Letter of The Week
It takes a Village Voice

I am extremely saddened to find out that my beloved Village Voice, the weekly that I have enjoyed since discovering it in 1992, has joined the dark side and become a member of the New Times family. New Times will never let the Voice keep the originality that made the paper one of the most well-known and widely loved weeklies in the country. New Times has made every publication it has touched boring and predictable. I stopped reading the Houston Press years ago because it lost its edge and its character, and it became just another cog in the New Times wheel. Every New Times publication has the same look and feel. I could say more, but I'm too devastated to continue. I'll remember The Village Voice the way it was, because now that it's part of the New Times family it may not have much of a voice in the future.

Edwin Johnson
Houston, Texas

Editor in chief wanted:

The Village Voice, America's flagship alternative weekly, is seeking an editor in chief to carry on the paper's storied tradition of investigative journalism, feature-length storytelling, and cutting-edge cultural criticism. Applicants should have a fine touch with copy, significant experience crafting stories in magazine style, and strong reporting chops. They should be able to help staff generate superior in-depth stories that explain how New York City works, and guide beginning writers as well as accomplished ones. The ideal candidate will be able to edit and write, leading by example rather than by dictate.

Qualified candidates should send a cover letter, résumé, and clips to:

Christine Brennan
c/o Westword
969 Broadway
Denver, Colorado 80203

The truth is out there?

Jarrett Murphy's piece "The Seekers: The Birth and Life of the '9-11 Truth' Movement" [February 22–28] was a breath of fresh air. I'm glad that stuff like this is finally being put out by the media to encourage others to seek the truth about 9-11. As New Yorkers, we all can agree that 9-11 was a turning point in what was once a great city. It's unfortunate that the blame has been put on the wrong group of tyrants, while dismissing the Bush administration's involvement and complicity with the tragic events of 9-11. The more people talk about this issue in the open, the better it will serve to bring peace to the victims' family and friends. The subway searches, the militarized police, and everything else that has ruined this city have been in the name of 9-11, and have robbed the city blind of the freedom and beauty it once had. Articles like Murphy's strive to get the truth out, and to reclaim what was once our city.

Steve Ferdman

I just read Murphy's story on 9-11 and I was surprised by his distanced and skeptical tone. I would have expected that after four years of government stonewalling and inconclusive and incomplete studies of the events of 9-11, The Village Voice of all newspapers would provide more detailed and informative reporting than the vague and distanced summary that Murphy scribed.

Jeffrey Sargent
San Francisco, California

I don't buy the theory that the U.S. government was behind 9-11, but I do believe that it expected something really bad to happen in New York at that time. On Friday, September 7, I was outside my office on the Exchange Place esplanade and saw several jet fighters streak down the Hudson River (something I'd only seen during Fleet Week or presidential visits). On Sunday, September 9, I was in Fort Washington Park adjacent to the George Washington Bridge with a friend, and we saw a U.S. military helicopter approach the bridge and fly below it. Two military aircraft flying over the Hudson in three days, just before 9-11? I am sure the government knew that something bad was about to happen.

Patrick Ravey
Forest Hills, Queens

Spin City

Tricia Romano's story on DJs ["Celebrity Spin," February 15–21] was quite informative. I appreciate Romano's unique insight into this somewhat new and silly trend of people being billed as "DJs" who are really just common record players, or as I call them human jukeboxes. Celebrities or not, it seems that not long ago, DJ'ing used to be a skill, not a celebrity hobby. I loved the part in the article when celebrity DJs were referred to as iPods with legs. The backlash against dance music is quite annoying to me on a professional level, having been involved in the culture since the late-'80s pre-rave days. Personally, it needs to go back underground. I know I certainly enjoy playing less-commercial music in less-commercial venues.

DJ Fagatronic
Seattle, Washington

Toons, goons, and media buffoons

Nat Hentoff says that the question of whether or not to publish the Danish cartoons ["The Cartoons Conspiracy," Liberty Beat, February 20, villagevoice.com] is not a freedom-of-speech issue because the government has not moved to suppress them. But former president Clinton pretty much made it one when, while in Pakistan, he said the people's religious convictions should be respected at all costs, and that media should not be permitted to criticize other faiths. Clinton said the media could criticize any issue but nobody had the right to play with the sentiments of other faiths. How does this not restrict freedom of speech whenever the issue is the conduct of Islamists around the world?

Patricia Kunz
Keyport, New Jersey

Right on, Hentoff. The same media bed wetters who celebrated free speech by plastering the images of a urine-soaked crucifix and a dung-smeared pornographic image of the Virgin Mary in every conceivable media forum are the ones who speak of respect and sensitivity for religious beliefs while cowering under their desk for fear of Muslim outrage. As a Catholic, I was appalled at these disrespectful blasphemies, but out of respect for freedom of speech, I was never moved to respond to the insult. Congratulations to the Voice and any other media entity that has the courage to display the images of Muhammad in its coverage of this story. Though I found the cartoons offensive, and from a Muslim perspective blasphemous, seeing them helped me to understand the outrage (not the violence) of practicing Muslims. I don't see how one could clearly understand the story without seeing the cartoons for themselves. I guess the moral of the story is that when you want to dump piss and smear shit on a religious group, do it to somebody who will not burn your embassy or issue a fatwa and hunt you down and kill you for committing an act of blasphemy.

C. Robert McDevitt
Atlantic City, New Jersey

Just an average gem

With all due respect to Mikael Wood on his staggering ramblings of tongue-tied insults toward Billy Joel's ever lustrous career ["Sometimes He's Shot," February 8–14]: It is pointless to judge the musical career of a man who has garnered the love of millions of fans worldwide. I find it wholly unnecessary to do so, for Joel is more like your average person than any other musician I have read about. I can relate to him as a person more than I could relate to Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, or even Ray Charles. Joel's music exists for one reason: for the people who want to listen to it. I am not a journalist, I don't have a college degree, and I do not write for a magazine that gets widely published, but I know what it means to write and create something that means so much to you that it becomes like a child to you: You give it a voice, you give it a heartbeat, and you try to give it all that you have until you have nothing left.

Joel's humility and truthfulness in "Honesty" are respectable. "And So It Goes" reminds us all that, no matter where we are in life, our heart will always break, but it also reassures us with such simplicity that it is in our control to move on and accept it. Yes, he has his lesser-known songs that are not of immense quality, but you can't expect every creation to be successful; it's in failure and persistence that you find your voice, not in success.

Joel Frederickson
Kirkwood, Missouri


In last week's review of photographer Seydou Keïta the photo credit for Keïta's photograph was wrong. The credit should have read: Association Seydou Keïta Bamako, Mali. Courtesy Association Seydou Keïta Bamako, Mali, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, and JM Patras, Paris.

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