Letter of the Week
SALINGER UP THE WAZZNER
On behalf of the faculty and staff at Ursinus College I'd like to express my pleasure with Ed Park's bang-up research for his work "H.H.: An Introduction," [Voice Literary Supplement, November 915]. Leif D. Warden was a phony and a snob, and Park is absolutely correct that he never taught in any conventional classroom, choosing instead, smelling of Yuengling, to loiter among the coeds at Wazzner Student Center. However, I want to point out that it was actually Warden's wife with whom Salinger was allegedly intimate, not his niece. But that's not important anymore as all the papers were burned at a homecoming bonfire. What is important is that our gem of a college, named for the great German Latinist and theologian Zacharias Baer, sits in the suburbs of Philadelphia; it never has been nor ever will be an institution in western Pennsylvania.
Richard G. DiFeliciantonio
Revenge of the not-so-dumb blonds
Re Michael Musto's article ["Death of the Dumb Blond," November 915]. No matter what Musto says, society will never get over its fascination with blonds, nor will it overcome its predilection for public displays of stupidity, narcissism, and blatant exhibitionism. Furthermore, it will never give up the misguided belief that blond equals dumb. That's OK by me: The element of surprise is very valuable for those of us blessed with light tresses. Who can forget the subtle sexiness, the inner fire, and the cool surface of Hitchcock's timeless blonde bombshells: Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak? They were not dumb. What Musto is bitching about is the in-your-face aesthetic of our time,the prevailing lack of subtlety. He's wrong about blonds but right that there is no more mystery.
I am a blonde . . . born blonde and still a natural blonde at 56 with just a hint of silver, which makes me appear even blonder! Why are blonds still a target for insults in this age of PC ad nauseam? Why does blond hair invite such sophomoric drivel and attention? Where is the backlash? If a writer on your staff penned an equally stupid article about dumb nappy-haired people, the PC police would be on you like fleas on a dog's butt.
Linda Burton Morgan
I find it hypocritical for Michael Musto to say that women are taking a step backward based on what he believes their mentality to be, calling them sluts. It seems that Musto is the one stuck in the old days with the same views about women. Analyzing a few females and saying they are dumb based on his superficiality is sick. The world is ruled by men, and women are meat, so when I see young females making millions I feel proud. I enjoy watching Anna Nicole Smith; she is an entertaining person even though she may say some weird things. Musto should stop overanalyzing for his pathetic column. It's not women's fault that they are constantly exposed, looked over, and analyzed. Musto used the term DB, but he is the one degrading women.
Setauket New York
Yankees in Gabe Wallach's court
Re: Akiva Gottlieb's essay on the Yankees, ["Fantasy Baseball," November 915]: First of all, most non-native New Yorkers I know root for the Mets (or their hometown team) and are proud Yankee-haters. Who'd want to root for an overpaid team that expects to win the World Series before the season starts? Maybe some people go for the absurdly moneyed Goliaththe rest of us will gladly take our scrappy, championship-starved underdogs. For the record, the only exciting thing about this sloppy and inconsistent Yankee season was the tantalizing possibility that the Grinch might miss the playoffs for once (damn you, baseball gods!). The fact that they managed to climb back and take the AL East on the shoulders of Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon says a lot more about those two guys (and the Orioles' meltdown) than it does about the Yankees. Sure, they have some great players (what did you think they were spending that $200 million on?), but baseball is about character and chemistry, not one MVP candidate's gaudy regular season stats and subsequent October disappearing act. Just ask the White Sox.
Jersey boys rock
I live in Jersey but I'm not from Jersey, and frankly I don't care about Jersey!
Nonetheless, I found Michael Feingold's review of Jersey Boys [November 915] as idiotic as the Jersey electorate.
It was wonderfully written and staged, beautifully played and sung, and absolutely mesmerizing. Seldom have I had or seen more people (of all ages and persuasions) have more fun at a Broadway production. Incidentally, the Four Seasons sure as hell had dozens more than "two or three pop hits." I suspect that Feingold's talent for objective theater criticism disappeared long before Phil Silvers's hair.
Plainfield, New Jersey
Thank you Jennifer Gonnerman for bringing the life of Marc LaCloche, ["Barbershop ban," November 915] to the pages of The Village Voice. As human beings, we fight so hard for distinction, for validation that each of us is someone and that we matter. Illness or age will change one's priorities, but having people in our lives who know us and what we did is everything. The life of Mr. LaCloche speaks to that. Though he didn't have the love of his parents throughout his life, he tried to loveto care about those he built relationships with. He sold drugs just to survive and ended up in prison. Cutting hair is a profession that promotes intimacy, communication, and style, and he wanted to do that with his life for others. Perhaps much of his life seemed as if he'd looked through windows, outside of exactly where and what he wanted to be; but he was a human being and his life mattered. So does your article about him.
Studio City, California
I read Jennifer Gonnerman's "Barbershop ban" and felt I had to drop a letter to the person who had written this. What she wrote is simply the perfection of journalismclear, factual, unbiased, investigative, admirably humane, contemporary, wide-ranging, and well written. This story moved me as much as it informed me of the cruelty of our so-called modern world. Gonnerman really paid homage to the great man that Marc LaCloche wasan inspiration for us all to fight for justice, especially on behalf of those who can't. By writing LaCloche's story in this fashion she gave him a decent "gravestone with his name." She did what Antigone tried to do for her brotherhonor his memory in a time rife with injustice. It's so anticlimactic that this grand work should appear in a gray-papered, ad-laden, free newspaper upon which thousands of New Yorkers may tread every day without concern for its contents. It's great that there is at least one papernot just in the city, but in the world on which I can rely for critical, intelligent, humanistic articles.
"Barbershop ban" embodies what I hope to find in The Village Voicejournalism that shines a light on obscure lives and, at the same time, on issues that should be everyone's concern; not hagiography, not box-thumping, but personal and informative conscience-rattling. Thank you for letting me know who Marc LaCloche was.
Readers respond to 'Barbershop Ban'
After the story "Barbershop Ban" appeared in last week's Voice, many readers contacted the paper and offered to help pay the burial costs for Marc LaCloche. For the last four years, LaCloche had fought a one-man battle for the right to cut hair. The state prison system had trained him to be a barber while he was incarcerated for robbery, but after his release in 2001 the state refused to grant him a barber's license.
LaCloche died broke and alone at age 40, after a long battle with AIDS. As of last week, his body was headed to potter's field on Hart Island, where it was to be buried in a ditch with 149 others. After the Voice story appeared, one reader offered to pay the total cost of LaCloche's burial, which came to nearly $1,200. LaCloche's friend Ezell Turner made the arrangements, and LaCloche will soon be buried at Rosemount Cemetery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Jennifer Gonnerman
Due to an editing error, in Michael Feingold's review of Sweeney Todd [November 915], the name of performer Manoel Felciano was misspelled.
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