LETTER OF THE WEEK
Re Jon Caramanica's "Stupid White Men" [June 30-July 6]:
I cannot believe that Caramanica so thoroughly trashed the Beastie Boys in his review. Dissing them was bad enough, but that's not the point. The reasons Caramanica gives for his dislikes of the album are directly contradicted by the Beasties' history, the album itself, and his own arguments. The combination seems less like an objective appraisal than a strained justification of the reviewer's own peeves about what hip-hop ought to sound like.
Lower East Side
Re Ed Halter's "The Big Ones" [July 7-13]:
Michael Moore is the only real hero we have right now in this country. His courageous honesty is more than admirable, and it is beyond materialistic morality-based marketing. His documentary-making talents do not just speak to the left-wing base, but to all who feel privileged to live in America.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Re Gary Indiana's "Wonder When You'll Miss Me" [June 30July 6]:
Thank you, Gary Indiana, for defending Bill Clinton's My Life. You put into words the feelings that so many of us have been harboring toward this administration and the Bush dynasty. Barbara DeStevens
Rocky River, Ohio
Indiana writes damn well. He speaks his mind, tells it the way it isall in the most beautiful, kickass style I have read in eons. I congratulate you for having the balls to publish it for all of us to read. The mainstream media kisses ass and you are its antidote. Keep this colt on the racetrack.
San Marcos, Texas
Light at the End of the Nightmare
Indiana's article is the most thrilling evisceration of our current White House occupant-squatter and the long three-and-a-half-years-and-counting nightmare we are living in that I have ever read. Just brilliant. And even though the news is all bad, I found his article is just slightly comforting, knowing someone out there can express what is happening so well.
Missing the Point
Chuck Eddy's "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" [July 713]:
What a horrible piece. It will be the one major review of Some Kind of Monster to totally miss the boat. The whole point of the movie was the total deconstruction of all clichés that have ever surrounded any rock band. Mission accomplished.
I too have been disappointed with Metallica's music. The last album I bought was the Black Album in 1991, but this movie is absolutely directed toward nonmetal fans and film critics, probably even more so than toward their devoted fans. That's why there is relatively little music and very little concert footage.
Chuck Eddy replies: A Night in the Ruts, Rock in a Hard Place, and Done With Mirrors are way better than you remember. You oughta check em out sometime.
Re Jennifer Gonnerman's "A Question of Justice" [June 30July 6]:
ODonoghue's case is a sad one, and it all began with his lack of education. The drug laws may be harsh, but he was breaking the law repeatedly and dealing larger and larger amounts. He had a chance to work with law enforcement and turned it down. It sounds as if he bought into the street culture, and he's becoming a rock-solid member now that he's in prison.
Don't Shoot the Messenger
The real question that Gonnermans article should ask is who supplied Ashley with that amount of cocaine, and why wasn't the supplier investigated? Are the police only interested in low-level delivery boys?
Gonnerman's piece feels at first like the same old story: Black troubled kid takes the fall while white rich kids get off easy. With a classic scenario like this, it's easy to get cynical about society and criminal "justice" in America.
But I can't get cynical, because I know that the authorities involved know better. It was their decision to punish Ashley O'Donoghue while letting the white boys who employed his services to go free. There is nothing in New York law that says they had to go easy on these men.
If their lives are "ruined" because of their choice to purchase drugs, let them live with this reality. O'Donoghue sure has to live with his, as do the people who love him. I challenge anyone who supports this racist, classist system to explain how the sufferings of this family ensure justice.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Obviously we need to rethink our drug laws, but as long as any political candidate is forced to prove his "law and order" credentials, this will not change. When fresh-faced young white kids start getting 16-to-life sentences for dealing small amounts of drugs, you'll see things change quickly!
Larraine L. Formica
It is a clear understatement that there are laws for the rich and laws for the poor. I question how serving this amount of time will benefit the defendant. Couldn't the taxpayers' money have been more prudently spent trying to rehabilitate him with fewer years in prison and more drug education programs, as well as community service?
Denise Martin Fresno, California
Maws the Pity
Re Michael Atkinson's "Marlon Brando 19242004" [July 713]:
To suggest that Marlon Brando would have been better off had he committed suicide, like that somehow nobler rake Jim Morrison, proves that all media, including the supposedly independent Village Voice, are interested only in what sells an artist and not in the art they create. If Brando descended into a debauched and bitter relationship with his own fame, it is "eulogies" like Atkinson's that justify the slide. The great thing about Brando is not his acting ability, it's his imperfect and apolitical nature in the face of an all-consuming media maw. Count yourselves among the insatiable.
Leo Geter East Village
Michael Atkinson replies: Good point but all I was suggesting, from a moviegoers POV, was that Brandos eminence might be less in question had he not put us through 80 percent of his films, which he always admitted walking through for the sake of cash. Still, an apolitical Brando? He did better than that, and thats an article waiting to be written.
A Fair and Balanced Bias
Re Richard Goldstein's "Mauling Moore" [Press Clips, June 30July 6]:
Unfortunately, the networks and their parent companies have a lot of business from this administration and would not like it interrupted by fair and balanced reporting. So until there is regime change here or the networks are granted their wishes, I believe we will see little by the way of truth in journalism. David Flythe
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Listen Up Re Nat Hentoff's "What Did Bush Know?" [June 30July 6]:
It is such a travesty that the American soldiers had to "torture" the poor terrorist prisoners in Iraq by putting panties on their heads. It would have been so much more humane to slowly cut their heads off. C'mon, people. Get a real sense of perspective. You needn't condone the mindless actions of the few U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib, but you shouldn't blatantly disparage your country when our soldiers are still in battle. Do you think that Al Qaeda isn't listening? Do you think that they don't relish the negative publicity focused on the U.S.?
Laurence F. Wagner
Nat Hentoff replies: Our soldiers are still in a war against terrorists. If we engage in crimes against prisoners, what values do we presumably stand for? Still not held accountable are the generals and Defense Department officials who signaled that the abuses at Abu Ghraibmuch more vicious than putting panties on their headswere permissible.
As Good As Any
Re Francis Davis's "Steve Lacy 19342004" [June 2329]:
Thank you for your obit on the sadly under-acclaimed soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. Lacy was not a household name, but he played his horn as well as Coltrane or Rollins played theirs. Good job.
San Francisco, California
The photo of Ashton's A Wedding Bouquet that appeared with Deborah Jowitt's review in the July 1420 issue should have been credited to Jack Vartoogian.
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