Letter of the Week
Re Nat Hentoff's "Hillary Clinton Wakes Up" [October 2531]:
As usual, this is all very nice rhetoric, but Senator Clinton failed to mention, in her Senate-floor diatribe, a few differences between the British during the Revolutionary War and Islamic thugs: In general the British were interested in preserving their own lives and were not particularly known for glorifying suicide in battle.
In the absence of humor in Iraqi society these days, we can perhaps imagine a group of Islamic thugs sitting around in some hovel reading a translation of Hentoff's columns on this subject and laughing at our naïveté in the face of the brutalities they intend to inflict upon us.
Brush with death
It's about time someone took those "self-satisfied 100th-generation School of Paris painters" on [ "The Undead of Art History," by Jerry Saltz, October 1824]. Maybe we can finally get some relief from their stranglehold on the art world! Keep on hitting those tough targets, Jerry!
Third world in the Bronx
Re Mara Altman's "The Young and the Helpless" [October 2531]: I worked in the South Bronx for more than three years. I am a Canadian, and I was completely stunned by the circumstances that people found themselves in. I kept shaking my head, wondering how this borough could be part of America. It was definitely third-worldfew trained teachers, impossible living conditions with overpriced rents. Through it all, I experienced the tenacity of the residents, their generosity toward one another, and their willingness to learn and to help other people. It is criminal to think that the few remaining support structures can be eliminated. HRA has a long history of disregard for the people it supposedly "serves." Look at HRA officials' salaries and their perks. This should not happen!
Stop telling other countries how to exercise democracy; you aren't fulfilling even the most fundamental needs of your own people. Truly a moral outrage.
Try to keep the faith.
Throwing at our heads
I can't believe the petty, whiny comments Emma Span made regarding the National League Championship Series and St. Louis ["Seven Days in Shea," October 2531]. Fans in St. Louis actually applaud opposing players, while rude, obnoxious New Yorkers boo even the bat boy. Both heavily favored, overpaid New York teams choked big time. As for the "whiteness" of the St. Louis team and fans, what's the percentage of nonwhite fans at Shea? How many African American players? To talk about a "white" Cards team, when half the team is Hispanic and it has an Asian player, is myopic at best.
This is for Ms. Span: Absolutely enjoyable baseball article. It was such a breath of fresh air to read your articles after listening to the talking heads that dominate this city. At the same time, though, your article pained me even more as you summed up the Mets as whole: a very good and very likable team. What could have been! And yes, that Game 3 of the Yankees series was better than sex for me.
Once again, thank you, Nat Hentoff. I was aware of Senator Harry Reid's speech against the torture bill, but I was not aware of Senator Clinton's ["Hillary Clinton Wakes Up," October 2531].
These are dangerous times and it is revealing to think that the Foley revelations as well as Rush Limbaugh's attack on Michael J. Fox may provide the deciding swing the Democrats need in a way that the torture bill did not. Great job, Nat.
It's hard ever to take Nat Hentoff seriously. I've read him off and on for years.
His piece on Hillary Clinton was one of his looniest, and I must be a bit tacky and suggest that only in the often deranged mind of Nat Hentoff could Harry Reid be the "Senate majority leader."
By the way, while Hentoff both bores and amuses me, your movie reviews are a "must-read" in my book! Thanks for them.
Walter B. Funk
Charleston, West Virginia
Upon further review . . .
You've lost another reader. Firing Michael Atkinson and Dennis Lim was shortsighted. I valued Atkinson's reviews in particular for their intelligence, rigorousness, wit, and iconoclasm. Your ad for a film editor cites the necessity of a reader-friendly orientation, but this firing is the antithesis of that. As a resident of Los Angeles I can already read reviews from Scott Foundas or other L.A.-based critics. Now I get them twice. If the thumbs-up crowd wants easier reviews, let them eat Ebert.
Los Angeles, California
Now that's hell
I agree with Tricia Romano ["There's No Winking in Hell," Fly Life, October 1824] that part of the success of Les Freres Corbusier's Hell House is the utter lack of irony shown in a liberal theater company's production of a fundamentalist Christian creationespecially considering the possibility of very real liberal protesters.
Romano and her companions would probably have had a much different take on their experience had the hell house they attended been in St. Ann's Church, rather than St. Ann's Warehouse. For most of us, there seems to be much pleasure in feeling as though as a city we are above things like religious zealotry. The real test for us all would be to experience one of Pastor Roberts's own hell houses. Placed under the weight of the questioning stares of real fundamentalist Christians, not actors, I wonder how many of us would be angered, moved, or perhaps even converted.
The play's the thing
Tired of reading Michael Feingold's complaints about theater being dull. If reviewers ignore invitations to shows with smaller budgets but that are often bolder and more provocative, then don't complain about being bored. It's not all dullbut it's not all being reviewed! Mr. Feingold, maybe you're just going to the wrong shows.
La Criatura Theatre Company
The Voice thinks it's cute to have all the childish caterwauling about New York's smoking ban throughout its "best of" listings [Best of NYC, October 1824]. Wow, how '90s. The issue's long over, in this and many other cities, states, and countries that have implemented bans. These silly gripes just make the Voice look like it's written by kidsand kids from out of town at that.
But the history of advertising and journalism shows us that almost all publications that take tobacco ads refuse to tell their readers anything about smoking except how great it iswhether through ads or editorial copy.
Someday there will be a major investigative piece about the media's "professional courtesy" policy, detailing how much it has deprived the American public of a true knowledge of tobacco. But one thing's sure: We won't see that piece in the Voice, which for decades has shied away from real reporting on smoking. The Voice will never address the addiction and deaths of millions of people a year throughout the worldmost heinously in developing nationsfor fear of losing its place at tobacco's trough.
I picked up the "best of" issue, curious to find out what the Voice chose for best jazz. Looking through the arts and entertainment section, I didn't find any jazz! And New York City is still probably the premier jazz town in the world.
Getting under their skin
I have given approval for my daughter to have the skin shock treatment provided at Judge Rotenberg Center ["School of Shock," by Jarrett Murphy, October 1117]. I would rather have her get a two-second shock that will stop her from hurting herself or someone else than watch her be held down and restrained or drugged into a stupor. JRC is helping many families like mine and families in even worse situations to have hope for a future and a decent existence for their children. The "norm" does not work for our children. JRC does.
I find nothing about shocking these vulnerable children to be acceptable. Other facilities all over the country manage to handle profoundly disabled children without hurting them.
The fallout of aversive therapies was not addressed, and quick fixes are never what they appear.
Golden Valley, Minnesota
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