I enjoy The Village Voice for its often iconoclastic and thought-provoking journalism. But Ward Sutton's cartoon entitled "Donald Rumsfeld, Between Press Briefings" [Schlock 'n' Roll, March 26-April 1] is tasteless and puerile.
I was hoping to find serious arguments against the war in Iraq at the Voice. But instead, this cartoonof the Secretary of Defense masturbatingserves to deepen my belief that the arguments against the war in Iraq are more often than not ad hominem, unsophisticated, anti-intellectual, and unserious. If it were an issue of lesser importsay, the new pictorial at the WhitneyI might understand. But you have truly cheapened yourselves and the case against war.
When will movie critics like Mark Holcomb realize what the definition of racism is? Eddie Griffin's DysFunKtional Family does not show him as a racist. Rather, he is showing his prejudiced beliefs and a healthy dose of inner pain (something that comedians have been doing for years). And don't use the "he's no Richard Pryor" excuse. Richard Pryor was roundly called a racist in his day for his bracing style of comedy. Mark Holcomb's review of this film is way off base.
Tyrone Steels II
Mark Holcomb replies: If Griffin's willingness to exploit his prejudices as noisy incitements to intolerance isn't racism, then you're rightI don't know what racism is. Maybe the Sikh man he terrorizes in the movie has a better idea, or at least understands the comic's "inner pain."
I just wanted to say how much I appreciated Sydney Schanberg's "Monsters of the Moment" [March 12-18]. It brought up so many issues that have been brushed aside by most of the media. Americans are being blinded by the war coverage, and very few choose to look beyond what is easily accessible. I hope we all become a bit more enlightened.
New Brunswick, Canada
STAND BY YOUR MAN
Re Sydney Schanberg's "Monsters of the Moment":
Publishing articles like Schanberg's in a New York City newspaper doesn't bring up any news that we haven't heard about already. All it does is make Americans gain an unsupportive attitude for our cause and soldiers. The choices that our leader made have been executed. Right now, we need to stand by him, our country, and our troops that are out there risking their lives for us. That's what we need New Yorkers to read about!
Battery Park City
NOT OUT OF THE WOODS
Re Ta-Nehisi Coates's "Paper Tiger" [March 19-25]:
Coates doesn't seem to grasp the idea of civil liberties. Augusta National is a private institution, and they have the right to set the rules however they like. It is the media's responsibility to boycott their corrupt social stance, not Tiger Woods's.
It is quite sad that life has come to this. We're now finding reporters writing diatribes about the connection between the admission of women to the Augusta National and the inclusion of blacks in the annual tournament. The two are completely unrelated. Our reporters are not literate enough in the law and its social consequences to know the difference between the two. It is this inability that has left reporters with little else to do than attempt sensationalism.
If Woods were to take on social issues with which you do not agree, you'd say he was just an athlete and shouldn't be weighing in on things he couldn't possibly understand. He cannot win; either way he is the "bad guy." You people are amazing in your ability to attempt to create news where there really isn't any.
I THINK YOU MEAN 'FREEDOM' TREASURES!
Re Joshua Clover's "Queneau-It-All" [March 26-April 1]:
Merci beaucoup for the book review of Raymond Queneau's Witch Grass. Queneau was a surrealist and an absurdist by nature as well as by intention.
His novels are an ideal read in a time and place as absurd as France was in his day! Bravo to New York Review Books (and boutique publishers like TamTam and Exact Change) for re-issuing these forgotten French treasures in the English language!
Lower East Side
Re Wayne Barrett's "What the Unions Can Do" [March 5-11]:
As president of the Civil Service Bar Association (CSBA), the collective-bargaining representative of attorneys employed by the city of New York, I take strong exception to your characterization of all the welfare funds as "slush funds." Just because some funds allegedly have wasted money, all funds should not be accused of doing so.
Every welfare fund provides different benefits because the needs of the respective memberships vary. Each fund gets the same dollar amount per member from the city to use as its members see fit. This is not a gift from the city. The money has been negotiated with the city in lieu of some other benefit or percentage increase.
The trustees of the CSBA Welfare Fund are elected by CSBA members, and take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously. We are proud of the benefits our fund provides for our members, and fear that our members' benefits can only be diminished if the city takes over the fund.
Tell Paul Lukas to ease up on the Mets! ["Men in Uniform," Uni Watch, March 26-April 1] Why do they "predictably" have the worst of the new batting-practice uniform jerseys? What's wrong with the Mets' uniform? Not enough Pinstripe Power and Pride? While the Mets' batting-practice jersey is not something I'll be wearing to show my support, it's no worse than those of any of the other teams.
Paul Lukas replies: From the endless parade of alternate caps and jerseys to the knee-jerk imposition of black drop shadow on everything in sight, the Mets have taken a once honorable aesthetic and turned it into an embarrassment. Meanwhile, if Cohn's reference to "Pinstripe Power" is his way of suggesting that I must be a Yankee fan, he couldn't be more wrong.
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