Mailbox: 09.30.09-10.06.09

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This Week: It’s time to dissect Armond White’s review of Michael Moore’s movie; and one grateful reader likes things served in aluminum foil with a smile.

Manifesting a Defense

Armond White’s review (“Moore of the Same,” Sept. 23-29) of Soderbergh’s Informant! and Michael Moore’s latest film, Capitalism: a Love Story, provoked some interesting reader responses. One anonymous commenter stating: “It is a Catch- 22 that in a capitalist society money equals having a voice that can be heard. It doesn’t automatically makes one sanctimonious to criticize how others make their money while you, yourself are making money. That’s where morality enters the picture. [White writes:] “´It doesn’t risk understanding that losers and winners share the same dream based on a particular ideology—a love of wealth and materialism.” Except that we are born into the ideology, fed the ideology and have to participate in order to exist in this society.There’s not choice here. It’s a not a dream, rather it’s a situation. Only immigrants consciously choose to adopt the dream and play the game. For the natural born, pulling out is emigration, which is not free and again requires participation in the societal game. Anyway, I know where you’re coming from in regards to Moore’s style and tactics, and I wholeheartedly agree on everything about Soderbergh. Sure, Moore editorializes and is a muckraker instead of being a documentary maker. But he doesn’t ever pretend to be objective and isn’t hypocritical in what he denounces, whereas Soderbergh is, as you pointed out.”

Boo Booze Instead

Another reader wrote: “It’s hard enough to read one of your reviews when you hurl your thoughts into these incoherent, blithering tirades. Lets keep it one review…one movie. Also, the idea that Armond White uses the words ‘bad journalism’ in an accusatory tone is the most hysterical irony I’ve heard all week. I just wish you could review chocolate or wine so your babble stops messing up the ratings on otherwise quality films.”

Formula Flop

“Armond, glad to see you are sticking to your formula for success: trash the movie at hand while dropping names of others who you think did the same thing (or a different thing you think is the same) better.You made a small mistake this time, though.You’re supposed to casually describe a ludicrously bad movie or filmmaker in unbelievably glowing terms, not reference a well-liked, successfully merchandised cult movie like Office Space. You’re slipping, man.”

Reasoned Response

But that doesn’t mean that everyone disagreed or had harsh words: “Great review, Armond. I applaud your objectivity. It’s very easy to fall into the overly sentimental herd that has dominated film and media lately, but you took the bolder step, the correct step and decided to stay true to reason.”

Tamale Testament

I think I know where the woman is you wrote about (“The Tamalera”, Sept. 23- 29), and I just want to say thank you for telling her story. I pass by her every day on my way to school at City College and I always love the way she yells tamales and has a smile. I just hope the story doesn’t get her in more trouble for selling food on the street without a permit. Sometimes I feel like it’s just one smart-aleck story after another I read, but then I read something sweet like this and it makes me happy. Just wanted to say thanks. —Carmen P., Queens

Bubbles and Best Wishes

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that Ronny Beberman, aka Ronny the Seltzerman, aka Seltzer Ronny, had suffered a serious injury while delivering those precious bottles of bubbles to his diehard customers. Our own Josh Bernstein was interviewed for the piece due to his recent Gut Instinct column, “Tiny Bubbles, Big Joys” (Sept. 2-8) in which he explained his own indoctrination. We received a lot of reader responses, including this one: “Not sure if it’s your man Ronny or not, but Bushwick has its own Seltzerman on Harrison Place and Porter Ave.

He hasn’t changed the siphons since the ’50s and delivers mostly to Coney. Its nice to know that someone still maintains the tradition without any irony.” We wish Seltzer Ronny a swift recovery.


In anticipation of our October music issue, New York Press is allowing readers to vote for their favorite local band. All of the acts below have submitted their work to us through Sonicbids, and now it´s up to you to vote for your own favorite. Polls will be open until Oct. 1, and the act that gets the most votes will be the subject of a feature in the music issue.