You don't have to watch The Sopranos to know that the word goumada carries weighty ethnic-pejorative baggage. And yet there it was, twice in Wayne Barrett's article "Rudy Unzipped" [May 23], and in a caption that ran with the article.
I can only conclude that to Barrett, not all ethnic or religious groups are deserving of stylistic sensitivity. If the story revolves around an Italian American, or worse, a Republican, or worse yet, an Italian American Republican, any culturally relevant slur will do.
Italian American Republican
Sea Cliff, Long Island
Wayne Barrett replies: Rudy G. invoked The Godfather when he asked reporters to stay away from Judi Nathanquoting movie mobsters to describe her as a "civilian." He is constantly trading off these mob images, mimicking them as recently as Sunday for Tim Russert. Goumada is merely my addition to his shtick.
Michael Feingold's "Opera à la Rudy" [May 23] was hysterical. It had me on the floor! Even on the West Coast, I read your publication to stay in touch with New York theater. And now this. Thank you!
Los Angeles, California
As a native of Little Rock and as someone who practiced law there, I must say that Ward Harkavy's article tying Hillary Clinton's appearance before a Teamsters Union luncheon to her former position on nonunion Wal-Mart's board of directors was right on the money (pun intended) ["Wal-Mart's First Lady," May 30].
In addition, the article touched on another important issue: the influence of a large corporation on a state government and the correlated poverty of that state's citizens.
Congratulationsyou are onto a real story here.
Barry the Hatchet
Cynthia Cotts did an excellent rundown on war criminal General Barry McCaffrey's arrogant and pathetic counterattack against Seymour Hersh for nailing the infamy in the May 22 New Yorker [Press Clips, May 30]. White House backing for this devious "drug czar" says far more about the Clintons than Richard Mellon Scaife and the Monica Lewinsky press corps ever could.
Dan Cameron Rodill
Re Peter Noel's article "It Ain't Easy Feeling Sorry for Rudy" [May 23], about Parkinson's sufferer John Hynes, who got into a squabble with Mayor Giuliani on Rudy's call-in show:
Of course anyone who has an illness should not be ridiculed. However, Hynes got exactly what he begged for. He called the mayor and immediately condemned him across the board. Then he endorsed an obscene portrayal of Giuliani as Adolf Hitler.
C'mon, John. How else did you expect the mayor to react?
Although I feel sorry for John Hynes, I think he was being unreasonable to Mayor Giuliani. Hynes complained that Rudy called him a "weirdo," yet he called the mayor "the biggest criminal in the city." Hynes had difficulty with bureaucracy (as we all do). It's hard to have compassion when someone attacks you right off the bat without revealing his real situation.
Los Angeles, California
. . . Then They Came For 'V'
I agree with Nat Hentoff's criticisms of Voice management's monitoring of workers' e-mail, voice mail, and computer systems ["Big Brother at 'The Village Voice,' " May 30]. However, the sad fact is that journalists are only being hoisted with their own petard. Since they reserve the right to invade others' privacy, journalists should not whine when theirs is violated under the tenets of efficient management.
Martin Niemoeller's refrain lamenting his silence as his neighbors were victimized until ". . . then they came for me" applies in this case.
Dr. Lakshmanan Prasad
Nat Hentoff replies: Mr. Prasad has a point. But just as free speech is indivisible, so should privacy be. Your comment about our lack of lamentation at our own previous sins should be tempered by the knowledge that you, too, are likely to be watched.
Little 'Voice' on the Prairie
Three cheers for including Dan Savage's column in the Web version of the Voice. I lived in Montreal for years and bought the Voice for the club listings, Michael Musto, and Savage. Now that I've moved, the Voice is harder to find. Thank you. You've brightened the day of a prairie boy.
Hard to Find
I was delighted to see that Robert Christgau included Teri Thornton's I'll Be Easy to Find in his Consumer Guide for May 30. However, Christgau apparently was unaware that Ms. Thornton died of cancer in early May. A memorial service for her was held at St. Peter's Church in Manhattan on Sunday, May 21.
- In "Capoeira Classes in New York" (May 23), the Web site listed for Capoeira Angola Palmares was incorrect. It is www.capoeira-life.com
- A letter in last week's issue ("Knight Shift") misstated the number of years since Indiana University won a Big Ten basketball title. IU has not won a title in seven years.
- In "The Devil, Details, and DHCR" (May 30), J.A. Lobbia reported that attorney Seth Miller represented tenants who won a Court of Appeals decision in a case brought by their landlords, who alleged the tenants' apartments should be deregulated. Miller did represent some of the tenants in a lower-court case; however, the tenants who won at the Court of Appeals were represented by attorneys Kent Karlsson, Steven Neil, Doug Kellner, and David Frazer.
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