By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Re Jessie Beauchaine's 'Pre-Born Again: "Snowflake" babies, embryo "adoption," and the next frontier of the stem cell debate' [June 17–23]: Great article! Although the conservative perspective seems a bit extreme as it relates to "snowflakes," it does compel me to explore the ethics involved in in vitro fertilization and its aftermath, a topic that is easy to dismiss or remain oblivious to.
The reporter calls an embryo a "clump of cells"—that reminds me that the Nazis called a soap made of Jewish corpses "human product." Horrid.
A vote for Senate closure
Re Tom Robbins's 'The Taking of the Senate 1 2 3' [June 17–23]: The Republicans regaining control of the State Senate due to the support of Democratic state senators Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr. is actually good news for taxpayers. Our civil and economic liberties are continually at risk when any city, state, or federal legislative body is in session.
Elected officials from both parties routinely pass legislation to increase spending, taxes, and deficits, and pass bills benefiting their "pay-for-play" contributors. In addition, there are always new rules and regulations infringing on our day-to-day lives.
The resulting gridlock with Senator Smith and the Democrats trying to regain control from Senator Skelos and the Republicans puts a stop to all of the above.
It costs us much less if they continue their infighting. While they're not in session, we are all better off.
Great Neck, New York
The sound of one
Re J. Hoberman's 'Enthusiasm, Curbed: Not even the great Larry David can salvage Woody's shtick,' a review of Woody Allen's Whatever Works [June 17–23]: Who keeps giving this man money to remake the same film over and over? He found someone worse than himself, Larry David, to be his alter ego.
And this thing that young women are so stupid that they would find this guy lovable and sleep with him? Oy vey.
Hoberman says that Woody Allen has a pathetic need to be liked and that this partly explains why he never did anything as truly subversive as Portnoy's Complaint or Borat or The Producers or Lenny Bruce's monologues. Maybe this is true.
But none of these other artists created as rich a mixture of love story and hilarious comedy that we find in Annie Hal—nor did any of these other artists create something as indestructibly and innocently hilarious as Take the Money and Run.
Re Elizabeth Dwoskin's 'The Jaws of Debt' [June 10–16]: This is a revelation! A judge on the side of the defenseless. I don't care about his past. What he's doing now is the right thing, because most of these debt collectors often misrepresent themselves shamelessly.
There are too many incidents of people wrongly accused of owing debt, and of collectors getting away with financial murder. It cheers my day to read this!
The gang's all here
Re David Shaftel's 'MobFellas: A court reunion that could only happen in New York' [June 3–9]: The best part of this article is the front cover showing Judge Gleeson as a central mobster.
Using your canoodle
Re Rob Harvilla's 'The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Dirty Projectors' [June 10–16]: "For such a fantastic song to have been crafted in such a contrived, arms-length, almost satirical way is a real drag." That is a solid observation, sir.
But I think there is a larger existential point to be concerned with: How many bookish girls in turtlenecks can I get to make out with me if I tell them the only reason I like "Stillness . . ." is because it totally reminds me of them?