Letters: May 13
Nailed to the post
Re Bradley Campbell and Matt Snyders's 'Craigslist at a Crossroads' [May 6–12]: How refreshing that Katherine Olson's family did not choose to scapegoat or sue Craigslist because her killer posted his ad on the website. No doubt, Craig Newmark's sympathy and assistance to the family played a major role in their refusal to follow the lead of Cook County Sheriff Tom Durst in suing Craigslist, which has been victimized by criminals and scammers.
The website is a public bulletin board; one can only imagine the sheriff's reaction if the City of Chicago were sued because someone like killer Michael Anderson placed an ad on one of its telephone poles.
I recently hired someone to clean my apartment in response to an ad on a supermarket bulletin board. I cannot imagine that either of us would sue the supermarket if this transaction had not been satisfactory. The only result of such a suit would be the removal of the bulletin board, just as suits like those by the sheriff will only serve to stifle free speech.
Arthur D. Aptowitz
It should not have had to take murders and other crimes to awaken in the public the idea of monitoring these sites. Online networking would not be as popular as it is if our world hadn't fallen to the depths of such loneliness and alienation that electronic communication has to take the place of real social contact.
Loi An Le
Just about anything can be used by anyone for unscrupulous purposes of all kinds. The killings spoken of in the article were, of course, dreadful and unfortunate, but far more of them have been and will be carried out without any help from the Internet.
Ms. Olson was a totally innocent and unsuspecting young woman looking for work, and what happened to her was tragic. Yet I see no way in which Craigslist can or should be held responsible.
Music to his eyes
Re Rob Harvilla's 'The Literature of the Spindle-Hole' [Books, May 6–12]: I was pleased to read Harvilla's excellent feature on Ben Greenman's Please Step Back. I will now seek out this book because of it. Harvilla's consistently entertaining descriptive ability throughout his record reviews and live-show music reviews adapts well to book reviews.
He is the natural progression that goes from Lester Bangs (R.I.P.) to Chuck Eddy (and great to see him writing music reviews for the Voice these days) to Rob himself.
Westbury, New York
Re J. Hoberman's 'Goals!!!!!!' [May 6–12]: In Rudo y Cursi, director Carlos Cuarón invites the audience to have a field day at the expense of these two provincials. Most jokes are set up to encourage the spectator to laugh derisively at Rudo and Cursi's nouveau riche style, their way of talking, and, what's more troubling still, the decisions they make when hitting the big-time.
The film attempts to confirm what many in the upper class believe to be true, that "these people" would only ruin themselves if they had money and that they are better off poor—ideas, incidentally, that the Catholic Church is more than happy to endorse. Most of the time, I wondered why Cuarón wouldn't get it over with and just show up on camera and mock his characters outright for being nacos.
A better filmmaker than Cuarón, which isn't very hard to imagine given that the film is painfully inept even in the most basic aspects of the craft, would have found plenty of scenarios ripe for satire in Mexican football. Consider, for instance, that at the end of every season, the rich, white owners of the football teams gather together in a fancy hotel to trade their brown players against their will. With so many such targets, there is no excuse for Cuarón to aim cheap shots at those below, unless he is a morally bankrupt filmmaker. Judging from Rudo y Cursi, I think that is a distinct possibility.
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