Reader: When the ‘Voice’ Knew How to Stay in Trouble


Letter of the Week

It occurred to me that Sarah Ferguson’s exhaustive, moving biography of our friend Brad Will [“An Inconvenient Death,” November 15–21] pays him a greater, perhaps unintended homage by becoming a piece of reportage that harkens to the days when The Village Voice knew how to stay in trouble—with credible sociopolitical journalism that speaks eloquently to the common struggle of people the world over seeking liberation in all spheres of life. Ferguson’s reporting, as opposed to most of the drivel that slips across the pages of the Voice these days, is clearly what Brad aspired to and sought to emulate as he recorded the state violence now being perpetrated in Oaxaca.

Christine Karatnytsky

Rebels without a clause

Sarah Ferguson’s “An Inconvenient Death” [November 15–21] brought back memories of what happened that day. I was in Oaxaca at the time staying with some friends in a nearby township. I agree that Brad Will crossed the line from journalism to activism without measuring the risks involved. Reporters have been targets of both the PRI and the APPO as they attempt to recount the crisis there. A cameraman for Televisa had a nail perforate his cheek when a Molotov cocktail exploded next to him. Will’s death has been used not only by the APPO activists, but also by Vicente Fox’s government to send military and paramilitary troops to the region. Will’s death could have been prevented. Now it is being used to forward opposing political agendas. Let’s hope that this is not a deterrent, but a cautionary tale, for those of us who seek social justice and work for a better world.

Steven Diaz
Washington, D.C.

Will’s death is tragic and perhaps inevitable, but it was not in vain. Live by the sword, die by the sword. It gives me hope that there are people out there with the guts and commitment to fight for the oppressed people of this world. There will be others to take his place.

Thao Do
Beaverton, Oregon

Ott to be a crime

Why is Chris Ott’s review of the Decemberists [“Taynted Love,” November 15–21]
so spiteful and weirdly personal? You’re lucky nobody wants to write a piece about you and the inferiority complex, unrequited romantic obsession, high school ass-kickings, and unrealized dreams that undoubtedly led you, presumably a music fan, to make a career writing bitterly hateful music reviews. I’m sure every other time you write one the girlfriend of a band member sends a disgusted letter to your editor. Hopefully this letter will be the one that finally makes you realize you suck.

Carson Ellis, Colin Meloy’s girlfriend
Portland, Oregon

I’m sure you are sick of reading rants/hate mail about Chris Ott’s review, but frankly there cannot be enough retaliation to accurately emphasize how awful it is. If a music critic dislikes a band’s music or finds their live performance unsatisfactory, by all means he should say so. That, however, is not what Ott has done. His review contained scarce mention of the music and instead was mostly a spiteful, vitriolic attack on the personal character of frontman Colin Meloy. If Ott’s got a personal problem with Meloy, tell him to challenge him to a duel, but keep it out of the press.

Leslie Cowan
Los Angeles, California

I thought Chris Ott’s article was well thought out and well written. Meloy’s reaction to the review shows that his ego is just way too big for its own good. I don’t necessarily agree with some of Ott’s points, but I think the lashing he’s receiving on village is yet another example of
eager-to-react Americans who don’t believe in the conversation of music and culture unless their opinions are being agreed with—then it’s OK to talk about music all you want.

James Brubaker
Dayton, Ohio

One flew over the Koop

Re Rob Harvilla’s “Pulling Dylan Out by the Roots” [Down in Front, November 15–21]: As they say, give enough monkeys typewriters, and they’ll come up with the great literary works of man. Give this guy a computer, and he manages to do what most of the simians would. How can Harvilla review a Dylan concert and not mention Al Kooper? The rest of the writing was not worth reading. Move on to a job you’re more suited to, such as jotting down orders at a McDonald’s.

Richard Dowdy
Carlsbad, California

Temperatures rising

Vickie Chang’s “Yellow Fever”was erroneous and an obvious slap across the face of greasy old white men, not Asiaphiles. Each time she described an Asiaphile, the description was lousy with negatives (she has the apparent need to attack someone’s appearance as an extension of their colonialist behavior). But Lord knows if it were Brad Pitt or someone who was, I dunno, not white, trying to get with her, she’d change to a different song and dance. Chang’s generalizations of Asiaphiles are dangerous and misleading. It is anti-white propaganda for her misguided feminist agenda. I’m an activist myself, but I’m trying to win my equal rights through scientific data, logic, and legislature, not slander. Keep
your poppycock to your blog and out of reasonably valid periodicals.

David Waterstram

Obviously Chang is not only exquisitely exotic and desirable, she’s also infinitely intelligent and all-knowing. My father was a tall Dutchman and my mother a small Indonesian woman. And to think all this time I thought my parents had fallen in love. Nope, it was nothing but Yellow Fever. I’m sure the Fever must have hit again with my uncle, who was Dutch- Indonesian, and my aunt, who is Chinese. Come to think of it, my entire family tree (Dutch, Indonesian, and some Chinese, to boot) was probably diseased by the dreaded Fever. As if being an immigrant and Eurasian didn’t come with its own set of misunderstandings and cross-cultural confusion. Now I have to face the possibility that I’m just a product of my father’s Asian fetish. I’m so sorry that Chang has to deal with the burden of being so wanted and desired by all those afflicted with the Fever. Poor girl.

Hans Curtius
Huntington Beach, California

Alternative weakly

I can only surmise The Village Voice thinks its female readers are brain-dead and undeserving of intelligent, quality health coverage. That’s the only explanation I can find for the low-quality read your publication offered in the “Women’s Health Supplement” [October 18–24]. The alternative-health article was ditzy and thin on substance. The best piece was the article on lesbian couples seeking fertility treatments, but even that seemed as though a student or intern wrote it. The supplement’s not a terrible idea, but it needs a lot of improvement before your female readers will invest time in it.

Mary Lochner
Anchorage, Alaska


The research assistants for Wayne Barrett’s story “Serph’s Up” [November 15–21] were omitted. They are Adam Fleming, Keach Hagey, Luke Jerod Kummer, and Damien Weaver.

In the same issue, “Too Hot to Handle,” a story by Catherine Wigginton in the Education Supplement, erroneously placed
Stuyvesant High School in Brooklyn. It’s in Manhattan.

Also in that issue, the wrong photo appeared with Deborah Jowitt’s review of Sin-cha Hong’s Pilgrimage. The photo was of Meredith Monk’s piece Impermanence.