By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Ducks are people, too
Re Sarah DiGregorio's 'The Right Stuff' [February 18–24]: I applaud you for your efforts in researching the production of foie gras, but I believe that your impressions and conclusions were mistaken. I do not know how you were able to tour the facility without seeing the cruelty involved in the process. The reason the farm is under legal siege is because there are violations regarding inhumane treatment.
Ducks have been known to explode from the enlarged livers, so how can we justify this practice for a supposed delicacy that very few can even afford? For that matter, how can we eat "humanely" raised veal?
It's just daffy that Sarah DiGregorio can profess to care about animal welfare, yet still defend shoving a pipe down a duck's throat and pumping up to four pounds of grain and corn into his stomach each day just to produce foie gras.
Of course, it's fair to say some foie gras operations may be crueler than others, but all inflict needless suffering. It's naive to think that a company with a vested interest in animal exploitation wouldn't be on its best behavior during an announced media visit.
Let's not duck the real issue here: There's simply no justification for eating a tormented duck's engorged liver.
As a resident of the area where Hudson Valley Foie Gras is located, I feel your otherwise good-news article left out an important aspect: Where does the duck shit go?
I'll tell you where: onto local fields for "fertilizer," which makes the streams run black—never mind making the air unbearable to breathe.
Ferndale, New York
Leave street art alone!
Re Camille Dodero's 'Photojournalist Martha Cooper Focuses Her Famous Lens on Postal Street Art' [February 11–17]: Cooper has already commercialized the graffiti artists for herself by photographing and removing their stickers and, I assume, selling prints and books in a gallery.
She deprives the rest of us who enjoy these small treasures in the wild when she selfishly plucks them from our view. I hope that the graffiti artists do start selling their work on eBay since Martha can only document and not create art.
No laughing matter
Re Michael Feingold's review of 'You're Welcome America' [Theater, February 11–17]: I have been reading your work for over a quarter of a century, so I read this week's review of Will Ferrell's Cort Theater show that lampooned George Bush. And, I must say, I've never encountered a profanity in your reviews, no matter how disparaging they may be.
To define Bush as a man who does not "give a flying fuck" describes how—for you—Bush's cold-blooded manipulation of the American people and their values has gotten under your skin.
I am writing to tell you I can identify with your frustrations.
To think this man who ruled the world for eight years actually got away with murder and left his office with a "fuck you" smile. I also share your chagrin at the neutered political theater available to audiences in this country and your accurate judgment of the effects of television on the minds of many Americans sitting stupefied in front of their plasma TV sets, still believing that there are WMD in Iraq and that America is doing a tough job of spreading democracy to a lawless land.
To think that Ferrell's show could reframe a horrendous political machine like the Bush administration as a mindless gaffe by a bumbling idiot is a get-out-of-jail pass. This hack job is really desensitizing the hurt done to so many by a few. Attempting to dismiss an administration's neo-fascist agenda with guffaws and cute witticisms as "gratifying, daring, and clever" is a sad state indeed.
• The DVD of the L.A. Opera production of the Brecht-Weill Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny won Grammys for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording. It was sung in Voice theater critic Michael Feingold's English translation.