Letter of the Week
The 'ho down
As one of those prudish, anti-sex feminists that Rachel Kramer Bussel refers to in her column "Fucking and Feminism" [Lusty Lady, July 1925] I hope to provide some insight into what our views truly look like. We don't care that women are promiscuous. In fact, as an anti-sex advocate I am also the maintainer of an online pegging community. I also masturbate about twice a day, and I like it when my husband pulls my hair and calls me a slut. What we do care about is that many women are promiscuous for the sake of pleasing men. Many insecure young women take on the slut persona as a desperate way to gain attention. Yes, a woman should have the choice to do whatever she desires, whether it's sucking some guy's dick or getting fucked in the ass by five men and a donkey. But the choice should be made because a woman truly enjoys itnot because she's emotionally insecure or feels societal pressure to take on a promiscuous role.
For fuck's sake
Re Rachel Kramer Bussel's "Fucking and Feminism" [Lusty Lady, July 1925] : Bussel gets it right in her recent column. Our society is so thoroughly marinated in sex negativity that it continues to point the judgmental finger at anyone, male or female, who has the audacity to admit to searching for sexual truth and authenticity. We'd all be a lot happier and healthier if we only practiced what Bussel preaches.
Re Maria Luisa Tucker's "How Not to Pay Rent" [July 1925]: As a tenant of the building mentioned in Tucker's article, I take offense to the way our building was characterized. The Ruhes and Courtney implied that the building is some sort of inconvenient, leaky firetrap from which they barely escaped alive. The only real inconvenience for these freeloaders is that they have to work to pay rent. The building is equipped with a functioning sprinkler system, fire hoses, and clear access to both a front and back stairwell. Elevator service is provided by the building in the evenings (5 to 11 p.m.) by an operator who I believe helped the Ruhes move their band equipment on more than one occasion. The building is as safe as any other commercial or residential building of its size in the area. Check out the Toy Factory lofts on Johnson Street for comparison. Jamal, Puge, and Kevin are three unemployed crybabies who are lashing out immaturely because the court forced them to leave the building for not paying rent. The fact that Tucker's article missed the truth of the matter so completely is a testament to her poor reporting. Did Tucker ever think to ask other tenants about their experience?
These tenants knew that they were leasing commercial space, so they knew what they were getting into. Puge Ruhe states, "Do you pay someone an astronomical amount of rent just to have a roof over your head, or do you pay for a certain amount of safety, or do you pay for convenience? Because we haven't had any safety or convenience living here." Boo hoo. If all of them rented a legal apartment, they wouldn't be in this predicament. Not paying rent is stealing, and these tenants don't have a leg to stand on morally or ethically. If they want to stay in DUMBO, pay up or shut up or go back to Wisconsin or wherever the hell you people come from.
I was utterly repulsed by Kevin Courtney's comments in Tucker's article. Landlords in New York are often horrid, self-interested dregs of society who were elevated by inheritance or savvy investments made before gentrification. However, comparing yourself to Robin Hood for dodging rent is almost as ridiculous as President Bush being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It smacks of self-absorbed delusion, both fiscal and ethical. Robin Hood? Isn't it more like stealing from the rich and giving to yourself? Owners need to pay taxes and maintain their buildings, and while they charge what the market will bear, I wonder what someone like Courtney would charge if the tables were turned. This is not about money; it's about doing the right thing.
Re "10 Worst Landlords" [July 511]: I commend the careful research and fine writing that went into exposing these landlords. However, one might come away from the articles thinking that there are thousands of bad apples in an otherwise well-regulated system of housing rental. Clearly, the fault lies in the system itselfone that allows the sort of injustice that you documented to persist year after year.
I applaud Nat Hentoff for his anti-torture position, as well as all rabbis and Jews who fight against torture. However, Hentoff's article "Rabbis Against Torture" [Liberty Beat, July 1925] is incomplete and misleading. During many months of public discussion about American torture, no one mentioned its connection to Israel. Then an article appeared in The Washington Post acknowledging Israel's long-standing use of torture and crediting America's adoption of torture to the influence of Israelas though torture were good for America. No country has flouted the Geneva Conventions like Israel. So it is nice to applaud Jewish wisdom but fair to discredit Jewish proponents/practitioners of torture (Israel), who influenced America off of its historical moral track.
Big and bad
Re Voice Choices: I have to add my wholehearted agreement with Thomas Beard's letter "No real choice" [Letters, July 1925] denouncing the new Voice Choices. I used to look forward to J. Hoberman's and Michael Feingold's succinct, critically astute capsule reviews of film and theater, respectively.
Sadly, this has been replaced with a multi-page, lowest-common-denominator format using big photos and new, unknown "critics." In contrast to your cover's assertion, bigger is not always better. I shudder to think what's next in this downward spiral the new owners seem intent on implementing at the Voice.
Jackson Heights, Queens
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