Letter of the Week

Unacceptable noun-verb usage

Re Nat Hentoff's "'Hate Crimes' Trap" [Liberty Beat, August 2–8]: You can say nigger, faggot, kike, and any of a thousand other hateful inflammatory epithets till the cows come home, but you cannot say them while swinning a bat. You cannot say nigger while dragging the listener behind your truck in chains. You cannot scream faggot while you pistol whip and tie someone to a barbwire fence. Such acts must be demonized, not passed off as mere desperate criminal acts, or crimes of passion. Such hate is cold and simmering and spreads like a virus. Maybe we are not talking about free speech here, but you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater and you cannot yell nigger while you bash a person's head in. So yes, punishment for the assault—and yes, punishment for defiling the privilege of freedom of speech.

David Hagerty
Ferndale, Michigan

Officer down

Re Sean Gardiner's "Freeze Frame on a Bad Cop" [August 16–22] : Bill Phillips was a dirty cop, a convicted killer, and a disgrace to every honest NYPD cop. As time goes by, people forget the loss of confidence that New Yorkers and honest cops suffered because of Phillips and company. Time, age, illness, and his pleas for sympathy should be considered but are not reasons for parole. Did the people of New York get the truth out of Phillips at the time, or did he cooperate just to reduce his own exposure? He cooperated against corruption only after he satisfied his own greed— the murders were in addition to his corruption. Phillips deserves a fair shake from the parole board, like the fair shake he gave the hooker and pimp he was convicted of killing. Time does not excuse murder.

Ben Jacobson
Retired NYPD detective
via e-mail

The fact that the board consistently denies Bill Phillips parole even in the face of overwhelming evidence of his redemption, not to mention his probable innocence, demonstrates to every inmate that what matters is not the law itself but what the governor thinks of the law. Sound familiar? This lack of respect for the legal process seems to be a particularly Republican sickness that had best be cured at the ballot box this November, lest it spread. I hate to think about what laws George Pataki would find too personally repugnant to enforce should he succeed in his quest to become the next president.

Mark Rutkowski
Staten Island

Fuck Bill Phillips and the rest of his family and future generations of the Phillips clan. He was and still is a lying, murdering coward who should rot in jail along with the bleeding asshole who wrote the story. There is nothing too bad that can ever happen to this guy. He absolutely deserves the worst.

Steve Carlson

Obe(e)dient hive

Re Ed Halter's "Fakes on a Plane" [August 9–15] : It's amazing how the press, especially in New York City, acts like impotent bees refusing to enter the 9-11 nest. The press seems to have become the puppet voice of the establishment on this, the mother of all issues. They get close to the opening, knowing the honey is inside, but for some inexplicable reason they will not enter. That's because inside they will find the truth, the sticky, sticky truth. The hive depends on the truth to survive, but the hive is dying; the truth has been relegated to the misnomer of conspiracy theories. The official explanation, no matter how absurd, cannot be the real conspiracy theory, because the king of the hive has said so, and all the little workers must obey. The neocon reality of 9-11 is a lie, a farce. The hive depends on the media to inform its populace with reality-based truth and information. Without it honey turns rotten and all the bees die.

Jeff Tanzer
Salem, Massachusetts

Deconstructing Brooklyn

I just read with great interest and palpable dismay Cynthia Carr's article about Ratner's Atlantic Yards development ["Life in the Footprint," August 2–8]. As a newcomer to Brooklyn, I'm only tiptoeing into community politics, but Ratner's plans are the very antithesis of everything I enjoy about Brooklyn. The city and state governments should be ashamed of allowing the project to bypass borough development regulations, and of betraying those families whose lives and histories make Brooklyn what it is. If developers need a city to rebuild, I hear New Orleans could use some help.

Jonathan Kells Phillips

Didn't do the right thing

Re Larry Blumenfeld's "Spike Lee's Reality TV" [August 16–22]: Spike Lee is a stark raving hypocrite, and if there is anyone to blame for the Katrina aftermath it's Louisiana's politicians. The New Orleans government had the money to repair the levees but didn't. The money allocated to Hurricane Katrina has been grossly miscalculated, misused, and mishandled, and when you allow vile parasites to run your lives and you don't vote, you die. Putting blacks on television as the sole victims of Katrina makes for good TV and continues to divide the country the way the powers that be want it, but many other types of people died that day. If Spike Lee's mosquito-looking ass was so sad about the tragedy, then why didn't he make this documentary for free and donate all the money to rebuilding?

Corrine Ahimsa
via e-mail

Gender bender

Re Tristan Taormino's "Lightning Rod, Part 1" [Pucker Up, July 26–August 1]: I know most gays and lesbians have a screwed-up idea of the facts surrounding what is and what is not a transsexual, but Taormino has gone over the edge by writing, "with transsexual porn being a 'fetish . . . ' " We are not fetishists—unless you're referring to the transgender autogyne-philics who have their penises cut off and then go to bed with their pre-op partners as castrated men. Since Taormino is so keen on placing us in the transgender pot with the cross-dressers, why doesn't she eliminate same-sex and call it same-gender, or might that make her out to be the kook she made many of us out to be? I was born with a female-brain gender but a body with erroneous male sex parts. Got it?

Diane Lynn
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Crying shame

Neil deMause's "Out of the Shelter, Into the Fire" [June 21–27] was extremely on point. As an HSP (Housing Stability Plus) recipient, I am forced to live in a studio apartment with my three- year-old autistic son. My rent is $860, and I was expected to pay $180. However my landlord charges me an extra $40. I receive very little from public assistance and have utility bills that are extremely high due to lack of heat in the winter. I want to work so that I can get off of this program. All I can do right now is go to school and try to avoid becoming another welfare-to-work employee. I cry every night; I'm stressed about the unknown. I want to thank the Voice for taking the time to shed light on the problems with this new HSP program.

Tamika Hickson


In last week's issue the photo that accompanied Jarrett Murphy's "Waiting for Reinforcements" was miscredited. The photo should have been credited to Emma Raynes.

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