Letter of the Week
State of the union address
Us folks out in the rest of this great country are getting tired of this post9-11 chatter. Frankly, if you sign up for a hero job, enjoy all the admiration and perks, and you have to exercise some heroism and pay a price; that's just how it is. There are lots of people enduring stress and hardship everyday and they don't get the thank-you or enjoy star attention, nor are they titled the bravest or finest. They just pick up dead cows, move hazardous chemicals, or do some other form of dirty work and plug away without the advantage of The Village Voice at their beck and call. It's five years now and time to move on from what happened. Everybody else has.
Bypassing enemy lines
Re Bernice Yeung's "Weeping With the Enemy" [September 612]: As a Palestinian residing in East Jerusalem, I was touched by this story. We have so many Phyllises and Aïchas here in Palestine and Israel (thousands on one side and hundreds on the other). If they were to meet and express their sorrows, pain, and feeling of great loss of youth's lives, I believe they would bond as those two mothers did. That bond might bring sanity to those in power who still believe that might is right.
Yeung's gut-wrenching article brought to mind a similar story I read about the parents of an Oklahoma City bombing victim who ended up having dinner with Timothy McVeigh's parents, realizing how each of them had lost a son, and how forgiveness could begin the healing. I recently saw the movie United 93, and couldn't help but feel pity for the hijackers as well, because they seemed as terrified as the passengers. Those young men were used as pawns in the bidding of Osama bin Laden, just like the young men and women being sent to Iraq are pawns for the Bush administration's war for oil.
Phyllis Rodriguez may not be a Christian but she is living the Christian message that the only way to respond to violence from our enemies is to love them. Any other response destroys us and continues the violence. People often think that Christ commands us to only love our neighbors. Not so: We are commanded to love our enemies, and love lies not in the feelings but in the will.
Janet Secluna Thomas
Westra, Dinas Powys, United Kingdom
Racing past lies
I was surprised by Tom Robbins's "Brooklyn's Nasty Race Race" [September 612] on the congressional primary. Robbins didn't see fit to mention Yvette Clarke's long-term lying about her supposed graduation from Oberlin College and her lying about her failure to repay her student loans. Seems like if she can't deal with herself or her own finances honestly, perhaps she's not the best choice to do the people's work. This is pretty relevant stuff for the Voice to ignore, while instead focusing on race baiting.
So he didn't kiss your ass
Is Wayne Barrett's article "Rudy's Grand Illusion" [August 30 September 5] on Giuliani a joke? "Just one more self-serving boast"? Like what? Taking care of the Italian Mafia issues first? Then bursting the balloons of everyone else in this city who thought it was their own personal cesspool? This is a man who at least meant what he said and then did it to the best of his ability. This is a man who supports a woman's right to choose and who backs gun control. What happened, did he piss on one of your personal parades? Did he close your poopy exhibit? I'm a born and raised liberal New Yorker and I think Giuliani gave a lot of people who needed their asses spanked what they deserved. The city is better off for it.
Re Nat Hentoff's "Arlen Specter's Sellout" [Liberty Beat, September 612 ]: Hentoff, do you live in the same country that I live in? The journalists who are interested in President Bush's felonies and those of the members of his administration would easily fit around the round table in the old Lion's Head. Remember the days of yore in the Head when there were muckrakers, image shakers, and real investigative reporters who congregated there to discuss their religious quests for the holy grail of truth? There are few nowadays. They are gone like the Head has gone, like the head of Americans, to the head. I gave up the idea decades ago that the poets would save America. I thought that the journalists might. Hentoff, I guess I do live where you live. It is Alabama. It is America.
Pot calling the zealot black
Re Tristan Taormino's "The Slut Shot" [Pucker Up, August 2329]: Isn't it ironic that Taormino automatically accuses anyone on the right of being a zealot, yet she is advocating mandatory use of a vaccine for a disease that is primarily sexually contracted? The only thing that Taormino and the rest of the perverted left wing advocate is the killing of the unborn and calling it choice. Right off the bat she wants to use the force of government to mandate someone's health care decision. When has the left ever protected the right of the individual? Its whole platform has to do with collectivism. Maybe Taormino should read the part of the Declaration of Independence that states that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall be protected, before she spouts off talking about choice and blaming the religious right for our problems.
I am writing to express my dismay at the firings of the majority of the editorial staff of the Voice. Having worked in publishing for a number of years myself, I know all too well what happens when good, experienced editors are laid off. Of course, their work must still be done by someone else, but now it gets done by someone who is usually less experienced and more overworked. I have a strong feeling that the paper will become more and more generic in character, losing its uniqueness and ceasing to be the voice of the Village. A bigger listings section and more movie reviews can in no way replace the contributions made by these editors. Listings exist online, as do tons of movie reviews. I fear there will be less and less reason to pick up the Voice at all.
I can't believe you fired Robert Christgau. He's really the only reason I still read the paper. He's the best pop music writer of the past half-century (and I disagreed with him more than enough times). For every bit of tangled syntax, there were a half-dozen brilliant insights that reshaped how I think about music. Well, I guess my shift to Time Out is unfortunately complete. It already does what the Voice undoubtedly plans to do well enough, plus it's a glossy. As for the promised "investigative reporting," I'll stick with the tried and true establishment media ( New York Times, Post, Atlantic, New Yorker, etc.), which do well enough for me.
New eyes on deck
I always thought of the Voice as just an entertainment paper, but in the past few months I have learned to truly appreciate your investigative work and hope that you keep it up. Thanks for informing the public and fighting against corruption, especially in the case of the city and Yankee Stadium, as well as in the political arena with the attorney general race.
Get back to the future
Re Rob Harvilla's "Get Busy Living" [Down in Front, August 2329]: Typical review of a Dylan record that was recorded after 1975. It drips with all the college-minded cliché questions of "Where's our Dylan and his protest songs?" Dylan has never done the same thing twice, and the fact that your article hangs on that theory on a man who is almost 50 years into his career is, I think, a little embarrassing. Where is our Village Voice of the '60s? Oh, wait a minute; it's not the '60s.
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