THE BEST AND WORST
Nick Catucci was right to call Metronome, 1999, at Union Square, the "Best Reason to Hate Ugly Public Art" [Best of NYC, October 2-8]. But he stumbled with "the long tradition of monstrous representations of femininity, where hidden parts issue senseless waves of blood." When was the last time Catucci saw a pussy? The big hole with steam coming out of it in Metronome, 1999 most closely resembles an asshole passing gas.
Catucci apparently has issues with menstrual blood, which is part of what he floated around in before he was born. There is nothing "senseless" about it. When Catucci calls it "senseless," he comes across as either embarrassingly ignorant of the mechanics of human reproduction, or pathetically squeamish about it. The rest of the Best of NYC issue was a delight, and will help us all enjoy our city even more.
Nick Catucci replies: Ashcraft convincingly likens Metronome, 1999 to an "asshole passing gas"; if only her reading of my blurb were as rigorous. I do not believe that menstrual blood is senseless (pussy sightings aside, I did pass sex ed). It is monstrous representations of femininity that portray it that way.
I would like to send my thank you for naming me, Princess Kush Original'd, the "Best Downtown Hair Braid Hustler" in the Characters section. I thought your write-up was funny and informative. You really captured my "stage presence" at my location on St. Marks Place. Thanks again for letting everyone know about Universal Hair. Come and get your hair braided or wrapped, and be fabulous, darling!
Princess Kush Original'd
In your Best of NYC review you voted ground zero the "Best Tourist Site to Avoid," claiming that "[it] signifies just how eager Americans are to turn what was an unthinkably painful, complex convergence of events into an object for consumption." I agree 100 percent. That is why I am confused as to why you printed directions and a telephone number so that even more people can visit the site.
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Re Ian Urbina's article on the psychological operations battalions ["Forked-Tongue Warriors," October 9-15]: As a former soldier, I completely support one's right to say what he wishes, regardless of content. However, as a former psy-opper who served in Somalia, Cambodia, and numerous other countries, I am distressed to see how skewed against psy-ops the information he presented is. In one instance, he writes, "Of all the personnel the U.S. initially deployed in [Somalia], only two were native speakers and one turned out to be the son of the country's bloodiest warlord." Yes, Mohammed Aideed's son was a member of the Marine Corps deployed to Somalia, but, to my knowledge, he never set foot on the ground. As soon as command found out he was in the region, he was restricted to his ship. Also, we had numerous native linguists working with our tactical elements (my translator was named Ubax) and several highly educated Somali gentlemen working in the psy-op task force screening each leaflet that we produced. Urbina does make a few good points, but in the end seems to have grouped himself with those he appears to scorn.
Ian Urbina replies: I suppose skepticism is always healthy when it comes to military information. Nevertheless, doubtful inquiries about the Somalia part of my story are probably best directed not to me but to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Evans, operations officer of Fort Bragg's 4th Battalion, since all of my material came directly from his interview published in the National Defense Journal (February 1, 2001).
Re Tristan Taormino's October 2-8 Pucker Up column ["Hot Mamas"]: Yes, finally somebody said it! I am a straight male and I have always found many pregnant women very sexy (Demi Moore, yeah!). It seemed taboo, and sometimes I felt embarrassed to get caught checking them out. Speaking of preggo sex, in many South American countries it is taught to have lots of it to make labor less strenuous. I also have a question: Is it true that pregnant women are horniest in their fifth month?
Tristan Taormino replies: Pregnant women's desire levels shift and are unique to each woman, so the fifth month isn't a "universal peak" for everyone. What seems most common is the number of women who report a higher libido during pregnancy than during any other time of their life.
STAND OUTSIDE THE FIRE
In the article "The Fire This Time?" [September 18-24], Thulani Davis set the stage for the October 2-6 African and African Descendants World Conference Against Racism in Barbados, but the message seems to have been lost on the participants themselves. Early on, nonblacks were expelled because, according to conference chairwoman Jewel Crawford, "There are a number of black people who have been traumatized by white people and they suffered psychologically and emotionally and, as a result of that trauma, some of them did not care to discuss their issues in front of them." What could be more racist? Crawford was a U.S. representative, and her comments only served to widen the gap between the races.
Through this decision, the conference demonstrated that racism extends into every culture and crosses all racial boundaries. If these topics are too traumatic to discuss in front of nonblacks, a case can be made that there are topics that should not be discussed in the presence of other races, including blacks. I suppose that the next time there is a sensitive issue under debate in Congress our legislators should exclude those by whom they have been traumatized. The membership committee at Augusta National Golf Course should feel vindicated.
Charles R. Dickens
J. Hoberman's review of Bowling for Columbine ("They Aim to Please," October 9-15) stated that Charlton Heston suffers from Alzheimer's. On August 9, Heston announced in a magazine interview that according to his physicians, he "may have a neurological disorder whose symptoms are consistent with Alzheimer's disease."
Scotty the Blue Bunny is listed under the heading "Best Rodent to Have at a Party" (Best of NYC, October 2-8). A bunny is not a "rodent" but a lagomorph. The Voice regrets any psychological or emotional distress suffered by members of the lagomorph order due to the error.
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