The trouble with Amy Sohn Sohn doesn’t deserve Maybe Sohn should hang around Or: "But then I again, Let’s hope Derek doesn’t Susan Smpadian, Haunting Hill’s Houses Rob Jones, Oh Ye of Little Faith Mort Weintraub, Ruby Ridge Mike Mantho, Tunnel of Love So. My insulting blather, You would help yourself By the way, you tell us My final piece of advice Marc Eliot,
is that she’s no Candace Bushnell. Compared to the struggling nobodies
and poor slobs Amy knows and writes about, Bushnell’s rich and famous are
interesting, even if their names aren’t revealed. Bushnell also wrote with
style and class.
to be working for the same paper as Cindy Adams, a very classy lady. In my view,
Sohn is a female version of Curtis Sliwa, the vile, gross, loathsome, declasse,
motor-mouth talk-show host I stopped listening to when his act became transparent
and sophomorically boring.
Sliwa, who could introduce her to the rich and famous, so that when she writes
about Derek Jeter again she can write something deeper than, "I see Derek
Jeter walking toward his cubby. I smell my armpits–not bad–take a
few halting steps toward him and introduce myself. He shakes my hand. (I vow
to lick it as soon as I leave the room)."
I already knew Derek was a chick-hound."
hound a chick like Amy Sohn, who, when she doesn’t get assignments to mingle
with somebodies, writes about nobodies who can’t even afford cab fare.
took me a while to get to Andrey Slivka’s long article on the Clinton househunting
in Westchester ("Hell’s Half Acre," 9/8), but I am glad that
I did. I really don’t give a flying fuck about where Hillary Clinton will
sit on a toilet after she leaves the White House. I sort of wish that Slivka
were chasing Cheever, or some anonymous private eye, rather than the First Lady.
The powerful writing in this piece is all about the place, and not about the
politics. Maybe I am fascinated by descriptions of suburbia because it is a
landscape I have never known personally, but Slivka makes me feel like I have
been there, seen that, done it. If Slivka isn’t working on a novel, or
at least a collection of short stories, you should put him on sabbatical and
he’s a bigot, a protectionist and anti-Semite who appeals to the very worst
instincts of the American people." Wow, a MUGGER (9/15) thought I agree
with completely. A miracle!
After reading your column today in the Jewish World Review I am puzzled
as to your comments regarding Pat Buchanan. What evidence can you cite for your
charge that Buchanan is a bigot and an anti-Semite? I don’t intend to vote
for Buchanan no matter what party he’s in, but I do agree with many of
his ideas, specifically regarding American foreign policy and immigration policy.
It bothers me that you would smear him in this way, just like a typical liberal
reporter. Again, I ask, what is your evidence? Please respond with the facts
and not some jibe about "Midwestern rubes."
of the reasons I rarely write letters to publications anymore is because of
the inherent unfairness factor involved. You published a piece by William S.
Repsher ("Music," 9/8); I responded as a reader of your newspaper
("The Mail," 9/15). The way I see it, Repsher had his say in his piece.
For him to take another shot, and one directly at me rather than the issues
I raised, becomes nothing more than a chance to second-guess and hopefully cover
his own messy tracks. Therefore, I feel I must once more take to my pen and
respond–and this time directly, as Repsher chose to do toward me. Funny,
isn’t it, how so-called "critics," amateur and otherwise, love
to dish it out, but just can’t seem to take it. I called a spade a spade,
and Repsher’s response was to indirectly threaten to hit me over the head
with one, after, earlier in his remarks, he indirectly threatened to take me
out in the alley with those working-class heroes his ongoing lack of self-worth
is twisted up with and introduce me to them "personally." Interesting.
Repsher? I think you have your signals a bit crossed. Indeed, your initial reaction
is to defend your factory coworkers (who, according to your own portrait of
them, don’t seem to need your help in that area, God help us all) instead
of yourself. That reveals your lack of true introspection, let alone courage.
Who do I think Bruce Springsteen is writing about in his songs, Mr. Repsher?
Here’s a real bulletin for you: Himself. And that’s why all
of us, including you, genius, are compelled to listen to them.
enormously if you stopped hiding behind the attractive facade of Springsteen’s
presence, music and success (come on, the article did have Springsteen’s
name in the title, on the front page; and the first graph did take place at
the Continental Arena during Bruce’s summer tour) as a lure to get us to
listen to your vomiting up of some stale "personal" tales of your
own professional (and journalistically boring) personal ineptitude. Try to stop
simultaneously loathing and admiring your own disguised weaknesses through the
widespread strengths of others. What do icons deserve, Mr. Repsher? Not having
their names used as a lure to suck a reader into first-person wanks about decidedly
uniconic nobodies like yourself.
a lot about your true feelings regarding Springsteen because of a basic journalistic
rule you’re apparently not familiar with–full disclosure. You ought
to pick it up and read it sometime. If you can’t afford a copy, I’ll
gladly send you mine. In it you might discover a little something about working-class
heroes you don’t know, even though you write as if you, er, wrote the book
on the subject. True working-class literates, a group in which I cannot include
you, but do include Bruce and myself, use that background not as the grand theme
of their work, but as the point of departure to lead to bigger, better
and more interesting professional, and perhaps personal, lives. I hope this
last little bit of info somehow finds its way to that wonderful gang of "factory
coworker" goons you’re so taken with. You might actually learn something
about what you aspire to write of–for instance, that Bruce Springsteen
has done more charitable work and contributed to more worthy causes (with less
publicity and self-aggrandizement) that benefit those in our society not as
economically fortunate as himself than you and the rest of your bozo gang of
"working-class heroes" who cover up their own failures and sexual
insecurities by categorizing artists that have actually done something with
their lives as "millionaire faggots."
to you, pal, is to take your own intuitively correct suggestion to go back to
treating telephone poles and leave the talking to those of us who actually have
something to say.
The trouble with Amy Sohn
Sohn doesn’t deserve
Maybe Sohn should hang around
Or: "But then I again,
Let’s hope Derek doesn’t
Haunting Hill’s Houses
Oh Ye of Little Faith
Tunnel of Love
So. My insulting blather,
You would help yourself
By the way, you tell us
My final piece of advice
Repsher replies: I’m disappointed, Marc. You didn’t
mention any of your out-of-print unauthorized biographies in this bizarre, prolonged
What issues did you raise
in your last letter, by the way? You called me names, made a series of points
that had nothing to do with my article, got upset because there exist working-class
people who might actually be homophobic, wrote the kind of bullshit press-release
material (Springsteen’s "super soul"?) about Springsteen that
I’ve been dodging for 25 years and promoted yourself thoroughly. ("[F]ull
I should "leave
the talking to those of us who actually have something to say"? Exactly
what do you have to say, Marc? All we’re getting here are abusive
rantings from a nasty little record industry logroller who’s obviously
learned little from Springsteen’s songs.
The editors reply:
What a joke. Repsher writes a sweet, nostalgic piece about the intersection
of his working-class identity and his Springsteen fandom; Eliot, outraged that
another writer’s chosen not to fellate a rich, famous rock star in print
with the same sycophantic gusto with which he himself would, writes us a letter
attacking Repsher personally and viciously; and then when we allow Repsher to
publish what was, under the circumstances, a rather gentlemanly reply to Eliot’s
provocation, Eliot starts bitching about the "inherent unfairness factor
involved." Beautiful: Eliot expects his targets to play dead as soon as
he starts flashing his extremely distinguished credentials, as if anybody
cares. It works like this, buddy: You send us any sort of letter you want, and
we’ll publish it, because that’s the sort of guys we are. But if we
think it bears a response, then it’ll get one. Dig?
In the meantime, it might
save us all a lot of time and effort if Eliot would fax us a list of icons and
famous millionaires he’d rather our writers didn’t treat with anything
less than the proper, toadying reverence. Who’s it going to be? Who else
is off-limits? Sting? Lindsey Buckingham? Ron Perelman? Henry Kissinger? Who?
That fax number’s 244-9864.
Send a Prospectus
I last wrote many moons ago about the demise of culture in my attempts to get
NYPress to do a review on our book Style: Writing from the UnDerGround,
I noticed several of my comments about your paper were picked up on and taken
to heart. Well, maybe it’s better to say, taken to the bank. I had wondered
how long a downtown (your offices were then downtown) weekly could get away
without an art critic, and now one is smartly placed in the broadsheet. And
that "MUGGER" column finally got a byline, after pretending for so
long to be from the streets.
Then there was your obvious
lack of photos. A selective, though minimal, use of photography (extended-family
portraits and pleasurable/business trips) started to pop up–or let’s
say prop up that "MUGGER" column, now bylined Russ Smith. The photos
were mysteriously credited to no one. Had photography reached its postmodern
peak in a New York City weekly? An unanimous hyperreality of yuppie-ism. The
loss of irony had cast its shadow upon us. A NYPress style had developed–the
flashes, reflected on tv screens, signified the multi-modes of a point and shoot.
Then, at the end of summer,
that "MUGGER" column–bylined Russ Smith–didn’t appear,
and in its place there was a photo cover story about the Million Youth March
with more photos (this time credited to someone) inside. Ah! That’s the
only way other photos appear–when that "MUGGER," bylined Russ
Smith (can I just call you Mugga?), is nowhere around.
Mugga, you bitch! You’re
hoarding all the flicks. And what a blatant jealous attack on Lynn Yeager’s
"StreetStyle" column in the Voice –conjured while stuck
in a cab during a natural disaster. Who reads her silly column when everyone
looks at it. I have been envious of her for years. It is the only weekly column
accessible to photographers. And you know damn well the public looks at your
column first before they decide to read it or not. I bet you edit, maybe even
design, your own pages. No one has welded more cultural privilege with the use
of words and photos in a weekly since some poor photographer was doing it in
the style section of the Soho Weekly News back in the late 1970s. But
that’s history in this two-megabit town. Be forewarned–if you keep
it up, you will only breed invidia and a more ancient jinx will fall upon you.
Of course my services are
always available. This isn’t blackmail or anything, but I have a great
idea for a weekly that would run both NYPress and the Voice out