Mailbox: 09.23.09-09.29.09

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More Than Somewhat

We received many positive responses to Matt Harvey’s cover story last week, “Fear in Alphabet City” (Sept. 16-22), with one writing: “I really enjoyed this article. It felt as if I were reading a blend of a sociology treatise and a Damon Runyon short story. While my background gives me more in common with the middleclass interlopers, the writer had me pulling for the Alphabet City natives in their struggle to hold onto their neighborhood! Harvey poses a good question:Do we need yet another section of NYC filled with Starbucks, yogurt shops and yuppie bars? Can’t we leave a little bit of the Island for the non-mainstreamers like Pagan and  Melendez? I believe I read another article by the same author awhile back on the homeless in NY. It’s good to know there are still some journalistic voices out there willing to speak out on behalf of the disenfranchised.”

Twit Wit

But Matt Harvey didn’t escape unscathed. For a Bash Compactor story he wrote about Nick Douglas’ Twitter Wit book release, “Obitter” (Sept. 16-22), one indignant reader commented: “This article is lazy, unoriginal, unfunny, hateful and full of lies. If you have a legitimate point to make about the effect of blogbooks on literature, we’re interested in hearing it. If all you have are clichés and stereotypes and calling people short or nerdy, you should probably find a venue even less respectable than the New York Press. Do you consider yourself a writer? Yeah, you probably shouldn’t.”

But then another reader wasn’t as offended and let us know: “Highly amusing!

My husband and I can’t wait for this whole ‘twittering’ fad to be over with. I can’t spend five minutes watching the television without someone mentioning twitter-this or twitter-that (even Oprah!).What does it even do? Why are these teenagers getting book deals?!”

Vile and Vitriol

I live in Cincinnati, but I like to check out the alternative weeklies in other cities to see what’s going on in the world. I came across a very entertaining feature in NY- Press: “The 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers.” Did you discontinue this list after 2006? I could only find lists dating from 2003 through to 2006. If, indeed, the feature has been discontinued, I’d love to see it come back in some form.

It would be great if the local media would do the same for Cincinnati…except obviously there’s not nearly as much going on here as typically happens in NYC. We have our share of inept politicians; a notorious, much-hated police department; and a couple of usually woeful sports franchises… While “The 50 Most Loathsome” lists are funny and intended to entertain, they are by-products of serious reporting and editorial opinion, and therefore perform an important function… Those people in power who wish to maintain or extend their influence; celebrities who demand our attention as well as considerable remuneration for whatever the hell it is they do; bad and stupid people who do bad and stupid things, especially to others…they all deserve to be publicly skewered. I hope NYPress continues to do the skewering.

—Jason Ellison, Cincinnati

Editor’s Note: The recent Democratic primary that took place Sept. 15 proved something: People don’t feel empowered by local politics. A record-breaking 312,000 people turned out to cast their vote for mayor, the lowest in modern New York history. A few thousand more people voted for comptroller and public advocate but no one reached the 40 percent threshold, so we have a run-off for those races set for this coming Tues., Sept. 29. The vote is important since it’s the Democratic voters who will most likely pick the next C.F.O. and ombudsman for the city. As we wrote in our Sept. 9 issue, we endorse Brooklyn Councilmember  David Yassky for Comptroller. In the other run-off race, we support Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate. But no matter who you decide to vote for, we urge every registered Democratic voter to stop being lazy and go vote!