Mojo Lorwin doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground ["Poor Kerouac,"
11/22]. This is understandable, since it’s apparent from his content-free stench and flow that
Lorwin can shit from his head and write about what he hasn’t the faintest idea. This may be ideal,
since his readers are likely in the same narcissistically smug and airless culture pit, contemptuous
of all tradition, full of passionate conviction that mere raw and unselfconscious creativity
ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Like too many of his “alternative” journalism predecessors, Lorwin’s
convinced that critical obligations can be assumed and summarily dodged by cooking up a lead so
shocking that his ignoramus half-readers will sail through the mess of what follows in a self-congratulatory
Dude, you are so cool!
If you don’t know who Dos Passos, Cheever or Henry Miller were, or about
the jazz of the day, HUAC, Ike, fallout shelters or any other feature of American culture before
Howard Stern it’s easy to gloss your ignorance with ad hoc responses and variations on a sneer. The
fact is, nobody in America before or since wrote books as raw and restless and improvised as Kerouac’s
or sang and performed songs as shocking and electrifyingly original as Dylan’s.
Granted this will be hard to stomach for those who can’t distinguish
art from morality from politics. It appears that Lorwin has suckled so long at the teat of corporate
product that he can’t tell a burp from a song.
Renardo Barden, via email
RHYMES AND OTHER INSIGHTS
As an aspiring writer with “prophetic insight” into our times Mojo Lowrin
should know that hack work is the shortest, most shit-strewn path to the unintended joke. See: Lorwin’s
claims of Kerouac’s artistry that “there’s no there there.” Kerouac took enormous risks and wrote
with deepand realinsight. His project had nothing to do with “getting the big metaphysical
stick out of the collective ass.” Admit it, Lorwin, you just made that up.
You know nothing about Kerouacexcept that your job rhymes with
his first name. And I trust that your own words will taste “in retrospect, so crude and obvious.”
We hardly need another flip hatchet job on Kerouac, who was a great writer. Your attack is much like
your insight that “we’re in the ’50s again”nothing new at all, and not even accurate. And
as for you snickering editors: the worst of Kerouac’s sentences contains more poetic flesh, pound
for pound, than every ream of New York Press ever dumped on our fair city.
Julien Poirier, Manhattan
Whether or not it’s the 50s again (it is! see my next article), something
is wrong when scatological references replace sexual ones. Kerouac would be so dissapointed.
From Poirier’s “shortest, most shit-strewn path”to Barden’s “stench and flow” we seem like a society
with an anal fixation gone mad. If it were up to my editors that “collective ass” line would have been
followed by one about “the reluctant opening.” Jesus Christ.
That aside, I enjoyed the rage of Poirer and Barden, for both of whom
I clearly represent the anti-Christ. I’ll fess up to being a [prophetic] young hack ranting about
shit he wasn’t alive for who “can’t distinguish between art and morality and politics.” Poirier,
though, writes in a voice significantly more “alt-press” than my own.
But more seriously, I’ve got to object to Renardo Barden, if that is your
real name, for the crack about my “passionate conviction that mere raw and unselfconscious creativity
ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.” I worship raw creativity. I just don’t think Kerouac had very much.
(Dylan I love, which you would have been able to tell from my article). Plus, I think literary output
in the ’50s dwarfs every decade since. I just don’t think that was Kerouac so much as Nabokov, Ellison,
Salinger, Bellow and even Ginsberg.
Now back to burp music and the sweet, sweet teat of corporate product.
Mojo Lorwin, Brooklyn
A TRUE FRENCH PATRIOT
Mr Jean-Marie Le Pen is not a fascist ["Honh Honh, Oui Oui," Dan DiSalvo, Dec.
9]. He is a French patriot who doesn’t want his Catholic grandchildren to be forced to pray to Mecca
in 10 years’ timeand who has the courage to say so.
Valrie Dabbs, London
ANTABUSE FOR THE WORM FOOD
After having cussed my whole family out again, I took the bold step. It’s called
Antabuse. It’s the pill that makes you get sick as a dog if you drink. I called off Christmas and Thanksgiving,
citing my inability to handle my family without being drunk. I’d suggested to my doctor that he write
me out Antabuse. Yeah, it sucks to be me. The doctor seemed amazed and began to wonder just what had
gotten into me. He asked me, “are you sure you want to try this?”
I replied, very sincere and sober, “Hell yes!” Incidentally, the more
pitiful I got, the more he just had to laugh. What a professional. I think it was when I called myself
a probable inbreed that got him. He reassured me that he wasn’t laughing at me, but with me, even though
I wasn’t laughing.
Today was the first day of the rest of what’s left of my life. It’s half
over, and it hasn’t been half bad. It may be closer or farther away than I know. I’m glad I don’t. At
least I have a sense of humor about this shit huh? I’m worm food too.
How about giving Larry Brown a minute to sort his shit out, Hollander?
["Can Larry Brown Save the Knicks," C.J. Sullivan and Dave Hollander, Nov. 2] It’s not like you put
him to work in a championship situation. Kennedy said that it’s not our wins or losses, but rather
our contribution to the human spirit. So, the next time you see a guy puking his guts up outside a bar,
hope that it’s because he took his Antabuse and is now conditioning himself like a Pavlovian dog.
Ever notice all this turns around at the same time? I put down the bottle,
and picked up the Antabuse. The Knicks won their first game. America is fed up with lies and bullshit.
The leaves in the trees are falling down. The next season is upon us.
Be glad you’re still here. A lot of people didn’t make it. I hear around
2000 or so for sure. Maybe the people are the government’s Antabuse. They’ll puke if they get a good
dose of us huh?
James Wes Brown, via email
Just another lost reader
Well, I never thought I’d say it, but there’s absolutely no reason to read
New York Press anymore. Are you guys giving NYU creative writing students college credit
to write articles? Idiots complaining about how crappy their apartments and living situations
are, Williamsburg hipster pingpong (I almost threw up after reading that one), an article on how
the city SMELLS??!?! And to top it all off, in your most recent publication, a completely disgusting
article about some loser who can’t come properly (Kevin Giordano – Revenge Vol 18, Nov 16). Hey Mr.
Giordano, get a life or a real job, it does wonders for one’s self esteem. Gone are the days of Jeff
Koyen, Judy McGuire (Dr. Dot who?) and of course the incomparable Matt Taibbi who makes most (if
not all) of your writers look like snot-nosed 3rd graders. Wimblehack enough said. If your
mission is to lose readers, congrats. You’ve lost one more right here.
Will Redmond, via email
THE CASE FOR STRIPPERS
Dr. Dot is amazingly far off the mark on the matter of men going to strip clubs
["Making Men Happy," Dr. Dot, Nov. 2]. Charlie Sheen once said that he didn’t pay hookers to come
over to his house, he paid them to leave. The same holds true for strip clubs. We go to strip clubs because
the girls at strip clubs are hot and fun and they stay at strip clubs. They don’t come home and complain
about the dirty dishes in the sink, they don’t ask if whatever they’re wearing makes their ass look
fat. They don’t bitch you out for showing up late or hanging out with your friends. They wiggle against
the pole, smile at you and take your money. It’s an equitable exchange with a finite timeline. At
the end of the night you go home to your house and the stripper does whatever it is that strippers do
when the sun comes up. A woman cannot salvage a relationship by becoming more stripper-ish in terms
of sex play. She can however, reinforce a good relationship by being supportive and fun outside
of the bedroom. It also helps if she laughs at her man’s jokes.
John Doyle, via email
Hey Jim, Next time an o’doul’s
Jim Knipfel exposes perfectly what we urbanites are faced with daily: Whether
or not to help unfortunates who are in need. ["No Damage Done," Jim Knipfel, Nov. 9]. Do we ignore
them completely (while hopefully giving to charities, at least), or give them money and possibly
contribute to a drug or alcohol addiction, or what?
I have resolved to buy one hungry person a bit of food daily. Plus, any
time I see someone passed out on the street or in some kindof potentially explosive situation, I
simply call 911.
Knipfel and Morgan were truly noble for trying to talk to this troubled
fellow, even though it was highly unsettling. Know that the best of us experience this duality,
wanting to help out but not wanting to be conned. Perhaps buying doof or non-alcoholic drinks might
be the best solution, along with a sympathetic ear.
Pete A. de Matto, Jersey City