Re Michael Feingold's 'English Only' [February 27–March 4]: Bravo, Feingold, for blasting the Brits! I really appreciated the review of Patrick Stewart's Macbeth. Since 1976, when I saw Albert Finney's Hamlet in London in a flatly staged production by Peter Hall, I've had this sneaking suspicion that the Brits by and large have taken their supposed hold on English "cultchah" for granted. They appear to be somewhat bored with the classics, and they presume that our groveling American Anglophiles over here will drool over anything they throw up on the stage. Thanks, but we can do Shakespeare badly without the U.K.'s contributions.
However, we have produced some very good Shakespeare on occasion, with the help of Americans like Michael Kahn, Jack O'Brien, and Daniel Sullivan. It's a shame that our Anglophiles don't give American Shakespeare priority over the Brits'. After all, their forebears obviously forsook Jollye Olde for these colonies they annexed from the Native Americans. Right?
Hooray, Michael Feingold: At last someone got it right. I saw Macbeth at BAM with a large group of college students. I fully expected to love it, and knowing that Patrick Stewart was playing the lead, I thought my students would love it as well. Sad to report, it was laughingly bad (and slow). Looking over all of the glowing reviews from all of the NYC publications, I can't help but think of "The Emperor's New Clothes." Most sadly, the players (and director, apparently) all but ignored sightlines and paid zero attention to the audience members in the steep cheap seats at BAM, as if the only audience members who matter are the critics and the ones with the cash to afford orchestra seats.
The vast majority of my students felt the same way. In post-show discussions, we ended up spending most of our time trying to figure out what goes on with New York critics when they all sing the praises of a mediocre or weak show such as this. It is one thing for an audience to be taken with "English theatre" simply because it is English. But for the allegedly sophisticated New York press to have drunk the same Kool-Aid leaves one sadly scratching one's head. Glad to see that Feingold got it right; sorry to see that this show was such a disappointment.
Re Nat Hentoff's 'Will Quinn Stand Up to Kelly?' [February 27–March 4]: Nat Hentoff hasn't any children in the NYC school system, I guess? If he did, he wouldn't be writing about the evil police policing the schools; he would be happy that his little lefty son or daughter was safe. You know, people are sick and tired of libs endangering their children's lives with students who don't want to learn and just want to make trouble.
All you do is pitch
Re Allen Barra's 'Softballs for Pettitte: When Are Journalists (and Baseball) Going to Ask Andy Tougher Questions?' [February 27–March 4]: I think a better question is why you don't believe steroids and HGH have had a positive effect on Clemens's stats.
I enjoyed the article 'Iron Chef Boyardee' [February 20–26, 2008] immensely, primarily because the author has such a well-developed sense of humor—a trait that seems to be sorely lacking in most food critics (as demonstrated by all those nasty comments posted online). And I chuckled out loud more than once while reading this well-written piece in its entirety. I had always assumed that the show was rigged, but had never thought much about all those details that were revealed by the author in such an entertaining manner. I look forward to reading future work from this writer.
Alice J. Haslam
To those who bitched and moaned about Robert Sietsema's Iron Chef article and how obvious it is that the show was staged: Y'all are a bunch of bloody morons! Thanks. Nice article; good to know.
You are an idiot for not knowing that reality TV is all staged. Your story sucked.
What's really shocking is that so many people not only took the time to read an article that they thought was "a complete waste of time," but also to write long comments on how stupid they thought it was! Get a life. When was the last time the press covered something we didn't know? And props to Robert for writing an amusing article on the ridiculousness of reality TV.
Your suspicions are correct in regards to the chef's knowing the secret ingredient. I spoke to someone who competed at the Fancy Food Show (NY), and he told me that, early on, they give you a list of ingredients that may be on the show. Not long before taping (I seem to remember several days), they tell the challenger that it will be one of two ingredients. The Iron Chef knows the secret ingredient. The challenger (and presumably the Iron Chef) is also able to tell the show which ingredients will be needed in order to create their respective dishes, and they can also bring their own specialized equipment. This, of course, puts to rest why they can pull out all these exotic ingredients and tools at the drop of a hat.
Are you kidding me? The best Voice could do for a cover story is Robert Sietsema's lame exposé that sheds light on the shameful inner workings of . . . a cooking show? The biggest hoax I can see is the Voice's fading claim to be newsworthy and relevant. A cover story? C'mon!
I hope this article starts a Congressional investigation.
Remember, television is like sausage. If you want to enjoy it, don't watch it being made.
That one gurl
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