By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Mean what we say
Re 'Musto's Year in Review' [December 24–30]: Do you really have to write more mean things about a human being who has died? What a refreshing article it would be to read a nice, respectful article on Heath Ledger.
Lead Belly's legacy
Re Tom Robbins's 'Reviving Lead Belly' [Books, December 31, 2008–January 6, 2009]: My husband, a professional musician, has also referred to "his roots" in some vague mention of Lead Belly. Thanks for giving me this sad, sweet story of real talent and fame without glory and monetary gain—the stuff of true legend.
Joanne R. Pacicca
Working for a living
Re Graham Rayman's 'Will Run for Food' [December 17–23]: The notion that the Africans, with their limited resources and difficult living conditions, are "taking your club money" is beyond offensive. What's to whine about? Guess what—they train harder. How many American-born New York runners are putting in the kind of training volume that these guys are?
If anyone who's complaining wants to share a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx with four other people or can match the work ethic that so many of these runners display, then we can talk. Until then, you can take comfort in your GPS watches, heart-rate monitors, custom orthotics, and well-balanced meals at Whole Foods, and finish in the middle of the pack with the rest of the weekend warriors.
Interesting story. Nice work. Do any runners ever kick some money back to the coach?
I and many others have fallen out with the NYRR's. It used to be a club; now, it is an event-management agency, run by white men and women who have no use for black and Hispanic-Americans, but yet insult us by bankrolling these foreigners with our money and putting us at the back of the pack.
I am saddened and dismayed to hear that Lynn Yaeger has been laid off from The Village Voice ['In This Week's Village Voice,' villagevoice.com, December 30]. She is not only an intelligent and eloquent critic of fashion and style, but also an observant social critic about consumer habits and trends in all of their forms. She is wonderfully irreverent and has a savvy, smart voice that is so often lacking in fashion writing. I do hope that it would be possible to keep her on (should that be mutually desirable), on even occasional intervals, because I have enjoyed her columns in the Voice for many years.
Re Rob Harvilla's 'Let's Avoid Neil Young's Next Record' [December 24–30]: I don't mind honest criticism of my favorite rock-and-roller in the universe. I myself am critical of him. However, this was not honest criticism, and any journalistic integrity was vaporized from the outset when it was obvious that the "writer" had preconceived ill will toward Mr. Young.
This review supports my contention that the standard of rock criticism in the Voice has not recovered from the loss of the dean—Robert Christgau. I suggest that we don't read Rob Harvilla's next article because it is not as good as the latest by Robert Christgau.
Re Nat Hentoff's 'What Obama Doesn't Know' [December 17–23]: I think Obama will quickly decide that we can't fight terrorism playing by Robert's Rules of Order, unless he wants the legacy of losing an American city.