M A I L B O X

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Gut Nemesis

I’m an intern at TimeOut NY. Over the last few weeks, Mr. Bernstein, I’ve come to terms with the fact that you—scribbling away, writing for everything under the sun—are my nemesis. I heard about you as your name was casually mentioned around the office: “Is Josh free to write this, Josh is writing that,” and I found out you were a freelancer. Then, days later, while I sat at my desk fact checking and researching bar events, I find your articles on City Search, reviewing many of the bars I was looking for. Not too surprising though since you’ve been writing for the Eat Out department. However, days after that, while hunting for freelance gigs, I find your name on the first article I open up on the website of the New York Press! Now, being a struggling writer, getting my feet wet in the magazine business and seeing your name on the byline of everything I was reading was driving me up the wall. Talking about writing in graduate workshops was getting boring. I was looking for some advice. So I headed to Borders in search of a book on writing—something to inspire me and hopefully give me some insight on how to push my career. And what luck, wandering around the aisles I found a paperback I could really relate to! A book on writing from other writers in their twenties! BAM! I couldn’t believe it, this was exactly what I was looking for. It also happened to be called…Generation What? What a freaking coincidence.

And now, here I am, accepting the fact that your career is following me, taunting me like a school bully, pointing his finger at my inadequate collection of magazine blog postings and college newspaper clippings.

Well Joshua, though we’ve never met, I wanted you to know that you’ve inspired me to work harder, get my name out there and be someone else’s nemesis when they need a push.

P.S. This could very likely be me turning into a conspiracy theorist, but I’m almost sure you called my desk a year or so ago when I worked at Twelve Books and a freelance writer asked me for a galley of The Nuclear Jihadist.That might be pushing it. —Travis DeLingua, NY

Kudos and Questions

I have enjoyed your [Josh Bernstein’s] column in the New York Press for some time. I love that you are an unapologetic glutton and frequenter of scary dive bars (like myself), and your musings are a pleasure to read every week. I recently started my own NYC food and culture blog and hope to eventually have a column of my own. Would you be willing to spare me a couple of sentences on how you got started as a food writer, and any relevant advice? I have no formal writing experience, but am incredibly passionate about food and New York City (pre-1995 or so) and believe that my experiences and insight would be of interest to many people. I’d love for you to take a look at my blog: www.thegothamglutton.wordpress.com.

—Jamie Lloyd, NY

The Girlfriend Chugalug

I have long enjoyed reading Josh Bernstein’s Gut Instinct column. He once wrote about a dive bar in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that I visit whenever I get down there.

My friends and I now read his column at a local bar, and we have to chug a beer for every time he uses the word “girlfriend” in his column. In his last column, “Punch Drunk” (Oct. 8-14), it was three times, and she didn’t even go to the bar with him. Way to go, Josh. I think Vegas has an over/under line on next week’s column.The over is currently four, with three being a push. —Dan Freeman, Brooklyn

Leigh Way

Reading this review [of Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky] (“Art of Happiness,” Oct. 8-14), I wondered why is it most people won’t prefer something happier and witty anymore. Pauline Kael mentioned this in her last interview, that instead of going to something with doses of happiness, they are indulging in smug liberal guilt like American Beauty, Mystic River and The Dark Knight. If these are preferred to be “artistic,” then why praise Rachel Getting Married and Happy-Go-Lucky? I don’t think people are dumb, and I don’t agree with Mr. White about CJ7. But I do agree: Morality is as fucked-up as people’s opinions of this presidential election.

—Jeffrey Zanker Saint Petersburg, FL

Sellout for Bloomberg

Ron Lauder is a sellout as long as he gets something in return (“Billionaires for Bloomberg, Oct. 8-14). He reminds me of a phrase John McCain recently used: “Talking the talk, and walking the walk.” Now we have to wait and see what Christine Quinn will do; she would have run for mayor this go ‘round, but will she accept usurping the will of the people if she gets something in return? I noticed the city council will have their limits extended as well.There’s your answer.

Serving the public good and gaining their trust by overturning their vote? As Cosmo Kramer would say, “Only in New York!” —David DiBello, Lakewood, NJ

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Michael Phelps at Bowlmor’s recent 70th anniversary celebration.

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