I'VE GOT SIX THINGS ON MY MIND
Top Six Thoughts on "Take 4: The Fourth Annual Village Voice Film Critics' Poll" [January 1-7]:
6. Geez, these things are a plague. Is the media obsession with lists another expression of how critical discourse becomes increasingly commodified, nuanced engagement reduced to Entertainment Weekly- or Consumer Report-style ranking and rating?
5. Oh hell, here's Armond White calling Todd Haynes "a 21st-century pseud who refuses to risk the embarrassment of emotion except by putting it in quotes." Can White recognize emotion without heavy cues from John Williams? Haynes on Sirk is as Borges's Pierre Menard on Cervantes, new resonances are found in the appropriationand perhaps emotional freedom can be found within stylistic constraint.
4. Ed Park's description of The Fast Runner makes it sound so nice I'm almost afraid to see the movie, in case it fails the blurb. Maybe there's something to be said for these things.
3. White again, now chastising the Voice for inadequate appreciation of Spielberg: "Come on, guys," he says. "Remember why you started loving movies in the first place." This is at least chummier sounding than his home-turf (New York Press) rant on the Voice's (mostly enthusiastic) response to Minority Report. As I recall, at that time he accused your staff of committing, or intending to commit, "intellectual genocide."
2. If such lists are a scaly patch on the cultural body, why do I always read them?
1. What the hell is "intellectual genocide"?
Re Chuck Eddy's "The Daddy Shady Show" [December 25-31, 2002]:
What is the point of this guy piecing together well-known Eminem lyrics into neat little analytical skits that reveal nothing? Ya know, black people do not go running around acting like they invented golf just because Tiger Woods is the best.
And it's great how lyrics about cutting up your wife are cute and ironic and highly secondary when people consider your true brilliance when you're white. Since when does being a violent felon who shares custody of his daughter with a cocaine-abusing woman who tried to kill herself in your house make you Father of the Fucking Year? Is white skin made from Teflon?
This Chuck guy needs to lose himself in the woods and the Voice needs to check itself, 'cause "bitches like you gets no respect." (Remember Cube?)
MAMA, YOU BEEN ON MY MIND
I was very offended by your cover ["The Daddy Shady Show"] depicting Eminem as the Virgin Mary. Were you deliberately trying to offend Catholics? Any other time of year I wouldn't have cared, but your issue came out on Christmas! Since the cover line was "Eminem: Father of the Year," how does it make sense to depict him as a mother?
Re Chuck Eddy's "The Daddy Shady Show":
I'm just wondering why an alternative publication would be so eager to jump on the Eminem bandwagon by placing him on two covers in three months.
Did Marshall Mathers buy The Village Voice or something? I'm tired of hearing about Eminem and seeing him everywhere. I don't hate himbut enough is enough.
I'm a little surprised and disappointed that the Voice would stoop to the level of Entertainment Weekly or US. Did the same phenomenon occur with Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, et al.?
Re "Songs in the Key of Z" [January 1-7]:
I want to know what the hell Nick Catucci meant when he called Jay-Z the "best black MC." I'm not even a Jay-Z fan, but I consider the use of the qualifier "black" insulting to Jay-Z and to the community that gave birth to this music.
If you meant to imply that you think that Eminem is the best MC, all you had to say was that Jay-Z is "one" of the best MCs, or among the best MCs. But to say that he is the best "black" MC is to imply that black MCs are a mere subgroup in the music that came out of their culture.
Willingboro, New Jersey
Nick Catucci replies: To say Jay is "one" of the best MCs would not suggest Eminem is the bestwhich was my intention. Has it become politically incorrect to even mention race?
IN POETRY WE TRUST
Re Joshua Clover's "Poetry Nation" [November 27-December 3, 2002]:
Poetry Magazine got $100 million. Good for them. All of the poets clamoring for the gift to be divided among the hundreds of struggling literary magazines sound like I did in graduate school when I realized everyone had a trust fund or fellowship except me. I got over it. So should they.
Re J. Hoberman's "The Truths About Charlie" [December 4-10, 2002]:
I like big words and I like challenging writing and structure. I don't need things spoon-fed to me à la USA Today. However, when Hoberman uses a word like bodhisattvas it leaves the taste of someone trying to feel clever or part of some New Age/new-order-media/anti-media smarty club. It just gives me a headache, because I actually take the time to look up unfamiliar words I read. When I went through the trouble of looking up the word bodhisattvas in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, I understood his point, but I was sorry that I bothered.
To use his own terminology "so extravagantly self-conscious that it bids to preempt analysis," if solipsism is synonymous with onanism, my brain was left sticky from words that struck me as both "shrill and soporific."
I am an avid Voice reader and will continue to be one, but let Hoberman know that he doesn't have to zeitgeist his way into my heart and he should go easy on the thesaurus.
Upper West Side
CONFESSIONS OF A STICKBALL FANATIC
Your article about Dubya and baseball salaries going to the stratosphere was fascinating ["The $25 Million Man," December 4-10, 2002]. It unfortunately misses the true cause: the stupid fans. I can talk to you about any baseball player from Todd Zeile to Cap Anson. I also have no plans to pay $40 to make like Hendrix and kiss the sky, $3.75 for a scorecard, or $4 for a hot dog, coffee, or pretzel.
In 1995, after the baseball players flipped the bird to the fans, the fanslike sacrificial lambscame shuffling back to the ballparks. Without the stupid fans paying these prices, the owners would not be able to pay these salaries!
Nathan F. Weiner
Morris Heights, Bronx
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