Letter of the week
Dear editors of Time Out, I mean The Village Voice: I don’t know if you realized it, but the last week of December is actually the last week of the year. Kudos for your cover story about candy; it was really on-target to close out this boring year: political upheaval, local scandal, deep-seated regional controversy, and a very progressive year in rock music. You’re right; none of these topics is worth a year-end closer. Just keep rolling out mundane think pieces by no-name writers who, I’m sure, you pay in the same leftover jelly beans featured on your last cover of ’06. Don’t think you are putting one over on the public. We know that bottom line tops quality writing, and in this case, quality editing. Again, you’ve proven that you can take a dying paper and kill it over and over again. You haven’t lost me yet, but you’re trying as hard as you can.
Riding the poll
This is it? No critics’ poll? No hilarious bits about every serious movie of the year? No debate? No fringe defenses of indefensible movies? Wow! I ignored the sinking quality of the paper for some time, but this . . . Your annual film roundup used to be the most comprehensive guide to the following six months of DVD renting. The Village Voice is dead. Long live Another Corporate Voice.
What happened to the annual film poll that the Voice has been featuring for the last five years or so? Is it yet to come? Did it appear in another publication? Let me know.
Thanks for Patrick Winn’s “Dipset’s Parole Model” [January 3–9]. Our prayers are with Freekey Zekey, and we look forward to Book of Ezekiel. We hope that it will tell his side of the story. Ezekiel, according to the Bible, is one of the prophets in whom God found favor. We are sure God has found favor in Freekey Zekey a/k/a Ezekiel Jiles because he has given him time to complete a mission to tell the world about his blessings. We pray that he will tell of all he has received from God.
The article on Freekey Zekey is well written; however, the title is off base. He is not on parole, nor is he rallying for the position of role model.
As a journalist and editor myself, I’m disappointed that the correlation between title and article wasn’t thought out a little better than that.
I am also Zeke’s publicist, so of course it’s in my and his best interest for his media coverage to be accurate. Zeke was enthusiastic and happy during his conversations with Patrick Winn, and there were several very bright, colorful, and happy pictures of him in the photo shoot he did. I understand that you’re in the business of selling papers, and the title along with the dark, menacing photo of him does grab attention. However, the tone of the title is not really what the text of the article was going for.
Re “Putting God in His Place” [Nat Hentoff, January 3–9]: Bravo to Matthew LaClair. He should be cloned and allowed to attend every school in the United States. However, this situation comes up not only in our schools, or in White House policy, but also in the inclusion of God and Christianity in local government theater. Far beyond the pledge of allegiance and the slogan on our money, the interweaving of church and state in local politics has made it such that those of us who protest this combination are labeled heathens. This reminds me of when our hair (when we had hair) was long and our views were labeled Communistic, when all we have ever wanted was to protect the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees.
Knightdale, North Carolina
I am writing in reference to Jarrett Murphy’s “Kick Out the Jams“ [January 3–9] in which I was quoted. Many people have the misimpression promoted by the congestion-pricing advocates that the number of vehicles entering the Manhattan Central Business District (CBD) is increasing. The statistics show that is not the case. In fact, over the last 10 years the average number of cars entering the CBD remained unchanged despite an increase in the population during that same period. The MTA reports that ridership, during the same period, on the LIRR and the MTA is up. There is no need to bludgeon residents of the outer boroughs with a congestion tax when the demographics indicate most already choose mass transit when it is available. The problem we have in Queens is that we do not have sufficient bus and subway service. Don’t punish us. Instead, build a subway and bus service that is accessible to all residents.
Joshua E. Bienstock
Jackson Heights, New York
Jarrett Murphy’s article quotes the success of the London congestion charge. The only success has been PR. The number of vehicles entering the London toll cordon is down, but neither the congestion nor the air pollution in London has fallen. Most of the original daily charge of (nearly $10) was swallowed up in the costs of running the scheme, and the daily charge has been increased to (nearly $20). The charge has resulted in a fall in business for restaurants and smaller stores. The area covered by the London charge is to be extended later this year. Almost nobody wants this extension apart from the mayor. None of us like congestion, but only a fool would want to pay for it.
In regards to J. Hoberman’s comment that “George Bush hasn’t directly impinged on most American lives” [“V for Violence,” January 3–9]: What “Green Zone” does he live in? I am an expat American living in Canada and the negative impact of the president’s leadership is reverberating all the way up here. Most Americans I speak to are feeling fearful and tense about their safety, the disintegration of social funding, the environment, and nuclear warfare, in addition to the war in Iraq; it is an anxious era in America and has been for a while as Bush plays on 9-11 fears in addition to his callous disregard for the rights and needs of most of America’s pluralistic citizens.
Re John Smada’s “Letter of the Weak” [Letters, December 6–12] about Nat Hentoff’s “What the Democrats Must Do”: Who does Smada consider to be “regular, everyday Americans”? White people? That title also applies to folks of Arabic or Middle Eastern descent, thank you. Stop watching Fox News and read some books on the subject. Democrats are no angels, but I’ll bet that when their policies prove to be humane and effective, the Bush regime and its supporters will arrange another catastrophe to prove that they were right in the first place. As Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Clubbed to death
Having read Tricia Romano’s “Put a Cork in It“ [December 20–26] I have a glimmer of hope that the New York City club scene may yet rise from the ashes. Bottle service is an obnoxious pillar of current Clubland and I would love to celebrate its death. As a Wall Street guy (hey Tricia, we are part of the city too—and some of us are more well-rounded than you give us credit for), even I detest BSB (Bottle Service Boulevard). I certainly didn’t move to the city to club with obnoxious doorknobs from Goldman Sachs. The beauty of the old scene was partying with those from all walks of life (not separate clusters of artists, financiers, etc.). Perhaps the club scene (and the city itself?) is in the first stages of yet another transformation and rejection of the current sanitized nightlife. Either that or I am moving to London.
Sweet highs, sour lows
I loved the candy addiction article. If you changed the name to Jennifer (and changed a few of the sweets) it would have been about me. Candy for me is like crack to a crackhead. It’s good to know that other people suffer from this addiction. Believe me when I say that it is a real addiction. I just wish there were more information about where to go for help. Hopefully I can kick the habit in 2007. Wish me luck.
What’s with the new Voice? Articles about eating candy and ice hockey? I hate to tell you, but at this point Reader’s Digest is edgier than you are.
Phoenicia, New York
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 2, 2007