Snobby Savvy Slivka; Crabby Tabb; Cabal’s a Lying Elephant-Hater; Slackjaw, Our Hero; MUGGER’s Right About Molly; Exciting and Inciting

Written by NY Press on . Posted in Posts.


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Andrey Slivka’s article
on the Webbys (“Webbys 2001,” 8/1) was pretty much dead-on (especially
the part about an entire generation’s capitulation to the money culture);
on the other hand, it’s gotten pretty hip these days to heap ridicule on
laid-off Web workers. Keep in mind that a lot of low-end website employees really
did get screwed. Maybe not the yahoos at the Webbys, but definitely the ill-paid
receptionists, assistants and customer support workers who were making $30K
and under even during the dotcom boom.


It’s a much worse scene,
regardless of race, when you get bounced out of a low-status, low-qualification
$27-grand-a-year job (especially in cities like New York or San Francisco with
their ridiculously inflated costs of living) to discover that the “economic
downturn” means that finding another equally crappy job will be three times
as hard. Here’s hoping the soup lines stay in the 1930s, but some dotcom
casualties have grimmer prospects ahead than grad school.



Name Withheld,
via Internet



Maybe Too Hip?



I don’t know that I’ve
ever read a more priggish, snotty piece of writing in my life than Andrey Slivka’s
piece on the Webby awards. Not that I have anything against making fun of the
SF dotcommer crowd. Working in printing all my life, I have my own issues with
the Internet industry and it’s destroy-the-old-dinosaurs mentality. A note:
printing plants are closing all over the country. This would make Slivka sad,
I suppose, considering that the people whose jobs are lost when a printing plant
closes are nice, easy-to-sympathize-with working-class-type folks. Probably
even some blacks, although maybe not the type who would appreciate a degrading
comparison to some rich white partygoers for some self-righteous writer’s
next paragraph.


But the central problem
with the piece is that it is just so goddamn easy to write a snide little article
about rich little turds and why their problems are meaningless. All the precious
little comments about “whiteboys” and “whitegirls.” Of course
these people are shameless, horrible little fucks. But honestly, who cares?
Who gives a fuck? Catering to the schadenfreude of others is not a good theme
for a cover story. There should have been some meat in there.


Thanks for the Caldwell,
La Badarian, Strausbaugh and Knipfel, though.



Caleb Wright,
Brooklyn



Detail Man



I especially enjoyed and
savored M. Wartella’s excellent “Stone Oven” pizza gag on this
week’s cover (8/1).



Name Withheld,
Manhattan



Letter of the Week



I have always picked up
New York Press looking forward to articles written by Jim Knipfel. It
was a wonderful surprise to come to your website and find that Jim is an energetic
contributor to your “Daily Billboard” section. When Jim is not published
in your weekly tome, I find comfort in knowing I can view his wonderful insights
posted on nypress.com. Kudos to all your staff for producing one of the most
readable and energetic newspapers in this cluttered field. Please pass on to
your advertisers that this reader uses New York Press as the first resource
for my buying needs. If you want, I can list purchases from “inch.com”
(old ad) to Metro AirTek.


P.S. I love you too, MUGGER.



John E. Schloss,
Brooklyn



From a Former Poser



I just finished reading
Slackjaw, and I was totally blown away. Awesome book. Just wanted to
give my praise to Jim Knipfel. I grew up in Madison and was an alternative HS
poser-punkette for the whole late 1980s scene there. The NWP were my heroes:
their “form of protest without the content” march to this day makes
me bust up. Also, kudos to Andrey Slivka on the “Webby” story–I
live in the smoking husk of dotcomville, and appreciate the take.



Candace Cardinal,
San Francisco



Where’s Cecil?



Looks like you forgot to
put “The Straight Dope” in last week’s issue of New York Press.
Please don’t forget it next week.



Barry N. Sher,
Manhattan



Hey, MUGGIE Boy!



MUGGER: I just read the
“Pickin’ Up the Pieces” bit (8/1). For this effort, the selection
committee has awarded you the Ed Norton Prize and Medal, named in honor of the
New York City worker from Jackie Gleason’s tv show. The citation reads:
“Each week you courageously climb down into the sewer of Political Writing
and watch the turds drift by, netting the biggest floaters and proudly displaying
their putrid contents.”


How do you do it? They can’t
pay you enough to read this stuff. As you say, look at them: From Alter and
Fineman, to Time’s Margaret Carlson, the entire staff of The
New York Times
, Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, Salon’s
Jake Tapper, The Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt, NBC’s
Tim Russert, Hardball’s Chris Matthews, The Washington
Post
’s Dana Milbank, E.J. Dionne and Richard Cohen, and The
Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and David Brooks, this is a repulsive
crew of toads and weasels.


In addition to the award,
please accept my personal thanks as well. Without your ceaseless efforts, I
would never know how disgraceful the idiot press is. I could guess, and I’d
be right, but I’d never really know, ’cause I wouldn’t read that
shit on a bet. But I eagerly await your column each Wednesday. What’s more,
I’m cruising through The Wall Street Journal and I start
reading a well-written and thought-out piece on a book I’ll never read
about Tina and Harry. Something’s familiar, so I look at the byline. “Is
that New York Press’ Russ Smith? Sure writes and thinks like him.”
Sure enough it’s you. Nice work.


P.S. Go Sox. We were in
Boston for the ’86 debacle and to this day my bride is eager to provide
Bill Buckner with the attractive piano wire necktie if she ever gets her hands
on him.



Jim Klein,
San Francisco



Low Blow



George Tabb: As a faithful
reader of New York Press for many years now, I have endured your stories
for quite a while. The latest one about the first time you got crabs (“Music,
8/1) had me laughing at you, not with you. I think now is the time you should
write about your first blowjob and tell everyone who cares if your jaw still
hurts.



Nina Hunter,
Coney Island



Too Much Information



Alan Cabal says he’s
been spending too much time in his apartment (“New York City,” 7/25).
Too bad he didn’t spend it becoming informed about circuses with animals.
Elephants and big cats like tigers and lions “perform” only through
fear of their trainers. Why else would they jump through a ring of fire? It
is a fact that the USDA has charged the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus with
violating the Animal Welfare Act in its abusive treatment of elephants. It is
a fact that the Monmouth County, NJ, SPCA has charged CBCBC with cruelty to
animals. Elephants stand on their heads only because of fear of the bull-hook
used to beat them into submission. Three of the CBCBC elephants have died in
less than two years. I guess Cabal thinks they were killed with kindness.


When all those happy humans
go home after watching a show filled with stupid animal tricks coerced by beatings,
the animals go back into their cramped cages where they live most of their lives.
Why is taking wild animals taken from their natural environments and forcing
them to perform stupid tricks “Good Old American Entertainment”? Sounds
like Good Old American Cruelty to me.



Sheila M.
Richardson, Woodside



Courting Stereotypes



Stereotypes are great, aren’t
they? According to Alan Cabal, if you don’t want animals to be beaten or
otherwise abused, you apparently become a “puerile ninny” and an “idiot”
involved in “dipshit pursuits like PETA and ALF.”


I see. The least Mr. Cabal
could do is get his facts straight. First of all, the USDA does not give the
Clyde Beatty circus a clean bill of health. They have, in fact, issued multiple
citations and violations. Bull-hooks are used on elephants and four elephants
have died in the past four years. If Cabal would sit down in a face-to-face
meeting with some of us “puerile ninnies,” perhaps we could share
with him the painful facts behind the lives of circus animals.



Robin Jacobson,
Manhattan



Let Us Guess: Four Elephants?
Bull-hooks?



I am writing in response
to Alan Cabal’s article entitled “Real American Circus.” Mr.
Cabal does not have his facts straight. He seems to think that the USDA inspectors
have placed their stamp of approval on Clyde Beatty’s treatment of animals.
In reality, Clyde Beatty has received many USDA citations and violations including
abusive use of bull-hooks on elephants. But reality does not seem to be a plane
that Mr. Cabal visits too often. He seems to be overdosing on nostalgia; his
article reads as if he is itching for his delusional “good ol’ days.”


He trivializes animal activists
because, in his words, “they presume to denounce any sort of working relationship
between man and beast.” This further exemplifies his detachment from reality.
The relationship between people who work for the circus and circus animals is
nowhere near equal and is in no way comparable to an employer/ employee “work”
relationship. It is much more analogous to the master/slave relationship. Maybe
Mr. Cabal would take no offense at that kind master/slave relationship either.
His “good ol’ days” nostalgic lust seems to be founded in exploitation
anyway. Maybe he also misses the days when circuses paraded people as freaks,
people like “the bearded lady,” etc.–because that’s what
Cabal’s exalted “authentic traditional American circus” did.


Personally, I have worked
briefly for the Cirque du Soleil, which does not have animals. I am an advocate
of these kinds of circuses, the ones that do no harm to animals.



Joanna Marzullo,
Bronx



Alan Cabal replies: Clyde
Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus is, like any circus, comprised of a number of individual
acts. While it is true that in the past there have been abuses perpetrated against
animals by certain unethical and unsavory performers under contract with the
show, the management of CBCBC has taken a very firm position against abusive
animal-handling techniques and is currently operating a clean and humane show
as per the USDA and my own observation. The show goes into winter quarters and
takes a break every year from Thanksgiving to March. Adam Hill’s elephant
partners consist of Bessie, 56 years old; Tina, 35 years old; and Jewel, 37
years old. Elephants in the wild generally live to be 30-35 years old, assuming
they can manage to avoid the poachers. To suggest that these highly intelligent
animals need to be coerced to perform is preposterous. They enjoy the applause
and appreciate the catering as much as their human partners do.



NRA on His Deathbed



I was glad to see that Armond
White appreciated Charlton Heston’s cameo appearance in Tim Burton’s
reinterpretation of Planet of the Apes (“Film,” 8/1). I am
quite surprised, however, that he didn’t note the subtler and more meaningful
subtext to Heston’s ape’s deathbed speech.


When Heston says: “Against
this [technology] our physical strength means nothing,” he isn’t blasting
guns as forces that foster chaos, he’s praising them as tools of social
change. Look at that same statement from the perspective of the humans (or any
downtrodden group). With guns, slavery can be abolished. Guns are cast as the
great equalizer, a tool for the oppressed with which to fight for freedom. In
other words, Chuck Heston, even with all his self-effacing buffoonery, still
manages to pump out the NRA party line.


In addition, bless you New
York Press
for including Matt Zoller Seitz’s reviews. He deserves nothing
less than constant praise.



Tal Kedem,
Manhattan



Prancing Monahan



While it seems incredible
that an upper-crusty Franco-Armenian like Claude La Badarian would recognize
a claddagh ring if he saw one (“Dining Late with Claude La Badarian,”
8/1)–when he scrawls about his fascination with the “little people,”
does he mean leprechauns?–it’s nothing less than hilarious to read
the latest resentful description of his rival–a grown man, I assume–sporting
that garish accessory–not the backpack, by the way–or the rum and
Coke, come to think of it–so long favored by vaginismustic Catholic schoolgirls.


If it’s any comfort,
Mr. La Badarian, it sounds as if you’re not having quite all of
Monahan’s problems for him. I hope you’ll let us know–that is,
if you can quell your seething envy for long enough–when he shows up at
the bar wearing a hiked-up Campbell skirt and barrettes.



Ken Hagan,
Bronx



Rim Shot



Regarding George Tabb’s
latest column in your music section (“Music,” 8/1), I would just like
to say that I, too, got crabs from a dirty hotel bed in Mexico. At least that’s
what I tell my girlfriend.



Sydney Ripley,
Manhattan



A Musical Joke



Thoroughly enjoyed “Old
Smoke” once again (7/18 and 8/1). But I couldn’t help noticing a slight
discrepancy: At the beginning of Part 1, William Bryk says that Daniel Sickles
made Lorenzo Da Ponte’s acquaintance in 1839; but at the end of Part 2,
we learn that Da Ponte died in 1838. If it’s not too nitpicky, I’d
like to ask, which is it?



Ronald MacKinnon,
Manhattan



The editors reply: Sickles
made the acquaintance of the
younger Lorenzo Da Ponte in 1839.



Blood Feud



George Szamuely: I do not
believe that sins of the fathers should be revisited on the sons, but one with
your name–descendant of the infamous Tibor Szamuely–should not take
the side of that degenerate tyrant and murderer Mugabe (“Taki’s Top
Drawer,” 7/25)! Then, your “immunity” evaporates and all the
bad things the name Tibor Szamuely brings to mind can be turned against you.
I would think twice if I were you before cheering terrorists and murderers.
(This is not to be easy on the gangster regime of Horthy that followed the Commune;
that is another filthy chapter of the many filthy chapters that are the history
of Hungary.) In a similar situation I would advise any Horthy descendant–should
he make common cause with any bloody dictator.



Robert Peter
Held, via Internet



George Szamuely replies:
I don’t hold my head in shame on account of my great-uncle. While I would
not defend everything he did, two things need to be kept in mind. First, in
1919 a defeated, disarmed Hungary was the victim of Western-inspired invasions
by the Romanians and the Czechs, each of whom had been promised large chunks
of Hungarian land as reward. As Deputy Commissar for War of the Hungarian Soviet
Republic, my great-uncle achieved the near-impossible feat of mobilizing the
country and–at least for a time–fighting off the invading armies.
However, given the forces arrayed against Hungary, defeat was inevitable and
my great-uncle paid for his defiance with his life. Second, the chaos in which
Hungary found itself in 1919 was not caused by men like my great-uncle, but
by the supposedly respectable politicians who recklessly led their countries
into the disastrous 1914-’18 war.



Never Too Many Reasons



How tremendous to see that
Mimi Kramer has taken over the theater column (“Theater,” 8/1). She
is a bold, intelligent and entertaining writer and will bring your theater page
up to the level of your cinema coverage, which has always been awesome. Though
I didn’t need one, you have provided me with another reason to read New
York Press
.



Travis Stewart,
Brooklyn



That Blo’s Us Away!



MUGGER: Are you aware of
the Blohards, a Red Sox fan club here in New York? The formal name is “Benevolent
Loyal Order Of The Honorable Ancient Red Sox Die Hard Sufferers Of New York.”
We have periodic meetings with lots to drink and eat. The team usually provides
speakers when they’re in town.



Vern Trotter,
Manhattan



After We Wake Him Up



MUGGER: Please add Don Imus
to the list of shills (8/1).



Carol Hunter,
Shreveport, LA



More Trotskyites in the
Media



MUGGER: I loved your article–especially
your references to Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower (8/1). On the subject of President
Bush, my wife and I cannot understand why he is not all over the country selling
his programs and positions and giving it straight to the American public instead
of expecting them to get it from the Marxist media. It’s a real puzzlement.



Gus Doering,
Cedar Park, TX



Another Baltimoron Who Doesn’t
Like Us



MUGGER: You are aptly named
if the victim of the mugging you refer to is journalistic quality. I checked
out New York Press expecting to find some of the best commentary going.
After all, this is “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere”
New York City and this is an independent paper (which should attract the best
of the truly independent writers).


But what do I find? The
same tiresome substitution of vitriol for wit, knockdowns for commentary and
tired rehashes (dished up under new names like blue plate specials at a really
bad diner) in place of fresh perspectives. In fact, MUGGER shouldn’t be
singled out. The whole paper is a sad disappointment and can’t begin to
hold a candle to Detroit’s Metrotimes, Baltimore’s City
Paper
, the Philadelphia Weekly or, incredible as it may seem, the
occasional offering from the Austin Chronicle. The saddest thing of all
is that there have got to be some topnotch writers roaming New York, un- or
under-employed.



Cheryl Adam,
Baltimore



Nothin’ But Cock



I was scouring my Internet
bookmarks trying to find news sources not obsessed with Gary Condit’s penis
and thought I’d glance through New York Press. Why would a NYC-based
publication care about a Left Coast politician, I thought. Wrong again. Christopher
Caldwell was right there (“Hill of Beans,” 8/1), obsessing like a
Sunday morning pundit whore, wringing every last nuance out of the scraps of
news and innuendo (mostly the latter) that had emerged over the previous week.


What were you thinking?
How can you possibly believe your readers want more of this crap? Are New Yorkers
so sex-starved and naive they find this media-driven feeding-frenzy to be interesting?
The worst part of the Clinton scandals was the entire press submerging itself
in the disgusting personal lives of our political leaders from both sides of
the aisle. It’s hardly a secret that our current speaker of the House has
his job because he was (apparently) the only non-gay GOP member of Congress
who wasn’t screwing around. Now we find that Gary Condit, a longtime political
crossdresser, is a potential suspect in an intern’s disappearance. I suppose
I should be grateful. Just today I erased three bookmarks because they led to
websites that couldn’t stop obsessing about someone’s penis. In the
future, I won’t have to waste anymore time at New York Press, Kausfiles
or ABC News.


I will still visit Drudge,
however. If I’m going to have to hear about penises (penii?) I might as
well go to the mother of all cock-obsessed websites. With Drudge, I know what
I’m getting; I thought New York Press was better than that. I was
wrong.



Mark Gisleson,
St. Paul, MN



Say Hi to Keely



MUGGER: What do you think
about the dredging of the Hudson? How come Murray/Hamburger emphasized the “legal”
aspect of the case in the WSJ and not the moral? Do you think morality has gotten
too expensive? Sure, it was legal at the time to release PCBs into the Hudson,
but so what? GE can afford to do the right thing and clean up the Hudson and
do it right.


Isn’t that what compassionate
conservatism is all about?



Louie Prima,
Staatsburg, NY



Jim’s a Prince



Re Jim Knipfel’s “Paying
Off Some Karmic Debts” (“e-Slackjaw,” 8/1). That article was
so touching–he writes so well that you can almost feel like you saw the
incident happen. I know he will probably cringe at my saying this, but he comes
across as being a lovely fellow. Thank you for a wonderful reading experience.



Hester Nichols,
via Internet



Babbitt Won



I am still laughing at Andrey
Slivka’s diatribe against us Mid-American dupes (“Daily Billboard,
7/24). Andrey: Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre, MN. Guess you didn’t
hear Babbitt won and he has a really cool car. I would really recommend a trip
out of your Left Coast city. Just recently people have moved to uninhabitable
desert places like Phoenix and Las Vegas…shucks, we even have newspapers now
and some of us have even lernt to read.



Thomas M.
Paynter, Las Vegas



Honky Talkin’



Tim Hall: There is always
“ice people,” thanks to Leonard Jeffries (“Daily Billboard,”
7/26). Of course, the problem with “ice people” is that it actually
sounds too cool to be much of an insult. “Ice people,” and the silly
theory behind it, inspires visions of invincible Vikings, British naval officers
and Roman soldiers traveling around the world, thrashing numberless hordes of
the best that the Americas, Africa and Asia can produce. And what does “sun
people,” the Jeffries nomenclature for the sensitive and warmhearted people
who live near the equator, make one think of? Right, a bunch of half-naked lazy
guys, lying on their asses on the beach sipping out of coconuts while those
nasty ice people are writing The Iliad, inventing the machine gun and
building cathedrals and skyscrapers. I hope somebody comes up with something
better, and look forward to a list in New York Press.



Mitchell Glodek,
Manhattan



Like a Phoenix



Sometimes Alexander Cockburn
rises above his leftist proclivities. But then he reverts to type, as in his
recent “Wild Justice” (7/25) column. He parrots the line that a lawsuit
successfully charged that the USDA discriminated against black farmers.


The actual facts belie these
left-liberal pieties. The USDA instigated and then acquiesced in a fraudulent
settlement with black farmers engaged in white-collar crime. I would refer those
who care about the facts of the case to the February 2001 issue of American
Renaissance
.



Daniel Hayes,
Rego Park



Alexander Cockburn replies:
This is ludicrous. Black farmers have been screwed ever since Reconstruction
and there are hundreds of reports and articles and court decisions buttressing
that simple fact. It doesn’t matter which decade you pick. For example,
Reagan tried to quell the legitimate gripes of black farmers by the simple expedient
of closing down the civil-rights complaint division of the USDA. The real enemy
is corporate agriculture. Small white farming families have endless gripes too.
But they are spared the racism.



Bar-B-Q Ain’t No Joke



Alexander Cockburn writes:
“In Columbus, TX, Jerry Mikeska’s Bar-B-Q sign announces SEVEN DAYS
WITHOUT BARBQ MAKES ONE WEAK. In the old days that probably would have read
Makes a Man Weak. Not anymore…” (“Wild Justice,” 8/1).


Does this mean Texans are
sheepishly correct these days, or that they don’t even understand the simple
jokes they make? Does Cockburn? It’s a pun, son.



Thomas Cogan,
Sunnyside



A Gentleman Never Tells



Alexander Cockburn seems
to refer to the key women in George W. Bush’s life on a regular basis.
We’ve been told more than once that he found George W.’s mother to
be a particularly nasty woman. On the other hand, he seems to find Laura Bush
divine, perhaps because of the “vulgar gossip” about her “racy
20s.” Sounds fine to me, but what exactly does he know about both women
that we don’t?



Todd Kenyon,
Brooklyn



The Careful Reader



Re: Alexander Cockburn’s
“From New Orleans to Midland” (8/1): The “scrubby old state highway”
is not “Interstate 90″ or even a state highway–it’s U.S.
90. Interstate 90 runs from Seattle to Boston.


Also, “…a daily production
potential of 2.2 million barrels a day.” As opposed to a daily production
potential of 2.2 million barrels a week?



Paul Sepe,
Plymouth, NH



Both, Frequently



Taki’s mongrel-like
pursuit of women, continuously announced and bragged about, leads me to believe
that it is his ego and not his penis that is being catered to.



Marie Caesar,
Bronx



Down Mex-i-co Way



1995… Whatever happened
to Zach Parsi?



Jennifer Spiegel,
Phoenix



Gulping



Carol Iannone’s column
(“Taki’s Top Drawer,” 7/25) was an excellent piece on the misguiding
influence of “feminism” on women who wish to be successful in and
connected to all of life, not just to some strange, separate idea of a fiercely
independent female warrior. Thank you, from a 31-year-old working female who
likes guys. And, gulp, is dating one considerably her senior.



Shannon Stevens,
Philadelphia



Maybe She Needs a Hard Lemonade



One of the disappointing
things about your otherwise interesting newspaper is that your editors seem
to think that occasional Gen-X bashing of the left is somehow cool. It is ironic
I suppose, in that the generation that most fervently wanted to inspire a new
moral consciousness in this country is succeeded by a generation that has absolutely
no clue as to morality of any kind. (Quick example, the tv commercial where
a logger’s foot is amputated accidentally and his coworker’s response
is to invite him to have a glass of lemonade–it’s sad that anyone
would think that that was funny, but it’s pretty representative of Gen-X
humor.)


Getting back to the point
and Carol Iannone’s article: First of all, the “con” of feminism
is not that it falsely promises freedom for women, but that demands that men
treat women as well as they do men, even though men haven’t even begun
to figure out how to treat each other well.


The most disappointing and
revealing example of the writer’s cluelessness is her statement that “most
women…do want to please men, and realize their own highest human pleasure
in giving themselves to one of them.” Maybe I’m nuts but I put playing
with and teaching children, learning and/or creating something new, solving
problems, building things, etc., right up there with great sex–if that’s
what the writer’s referring to. The reason I’m sending this e-mail
is that the columnist’s attitude manifests a level of spiritual depression
that should be seen for what it is, namely a disease.



G.F. Hunt,
Manhattan



The Satanic Frost?



MUGGER: Don Zimmer–the
Gerbil–also blew the Cubs’ chances in the 1989 NLCS with his boneheaded
managing (8/1). So if the Cubs and Bosox do meet in October, at least we’ll
have one thing in common.



Fred Butzen,
Deerfield, IL



Not Deep in Your Heart



MUGGER: I read your reference
in your column to Molly Ivins (8/1). I am absolutely appalled that we have to
claim her as a Texan. She is, without a doubt, a blot on the reputation of Texas.
I saw her once in the Denver airport and she looked like an unmade bed. I could
not believe that anyone well known would go out in public looking like that.



Martha Hamby,
Dallas



Once Is Never Enough



Today was the first time
I read MUGGER. It will certainly not be the last. I loved it! Thanks.



Tom Trimble,
Athens, GA



Seek and Ye Shall Find



So Charles Glass has finally
found a good Jew; “heroic” even (“Taki’s Top Drawer,”
8/1). He lavishes praise on the detestable Dr. Israel Shahak, who spent his
entire adult life attempting to literally destroy Judaism and its offspring,
the state of Israel. Shahak’s writings on Talmud and Halacha (Jewish law)
were so riddled with errors, half-truths and distortions that they made my eyes
cross. Almost all Israelis ignored him or thought him either misguided or traitorous.
He was famous for taking phrases of Talmud out of context and inserting his
own personal interpretations to make them seem stupid/criminal/hard-hearted.
He would then present the text as the thinking of not only the single rabbi
who authored them, but of all Jews, everywhere, since time immemorial.


Shahak spent his life in
an Israel that he described as “fascist,” but continued to dwell in
Israel’s Jewish cities. No apartment in the Arab neighborhoods of Jaffa
for him. He continued to call himself “Jew” though he implied that
the word itself was a “simile” for evil and manipulative. He (and
Glass, in his column) called Israel “racist,” even as it brought tens
of thousands of Ethiopian Jews to its country, made them full citizens and has
struggled to integrate them into its society; even as it invited thousands of
African non-Jews to study in its country; even as it sent medical teams to treat
the victims of African plagues and wars; even as it granted a hostile Arab minority
full rights in its democracy.


It figures that Glass would
idolize a self-hating, wretched little hypocrite like Shahak. He was an acceptable
Jew.



Barry Schechter,
East Brunswick, NJ



A Grateful German



This is a response to David
Mann’s letter “Whiny Europeans” in “The Mail” (7/25).
I thank you for the Marshall Plan and most Germans who remember do too. I grew
up in postwar Germany without traffic lights and very few cars. The only car
I remember seeing was the one that took me to the hospital.


Go over there now! I think
we live in a different world today, which should be seriously considered.



Brigitte Epple,
Brooklyn



Bosh, Stuff and Nonsense



Once I lost track of the
number of times I had written “bullshit” and (so help me) “bosh”
in the margins of her piece, I realized that I had to respond to Carol Iannone’s
annoying tripe (“Taki’s Top Drawer,” 7/25). I presume that it
was not intended as some hip attempt at irony or some lame kind of knowing wink.


Let me get this straight.
For a woman, “the fulfillment of [her] own nature” consists in “giving
herself to” a man? “To Serve Man” is no longer an intelligent
and amusing Twilight Zone episode (or subsequent Simpsons riff
on it) but the be-all and end-all of female existence? This would be delicious
entertainment as a retro time-capsule glance at TV Land fare (Father Knows
Best
anyone?) but it’s just pititul, and, worse, damned aggravating
as a sample of serious thought in the present.


“A woman’s goal
should not be to deny her need for a man.” Uh, hello? No lesbians on the
planet? Stupid and offensive assumption to write them out of her script? Or
are they just denying “their own nature”? “[B]oys have been tutored
not to grow into good men but to become more like women”? Who scripted
these roles? So biology is destiny, after all, and little things like society
have nothing to do with the fact that some folks blindly accept gender-based
roles as a given without asking who gave them. Iannone writes that feminism
“did not teach [women] to ‘know thyself,’ which is the primary
requisite for happiness.” It’s a pity that she hasn’t taken the
time or expended any great effort, apparently, to know herself, either.


What makes her rant all
the more infuriating is the dismissal of the demon “feminism” as “part
of the problem.” Who are these monolithic “feminists” of whom
Iannone writes? The ones on whose shoulders she hoists the blame for these “boys
will be girls” times in which we live? All a bunch of no-fun, mule-bashers,
are they? All about liberty with no social responsibility or connectedness?
Environmental concerns? Issues beyond sender? Wow, if I’d known they were
all such a horrible bunch, I never would have bought in. Feminist con, indeed.
Or maybe we’ve just traveled in different circles, a fact for which I’m
eternally grateful (neither she nor the “feminists” she describes
sound like much fun).


By the way, my wife’s
14 years older than I am. You want to tell her about how “women have always
had a tendency to be drawn to men significantly older than themselves, of course”?



Brian Drier,
Manhattan



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