Letter of The Week
Mandatory Breeding

Re James Ridgeway's article "South Dakota's Genius Scheme to Outlaw Abortion" [Mondo Washington, villagevoice.com, February 24]: I am a rape survivor who resides in South Dakota. I am 26 and am thankful that this ban was not in place five years ago. I would not have been able to go to college, meet my husband, or have the opportunity to make my own choices on family. This is what the state wants for women in my situation. The South Dakota Department of Health reports that one in 10 women is raped in this state every year. Most rapists go uncharged due to insufficient evidence. I have testified in front of my legislators only to be disrespected in the media and torn apart by men and women in this state who believe that life begins at conception. Women in South Dakota are officially back to being seen as walking reproductive organs and no longer as wives, daughters, or mothers.

Heather Ziegenbein
Spearfish, South Dakota

Closet check

Reading all of the sanctimonious letters ["Readers Respond to Sylvester's Fabrication," Letters, March 8–14] calling for Nick Sylvester's firing was irritating. What a self-congratulating dog pile. I hope Doug Simmons and the Village Voice management aren't influenced by these smackheads or so cowardly as to make an example out of this kid. Jayson Blair, my ass. Whoever killed the fact-checking step at the Voice should fall on their sword, and I doubt they're 24 years old. It's funny that you don't hear much chatter from magazine and newspaper staffers regarding this. Most have regularly seen copy concocted or exaggerated, often to suit the demands of an editor looking for a specific story. Bad journalism? Sure, if the culprits were actually journalists. That word is thrown around way too liberally. Many magazine and newspaper staffers really have no specific journalism training, other than maybe a few college courses. They get jobs in their early twenties and follow the direction of their top editors and the practices at their pubs, which vary wildly. There are no formal licensing standards for journalists here, as in some countries. You can call yourself one (or be held accountable as one) even if you have no clue about, say, the actual codified difference between a paraphrase and a direct quote. Anybody in media or on the Voice staff who wants Sylvester fired—after getting the nastiest public ass-whipping of his young life—better have a damn clean closet. If this is his only big screwup, give him the chance to make good.

Ron Geraci

Aim, fire

I am really disappointed in the Voice's decision to suspend Nick Sylvester instead of firing him. Children are adorable when they tell lies, not adults who are "journalists" putting out information to the public. Truthfully, I don't really care about Sylvester's article. Everyone knows that straight white males are fucked questing for pussy. What sickened me was that the article was a cover story. Why was this news? Surely, the Voice could have run it in the People section of its website, along with Savage Love and Pucker Up. Furthermore, I wonder how adorable Sylvester would be if his name were Greg Tate.

Cacy Forgenie

Old-school excelencia

I loved Pablo Guzman's article "Ray Barretto, 1929–2006" [March 1–7]. It revealed that there is a true love for real salsa, not this monga crap on the radio. My friend and I started La Excelencia (a New York–based salsa dura/salsa gorda band) because we are tired of this crappy salsa from today. Barretto knew what it was all about; he captured the Afro essence of our music. His lyrics spoke about situations that mattered and brought awareness. We hope only to honor those like Barretto with our music, which follows in the same footsteps.

José Vazquez

Colonial ties that blind

Re Jarrett Murphy's "Libertad? Maybe" [March 1–7]: The February 10 FBI raids should not be used to lead Puerto Rico to the slaughterhouse of independence. The reality of the matter is that Puerto Rico's culture and infrastructure are intertwined with the United States'. Puerto Ricans have died fighting for freedom and liberty in U.S. wars. How will the American citizenship that Puerto Ricans currently enjoy be resolved in an independent Puerto Rico? How will Puerto Rico replace the $14 billion that the U.S. contributes to the Puerto Rico treasury? Independence is an ideal but is not as simple as some advocates make it seem.

Hiram Andrades
Centreville, Virginia

Funky crime stats

Thanks to Jarrett Murphy for exposing the truth about crime statistics in New York City ["Wanted: NYC Crime Numbers," Power Plays, villagevoice.com, March 6]. Nobody will touch this issue because it would do one of two unpopular things: show that Giuliani did not reduce crime in the outer boroughs, or indicate that the increase in the city's Black and Hispanic population could somehow be correlated with an increase in crime, something that has consistently happened in all cities. When Manhattan media types talk about the city, they should be talking about all five boroughs, as they elected Giuliani and Bloomberg.

Andrew Smith

Equal-opportunity gold diggers

After reading Rachel Kramer Bussel's "Who's Paying for Your Next Date?" [Lusty Lady, March 1–7] I can't help but marvel at Bussel's tortured reminiscence of her wealthy lover. I'm so conflicted! Cristal or Perrier Jouet? Unfortunately, women are not as emancipated as they would like themselves, and others, to believe. It is annoying to me that modern women still cherish and take full advantage of the double standard of a man paying their way on a date. You want dinner? Great. Pony up! It's funny: People talk a good game about equality and fairness, but when it's actually applied, folks start begging for special treatment like their lives depend on it.

William Brody
Seattle, Washington

Heavy heart

Re Nat Hentoff's "The CIA's 'Black Sites'" [Liberty Beat, March 1–7]: How do we increase the pressure on our government to close down these sites and start treating the detainees humanely? I am sick at heart to think that these places are being operated in my name. Every day that these actions continue is another day out of the life of potential innocents. Whatever happened to the rule of law? Why shouldn't it be applied to everyone, no matter where they are captured? Why not set up an international tribunal to deal with suspected terrorists? What makes us different from the criminals who created 9-11 if we too condemn and torture people who are potentially innocent without trial?

Ethlyn Vogler
Beverly Hills, Michigan

Camp Bible-thump

It was refreshing to see Nat Hentoff's piece "The Cartoons Conspiracy" [Liberty Beat, February 20, villagevoice.com]. It is courageous for a decidedly liberal paper such as the Voice to express this opinion, provide a background rarely covered elsewhere, and put the intolerance-preaching imams where they belong—in the same camp as our own homebred Bible-thumpers.

Sasha Musayev

Chappelle's safe haven

Re Ed Halter's "Chappelle's Show" [March 1–7]: I'm almost positive that Chappelle wanted to show America that hip-hop is not intrinsically violent. His pallet of socially conscious artists are not the type who attract the violent thuggery that the most popular hip-hop artists do. I believe that's why Chappelle invited a diverse group to his block party. He knew that it would be safe for them. The truth is, America loves the violence. That's why 50 Cent sells 5 million and Common goes gold.

Darrick Herndon
Hillsboro, Oregon

Breaking news: Pussy, pussy, pussy

The Village Voice has gotten utterly boring. I read it online from Rome, hoping to keep in touch with the excitement of New York City, but the famous Voice has almost nothing of real interest anymore. The Art section could just as well be deleted; it is useless. The People section of the Voice website can't stop itself from saying "dick" and "vagina." Come on, just print 50 pages of the word pussy! That is all you seem to care about. The Voice is little more than a shock-value semi-soft wannabe-porn rag. My objection is that you still ride the reputation of a magazine with its finger on the pulse of New York. It is more like Mad magazine for frat boys. I am disappointed and completely bored with the Voice. If you must talk about dick and pussy constantly, could you at least say something intelligent and worth reading?

Helen del Giudice
Rome, Italy

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