Cut The Bull
I appreciate Michael Kamber's graphic descriptions of the pain and suffering imposed on bulls during bullfighting ["Priests of Gold, Blood in the Sand," August 8]. The idea that bullfighters insist that stabbing a bull "detoxifies" it is probably the most ridiculous excuse for animal abuse I have ever heard, and I thank Kamber for including it.
I do take issue with the overall impression the article gavethat bullfighting is a good way for poor people to try to hit the jackpot. I would suggest another article concerning the efforts to ban bullfighting.
Michael Kamber is the animal who should be put in the ring, along with the other animals who have attacked crowds of anti-bullfighting demonstrators. They could kill each other off. Then it would be a sport! Disgusting articlecruel, stupid, inhumane. That The Village Voice ran this story is pathetic.
Thanks for risking PETA's anger in publishing Michael Kamber's "Priests of Gold, Blood in the Sand." Few national publications will write about bullfighting, yet there are many of us aficionados who love the art and traditions of the grand spectacle of Spain and the Americas. True journalism covers both the popular and the unpopular and resists censorship.
San Diego, California
I was dismayed to see the careless use of the phrase "Plus-Size Models" as a headline for Lynn Yaeger's column about cow statues [Elements of Style, August 22]. Although it was probably unintentional and used in an effort to be cute or catchy, to connect the words "plus-size," a phrase normally applied to large women (and soon, men?), to cow statues is to perpetuate yet another common insult to people of size. Is Yaeger aware of how often large people are called "fat cows"?
The emergence of high-profile larger-size models and fashion has offered a sense of empowerment and encouragement to those of us who are not accustomed to seeing attractive, stylish, and (gasp!) even sexually appealing representations of plus-size people in the media. Though the industry still marginalizes us, plus-size fashion is a positive step. I look forward to a time when the phrase "plus-size models" becomes obsoletewhen models will simply be called models, regardless of shape or size.
Anna Marie Spallina
Describing novelist Henry Flesh as a "soft-porn author" (on the front page of last week's Voice Choices) is so weirdly inaccurate and dismissive it's hard to know how to begin to even address it. Certainly there are sex scenes in his Lambda Award-winning novel Massage, but there's a lot more (and more explicit) sex in your average John Updike novel. I haven't seen you guys referring to him lately as a "soft-porn author." Since when did the Voice become so puritanical? More important, it would be a shame to turn off readers who are unfamiliar with Flesh's dark and brilliant writing by such careless editorial tagging.
Creative Director, Insightoutbooks.com
Pedal To The Meddle
Does Sarah Ferguson ["Demonstrate This," August 15] mean that Philadelphia police commissioner John Timoney is a "craggy-jawed, bike-pedaling commander"? Timoney rides a bike; he doesn't "peddle" them.
Q & A In Margaritaville
As a protester with Queers and Allies at the Democratic convention in L.A., I was happy to see a truthful article about what happened here ["Kissin' and Dyin'," Lenora Todaro, villagevoice.com, August 16 ]. After the march, the real tension came when we wanted to go have margaritas. Every corner was cop-infested, with no avenue of departure. After a lot of intimidation the cops made us return via the same route. We did get our margaritas. Thanks for the coverage.
Uncle Tom Blues
Peter Noel's article on Colin Powell and the election was well written and thought provoking ["The Uncle Tom Dilemma," August 22]. I'm a 23-year-old black man and a son of the "Dirty South." I've always admired Clinton, and I have absolutely no respect for Republicans.
During the Clinton administration, I was able to take advantage of minority grants and scholarships, which, along with hard-earned academic scholarships, funded my college education. I doubt that I would have received such benefits had a Republican been in office. Career fairs for minorities dotted the campus each spring, and it was at one of these events that I landed a job as an arts reporter and pop/r&b music critic for one of the nation's top newspapers. Such events would have been seriously cut back had a Republican been in office.
I distrust conservative blacks. With such a long history of abuse and betrayal, what do we have to conserve? That shit is for white people. They're the ones who created a system designed to excludeas Curtis Mayfield said "people who are darker than blue."
Rashod D. Ollison
He Got Game
Talk about grooving a pitch ["The Uncle Tom Dilemma"]. I suppose some folks believe Notorious B.I.G. is a better example of what the black man should aspire to than Colin Powell. Get a grip. Powell is well educated, somewhat principled, and rose to the top of his profession. Did he get an assist? Who the hell doesn't? Would he be a more "real" black man if he'd been drinking Colt 45 on some Harlem stoop for the past 30 years?
Looks to me like the "crab-basket" mentality is at work here; they all sit motionless in the basket until one tries to climb outthen all the others try to pull it back in. I can't wait to start reading about Uncle Tom Tiger Woods. After all, is he not also succeeding at the "rich white man's game"?
Big Government Liberal
James Ridgeway's observations in Mondo Washington about Al Gore's selection of Senator Joseph Lieberman appear insightful, but are undercut by the bumps Gore has received in polls since naming Lieberman ["Gore's Rabbi," August 15].
However Ridgeway may feel about Gore and Lieberman politically, tapping him as a vice-presidential running mate is a significant breakthrough for diversity and tolerance. Besides, how "conservative" can Lieberman be with a 95 percent rating from Americans for Democratic Action in 1999?
Sound Of Silence
James Ridgeway got it wrong when he wrote in Mondo Washington [August 15] that Senator Joseph Lieberman backs "school prayer." Simple fact-checking of congressional transcripts would have revealed that Senator Lieberman is in favor of a moment of silencenot school prayer. The two are very different.
Puppets Of The State
In otherwise excellent coverage of the protests and police activities in Philadelphia during the Republican convention, both Tom Carson and Sarah Ferguson mentioned the police raid on the puppet-making "warehouse" in West Philadelphia, but neither of them mentioned the most salient fact: In terms of dubiously constitutional police behavior, all of the occupants of that building without exception70 peoplewere taken into custody and then held for at least four days on the flimsiest of charges, and some were not even arraigned until the third or fourth day.
Also, while many of the detainees did not cooperate with the police, others cooperated fully from the very beginning, yet were unable to get themselves released. Philadelphia Direct Action had distributed an open invitation to help with the puppet-making. Thus, who got arrested was only a matter of chance.
Philadelphia police spokespeople tried to play up the potential danger of the activity in the puppet-building studio, and largely succeeded in convincing the shamefully unques-tioning media. They sought to blur the distinction between those who had actively engaged in sometimes violent protests and those who were building puppets.
The police characterized pipe, chain, and chicken wire allegedly found on the premises as "dangerous weapons" and even intimated that bottles, rags, and solvents could potentially be used for Molotov cocktails or bombs. I would point out that some of these items are regularly used to build large street puppets and others are staples of art and carpentry workshops. If potentially dangerous uses of these materials can justify police raids and significant detainment, then political artists in particular, and all those concerned with more than just token free speech, are in for a difficult future.
Tom Robbins's article entitled "The Con and the Mayor" [August 1] was one of the most extraordinary pieces that I have ever read. It was fascinating and upliftinga story of an unlikely do-gooder arising from inside the walls of Marion maximum-security prison. Yet again, Robbins reinvents perspective and speaks up for those whose voices are rarely heard, or largely ignored. Bravo.
Waiting To Inhale
Re "You're Going Too Far, Baby" by Ginger Adams Otis [August 15]: Ms. Otis quotes Matt Myers of Tobacco-Free Kids and Nancy Kaufman of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. What Myers and Kaufman didn't say is that the women in most third world countries are more likely to die from infectious and parasitic diseases than from smoking.
Myers and Kaufman also failed to point out that in some countries the government owns the cigarette business, and women smoke national brands far more than expensive imports.
And, of course, neither Myers nor Kaufman noted that their salaries come from pharmaceutical moneymoney from RWJF's more than $5 billion in Johnson & Johnson stock. J&J makes Nicotrol and other cessation products, which compete in the nicotine market with tobacco.
Out Of Site
The redesign of your Web site is one of the best I've ever seen. I love the quick table-of-contents-like access to all the sections of the paper. And it looks great, too! Congrats.
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