GRAY RECALL, SILVER LINING
Re Rick Perlstein's "The Fringe on Top" [August 13-19]:
With a Republican replacing Gray Davis after October 7, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate is a shoo-in to take California. After a year of presiding over the ballooning budget deficit and all the other statewide woes, the electorate will be all too ready to vote Democratic for prez.
Thanks, Congressman Issa!
Laguna Beach, California
Re James Hunter's "Indian Soul to Melt Your Mind" [August 27-September 2]:
A few correctionsIndian film music has existed since the first sound film in India which was in 1931 (i.e., for the last 70-plus, not 30, years).
The Bombay film industry does not produce 800 films a year! It's more like 150 to 200. I wish Western journalists would get this rightIndia as a whole produces anywhere from 600 to 800 films annually in about 20 languages and there are vibrant film industries in cities like Hyderabad and Madras as well as others.
In terms of finding Hindi film music: The soundtracks are everywhere. You can buy them on the Internet as well as the dozens of music stores in places like Jackson Heights or Edison, New Jersey, or even in the few stores in the Little India area of Lexington Avenue.
Soundtracks are categorized by movies, playback singers, composers, stars, themes, decades, moods, etc. They're also much cheaper in the Indian stores on the original Indian labels than what you would find in Tower and Virgin. Hard to find! That's just preposterous. You simply didn't know where to look.
Finally, it's R.D. Burman, not B.R. The initials stand for Rahul Dev.
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
SHARP EYE FOR THE STEREOTYPE
I was glad that Richard Goldstein wrote about that despicable show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ["What Queer Eye?" July 23-29]. When I saw the previews and countless billboards, I was flabbergasted, but in many ways, not all that surprised in light of all the ridiculous reality-show monsters that have made it to the airwaves.
Instead of five materialistic gay men, why couldn't they use five female professionals? That entire show seems like some sort of horrible social science experiment where gay and straight men are put in a situation to see who comes out alive. This show is absolutely pointless, with no message to offer. It puts the straight guy's masculinity to the test to see how much he can endure before he feels that it's being threatened.
If you're going to do a reality TV show, why not show the true lives of five gay people or the lives of five gay couples? Forget the fancy camera angles and produce a show with a sense of raw, edgy power, instead of pointless shows like Queer Eye, where the only message that gets across is: Gay men are only into fashion and money and are not good for much else.
Re James Ridgeway's "What Presidential Race?" [August 13-19]:
Ridgeway's analysis was right on target. The RNC strategy appears to be to annul popular elections by intense pressure and bureaucratic intricacies, as demonstrated in Florida in 2000 and Texas and California today. It is further proof that the Democrats need to organize and regain the presidency in 2004.
I also agree that each time Lieberman chooses to criticize Howard Dean, or any other candidate, he is playing into the hands of Bush/Cheney/Rove. It seems that Howard Dean has a broad appeal to not only the Democratic base, but to supporters of McCain and Perot. He is a strong enough candidate to energize Americans to get out and vote and reverse the Florida/Texas/California erosions of our rights initiated by Republicans.
ADD G, OR STET FOR COLLOQUIAL
Re "Manual Labors" [Education Supplement, August 6-12]:
Please tell Jorge Morales that I really enjoyed his review of the new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
I'll be quotin' that one.
NEW GRUB STREET
Re Tom Robbins's "Refuge of Scoundrels" [August 6-12]:
As a working-class grunt who only dreams about living the kind of lifestyle Russell Harding allegedly lived, would give his eyeteeth for Harding's cushy position, and followed most of the series intently, I congratulate The Village Voice on the wonderful public service it performed exposing him to daylight.
But enough! As opposed to reliving its past victory, the Voice needs to start pulling up other rocks to find other grubby creatures.
Nathan F. Weiner
Morris Heights, Bronx
I was moved by Michael Gecan's "The Tribes of Yale" [August 20-26]. I too worked on the slop line during college, where upperclassmen would place huge piles of dirty dishes and plates on the conveyor. Into the dish room the piles would come, where we lowly work-grant freshmen worked.
However, they added another touchthey often took napkins, stuffed them into the glasses, and lit them on fire.
They were Republicans, I am sure.
A MAN ESCAPED
Richard Hell has written a decent tribute to Robert Bresson ["Hell Goes to Bresson: A New Devotee's Cinema Conversion," August 20-26].
Unfortunately he has stated that Bresson never used the same actor (model) more than once. This is not true. In both Mouchette and Au Hasard BalthazarJean-Claude Guilbert has a major role. In the former he is the epileptic who rapes Mouchette, and in the latter he is the cruel and tragic figure Arnold.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
The picture that ran with Eva Yaa Asantewaa's "Fringe Elements Blend Styles, Strengths, and Sensibilities" [August 27-September 2] should have been credited to Krystyna Hughes.
NAT HENTOFF SPEAKS
On September 15, Voice columnist Nat Hentoff, author of the new book The War on the Bill of Rights, participates in a panel with After author Steven Brill, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham, ACLU president and NYU law professor Nadine Strossen, and novelist Kurt Vonnegut. The topic: "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance." WNYC's Brian Lehrer moderates. The event is at Tishman Auditorium (66 West 12th Street) and begins at 7. Call 212-229-5488 for more information.
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