LETTER OF THE WEEK
Given that The Village Voice is now free in the city (and has been for over a decade), I am wondering if I have the longest-running paid subscription to your periodical. Having not lived in the city for three decades, I've been paying for a subscription since I was 19; I am now 50. Given that all of my fellow Voice readers who live in the city no longer pay for their copy, I believe I might be in the running for longest-paid subscription. Shouldn't I get an award? After paying the fee for 31 years, perhaps a lifetime freebie is now appropriate? Maybe a plaque? Thank you for your consideration.
Chappaqua, New York
NOW, WHY'D YOU HAVE TO FUCK WITH CHUCK?
After reading Kristen Lombardi's cover story on Senator Charles Schumer ["While Schumer Slept," February 2127] and his supposed lack of early action regarding the health effects fallout from ground zero, I have to join the chorus of others who lament on the Voice's fall from grace. As Schumer and his staff pointed out, Senator Hilary Clinton was on the appropriate committees and he deferred to her lead on this issue. Sounds reasonable to me, so where's the scandal of neglect? Schumer not only co-sponsored every bill he was asked to, he voted for all of them, wrote letters, and even secured millions. With neglect like that, who needs attention?
Simply put, 9/11 responders and lower Manhattan residents, workers, and students have no greater friend than Senator Chuck Schumer. The senator has always been among the first to lend his voice, his name and, more importantly, his leadership in the fight against this unprecedented health crisis. Indeed, Senator Schumer played an essential role in securing the only federal funds we've ever gotten for 9/11 health monitoring and treatment. What's more, as the architect of the Democratic takeover of the Senate, Chuck Schumer has arguably done more than any other person to pave the way for legislation to finally do right by the heroes of 9/11. These are noble efforts, for which Senator Schumer deserves the thanks of his fellow New Yorkers.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY)
Member of Congress
As a member of New York Disaster Interfaith Services, I was glad to see the Voice report on 9/11 recovery-worker issues, instead of yet another trendy lifestyle celebration. No doubt some of our elected leaders have been distracted from important local issues by the so-called War on Terror and the war in Iraq. Many officials have been slow to recognize the scope of health problems related to the collapse of the towers, but surely there are targets more appropriate than Senator Schumer. One wonders what motivated such a harsh and unbalanced attack. The intrigue of politics is motivated by desire for power and influence. Is the Voice critiquing that or joining in the game? Far more Libertarian than Left, the Voice has been neglecting social justice in favor of identity politics, and almost ignored Iraq and other tragic political scandals. I find it difficult to trust a newspaper that is frequently mean and materialistic in tone, and seemingly more driven by status and consumption than by creativity or human solidarity. While in this way the Voice is indeed a mirror for society, it fails to shine a lantern on new pathways through the inky darkness.
Muslim Consultative Network, Bronx
Your article about Schumer's involvement in the issue of the health impacts of the 9/11 pollution did not include my comments on the important clout that Senator Schumer brings to this issue. The Sierra Club strongly appreciates Senator Schumer's support for federal funding to address the health impacts of human exposure to the pollution from ground zero. His leadership on this issue, in union with Senator Clinton, Representatives Fossella, Maloney, Nadler, Rangel, and the entire New York congressional delegation, is essential to achieve justice for the ground zero workers, residents, and others exposed to the toxic 9/11 pollution, and we greatly value his involvement.
Sierra Club NYC Executive, Manhattan
NOTHING TO RAVE ABOUT
I was absolutely dazzled by Tricia Romano's "Rave On!" [Fly Life, February 1420]. I was a raver in the early '90s in Brazil. I traveled from my hometown (Belo Horizonte) to São Paulo, Rio, and even to the Amazon forest. At that point of my life, I thought that electronic culture would last forever, and I foresaw myself as a thirtysomething raving and prancing all over the world. My ambition took me to New York, and what I saw was the complete decline of the club scene, no fun at all! So my glowing stick darkened. I felt exactly the way Tricia described when I realized that the DJs were not mixing anymore. But last year I had a wonderful experience with Daft Punk in Rio, and as she said, "you can take the boy out of the eletronica, but you can't take the eletronica out of the boy." So I'm back clubbing again. I miss New York, though.
Eduardo Dias Fonseca
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Tristan Taormino's two-part series "Dangerous Dildos" on the health effects of sex toys was outstanding. I had not heard of this serious medical problem posed by phthalates anywhere else. I have shared Taormino's articles with Internet groups that I am involved with because it is absolutely imperative that people know the risks. These two articles of serious sex reporting were rare and refreshing. So many sex articles are either just titillating or how-to (not that there is anything wrong with that), but today's reader wants reporting and substance, and Taormino is one of the few reporters who knows what her readers want.
Taormino bravely goes and writes where many do not dare (or at least admit to). So her concerns for the safety of her readers' health (and other treasured places) are greatly appreciated. "Toxic tensions" are an important issue of concern for the sex-toy industry, but also for dating and freedom of speech. Taormino's warnings make me take notice, and I smile at her frank openness.
MURDER SHE WROTE
Honestly, we've had three installments of "Married, Not Dead," and it's killing me. It's been basically the same column three times running, and it's probably the most benign, vanilla writing that the Voice has ever seen. As a longtime reader and admirer of the paper, I'm utterly disappointed by this column and wish things would go back to the way they were: anal exploits from Taormino, snarky but insightful sexual commentary from Savage, and the totally slutty exploits of the Lusty Lady. This "I'm a sexually frustrated/conflicted married gal" column is killing me.
Madison, West Virginia
THAT'S THE WAY LOVE GOES?
As someone who has organized public events on the topic of disability and sexuality, I was delighted by your Valentine's Day cover and by the prospect of an edgy, intelligent article on the topic. There is an urgent need for public awareness about the sexual lives, desires, and rights of people with disabilities. What a grotesque disappointment, then, that Mara Altman's article on Larry Seiler ["Something in the Way He Moves," February 1420] turned out to be such cruel rubbish. The opening sentences, where Larry is described as potbellied, double-chinned, with feet "like a duck's," shoulders that "hunch up toward his hairy lobes" and "pockmarks and pimples that stretch from the tip of his short brown hair all along his jawline," set the tone, and are breathtaking in their mean-spiritednessall the more so because the photographs show an attractive, pleasant-looking young man. What exactly was the point? To show that even men with disabilities can be jackasses when it comes to women? By the end of the article, I did feel sorry for Larry, but not because of his Neanderthal views on women and certainly not because of his disability. I felt sorry for him because he clearly confided in a journalist who repaid his trust by disrespecting him and presenting his private confidences in a way that snidely set him up as an unattractive, pathetic loser.
Director Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, NYU
Last week's article "While Schumer Slept" refers to the now defunct Concerned Stuyvesant Parents Association. That organization should not be confused with its successor group, the Concerned Stuyvesant Community, which fought to clean up Stuyvesant High School in the wake of 9/11, and which continues to exist today.
STAFF WRITERS WANTED
The Village Voice has openings for staff writers with experience in political reporting. We're looking for passionate, energetic journalists with well-developed narrative- writing skills and lots of story ideas. Please send a cover letter, résumé, and clips to:
David Blum Editor in Chief The Village Voice
36 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
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