Letter of the Week
You'd be a bitch too . . .
I agree with attorney Robin Yeamans in Kristen Lombardi's "Her Right to Be Obnoxious" [April 1218] regarding Dyandria Darel and the abhorrent, arrogant, and completely unconstitutional actions of the New York City Administration for Children's Services as well as Judge Helen Sturm. But then we should all know by now that the legal system can pretty much do any darn thing it wants to and get away with it nearly every time. The Constitution can be and is often distorted and/or discarded at its whim and will. I'm no anti-government fanatic, but the more I see cases like Darel's, the more I cannot stomach our legal system. Darel may be obnoxious, but I'd like to know how this judge and others would act if their daughter had been taken away from them and possibly given to a pervert. Not to mention all those years in foster care.
United in survival
Re Dennis Lim's "Bloody Tuesday" [April 1925]: While I can see myself having trouble viewing United 93 (call it an emotional uneasiness), and while I agree with many that this film might be too much too soon, Dennis Lim's suggestion that "the film's most compassionate gestureits single most humanizing touchto indicate that the heroes of Flight 93 were motivated not by patriotism . . . but by unthinkable fear and a primal survival instinct" struck a chord. Of course, the passengers acted out of instinct and a will to stay alive! Why would we even think their action was a patriotic sacrifice? Let's say, in a totally unrelated scenario, that a random wacko just decided to hijack and crash an aircraft. Would not the passengers of that vehicle want to try to stop the hijacker in order to save their own lives? You can't possibly tell me that the passengers of United Flight 93 all decided to bring the plane down in order to save the country. It's more plausible that their reaction would have been more along the lines of "let's stop these animals and save ourselves."
Style of freedom
Cristina Verán's article "Let the Music Play (Again)" [April 1925] was an affirmation to those of us who exist in what W.E.B. DuBois referred to as "two-ness." For the Latino, however, being bilingual not only refers to communicative fluency in two languages, but also identity. Many of us were drawn to freestyle because we were the artists. Puerto Ricans from the South Bronx or El Barrio or Williamsburg. I personally saw another affirmation of freestyle's longevity when my partner and I produced a concert back in 2001 for Vieques (Stop the Bombs) when TKA took the stage and high school students who we had donated tickets to sang along to "Maria" and "Louder than Love." Freestyle is our Nuyorican voice and part of our American experi ence.
Forecasting new times
My sympathies for the turmoil firings and resignations caused by the merger with New Times Media. As someone who is familiar with New Times, I know what the Voice is in for. Michael Lacey's publications are known for a kind of frat-boy glee at taking on marginal liberal and minority politicians. It's as if the writers think they are brave and un-p.c. for hazing, say, an out-front lesbian school board member or a below-the-radar state politico who is African American. You won't find them criticizing a Tom DeLay or Duke Cunningham until it becomes acceptable in their circles to do so. They'll make mild fun of George Bush if it's fashionablebut those serious Village Voice policy critiques will have to go. Politics is somehow rarely mentioned in the stories about New Times' takeovers. But the New Times philosophy will not accept progressivism; instead, you can look forward to being assigned the kinds of stories (women and minorities looking foolish) that Young Republicans at Dartmouth and USC think are totally cool.
Ridgewood, New Jersey
No grannies of color
Re Kristen Lombardi's "Grandmothers of Invention" [April 1925] : Have you ever noticed that the grannies are always white, native-born Americans? No Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Eastern European (Soviet-era immigrants), African, Brazilian, Cuban, Salvadoran, or Afghan among them. And this protest was in New York City, which is 70 percent minority! That's because the grannies have spent their whole lives living a cushy lifestyle on the Upper East Side or in the nearby suburbsnot having any exposure to real tyrants or socialist paradises. And the only minorities these grannies see are their grandchildren's nannies or their hired help. What a bunch of rich, white punks on dope.
Join in, or get out
I find it hard to believe that the writers of a continuing stream of published letters ["Pier Pressure," Letters, March 29April 4] addressing the conditions of the West Village have been longtime residents. Groups of young people? Nighttime rowdiness? Marijuana smoke? News flash, bothered folks: You have chosen to live in what has been historically the liveliest neighborhood in what is without argument the loudest city in the world. Get used to it. Or just come through your door and join the party. Maybe you were fooled by the brownstones, the quirky street grid, and the relative calm when your real estate agent showed you the neighborhood in the daylight hours. If what you got wasn't what you expected, blame your realtors. You were seriously misled. You chose to live in one of the birthplaces of bohemia, a place where, like it or not, life is going on, out loud and with little regard for society's rules. As the song says: "Da freaks come out at night!" If you want a clean, safe environment, may I suggest you look at a place like Westfield, New Jersey?
Karen Iris Tucker's "Mutant Bike Gangs of New York" [March 2228] presents a skewed perspective of the bike incident that occurred at our stores a few weeks ago. We at Brooklyn Industries designed and displayed bikes in our window as a way to promote bicycling as an alternative form of transportation in the city not because it is "cool" or "underground," but because it makes environmental sense. We endorsed this belief by giving away a percentage of each messenger bag to Recycle-a-Bicycle, a Brooklyn based nonprofit that rebuilds bikes for teenagers. The response to this effort? Concerted, organized vandalism to all of our store windows that amounted to $14,000 in damages and a criminal investigation by four police precincts. Now an article by The Village Voice has pitted our company against an elusive, destructive "gang" whose cause célébre, according to Tucker, is to be anti-consumerist by dumpster diving. Meanwhile, the article ignores the point behind the bike displays. My partner and I founded and built this small design com-pany in an effort to change our commoditized culture by making a difference in the communities where we have stores.
Founder and Co-Owner
Master of art
For almost eight years, Village Voice art critic Jerry Saltz has been thrilling readers with what the Pulitzer Prize committee last week called his "fresh, down-to-earth pieces on the visual arts and other cultural topics." From his sharp takes on sacred cowsthe cold eye he cast on the new MOMA is just one exampleto his poignant dissections of downtown icons like Nan GoldinSaltz offers breathtaking, no-holds-barred prose in a field that is all too often cursed with stuffy, academic writing. The Voice is thrilled that he has been named a Pulitzer finalist in the field of criticism. Congratulations, Jerry.
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:
Interim Editor in Chief
The Village Voice
36 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
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