LETTER OF THE WEEK
Popcorn and politics
Re Matt Haber's "Fahrenheit 9/11: Crying, Laughing, Shouting at the Screen" [villagevoice.com, June 24]: I was glad to read your assessment of the film, but astounded that you included only interviews with Democrats and independents! What about the Republicans or the Libertarians? Do you mean to say that neither of them were at the movie? Or that they don't care to share their reactions/views? At least you could have noted that the interviews were an unfair sampling of the political parties.
Up With 'Smoke'
Re Gabe Hudson's "Smoke Signals From the Frontier" [The Essay, June 23-29]:
I found Hudson's writing perverse, disgusting, offensive, and unpatriotic. I laughed my proverbial ass off. Keep up the good work.
Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Depends What 'Including' Includes
Sydney H. Schanberg's "Bush's 9-11 Problem" [June 23-29] refers to the president's letter to Congress, which reads in part: "[T]he use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States . . . continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations . . . who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
It seems to me that "including" indicates those nations that participated in the attacks, in addition to other nations that sponsored terrorism. "Including" means "in addition to" and does not indicate an exclusive focus on those nations behind the 9-11 attacks.
This quote provides proof that President Bush was launching a war against terrorism and that he did not limit the focus of the war to those nations that may have sponsored Al Qaeda's 9-11 attacks.
The Pole Truth
Re Tom Robbins's "Mystery Train" [June 23-29]:
Aaron Nottage is an arrogant asshole with no sense of boundaries or common courtesy. I am appalled that the cops couldn't let Eleanor Black file a cross-complaint for his grabbing her bag, assaulting her, and forcibly removing her from the subway!
Who gives a shit if he's a supervising D.A.? He's still bound by the law and by common courtesy, neither of which seemed to matter to him that day. The only reason he got away with it was his badge. Disgraceful!
As a supervising D.A., he should have avoided violence, not provoked it. He could have cited the law she was breaking with her pole-holding tactics. It's disgusting that he thought it was acceptable to drag her off a train, follow her, and sic the cops on her, just because he wanted a little more pole.
Your one-sided reporting is shameful. You don't even attempt to consider that there might be another side to this story. I know that to the Voice, Nottage is an easy target. He's a city law enforcement official, so he must therefore be an abusive ass, right? Wrong. He is a dedicated public servant who has devoted his life to the victims of crime. He deserves more than your subjective contempt.
Tom Robbins replies: Actually, I did offer the other side of the subway tussle, and would have printed more if provided it by Nottage or his office. He may well have had good reason to be upset, but New Yorkers witness these kinds of incidents every day, and it's hard to believe a complainant who wasn't a law enforcement officer would've been able to get the "space hog" held in lockup for 30 hours and charged with assault. That said, I think Farkas is using a little guilt by association himself. In most cases, I tend to wind up on law enforcement's side; even the precinct cops here were outraged by what they saw as an abuse of power.
Re Elizabeth Cline's "Transmale Nation" [the Queer Issue, June 23-29]:
I believe I've died and gone to some strange exotic heaven! I had always identified myself as a lesbian until two years ago, when I came out to myself (again) as genderqueer. I realized that there was an integral part of my sexuality, namely that masculine aspect of me that yearned to get down and dirty with an androgynous gay boy. Given the "queeraphobia" that runs rampant through both the non-gay and gay nations alike, I pushed aside my desires because of what seemed to be sheer impossibility and kept my mouth shut until now. Thank you for the jolt of confirmation that's coursing through my veins. It feels delicious.
Cline's pseudo-sociological generalizations and editorializing account of transmale communities illustrate the continued misrepresentation and exploitation of the trans experience in the media. While filling her article with "umbrella" terminology, she nevertheless focuses exclusively on a specific subset of the transmale population, those who identify as gender variant, thereby doing a tremendous disservice to the many transsexual men whose life experiences and identities differ dramatically from the handful of individuals quoted in her article.
She then belittles her trendy genderqueer subjects with puerile assumptions as to their motivations (Uma Thurman kicking ass?) rather than delving beneath the surface to examine individuals' core self-identities and drives. If this is what it means to achieve visibility, I choose obscurity.
Re Christopher Stahl's "I Ruck, Therefore I Am" [the Queer Issue, June 23-29]:
This is such a great snapshot of a subgroup of a crazy subculture. I have been playing rugby for 10 years. Being a rugger first and a lesbian second doesn't come as a shock to many people. The dynamics of the game have changed over the past 10 years. However, a lot of the macho-straight-guy attitudes haven't. Most of the guys you run into are the ones that didn't make the football team in high school or college. Therefore, they are more bitter and unfortunately have a tendency to be closed-minded, thinking that "fairies can't play rough sports" (an unsavory quote from a straight-male rugger I know).
The beauty of rugby is that you step onto the field, beat the crap out of each other for 80 minutes, and then party together like the best of friends. It shouldn't be dominated by straight males. I smile knowing that other people can experience the indescribable camaraderie and bonding that take place both on and off the field.
Hey, I'm Queer Too
Re the Queer Issue:
You forgot to include lesbians. I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for a separate lesbian issue.
It seems that in this year's Queer Issue, the only way to get any ink was if you were a man or changing into one. Since Ellen mainstreamed her way into daytime success, all of us queer women should be thankful that we do not need mentions in the Voice this year. We're no longer queer! I am writing this letter on behalf of my fellow queer women because some of them have forgotten how invisible we are and actually got offended that the Voice excluded us from this year's Queer Issue.
We are interesting and add to the communities we live in and build for ourselves. Maybe we do not need the validation of the press, but it'd be nice for our stories to be told.
Michelle Lee Shin
Godwin Terrace, Bronx
Perils of Pauline
Re Joy Press's "Catfight Scorecard: Humanity and Virtuosity 1, Loftiness 0" [June 16-22]:
May I add a bit of embroidery to Joy Press's review of Craig Seligman's Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me? In every review of this book I've read, the reviewer has bent over backward to accept Seligman's core premise, which is that Susan Sontag and Pauline Kael are comparable cultural figures. This is, on its face, a piece of solipsistic nonsense. Pauline Kael spent her entire career reviewing other people's movies, in writing that grew increasingly intemperate, biased, vulgar, grotesquely exhibitionistic, and finally, mindless.
Sontag has directed many films and theatrical works, in several languages and countries, and has written novels, plays, and seminal essays on art, photography, politics, philosophy, film, religious heterodoxy, modern warfare, anthropology, literature, dance, theater, and most importantly, ideas, of which Kael had about three, or perhaps two, which she reiterated in ever more desperately pointless ways, as a gymnast stricken with aphasia might repeatedly attempt to perform a somersault without ever managing to land on his feet. Craig Seligman's sole excuse for linking these two writers is their shared Semitic ancestry.
Oh, yes, and they both came from the West Coast. I don't think that whether Seligman "loves" or "reveres" one of them more than the other is very much to waste a book on.
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