By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Don't Joke About Barack
Re Roy Edroso's 'The Harrowing Adventures of President Obama' [August 20–26]: Not only is Edroso too kind to flip-flopper Obama, but he's overly optimistic. Meaning that I, the most politically astute New Jerseyan, predict that Obama will not be sworn in as president on January 20. Remember that it was in these same pages last year that Rudy Giuliani was considered a shoo-in—and I said he wouldn't even get the Republican nomination. My mojo worked then, and it'll work now against Obama.
Irvington, NEW JERSEY
Thanks—I needed three pages of condescending elitism by fellow liberals to remember that the American public is retarded and that all scary Muslim foreigners in the Middle East really want are sugar cookies, rainbows, and peace with America.
Of course, no presidency will end up delivering on the vision of its most idealistic supporters—but where's the bleak and far more realistic picture of what happens under President McCain? Hello, far-right Supreme Court. Hello, eight more years of oblivious foreign policy. Hello, completely regressive tax structure sending average Americans further into the hole. For sure, this is one of the reasons Obama is slipping: While Fox News and every other right-wing outlet is regurgitating McCain's talking points, insecure lefty media outlets are trying to outsnark each other and be the first to bring Obama back down to earth. That's fine, but do it after you've examined McCain for more than one inch of print.
Enough with the emaciated white chicks>
Re Chloé A. Hilliard's 'Black Is Musical' [August 13–19]: I've been reading for quite some time about the "blackout" of models of color in fashion. I applaud the work of Bethann Hardison, Tyra Banks, and many others who work hard to bring this issue to the forefront, as well as to confront the fashion industry's "upper echelon" for what is very obviously institutionalized racism. As a woman of color, I am tired of being told that beauty is some emaciated white chick who has the body of a boy! Unfortunately, many of our brothers and sisters wear and promote these same top-designer lines—from our mega-rich music, acting, corporate, and sports stars and ballers to the 'hood girl who will spend her last dime to get that new Prada bag or those marked-down Blahnik shoes. I would guess that we are some of the biggest—if not the biggest—consumers of designer wear in the country (if not the entire world). So we shouldn't have to beg them to represent us in their fashion shows and advertisements.
Elmwood Park, NEW JERSEY
So Go the Teachers . . .
May I suggest to Nat Hentoff ['The Lost Two-Thirds,' August 13–19] and others alarmed by the high dropout rates for black males that they ask Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, and United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten if some of our youthful dropouts were discouraged by the "disappearing" of black and Latino educators from New York City's classrooms? Since 2002, when Bloomberg and Klein took control of the Department of Education, the percentage of newly hired black and Latino educators has declined steadily. As a parent and educator, I have been an eyewitness to this, along with the alarming dropout rates among our youth. While these matters are indeed complex, I believe that the exclusion and purging of educators of color sends a negative message to our youth and families.
Concerned Parent and Educator
Remembering Louis Owens
Re Tony Ortega's 'John Steinbeck's Ghosts' [August 13–19]: This is so like Louis Owens. Louis did something similar for one of my students, Nick, a Choctaw whose mother had left home to teach here in the Northwest. Louis and Nick corresponded, and Nick ultimately reconnected with his grandfather just before he passed on. And then there's the Vietnamese student who ran into Louis's office from the library (where she'd been researching a personal narrative she was writing for his class), plopped down a copy of Time magazine on his desk, opened it to an aerial photo of a refugee camp in Thailand, pointed at a group of people by the wire looking up at the helicopter, and said: "That's me, that's my sister, that's my mom . . . . "
Just think of what Louis could be doing now. That's the hole left behind.
Western Washington University