Re Elizabeth Dwoskin's 'Got a Minute?' [September 3–9]: Dwoskin was much too easy on these arrogant human SPAM! If I'm carrying a ton of stuff, they'll still try to stop me with that phony smile and voice!
These morons will use that phony manner all through their lives and con anyone in the future.
A person who gives a credit-card number to a stranger on the street for a monthly payment isn't very bright.
The article on irritating canvassers was great, especially the way you captured the youthful innocence of college kids who think that collecting money equals saving the world.
These kids are taking away attention, money, sidewalk space, and enthusiasm from others who emphasize a personal connection to causes. They give a bad name to the whole image of youthful idealistic action—and leave a bad taste in many mouths—by creating the message that the clipboard-wielding student in the street equals fundraising for a mega–nonprofit operation.
Don't feel badly about not paying attention to them. If we stop listening to them, maybe they'll go away. Instead, donate to groups who build a relationship with you first—and ask for money later.
Elvis and the rebbe
Re Elizabeth Dwoskin's 'Rebbe Yell' [August 27–September 2]: What two modern figures have more in common than Elvis and Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson?
One of these days, Dwoskin absolutely must go to Graceland. All I could think of when I read her description of Schneerson's grave was Elvis's final resting place next to his home. There's the same pre- and post-mortem deification, the combination home and office to which people make their pilgrimage, the videos playing near the grave site, the tenacious belief that they're not dead, etc. Fascinating. Thank you.
When children go to the circus, do they talk about the talented animal trainer or the tightrope walker? No, they remember the clowns. What you see here is a symptom of distress: a group that has lost its leader, a group in so much pain that some of its members are in denial—just like those who believe Elvis is still alive or who cannot believe that Princess Diana died in a tragic accident.
I tell you that I know the Rebbe is dead and buried, but just as a good book can affect your thinking, I tell you that the Rebbe is still a part of my life.
In this complex world, many look for logic, and if you study the Rebbe's teachings, it does help some find solace. Now, maybe religion is the opiate of the masses, but a real journalist and editor would study and print all aspects of a topic, not just go for cheap headlines. So I ask all who read this: "Do you want to improve the world?"
Chabad/Lubavitch isn't perfect—it is made of people, and people have faults—but the organization does have programs that help many.
Sleeping with the enemy
Re Nat Hentoff's 'The Lost Two-Thirds' [August 13–19]: Mr. Hentoff is the greatest VV writer ever! He is the most conscientious and consistent moral guide in a world that's completely gone astray. And yet, in the cultural nosedive this society is taking, he's actually siding with his longtime adversaries. It's just too much for my pea brain to wrap itself around.
Yes, Mr. Bloomberg is trying, and Mr. Klein is trying. We're all trying. We're just not doing very well at it.
Re Jim Ridley's 'Playing Nasty' [August 20-26]: " . . . but Widmark's pungent hair-trigger paranoia seeps into the Skid Row milieu like rotgut pouring down a storm drain." Mwa-ha-ha! I only wish that I could conjure up similes like that!
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