The thing that’s most As far as nonwhites and What’s up with Alvi That said, I did like the Name Withheld, Thinking Below the Beltway I miss you guys already. Taki Theodoracopulos, Coming Out Over Dead Bodies Michelangelo Signorile: Mark Laflamme, We Confused Him With You guys are really good Norman Kelley, Matt Zoller Seitz replies: He’s a Wuss, Too MUGGER: First of all, the Richard Goldstein, In the Valley of Idiots RE Best of Manhattan (9/25). Phil Helfman, She’s Got a Nice Spice I loved the jab at British Barry Popik, Little Ol’ Us? You forgot one Best of Manhattan: Outside of culture, the Mike Strassman, Who Knows MUGGER: Whoa, there, cowboy. Harley Peyton,
offensive about Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes and Suroosh Alvi’s worldview
is the fact that it’s so dated ("Vice Rising," 10/2).
Racism, homophobia, cocaine, L.A.–I’m reminded of the heyday of the
whole yuppie, New Republican thing in the 80s. Only someone from Montreal (or
Hollywood, or Atlantic Records for that matter) would think this is anything
new. Wake up, please–to anyone from New York, it’s at least 15 years
out of date. Do these guys have big-shouldered Willi Wear jackets in their closets,
too? Punk rock! Queers! Anti-p.c.! Boy, is that ever new and transgressive.
immigrants go, this is reality–deal with it. I’m white and I live
in Washington Heights, okay? That’s because pseudo-hipsters like Smith,
McInnes and Alvi priced me out of the East Village (where I lived for 13 years)
with their fat-ass dotcom Daddymoney. And you know what? I like it up here.
There’s a distinct absence of smug pretension. You just have to make your
peace with merengue. It’s also worth noting that they are (Canadian) immigrants.
Got your papers, everyone?
in the picture anyway, sitting on the sidewalk holding what looks like an icepack
to his head while the two white guys are standing over him with their arms folded!
Did they just Paki-bash him? And what the fuck do they know about hiphop anyway?
A Cockney rapper? Nigger, please.
cover story on Iraq in Vice vol. 9, #7. Interviewing both a U.S. arms
inspector and an Iraqi ambassador is a stroke of genius, all the more illuminating
because they reach many of the same conclusions. And the "Do’s"
and "Don’ts" kind of rule. But these were probably contributed
by one of their so-called mindless slaves while they were doing coke or lunching
with Ahmet. I’ll never look at this magazine the same way again. Yecchhh.
DC is too uptight for me. For four years I resisted answering letters because
the right to reply is sacrosanct. (Even when some schmuck from Miami called
my family collaborators; how can one be called that when he was awarded the
highest medal for resistance?) But Kiki Papoulos’ letter of last week breaks
the mold ("The Mail," 10/2). Kiki, for heaven’s sake, don’t
slit your wrists. Go to Mikonos with me. And if you have a "prika"
(dowry), so much the better. The American Conservative has forced me
to join the poor. Love to all of you.
For your information, Sept. 11 really did hurt business, caused economic
dislocation and is a perfectly legitimate cause for many companies’ "financial
woes" ("The Gist," 10/2). But then, I would not expect you to
have wandered far enough from your West Village cocktail parties and lunches
with Rosie to find out what’s going on with the little people. And Rosie’s
emergence from the closet was indeed the primary reason for the drop in her
former magazine’s sales and subscription numbers. What she did was similar
in spirit to what Lay and Skilling did at Enron–tired of living a lie and
planning on ditching her past life, she sold her company as fast as two hands
would allow, bilking the buyer–and eventually the stockholding public–out
of hundreds of millions. She deliberately concealed what she knew to be the
current and near future situation, as she knew that coming out would essentially
destroy the enterprise she was selling. Why else would she pitch out of such
a profitable enterprise? If she were not gay–if she were, say, Martha Stewart
(and I never thought I would actually be defending Martha Stewart)–she
would very possibly be charged with criminal fraud.
at copy checking so it surprised me when I read Matt Zoller Seitz’s reviews
of The Pinochet Case and The Trial of Henry Kissinger ("Film,"
9/18 & 10/2). He mentions his "final years" and said that Pinochet
"escaped punishment and died soon after…" Pinochet is alive, not
well but alive.
Mea culpa. Must have been wishful thinking.
Giants ain’t getting to the World Series (10/2), but if they do, Roger
Clemens ain’t getting tossed. I will go to my grave bitter that he did
not get tossed and suspended (an unprecedented act in my 35 years of watching
baseball–Majors, Minors, college, high school and Little League) for throwing
a piece of broken equipment at an opposing player–one he had previously
hit in the head intentionally–in the 2000 Series. Then, earlier this year,
he announces to the world that he was going to drill Barry Bonds and what happens
when he delivers on his promise? Nothing. Baseball–the world’s greatest
game–is run disgracefully. Pitchers get tossed and suspended all the time
for throwing at a player without actually hitting him. There is a separate set
of rules for this punk–as Joe Torre once said when it was his own players
getting drilled. Before he turned into an apologist. Last year I watched and/or
attended every Yankees postseason game. In every game he pitched, Clemens either
hit someone or threw at someone’s head. Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Tejada
(he announced before that series he would be doing it), Bret Boone, Reggie Sanders.
The streak ended in Game 7 of the Series. One can only guess why. Oh, that’s
right, he had to step into the batter’s box and figured his protege Curt
Schilling would have reciprocated. Anyway, keep up the great column.
Loved the column, but you really can’t call Craig’s List a word-of-mouth
success ("Best eBay/Loot Alternative"). When fat-ass Craig (yes, he’s
fat, and yes, he’s an ass) launched the site, he just happened to be friends
with the founder of the public relations firm Niehaus Ryan, also known as NRW.
Why would this matter? Well, NRW happened to be the same little tech p.r. firm
that launched Yahoo!. And, yes, did some pro-bono for Craig. Just some useless
Silicon Valley folklore for you.
food in the Best of Manhattan issue ("Best Restaurant Trend to Avoid).
Yes, British restauranting is a trend that probably won’t thrive here.
However, The New York Times disagrees. In its infinite wisdom,
the Times has hired Nigella Lawson. In her column last Wednesday, she
says: "So if you think British food is bad, it’s because you don’t
really know British food." Yes, Nigella, we know British food. We know
it’s bad. And Nigella, we also know you. And we have no idea why The
New York Times hired you. Just about any of my colleagues at New York
Culinary Historians could write a better column. Check out, for example, Bonnie
Slotnick’s cookbook store on W. 10th St. Bonnie can write rings around
Nigella. But a talented person like Bonnie Slotnick will never write a regular
column for the Times (she should write for New York Press!), because
journalism doesn’t seem to require talent anymore. What’s next for
The New York Times? A food column by Salmon Rushdie’s girlfriend
(Pashmina Lickme–whatever her name is)? Any Playboy bunnies write any cookbooks
lately? Is there any reason why the Times is publishing Nigella’s
warmed-over British leftovers (bleh!), and ignoring New York scholars entirely?
Best Damn Paper, Hell, Best Damn Periodical, in the City: New York Press.
I’ve read New York Press consistently for about six years, and most
weeks I find it entertaining, insightful and essential for staying on top of
what’s happening in the city culturally. And on the off weeks, it probably
says more about my own embarrassing lack of political interest and knowledge.
Your film reviews are the most intelligent and fully conceived around (albeit
occasionally infuriatingly wrongheaded, in the case of Armond White) and should
be a constant embarrassment to the so-called paper of record and self-appointed
arbiter of culture, the Times. Your art criticism, when you too infrequently
publish it, is up to the same high standards and delivers unflinchingly accurate
observations (the recent review of the Joan Mitchell retrospective comes to
mind ["Art," 9/4]) that cut through the pretentious art-speak and
reverence that marks most everything outside periodicals dedicated to art. Ditto
for music (I miss your pieces on this, Adam Heimlich) and food, and just about
anything else you choose to comment on.
Press manages to draw me into thoughtful, contrarian pieces on politics,
an area in which I am woefully uninformed. Your slice-o’-life pieces from
guest contributors are more often than not entertaining and insightful and sometimes
even thought-provoking (I think I speak for all of New York when I say, "We
miss you George Tabb, or at least your laugh-out-loud stories of drunken, sober
and justifiable rage"). There are other magazines that do one or two of
the things you do better, but none that is so eclectic and timely, and besides
that, it’s free. In short, great job. Don’t let it go to your head.
Jimmy Breslin’s a bitter old blowbag, but he’s not the only one who
fears that an Iraqi war party will create far more terrorists than it will ever
disarm (10/2). And unless you’re mainlining William Safire’s hyperbole,
the connection between despot Saddam and Islamofascist Osama is unproven at
best, spurious agitprop at worst. Look, if you want to jump on the Cheney/Rummy
paradigm with the rest of the neocon crowd, okay. It’s an insane idea,
but at least it’s honest. Trying to rig the invasion game a la Safire is
just plain dishonest, or at least uninformed. And the "bad bottle of rye"
routine is risible. Let’s see: the lack of a smoking gun is due to fumbling
bumbling CIA/FBI types proffering no evidence to prove what Bush and the Boys
"know to be true." And how exactly do they know this? Because in their
hearts they know they’re right? Blind faith is, well, just blind.
The thing that’s most
As far as nonwhites and
What’s up with Alvi
That said, I did like the
Thinking Below the Beltway
I miss you guys already.
Coming Out Over Dead Bodies
We Confused Him With
You guys are really good
Matt Zoller Seitz replies:
He’s a Wuss, Too
MUGGER: First of all, the
In the Valley of Idiots
RE Best of Manhattan (9/25).
She’s Got a Nice Spice
I loved the jab at British
Little Ol’ Us?
You forgot one Best of Manhattan:
Outside of culture, the
MUGGER: Whoa, there, cowboy.
No, Over New Jersey
I beg to differ with MUGGER,
but Jimmy Breslin is stupid (10/2). When it comes to Democrats, Breslin and
his kind (sophisticated simpletons) see no evil, hear no evil, smell no evil.
That is because they are deaf, blind and dumb. And these geniuses of the left
won’t support an attack on Iraq until there is a mushroom cloud over Manhattan.
Fort Lee, NJ
Hey guys, lighten up a bit.
Last week’s Best of Manhattan articles read more like the Worst of Manhattan,
what with all the griping and moaning and anger. Most of your contributors seem
fed up with certain neighborhoods or certain classes of people who aren’t
like them or even NYC as a whole. (Who needs to hear what some clown in Oakland,
of all places, has to say about why he left Manhattan?) Sure, we have big problems
that are getting bigger, but the purpose of these lists is to celebrate this
crazy, infuriating, amazing city that we all love, warts and all. Where else
in America would you rather live?
A Proud New Yorker
How are you? By way of intro,
I’m an avid reader of the Press and your Best of Manhattan issue
is especially poignant. (Off topic, I live downtown and love the bias you seem
to have for my neighborhood.) And forgive me in advance for writing to you in
regard to the only piece I did not enjoy, but I’m a little pressed
Alan Cabal is not only wrong,
he comes across as an anti-Semite and a coward. I’m not sure I’ve
ever seen him in New York Press before, but his "Best Reason to
Leave Manhattan" read more like a justification for his not being able
to hack living in this city than any kind of educated essay he obviously thought
he wrote. I’m born and bred in the five boroughs, and I just want you,
and Cabal, to know that there are great reasons to live elsewhere (hummingbirds
and sunlight being among the best, I guess), but he is citing Mayor Michael
Bloomberg and Dominicans (!) as his driving forces out of the city. I hope Alan
rereads his article and perhaps enlists a therapist to help uncover his true
disdain for the greatest city in the world, and it certainly isn’t a man
who, however incapable of mayoring NYC, had close to zero direct effect on Alan
Cabal’s day-to-day existence. And as for you guys, hopefully if enough
New Yorkers voice their disgust over this article, you’ll limit the city
commentary (including the criticism) to those who live it, brave it and embrace
it on a daily basis, not those who fled but still feel qualified to speak up
from afar. Thanks for reading, keep up the otherwise very entertaining work
and especially the inside of the front cover!
Guess the Mets Got a Bargain
At $102 Mil
MUGGER: Unfortunately, Trot
Nixon won’t bring much in a trade (10/2). A hardworking "dirt dog"
to be sure, but the market for $2.7 million weak-hitting outfielders eligible
for arbitration next year is limited to say the least. Rumor has it locally
that there are a number of players who are eligible for arbitration who will
not be tendered a contract, and Trot, for all that he adds in the clubhouse
(however little that was worth this year), leads the list. Trade Nomar? High
risk but fine by me. Two years left on his below-market contract so he has a
lot of trade value. Historically the Sox get their pants taken off in trades
but maybe Lucchino and Port know what they are doing. We can hope. Unfortunately
they can’t trade Manny. Pity. It shouldn’t cost $108 million to not
make the playoffs.
The Big Lie
As a fan of his "Top
Drawer" work in the past, I was saddened to see Sam Schulman’s letter
in the "The Mail" this week (10/2). He implicitly criticizes Scott
Ritter for telling the truth about Iraq. Schulman is an intelligent writer.
No doubt he knows that Ritter is telling the truth. Unfortunately, he and others
who have an agenda for conflict try to discredit Ritter just to bolster their
If you asked an ordinary
person who was telling the truth, Ritter or his enemies, many would say his
enemies because they implicitly trust the President. When well-informed writers
like Schulman and others play along they are being cynical. After all, how many
pro-war writers secretly believe Ritter is telling the truth and Rumsfeld is
not? Probably 100 percent. Do you think William Kristol really thinks Ritter
is lying to protect Saddam? Or is Ritter just not useful?
Let’s be honest. The
stakes are too high. The debate between the "winter soldiers" who
want peace and the "chickenhawks" who want war with Iraq is too important
to let ideological agendas crowd out the facts. As someone with mainstream views,
who wished Bush well when he won, I have sadly concluded we are lying our way
into war with Iraq at the expense of our war on terror. I suspect others concur,
but they find the lies necessary and Dubya’s is useful.
Artistic Freedom Fighter
MUGGER: I just wanted to
thank you for writing about the sculpture Tumbling Woman ("Car 54,
Where Are You?" Best of Manhattan, 9/25) and making me realize I was not
crazy after all. I heard about it and was immediately reminded of Robert Arneson’s
Portrait of George, which was commissioned by the San Francisco city
fathers in memory of George Moscone, the mayor of SF who was assassinated in
1978. It was a head with bulletholes and gun images and was removed after only
a few days on exhibit at the newly opened Moscone Hall Convention Center in
SF. I was one of the fortunate few who saw it where it was intended to be exhibited.
In a time of urine-soaked crucifixes and elephant-shit Madonnas–heaven
forbid we see any imagery that reminds us of something that really matters.
The Sex Machine
Hey man, my friend is Dead
Dean ("Music," 8/14). I liked what you wrote about him. You should
interview him, get him some more press. He’s one of the last of the old-schoolers,
and he lives to tell about it! Any rock journalist with some common sense will
interview this guy and put him out there. For chrissakes, the guy lives in the
projects and blasts Marshall stacks to compete with the fucking rap shit well
into the evening!! Let me know, I’ll set you up with him.
RE the "Best Original
Music Venue West of the Hudson" (Best of Manhattan, 9/25). I have
played the Underpass and my ex-bandmate used to run the place. "One of
the best places to see original music in Northern New Jersey." How do you
qualify that? How many nights did you see shows at the Underpass? First of all,
the music that I saw on a number of occasions is rehashed classic roots rock,
the sight lines are not good and diversity did not seem like a priority. If
you want diversified, original, indie, edgy music, go to Uncle Joe’s or
to Maxwell’s, although Uncle Joe’s has a more underground, artistic,
salt-of-the-earth vibe. The problem is not that one venue is better or worse
than the next, it’s that New Jersey, as a whole, is an enigma–very
few original music venues and yet myriad New Jersey bands seeking their own
market and Jersey-centric places to play. I know this because, in an effort
to draw solidarity among NJ artists and garner greater media and industry attention
for NJ music, I promoted four 80-band festivals in New Jersey as well
as Jersey-only compilation CDs and countless showcases at every club from Maxwell’s
on down. It’s abysmal to see how venues have fallen by the wayside.
The only strictly original
rock clubs that appear to be standing are Maxwell’s, Uncle Joe’s,
Stone Pony, the Saint, Brighton Bar and now the Fastlane–which I will be
booking. Club Krome and Birch Hill lost liquor licenses and may go bye-bye very
soon, Melody Bar went bye-bye and although the Court Tavern is hanging on, they’re
doing so by the skin of their chinny chin chin. LoveSexy is well, I don’t
know. And there are a handful of rather temporary all-ages outlets, small singer-songwriter
spaces and cover band bars that grant the stage to originals on Tuesday or Wednesday
nights when people would rather watch Everybody Loves Raymond. The fact
is, live music is going the way of the dinosaur, but that’s a whole other
rant. So, regarding the Underpass, I don’t get it. I truly appreciate that
they are trying, unlike so many other venues paying thousands of dollars for
mindless cover music (whose bands probably pay no BMI/ASCAP fees to the actual
songwriters), but come on, Underpass as one of the "best" places?
Asbury Park, NJ
Fire & Brimstone from
RE your generally interesting
Best of Manhattan issue (9/25). Whoever wrote the piece on the Opie & Anthony
protests and the alleged hypocrisy of Catholics displayed a level of mass media-style
intellectual laziness that is unworthy of New York Press ("Best
Hypocritical Response to an ‘Outrage’").
While I personally agree
that the Opie/St. Patrick’s incident could have been handled differently
(such as by seeking a dropping of the charges if the people involved would apologize),
and while I’m not a big fan of shouting at people on the street, I have
no general problem with people protesting against blasphemy. The piece’s
jumbling up of such protests with the priest scandal is a classic mixing of
apples and oranges.
If we are to take the logic
of the piece’s writer seriously, no Catholic would ever be able to protest
against any sexual immorality, ever again, all because of an alleged lack of
protest during the priest scandal. Absurdity!
In the first place, how
do you know that the anti-Opie & Anthony protesters weren’t
among the groups of Catholics who protested the few child-abusing priests that
there are? Secondly, was the entire church’s endless soul-searching, public
apologizing and significant changes of policy to deal with a few deviant priests
not enough for you? Or are you just a Christian-basher at all times? Thirdly,
where is your evidence that pedophilia is an epidemic among priests? Even if
we take your figure of hundreds of child-abusing priests seriously (in spite
of it’s being based only on accusations and not on findings of guilt
of any kind), what percentage is that of all priests? One percent and less,
I’d expect, and I’ve got hard figures compiled from all accusations
in the past 50 years to back me. Can you provide evidence otherwise, or will
you just keep shouting from the anti-church mass-media bandwagon?
Finally, I don’t know
who you are, but I doubt that there exists a piece by you exposing the truly
widespread horror of international child prostitution, child pornography and
forced sexual slavery (and without any diatribes, I really think you should
write one–I like to see talent working for the good). The Catholic Church’s
contributions to the victims of such evil and to the poor and needy in general
are massive enough to boggle the mind. What have you done for them lately, besides
making sniping attacks on an institution that strives to do God’s will
They Gotta Find Him First
MUGGER: It’s been less
convenient reading you now that Matt Drudge has left you off his website. I
wrote him about my disappointment but am sure he never reads all the e-mail.
The Rockefeller statue of the tumbling woman is, in my view, not a good idea
("Car 54, Where Are You?," Best of Manhattan, 9/25). It is a horrifying
graphic display that some people would have had to see day after day. A better
way to get a call to arms is to show a dead bin Laden statue.
Such a Funny Guy
I have been watching the
Chinese firedrill that has become the Democratic Party for the last couple of
weeks now. Barbra Streisand is writing checks and issuing orders to Dick Gephardt
on how the Dems should combat President Bush. Tom Daschle is pounding the lectern
on the Senate floor demanding that President Bush should apologize to all Democratic
members of the Senate who have ever served in the armed forces because the President
wants to protect our homeland. Al Gore is reinventing himself on a daily basis
and rewriting history every time he opens his mouth. Robert Torricelli is giving
"Checkers" speeches that would make the strongest of stomachs rebel,
while his cohorts in New Jersey seek to overturn the law and replace him on
the ballot, all the while Reps. McDermott and Bonior are doing their best "Hanoi
Jane" impersonations while being led around Iraq on leashes. I feel like
I’m in the midst of a bizarre dream.
Is this the latest version
of the Muppets? I think Miss Piggy, er, Hillary is about to make an entrance,
stage left. This show is such a farce that it’s a bargain at twice the
price. Bill Clinton, aka Kermit the Frog, and Terry McAuliffe, dressed in a
ringmaster’s suit, are sure to show up any moment now to throw a tent over
this circus. The truth leaves me in constant amazement. I shall remain seated
throughout the performance, in fear that if I leave the room I would miss the
You Have a Girlfriend?
Not surprisingly, you got
your facts wrong when you berated Mayor Bloomberg’s smoking ban.
1.You claim the ban is the
Mayor’s "biggest, most important issue on [his] agenda." That’s
clearly false. The uproar by the media and all the foolish junkies made
this into a bigger issue than it needs to be or is. Can you show us that Bloomberg
spent more time on this issue than others? No, of course not. You were making
shit up to attempt to strengthen your weak arguments.
2. "If you ban smoking
in bars, you are going to drive business away." Sorry, but you made this
argument the last time they restricted smoking in most restaurants. The result?
The profits and occupancy of most restaurants grew! You were already
proven completely wrong last time. Try a new argument.
3. You call tobacco a vice,
which is absurd. Eating junk food is a vice. Frequenting Asian hookers is a
"vice." Snorting heroin is a vice. A vice is something bad for you
but which gives you pleasure. Every single smoker I know regrets ever starting
and would stop in a minute if not for the scientifically proven physical addiction!
I didn’t start eating french fries "to be cool." I started because
they tasted damn good!
4. We all agree: grown adults
should be able to do anything they want so long as it hurts no one else. You
have every right to smoke cigarettes, but the second your smoke goes up my nose,
you crossed the line. (Never mind that nicotine is actually a poison, unlike
say, pot smoke.) I was at a music show last week and some asshole sat next to
me and my girlfriend. His smoke of course went right into our faces. We waved
it away and when the ignorant junkie noticed he was bothering us, he held up
his beer and his cigarette and smiled, "I don’t know why, but these
two things just go together!" (Funny: I’ve drunk thousands of beers
and never once craved a cigarette. Could it be that cigs are only wonderful
to tobacco addicts?)
Until Bloomberg legalizes
breaking the nose of asshole smokers, his laws won’t go far enough. Didn’t
you guys used to make fun of crackheads and heroin junkies? Why the defense
of spineless smokers? Oh yeah: you and your pals are all spineless junkies.
MUGGER: I cannot envision
Chris Matthews falling silent (10/2). What a revelation. He is rude to his guests,
never letting them finish a sentence as though he must hog the limelight. I
used to sometimes listen to him when he was in a Clinton-bashing mode, but I
prefer Hannity & Colmes. It is more well-balanced even though Colmes
is too liberal for me. What makes Matthews think he is such a hotshot that he
cannot shut up and be more courteous to his guests? I tune him out even if I
tune him in.
Delray Beach, FL