Letter of the Week

Stolen word

I am the Kevin McGee referred to in Ed Park's plagiarism piece "Mehta Fiction" [Voice Literary Supplement, May 24–30]. In my senior year of high school I submitted three stolen pieces of literature to Ed's magazine for reasons that I don't understand—it wasn't for a grade and certainly wasn't for money. Regardless, the legacy of those pieces affected both my writing and work ethic in years to come for one simple reason: They meant nothing to me. I did not create them. They weren't my ideas, and therefore I experienced no pride or growth from their creation. The irony is that my writing improved. I've since written and published professional and recreational work as well as written several hundreds of pages of creative work that I never show anyone. I actually enjoy writing and, as a consequence, have never felt the urge to repeat the hollow process of copying. The frightening aspect is that this might not be the case today, had my 18-year-old brain been rewarded with a large sum of money from those works instead of self-induced meditation on the value of wasted time.

Kevin McGee
Healdsburg, California

Upcoming Events

Park's article is by far the best cultural commentary on and analysis of the sad and pathetic affair of Kaavya Viswanathan. My own two cents: The titles of the two plagiarized Megan McCafferty novels are also revealing, in the sense of the practice itself of plagiarizing: Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. Everyone who has written about this affair has missed this.

Biodun Iginla
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Destabilizing forces

Re Kristen Lombardi's "Pushed Off the Pinnacle" [May 24–30]: New York City courts are more pro-tenant than any other courts in the U.S. If people are being evicted from Pinnacle apartments, it is with cause. The best gauge on whether or not a landlord is good is the number of violations per unit. One violation per unit in Harlem is outstanding. The Voice is dragging the good guy through the mud. If you pay your rent and are legally there, you get to stay. Where else in the country are renters afforded such rights? If tenants can't afford to pay, they have to move; what's so new about this concept? In other cities if the landlord doesn't like you for any reason, he/she simply doesn't renew your lease. It's not so here, so landlords get stuck with terrible tenants who have no incentive to become good ones. I'm tired of paying jacked-up rents because rent stabilization creates a scarcity of market-rate apartments. We should eliminate all stabilized apartments. Simply put, rent stabilization protects the few at the expense of the many.

Douglas Peterson

I can't fully express my appreciation for Lombardi's Pinnacle article. As a native New Yorker, I have felt a great deal of anger and impotence observing neighborhoods becoming gentrified, to the detriment of blacks, Hispanics, and low-income New Yorkers. Please continue to print pieces such as this one.

Kerry McLean

Variety, not volume

Re Cortney Harding's "Give Noise a Chance" [May 17–23]: Am I to understand that musical-artist opposition to the war has become so widespread that we need to trim our ranks based on decibel output? The fight against rabid corporate capitalism had better have many voices, especially as we are canaries in the cross-cultural coal mine called New York. Here we are all minorities. So how do we all get along to change the world? By making one musical genre/culture more appropriate than another for voicing dissatisfaction with the status quo? I don't think so. I have my own pictures in my head but work consciously to stretch the borders of my musical appreciation to include a feeling for the outrage expressed by others in formats that are not on my Top 10.

Uffe Surland van Tams

The Old Poetry

This style of poetry [The New Poetry, Voice Literary Supplement, May 24–30] is anything but new, and it is offensive and thoughtless for Joshua Clover to call Kevin Davies's style of poetry original when so many poets have done it before. It was people like Robert Bly and James Wright who developed the style that is now known as leaping poetry, wherein the contents of each line or stanza very seldom have anything to do with each other. And more recently, a poet named Michael Teig put out a book that is deadly similar to the style in which Davies writes. There have been hundreds poets who have perfected the voice of this "new poetry." The point of this style is to suggest that poetry can be studied the same way as an abstract expressionist painting, with no certain meaning except the one you find in it. It seems unfair to other poets to label Davies's work as a new.  

Colin Pope

Already world famous

Re Silke Tudor's "Ready for Take Off" [Loitering, May 24–30]: Just a note to thank the Voice for Tudor's thoughtful introduction of the World Famous *BOB* to those readers who might have missed Tricia Romano's 23 write-ups on her in the past three years (isn't the Voice search engine a marvelous thing?). Good looking out, Silke.

Joe McCombs

Diggin' it Down Under

Re Neil Shah's "Bored in the U.S.A." [May 10–16]: I have been reading all the news concerning Axl Rose that I can find, because I am still a big fan. I just wanted to say that Shah's article on Rose was the best one I have read on the subject in recent memory. Shah definitely encapsulated everything that I was looking for and did an excellent job compared to all the current regurgitated rubbish out there. Thank you (for once) for quality journalism.

Warwick Wilson Melbourne, Australia

Why you hatin'?

Re Drew Tillman's review of Revoloution [Tracking Shots, May 10–16]: I self-released a film that took me 10 years to make. The interesting thing about the film, other than The Village Voice's cursory review, which was hacked through, was the fact that, because the concept was unique, I got the writer of The Deer Hunter to write it with me, and after the film was through, Oscar-winning composer Bill Conti did the music for nothing. Then, Oscar nominee, or whatever he is, Burt Young did a free cameo because he thought the film was a work of art. Meanwhile, while these great artists endorsed my film and created a work that has an impact on lives, Tillman chose the most clichéd way to attack my film, Revolution, by making fun of its inspirational nature. In a city that's endured so much darkness, one would hope that haters wouldn't thrive at the Voice. This is the first film in 30 years from the writer of The Deer Hunter, and its effect on audiences, who are lining up around the block, speaks for itself. Tillman's calling the film an after-school special tells me that instead of watching the film he scrolled through it to make a deadline. We screen the film to hundreds of at-risk youth on a weekly basis, and though they stand and cheer after the film, the only after-school special that is playing in this film is forgiveness for the bleak and destructive world you live in while separating the masses from inspiring works that seek to do good.

Bret Carr
Los Angeles, California

Sleeping on Shooter

I just finished reading Joshua Love's article on Shooter Jennings ["Offend in Every Way," May 17–23]. Some things Love got right—Jennings probably won't go platinum on Electric Rodeo, but that's not because the album's not worthy; it's because country fans are all up Kenny Chesney's butt. It's sad. I feel Love's statement about how an anthem, like "4th of July," is not present on Electric Rodeo is false. For people like me a great anthem is "Hair of the Dog" or "It Ain't Easy." Shooter makes honest music that he performs with his whole heart. After seeing him perform live, I was hooked. I will be a fan for as long as he continues to write and play. I feel sorry for those people who will never give his music a chance. They are missing something special.

Devin Black
Madisonville, Kentucky

And the pitch . . .

The Voice has an immediate opening for a staff writer. We're looking for journalists who understand the difference between magazine-style reporting and the hurried factoid-finding of daily papers. The ideal candidate must have the ability to create in-depth and compelling stories that explore issues, events, and people. We'd like to see examples of not only your past work but also your current ideas. That means we'd like to see your story pitches. We offer competitive salaries and benefits.

Send cover letter, résumé, clips, and pitches to:  

Ward Harkavy
Interim Editor in Chief
The Village Voice
36 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003

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