occur in our communities all the time yet remain invisible, I thank Mr. Rayman.
Whenever I hear a lead story of a disappearance or murder on TV, I always wonder what elevated that particular human life to a position of such public concern and empathy, while the deaths of nameless others go unmourned or unmonitored. In letting us know about Patrick Miller—a marginalized, mentally ill man; someone's son, despite estrangement—Mr. Rayman brought some justice to bear, a welcome bit of healing.
Re Alexis Soloski's 'True East' [June 25–July 1]: I've admired Sam Shepard and his writing for 30 years. The production of Tongues and Savage/Love that I saw at the Public so long ago remains one of the best theatrical experiences I've had. I think there were about six people in the audience. No matter: Joseph Chaikin gave a very sensitive and committed performance. Hope you saw it, too.
Re Robert Wilonsky's 'Trumbo: Blacklist Drama' [Tracking Shots, June 24] : What a lame piece Wilonsky has written about this film, which tells the tale of a great American and his fight against tangible evil in another era that so closely resembles our own.
Are we to diminish a film about this freedom fighter merely because the actors are too feverish in their passion for his letters, or look a little too wrinkled from their rough ride in this merciless country? What insight does this film critic offer? Absolutely none; he basically misses the point.
A straight curve
Re Cyd Zeigler Jr.'s 'Switch Hitters' [Queer Issue, June 18–24]: As a gay player in the Big Apple Softball League, I know that Michael Yang's efforts to limit straight softball players were extremely unpopular, but I give him credit for bringing the issue to the floor.
I know that inclusion is part of the league's mission, but there's a part of me that finds the trend just a bit sad.
Re Deborah Jowitt's 'Master on View' [May 14–20]: Ms. Jowitt's review of the New York City Ballet season was nothing short of wondrous (and, in my opinion, accurate). I've been attending NYCB two to four times a week for 30 years—since college. I thank her, and the Voice, for publishing this fine piece of writing.
Montclair, New Jersey
Re 'Honors to Yaeger, Robbins' [Letters, June 25–July 1]: Kudos to the Voice's top writers, Lynn Yaeger and Tom Robbins, for their recent journalism awards. Both kicked butt—beating out the big-city dailies in New York and nationwide!
Irvington, New Jersey
In last week's 'Aural Fixation' [Voice Choices, July 2–8], we mistakenly handed composer Bernard Herrmann an Oscar for his Taxi Driver score. Herrmann was a 1976 nominee for both Taxi Driver and Obsession, but Jerry Goldsmith's original score for The Omen was the winner.
In the Sam Shepard interview 'True East' [June 25–July 1], we incorrectly stated the last time that the Public Theater produced a Sam Shepard play. The theater's last production was Sympatico in 1994, not True West in 1980.