In response to Michael Musto's August 24 column: You secretly adore Michael Jackson, Mr. Musto, and feel that you must belittle him to hide your deep affection. But writing that you "would like to gossip about how fascinating that recently surfaced picture of Jacko's pallid son was . . . this adorable little Jack-off looks precious little like Daddy, though maybe he's already had his pigment scrubbed!" was pathetic.
There is no humor in defiling children, and using the media to make such hideous insinuations is a vile abuse of everyone's rights.
I leave you to polish your pitchfork and mend the snag in your red cape.
Marla Dee Collins
San Jose, California
To Michael Musto: They falsely accused Michael Jackson of being a child molester, but the real child molesters are journalists like you, Mr. Musto, who molest a two-year-old child with cruel, unsupported gossip! In the future, before writing, you should check that your brain is connected to your pen, and realize that children who are affected by vitiligo or have multiracial parents just might just might read what you are writing. For the luck of the future of this world, a two-year-old kid knows better than you that skin is only a surface, and when he looks at his father, who suffers from vitiligo, or at his white mother, he sees only what is inside them. Because in spite of what you are experiencing, in this world there are still people with big hearts inside.
B Back When
It was with a mixture of nostalgia and whimsy that I read Norah Vincent's "B Is for Bistro: The Bittersweet Transformation of Avenue B" and "Boho Bohoo" by C. Carr [August 17], two fine articles about my former Lower East Side neighborhood.
I agree with Carr's insight that bohemia always looks better in hindsight and that the Golden Age is always waning. But allow this "old fart" to wax nostalgic for a moment. I arrived in the Tompkins Square neighborhood in 1965. I had a spacious apartment on the top floor of a building on East 5th Street one of the few old buildings that was left on that street. I paid less than $70 a month for this jewel and furnished it in fun gothic style from uptown throwaways.
Shortly after my arrival, I became a representative for the then emerging Tompkins Square Press, Ltd., publishers of Down Here, "a magazine from the East Village." We were also an avant-garde bookstore that specialized in publishing the Vest-Pocket Poets series, which received good press. The bookstore and Press were located at 97 Avenue B, across from the park. Some of the finest talent in town was published in our magazine. Ray Bremser's Angel ("The work of one night in the dark/solitary confinement, New Jersey State Prison, Trenton") was first published by Tompkins Square Press. Other poets and writers we published included (to name a few) Ted Berrigan, Mike Disend, Jay Bail, Robert Richkin, and John Wieners. Tom McNamara's extensive correspondence with artists such as Charles Bukowski and Harold Norse added a delightful touch, as did the photographs of Anna Kaufman.
The Lower East Side in the '60s was a marvelous place to be young and burning with a zest for life. Now in my sixties, I share my East Village stories with my two daughters, who are awakening to their own waning Golden Age. Indeed, change is the only constant.
A Dance To Brooklyn
I was quoted out of context in the article "Boom in Brooklyn?" by Odile Joly in last week's issue, and I feel that my views were inadequately represented. While I conveyed to the writer many of my strong reactions to the status quo and limitations of the Manhattan performing arts scene, as well to people's fear of Brooklyn, I just as strongly expressed an excitement and a positive outlook toward the growing and diverse performing arts scene in Brooklyn which, unfortunately, were not represented in the article.
All of my views come from my strong loyalty to Brooklyn. For example, I currently live in Clinton Hill and have lived in Brooklyn all of my nine years in New York. I have performed in venues in three different Brooklyn neighborhoods and rehearse there on a regular basis. I understand the need to keep articles focused and interesting, but I feel that my views, expressed in a lengthy interview with the writer, were spliced in such a way that my intent was distorted.
I was seriously misquoted by Odile Joly in her article "Boom in Brooklyn?". We discussed the move of my studio and several other issues, but we never discussed any questions that would have provoked an answer such as "there's more little tushies to fill those theatre seats here than anywhere else" as I was quoted as saying. My goal is to unite the dance community in all of New York City, regardless of location.
Broadway Dance Center
Odile Joly replies: In quoting Maureen Brennan's observation that "somebody's going to have to take the risk" of bringing dance to Brooklyn, as well as citing her wish that she could take that risk herself through the purchase of a Fulton Avenue building, I intended to convey her optimism that, with a little initiative, Brooklyn could house an active dance scene. As to the letter from Allison Ellner, while discussing her studio's move, she touched on New York's role as a center for dance, and illustrated it with that offhand comment, which I quoted in the article and which remains in my memory.
Mark Boal's "The FIDNet Files" [August 24], about the proposed Federal Intrusion Detection Network a secret plan to monitor the Internet was an outstanding piece of journalism, and is exactly the sort of work you should be doing consistently. Protecting us from Big Brother is a bipartisan duty. Totalitarians in both parties and especially among the apparatchiks constantly threatens individual liberties.
Orange Park, Florida
Mark Boal's "The FIDNet Files" proves a point that Libertarians have been making for decades that the problem is with the structure of government, not who's in charge. Your readership should note that the infringements on liberty threatened by FIDNet is the result of bureaucracy gone amok, not just a party gone amok. The solution has and always will be to cut the inherent size of government and to reduce the scope of its activities.
David R. Sarosi
So J. Hoberman thinks Sergio Leone "created a totally distinctive place" ["Finding Their Religion," August 24]? Give me a break. Why is it that directors like Leone or Sam Peckinpah, whose westerns emulate Akira Kurosawa samurai movies, are regarded as men with personal visions? It isn't their vision it belongs to the director of Sanjuro. Only a delusional fan would come up with the idea that Leone was so enamored of Yojimbo that he had to make it as a western. Get real. He wanted to repeat the Italian commercial success of The Magnificent Seven. He even wanted to cast James Coburn in the lead.
Wayne Barrett's "The Indifferent Governor" [August 24] notes in passing that the proportion of minorities in New York State government workforce has diminished. This is due at least in part to a policy of moving state jobs from ethnic New York City to whitebread Albany, which actually began under Mario Cuomo and has continued undiminished under the present administration. That this can go on when five-eighths of the state's population and voters live in the New York metropolitan area demonstrates the nullification of representative government under New York State's political system.
Cry for Joe
I read with a mixture of dread and sadness Andrew Hsiao's article in The Village Voice about the missing writer and editor Joe Wood ["Into Thin Air," August 3].
I met Joe five years ago at the first Unity minority journlists convention in Atlanta, and he was extremely kind and solicitous to an anxious freelance writer like myself. He went out of his way to help a brother, and I appreciate his efforts. I enjoyed his stylish, clean prose in the Voice and in other publications. I would not hesitate to say that Joe Wood inspired my own writing endeavors.
Though I knew the man only slightly, I feel diminished by his probable loss.
Shortstop on Earth
While the recent Jockbeat item on Pee Wee Reese ["Pee Wee's Excellent Career," August 24] was laudatory, it didn't go far enough to capture the man's basic humanity. Reese helped Jackie Robinson through the tough moments of Robinson's heroic struggle to integrate major league baseball not because he was some guilt-ridden liberal intent on changing society but simply because he was a good and decent man. All athletes owe him a deep degree of gratitude.
William A. Borst
St. Louis, Missouri
Micky and the Babe
I was born in the Bronx, and reading Rachel Ellner's article "Director of the Pinstriped Pilgrimage" [August 31] brought back to me the happy times when my father, my brother, and I attended baseball games at Yankee Stadium. Dad was almost always at work, my brother was either in school or out doing what young boys do, and me a girl. Hmm. But on the weekends Yankee Stadium brought the three of us together.
Now when I visit New York City from Idaho, I think back to those days and Ms. Ellner put it all into words. Thank you for a heart-warming and nostalgic look back. I do hope the Yankees stay in the "House That Ruth Built."
Miriam "Micky" Waltch
St. Maries, Idaho
Edmund Lee's survey of public attitudes on the issue of forced mental treatment [Mad on the Street, August 10] revealed the effects of the campaign of slander and stereotyping by the mental hell-th industry and the mainstream media.
Where is the concern for the victims of the frequent violent assaults, the routine drug overdoses designed to terrorize, traumatize, and debilitate, the deaths of mental patients by electroshock, and the prolonged horror of sexual-assault torture that is legalized by labeling it "restraint therapy"?
Psychiatric survivors agree that many more violent acts are committed every day by mental hell-th professionals and staff against patients than are ever committed against the public by anyone who is deemed to be "mentally ill." Yet the mainstream media refuses to tell our stories.
I just loved Tom Tomorrow's article "Warren Beatty's Next Role" [August 24], but I wonder about the statement that none of his former girlfriends has had a bad thing to say about him.
How about "You're So Vain" as a campaign song?
Eva Yaa Asantewaa
A page of letters received in response to Guy Trebay's August 24 article "Babes in Boyland" can be found on this page.
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