Is cinema dying?; Hooray for Amy and Seipp.
Chuck Moya, Manhattan
Slush-Pile Boy Inhis 7/28 "Media Roundup" column, Andrey Slivka informs us that he"talk[s] to writers every day who could write circles around many of thepeople whose bylines appear in The New Yorker." When may we expect tosee the work of these writers in NYPress, rather than the narcissisticwhinings of the overprivileged that occupy such a large share of your pages(aside from Cockburn, Knipfel, Corn and Caldwell)?
Travis Wendel, Brooklyn, NY
Coast Run Livingin L.A. (or is that an oxymoron?), I can assure you that your clever and witty"Letter from L.A." columnist Catherine Seipp gets our fair megalopolisjust right more often than not. I would offer to marry the woman, save for thefact that-being a Los Angeles male-I naturally lack the depth and fortitudeto forge anything resembling that kind of commitment. I can't even commit to"must-see tv," which in these parts brands me something of a right-wingwacko. In any case, keep this Seippchick on the payroll.
Dennis T. Forsch, West Hollywood, CA
Soup Bones Haven'tpeople gotten tired of the JFK Jr. story yet? ("MUGGER," 7/28). Mostrevolting was The New Yorker cover showing the Statue of Liberty in ablack veil. How absurd. JFK Jr. had nothing to do with the republic, less sothan even his mother. His father was president 36 years ago, and a few others of his family are prominent in politics. New Yorker editor DavidRemnick must be an idiot; only someone who can't think straight would ever entertainthe absurd notion that liberty is in mourning over the death of a trivial celebritylike one of the Kennedys. Does liberty celebrate when Amy Carter gets married?Give me a break. Now, if they had run thiscover when cowardly senators abandoned principle and decency to let a lying,sociopathic president off the hook purely for their own political gain, thatto me would seem appropriate. A better cover for this occasion would show commonsense in mourning over the media's brainless obsession with this story. Strangers that get all tearyover the death of somebody like JFK Jr. have a problem. How has John Kennedyever "touched our lives"? Name one thing he ever did. What have theKennedys contributed to the country in the past 30 years, besides burdeningus with Teddy? If all of them were lost at sea it would not make a whit of difference. Far from being in mourning,I'm sure all these guys at MSNBC and the moron columnists writing their syrupystories about JFK Jr. are loving it, because it saves them the effort of thinking.They don't have to look around and find something to write about; they can justgo on automatic pilot for as long as it lasts. It's like a vacation for them.I would be shocked if any of them didn't think consciously about this everyday. This week it was announcedthat the authorities had concluded, after investigation, that the Kennedy crashwas not due to mechanical failure. No shit. Amazing how they will grasp at straws(and waste any amount of public money) to avoid admitting the obvious. The planewas checked and rechecked before the flight. I'm sure the guys assigned to lookinto the possibility of mechanical failure just sleepwalked through their task.They already knew that the plane crashed because its pilot was an incompetentwho should have known he was getting in over his head, and yet agreed to take two passengers. If it were anybody else, the investigation, if any, would havebeen wrapped up in the first week. Forget this crap about the"prince of Camelot." Stupid fuck is more like it. If I were a memberof the Bessette family, I would be very, very bitter.
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Sohn's Clods Thegratitude I owe to Amy Sohn also includes gratitude for what Henry Adams wouldcall an "education." A meaningful part of my youth was spent beingpuzzled by the regular assertions of various feminist friends and acquaintancesthat society was "patriarchal" and "misogynist." On thecontrary, it had always seemed to me that the situation was the essence of simplicity:boys and girls were drawn to each other and each sex found the other fascinatingand magical and to be loved and protected. At that point, I simply had no frameof reference to understand the comments of my feminist peers. Then I got to read in your"Mail" section correspondence from certain of your readers, invariablymen, who lambasted Sohn for her columns with a vitriol that would have beenpetty had it not been also been so abusive. I was flabbergasted that this intelligent,courageous writer, with her unique, insightful and powerfully feminine literaryvoice, could inspire so much rage and so little intelligence. How these clodscould find so deeply disturbing Sohn's rather wistful self-observations andher frank, always interesting and original reflections on her romantic aspirationsleft me dumbfounded. Could the prospect of such an intelligent and articulatewoman describing directly and forthrightly her heterosexual yearnings, successesand disappointments be that threatening to these guys? How was that possible?Didn't they even like the gentle, self-mocking undertone? What was going on?Is this a twisted warrior ethic? Are these guys looking for women who representworthy opponents, hostile opposites? Maybe, I thought, I'm on to something here.Maybe these guys are in fact so terrified of their rigidly suppressed, but primary,attraction to other men, that they have to drown their fears by having tantrumsat the expense of a talented, innocent woman with a promising career as a writer.Another explanation could be that these losers never recovered from not beingallowed to play with their sisters' dolls when they were little boys. Whatever. Do not fret, Ms. Sohn. Theselouts do not deserve the honor of reading your column. Amy Sohn is a promisingwriter, and a unique one. Her voice should be encouraged and imitated. As forthe correspondent louts, well, it's almost too tempting to offer on Sohn's behalfto pound them till their miserable excuse for a viewpoint gets knocked out ofthem and they cry "uncle," but such a physical challenge would smackmore of retro-Neanderthalism and not enough of neo-chivalry. Let them merelyslink off into the dustbin of the fin de siecle. Obscurity is punishment enough.In closing, let me just add, Ms. Sohn, as with all things on which I have heardyou express an opinion, you were absolutely right: Jennifer Lopez is irrelevant;Mira Sorvino rules.
Nick Gunther, Manhattan
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