God, Are We Stupid: Readers Weigh in on Gay Pride, White, Caldwell, Cockburn, Nordlinger, MUGGER

| 16 Feb 2015 | 04:56

    I just arrived here from out of town. New York Press has a "Gay Pride Issue." The Village Voice has a "Queer Issue." New York Press and the Village Voice are the same, no?

    Barry Popik, Manhattan

    Pinewood Derby

    MUGGER: You, sir, are a windbag whose comments never fail to rise to new levels of idiotica. Will you take 30 dollars to stop publishing immediately? A "mugger"? Please. You're a harmless loudmouth with an inferiority complex a mile wide.

    R. Barclay Pinewood Gregory, Tulsa

    Storming Pebble Beach

    John Ellis: Congratulations! I have read virtually every account of Sir Tiger's Open performance, virtually every opinion piece on it, and no one has come close to your standard ("Convergence," 6/21) in putting the massacre at Pebble Beach into total and inarguable perspective. It's difficult indeed to write originally about a topic given so much attention by other scribes, but you, sir, have accomplished the journalistic equivalent of a hole-in-one.

    Ron Smith, Baltimore

    Sleeping Troll

    What do you have to do to get Alan Cabal to write more? Leave packs of raw, bloody meat, Jack Daniel's, coke and a few reams of paper outside his window? And then light off a brick of blackjacks? Well, get on it!

    Anna Prey, Gilroy, CA

    We'll Say

    I shall always endeavor never to endure the Bressonian denizens of Armond White's commedia dell'arte. Know what I'm sayin'? I'm sayin' though, right?

    Gideon Gluckman, Tampa

    Cliffside Bark

    Re: Your 6/21 "Puerto Rican Day Follies" editorial:

    To all the chickenhearted women's groups: Your silence is deafening. But we know why, don't we? All the attackers were "minorities." If they were white, Susan Sarandon and Al Sharpton would have organized a march by now. Remember this, ladies: your silence is an open invitation to the "boyz in the hood" crowd that it's now open season on you weaklings.

    And it will get worse. When one of your "African-American"/"Latino" brothers is raping you on a dark corner one night, please don't resist, or he'll take you to court for being "insensitive." Don't expect the police to help you after the way you turned on them during the Diallo case. Payback's a bitch, bitch.

    Will Bruce Springsteen write a song about this? This is the sick country you've wanted, this is the sick country you've got. This is the sick country you so richly deserve.

    Please withhold my name from publication. I don't want the politically correct police after me.

    Name Withheld, Cliffside Park, NJ

    Was Jackson in Shaft with Dick? Godfrey Cheshire's "dumbness fatigue" must have set in really early for his Shaft viewing?if in fact he even saw the movie before reviewing it ("Film," 6/21). Samuel L. Jackson did not appear "in the role created by Richard Roundtree" but played the original Shaft's nephew. Roundtree himself appears in the film in his original role. I haven't even seen the film myself, and I know that much.

    So how soon did Cheshire fall asleep?

    Lisa Braun, Manhattan

    Tribeca Tot

    First of all, congrats to Tanya Richardson and Lisa LeeKing on a fine 6/21 interview with rock goddess Bebe Buell.

    While I enjoyed reading the article, I was distressed when I came to the part about my 7-pound Yorkshire terrier P.J. wearing a raincoat and galoshes. While it is true he does have a raincoat, as well as five sweaters, a pleather jacket with a leopard-fur collar, a red Santa suit, a Furious George t-shirt, deer antlers his godmother Allyson got him, a Santa Claus hat his grandfather Nick got him and a yarmulke he got last Chanukah, he would never, ever wear galoshes. Nikes or New Balance maybe.

    George Tabb, Manhattan

    Boys of Summer

    Michelangelo Signorile's angry and juvenile article "Showdown with the Vatican" ("Opinion," 6/21) demonstrates a certain unwarranted youthful impatience with the recent Millennium March on Washington where, as you know, I am sure, nearly one million supporters gathered, not just to buy "Equality Wear" pullovers or other memorabilia, but to celebrate together in a gigantic "rave"?a national circuit party that included not just chiseled Chelsea boys, but everyone. His comments are rude and insulting!

    The kick-off dinner that Mr. Signorile derides as "embarrassing" was a tribute to the legendary Broadway composer Jerry Herman. I was one of the performers described as "bad drag queens." On the contrary, I am an excellent female impressionist performing my own show in New York City at Don't Tell Mama, to sell-out crowds. I've done benefits for the New York City Gay Men's Chorus and the Imperial Court of New York. Certainly, the participants in the March on Washington and the performers, including Rita Moreno, deserve better than a curt dismissal from Mr. Signorile.

    I hope Mr. Signorile achieves all that he thinks he will by pooh-poohing the Pope in the demonstration in Rome on July 8. I for one will be parading down 5th Ave. as Queen of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. Surely we should not ever insult supporters of the gay movement. Each year it's someone's first Gay Pride Parade, or someone's first March on Washington. Has Mr. Signorile become so myopic as to assume that his way is the only way to achieve our collective goals?

    So grab your Gucci and don your Dolce & Gabbana while we stroll merrily down Christopher St.

    Jacqueline Jonee, Manhattan

    Pride with the Devil

    Christopher Caldwell takes a bold stance by asserting that the notion of gay pride is "illogical and conceptually barren...like 'male pride' or 'Aryan pride'" ("Hill of Beans," 6/21). Caldwell, however, ignores the fact that unlike males or Aryans, gays were forced to feel shame. The logic of a pride movement is to counteract the shame imposed by society and tradition. (Interesting that Caldwell was not bold enough to choose the better analogy: black pride, which involves a group that has existed as second-class citizens.)

    Caldwell then goes on to predict that gay marriage will restrict gays' lifestyles. He claims they will feel obligated to marry and respect the vows of matrimony, thus opening the door to moral judgments.

    The fact is, marriage is a crumbling institution. Unmarried couples living together are more and more common and accepted. He cites the Lewinsky scandal as proof of an increasing scrutiny of infidelity. However, the real lesson of the affair was that modern America would rather not judge a person's marital indiscretions. While the notion of gay marriage may be gaining support, the broader importance of marriage is dwindling.

    Christopher Caldwell's arguments are creative and controversial. But they leave out one key ingredient: the reality of American society.

    C. Menon, Manhattan

    Research Rant

    Alexander Cockburn ("Wild Justice," 6/21) laments the absence of a spirit of "defiance" within today's gay community only because he has not yet stumbled onto the 20th century's greatest corporate fraud, "AIDS research."

    The young men of ACT UP Hollywood have redefined their acronym to mean "AIDS Coalition to Undo Propaganda." They and the men of ACT UP San Francisco, Atlanta and Toronto have published a full-page ad in Washington's Roll Call urging Congress to "Pull the Plug on AID$ Fraud" and "Cut AIDS Funding Now!"?challenging a generation of "leaders" who years ago sold themselves and their organizations to the predations of the pharmaceutical corporations. They stand against a 15-year, 40-billion-dollar "drugs into bodies" corporate/government complex that by its own admission has yet to cure a single patient. Had he the eyes to see, Cockburn would add to his pantheon ACT UP San Francisco's David Pasquarelli, who recently wrote: "AIDS is the biggest scientific and financial scandal in American history."

    Had they the eyes to see, Cockburn and his progressive colleagues would find in the AIDS Empire a subject worthy of their investigative talents, and would discover allies well versed in defiance.

    Frank Lusardi, Manhattan

    The Views Expressed in "The Mail" Do Not Necessarily Reflect Those of New York Press I've noticed that you saw fit to print more than one letter expressing admiration for John Strausbaugh and Don Gilbert's 5/24 interview with Sonny Barger. But you didn't print my letter criticizing the Hells Angels organization from a Christian perspective, not even in an edited form. So the always-overhyped Hells Angels and their de facto promotion of a spiritually dissolute lifestyle continue to be sheepishly extolled in the pages of New York Press.

    But someone trying to give a message of love about Christ (including to the Hells Angels) can't get in at all.

    "The Mail" used to be wide open to everyone, and I remember fondly the good old days when letters to "The Mail" were allowed to go on and on, completely unlike the abbreviated things that pass for letters sections in most other publications. I openly admit to having taken full advantage of this in "The Mail" for my own Christian purposes. And I admit that I'm frustrated by the fact that I can't seem to get a letter printed by you anymore (assuming I haven't been missing their publication somehow). I'd just like to point out that New York Press has always been at the forefront of publishing seldom-heard dissident viewpoints. Well, one way to publish a seldom-heard dissident viewpoint these days is to give some small degree of occasional space in a letters section for a radical Christian opinion.

    On the bright side, New York Press is certainly preferable to any other major alternative weekly in this town. I reckon that New York Press (and even "The Mail," which is still the best letters section I know of) will continue to be highly interesting, even if it never prints a letter of mine again. But I will keep sending (shorter) letters on the chance that you'll print them, even if it's only out of spite. How can I be anything but spiteful? After being spoiled by you people for so long, do you think I'm going to enjoy trying to get letters into The New York Times or Newsweek?

    May God bless you, and keep up that good work you are doing, anyway.

    Jack Seney, Queens

    The editors reply: We always enjoy letters from Mr. Seney, our favorite Christian anarchist correspondent; the unpublished letter to which he refers was an anomaly. And he's right: Since his letters tend to run long, sometimes they don't make our print edition. But in general they should be up on the Web.

    No Parade Grounds

    Taki once again hits the nail on the head regarding thuggery and the left. If banning the Puerto Rican Day parade ("Top Drawer," 6/21) will be considered an act of discrimination against Puerto Ricans, then I say ban all ethnic parades for one year (and the Gay Pride foolishness as well).

    As for the location of Taki's tongue, he should keep it firmly planted in his cheek. Parody often reveals deeper truths.

    Robert Gaskin, Valbonne, France

    Soup Bones

    I was disappointed that the prestigious Taki prize was awarded to John Rocker for, basically, being himself ("Top Drawer," 6/14). It should be reserved for someone more on the order of Gary Aldrich or Henry Hyde. I was even more disappointed that the equally notorious alternative Taki prize was awarded to Jeff Pearlman, Rocker's nemesis at Sports Illustrated. Pearlman is young and naive, a dipshit, and hopefully in later years when he smartens up he will be embarrassed by this indiscretion. To place him in the company of the truly loathsome Mike McCurry is a travesty, and might even scar him for life if he were bright enough to understand what it means.

    I like Rocker, frankly. I laughed reading the Sports Illustrated interview (I'd bet most of his detractors haven't read it). All of us probably grew up with people like that. The funny thing about Rocker is that he says the kind of things the rest of us used to say, but have forgotten because of relentless brainwashing by the liberal police. The idea that you could be punished for saying things like that would have been unthinkable 25 years ago.

    The other funny thing about him is that he sounds so much like a New Yorker. I recall a barren period when I was living in Berkeley, surrounded by dull West Coast types, and a guy from New York breezed through, a friend of somebody. It was apparently his first trip West. Sitting in the kitchen, he was commenting in bored tones about what morons Californians are, with their hot tubs, new-age claptrap and so on. Every so often he would give a strange look in my direction, because I was laughing my head off. Everything he was saying was, of course, absolutely true. He wasn't trying to be funny; his observations were simply those of an ordinary guy from Brooklyn exposed to Martians for the first time.

    I'd bet that most of the Rocker detractors among the public are just too young to remember a time when people called a spade a spade, before they learned to censor everything they said for fear of the left-wing nutcases. Hopefully they will live long enough to look back on this whole episode as madness.

    I hope Rocker does ride the 7 train; I think it's a good idea. Mayor Giuliani is opposed to it probably because he's not sure what the reaction will be and he wants to avoid problems for himself, and he may be right. But I'll bet most New Yorkers, if they aren't too stupid, will be happy to meet him.

    Joe Rodrigue, New Haven

    Down with Castro

    To sum up Michelangelo Signorile comments: Expressions of gay liberation have become boring. I would also add the word "pathetic."

    As we approach Pride Sunday here in San Francisco, we see a movement reduced to a pitch for money. Erections of cyclone fencing have replaced the erections that most found much more appealing in earlier days.

    The fencing is there to collect money and divide people.

    Sunday afternoon, Pride organizers plan a party in San Francisco's grand City Hall rotunda. Located just feet from where donations are forced out of Civic Center celebrants, the rotunda party is by invitation only. Guests receive police and sheriff protection, free booze and food?and you can't get in without an invitation. Invitations are distributed to San Francisco's A-list gays, rich queens and digital queers who have scored on their dot-com investments.

    San Francisco's Homeless Coordinator is actually on the Pride board. Yet don't expect to see any homeless at this party. It is a party to create division, not to bring people together.

    For the first time, the San Francisco "queer" event will see straight entertainers getting awesome fees while the "queer" performers again are asked to donate their time, their talent and their respect.

    Pride is more about shame, and that is wrong. Queers in all sizes, shapes and attitudes have made a dull world interesting. Now we are getting credit for making an interesting world dull.

    Allen White, San Francisco

    Molly? Pitch Her

    MUGGER: I think you can very safely add Molly Ivins, Richard Reeves and William Safire to your list of columnists who have "gone to seed" ("e-MUGGER," 6/16).

    Steve Hume, Canton, MI

    B.S. Bach

    I'm an avid fan of classical music, as well as a regular New York Press reader. So I was excited to see those worlds converge in Jay Nordlinger's "Musical Diary" (6/14).

    Excited, that is, until I actually read the piece. Classical music criticism tends to be stodgy and dry, with lots of unquestioned, self-congratulatory assumption of genius, and this piece was a surprising continuation of that sorry tradition. I'll take a few examples from Nordlinger's article: "...a work of Bach, and, as such, a divine creation" is apparently all the background we need to appreciate that the St. John Passion is worth hearing, while the rhetorical question, "could there be a more thrilling ending in all of music?" only makes sense if you are familiar with the work, in which case you might nod serenely or chuckle knowingly.

    Actually, you'd have to be familiar with the entire pantheon of extant music in order to answer such a question, which I am quite sure Nordlinger is not. This review reveals him to be a listener whose qualitative judgments begin and end with the easy context of the traditional Western canon, one that demands still more performances of Beethoven symphonies, even if they merely "state the old case."

    The only reason I'm writing this letter is because it's New York Press that published the piece. I expect the Times to represent the tenured class, so why bother? On the other hand, I don't think the Times would compliment Gubaidulina's Two Paths, then note in passing that "Most people wouldn't care to hear this music more than twice a year." For whom is this written? The white-haired 50-year Philharmonic subscribers? Is that who reads New York Press music reviews? My guess is that Gubaidulina's work would have much greater appeal to Adam Heimlich and Dirty Sanchez than would the genius of Mahler or Bach or Beethoven. And the people who recognize that notated music ("classical" is such an anachronistic term) can have great appeal are those who should be writing the reviews for your otherwise stellar section.

    Judd Greenstein, Manhattan

    It's Not Pointy Enough

    I recognize much of the truth hiding behind Taki's humor when he writes about Puerto Ricans. Sadly, because I am Puerto Rican, I have one problem with the stories about this year's atrocity at the Puerto Rican Day parade. I saw the tapes and I read the names of the people who have been arrested. These were not Puerto Ricans. They were North American blacks. There are many black and mulatto Puerto Ricans?probably all of us fit in one or the other of those groups?but the videotapes of the assaults did not have any white or Indian faces. The names of the captured offenders were not "Juan Gonzalez" and "Ruben Torres," but "William Fields" and "James DeWitt."

    Let's let the world know who did the act. Yes, let's also let the world know that Puerto Ricans are not perfect angels. When the shoe fits?and sadly it often does?Puerto Ricans should wear it. But this time, it doesn't seem to belong on Puerto Rican feet.

    Pedro Arroyo Laureano, Dana Point, CA

    St. John's Passion

    What's up with Taki? His columns have been lazy lately. As a fellow Lawrencevillian and Knickerbocker, this saddens me.

    Perhaps his celebrated feud with Generation-X honcho Tom Phillips over the revelations that he wore a fanny pack in Elaine's was too much to bear.

    He should swallow his pride, apologize to Phillips and Phillips' posse, and move on. The catharsis should produce fresh insights.

    I know! Taki should tutor Rick Lazio in general decorum. We all hate Hillary Clinton, and were proud to see the University Club kick her ass out last year, but Lazio needs help to win. His aspect is that of mid-level regional sales manager for a cellphone company. I can just see his eyes light up when he is awarded an alphanumeric model and clips it onto his Dockers.

    Taki! Help him!

    George St. John, Manhattan

    Southern Living

    Taki: I discovered you about five years ago, and with each passing column of yours I grow more and more impressed. Your stand for the Western concepts of duty, honor and country, along with your defense of standards of gentlemanly conduct, makes you in my mind one of the last beacons of Western civilization.

    I am a retired infantry major and served two combat tours of duty in Vietnam. I hold three Purple Hearts and am 100 percent service-connected disabled as a result of my service. I live with my wife, stepdaughter and granddaughter in Winston-Salem, NC. If you should have reason to visit our beautiful and gracious Southern city, please feel free to call on me. My conservative friends and I would be honored to meet you. I am a Life Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and I think you would enjoy meeting some very remarkable Southern gentlemen who know what duty means.

    You will also find that Winston-Salem is a community that prides itself on its superb and kindly manners. You would be most welcome here, and I believe that after a visit with us you would leave refreshed, and pleased to be reminded that not all of America is what you see in Hollywood, New York and Washington.

    I will introduce you to the sheriff of Forsyth County and to Sheriff Hege from Davidson County. Both are legendary lawmen and true Christian gentlemen. Three hours north we have Lexington, VA, home to both VMI and Washington & Lee University?two schools that take the honor code with deadly seriousness. We can pay our respects to Gen. Lee and Traveler, as well as to Gen. Jackson and his Little Sorrel.

    Hope you can make it. The weather is hot, sultry and amazingly lush.

    Paul S. Spilberg, Winston-Salem, NC

    Maple Leaf Rag

    While George Szamuely is right on target with his criticism of the ICTY's Carla Del Ponte ("Taki's Top Drawer," 6/21), Louise Arbour (Carla Del Ponte's predecessor) deserves even harsher scrutiny.

    I was watching CNN in a Helsinki hotel room when Louise Arbour announced the indictment of Milosevic for "war crimes." CNN soon cut to Madeleine Albright proclaiming that Ms. Arbour's action proved that NATO and the Muslims were the Good Guys, and the Serbs were the Bad Guys. Beside Ms. Albright stood a grinning man who looked like a curly haired George Will.

    Having grown up in Montreal, I recognized Ms. Arbour's French Canadian accent. I also recognized the grinning man beside Ms. Albright as Lloyd Axworthy, a Canadian government minister. A few weeks later, Ms. Arbour was appointed to Canada's Supreme Court.

    Does anyone doubt that Canada's government (a party to NATO's bombing) offered the Supreme Court position to Ms. Arbour in exchange for her Milosevic indictment? Axworthy's photo op with Albright was America's way of saying: "Thank you, Canada."

    Jamie D. Moffatt, Manhattan

    Zion National Perks

    George Szamuely's 6/7 "Top Drawer" piece misses the point. Israel was established not as a result of the Holocaust but rather to fulfill Jewish aspirations of having our own homeland in the land of Israel.

    Forget about Zionism. The ingathering of the exiles and the creation of a Jewish state are national goals of the Jewish people. If such a state had existed in 1939, the Holocaust and the annihilation of six million Jews may have been prevented. This is what makes a Jewish state important. It is a country where the Jew is in the majority.

    Furthermore, it is a fallacy to think that Israel was created only for those living in it. Israel lives in the hearts of Jews all over the world, and it is the country for every Jew who wishes to go or needs to go there. The Jews who first arrived in Israel (then Palestine) were not colonists. They were Jewish pioneers returning to their homeland. They were willing to live in a country that was infested with malaria and that could never be inhabited by other people. They drained the swamps and made the desert bloom.

    In 1919, after WWI, there were more Jews in Jerusalem than Arabs. The influx of Arabs into Palestine was because of the improved standard of living in Palestine, which attracted Arab labor from neighboring countries. Israel exists not because it won wars, but because the Jews defended their country in order to maintain Jewish national independence. That fulfilled the prophecy of our prophets as stated in the Bible.

    Heskel M. Haddad, MD, Manhattan

    Li'l Devils

    It's comments like those of Brian O'Hara's ("The Mail" 6/14) that really irk the hell out of me. He starts out by saying that Doug Ireland's piece ("Opinion," 6/7) chastising Schools Chancellor Harold Levy for not protecting gay students from harassment is an example of "p.c. overreaction."

    Fine. That's a fair enough argument. No problem with that.

    But then he goes on to blow his point by downplaying childhood teasing as a simple matter of eight-year-olds calling each other "faggot," and then justifies this behavior as being a natural process of "social assimilation"?a fact of life?a thing that kids "do," and if you can't deal with it, well, boo-hoo for you.

    Well, for one, I don't know what rock he's been living under, but what passes for childhood teasing these days is not your old-fashioned Little Rascals variety, where Darla gets her pigtail dipped in ink by Alfalfa. I didn't actually read Ireland's piece, but I can only guess that his concern stemmed not from "p.c. overreaction" but from a growing alarm that kids today are doing more than just "playing doctor" or calling each other names. If it were just a simple matter of that, social outcasts like Kip Kinkel and the Trench Coat Mafia would not have felt compelled into murderous rages that necessitated the violent deaths of their classmates.

    Kids today who are "different"?as O'Hara put it?are not just being called names; they are having their lives destroyed by being daily harassed throughout their entire academic careers, sometimes violently. As a result, some drop out, others carry this shame with them for the rest of their lives, yet others commit suicide. A last group decides to kill themselves also, but by taking half their classmates with them.

    As for the argument that this behavior should be tolerated because it is "normal" for children, that is dead wrong. Children do not have an inherent cruel predisposition for singling out those who are "different." That is clearly a myth, as evidenced by the constant sight of very young children of various backgrounds intermingling playfully on the playgrounds every day, without a care to their differences. Children learn to see who is "different" from their ill-bred, redneck, paranoid, homophobic, racist, materialistic, superficial, retarded parents, who call the shots in society and decide which individuals are and are not socially acceptable (read: different). The only thing natural about the childhood ritual of teasing is that once children are given the green light from society to be cruel to those who fit its definition of social unacceptability, they will be cruel with the utmost abandon, especially because they know this behavior lies outside the jurisdiction of the law. That is why childhood teasing is fun. It's a chance to indulge in behavior that one knows is morally wrong, but is not punishable.

    By criminalizing certain acts of childhood teasing, you are not criminalizing the natural tendency of children to single out those who are different, but acts of hatred secretly encouraged by a society. Acts of cruelty that, in fact, would be considered absolutely criminal in the so-called "real world," and therefore punishable. Now, should these acts be punished by imprisoning the young children who commit them? That's another debate, but for now, let's just understand that Ireland's concerns are a little more complex than O'Hara would have them.

    But more aggravating than O'Hara's glib argument about Ireland's piece is his insensitivity. I love it when people like him use vague Darwinian allusions to justify a type of malicious behavior that they subscribe to. You know, the old, "It's all part of the natural state of things/the process of social integration/survival of the fittest, man?get over it!" argument. (Notice that I used the word "integration" instead of "assimilation," because in a decent society, individuals are integrated into society, not assimilated?i.e., made to be like everyone else or tossed out like chaff from the wheat if they can't conform.) I suppose that if boys were raping young girls today in schools, O'Hara would use Joseph Campbell to dismiss this type of behavior as a necessary rite of passage for American males, and, well, boo-hoo for those of us girls who had to suffer from it. And, oh yeah?exactly what valuable lesson are kids supposed to have learned from being ostracized by their classmates, huh? That mainstream Americans are crass, boorish, Neanderthal, pea-brained ignorami who feel that anyone who is nonwhite/gay/an intellectual/creative shouldn't exist? Because that's the valuable lesson I learned growing up.

    I think you learned your valuable lesson, too, O'Hara, and I think I know whose side you were on in junior high. What's the matter, were you too much of a wuss to think for yourself and defend the freaks and geeks, or did you wimp out and join the rest of the sheep and do your part in America's wonderful process of social natural selection?

    Do you have kids? If you don't, good. If you do, please have them enrolled in the Finishing School of the Borg Collective, where I am sure they will be very happy being like everyone else, and won't have to bother themselves with singling out those who are "different."

    Ruth Cherubin, Brooklyn

    Apple Polishing

    From the swamp in Pogo-land, I take my quill to write: The best coverage in the land of the Rotten Apple comes from New York Press. Each week I wait faithfully for New York Press' arrival.

    Taki, MUGGER, Caldwell and all the others add vital information needed by all of us who swelter in the land of pellagra and rickets.

    I must admit that I could live the remainder of my years without reading of the yearnings for a fisting of some otherwise shallow slut. I guess there is a market in New York City for that type of degradation; after all, there is a large segment of the population that watches the Mets play baseball.

    Your letters to the editor are a hoot. The person who wrote about Emily Prager's fine 5/31 "Opinion" piece about the homeless ("The Mail," 6/14), chastising her for her shameless lack of pity for their condition, would seem to be the typical New Yorker. Yes, sleeping with one's head on the pavement could cause a sense of "wretchedness." No, it is not but for the grace of God that Prager is not herself homeless.

    Thank you for keeping me somewhat sane.

    A.H. Watson, Holder Beach, NC

    Free Republic

    MUGGER: Here's a thought. The significance of the events at Huntsville have less to do with matters of guilt or innocence?though there are plenty of those in plain sight?and more to do with a larger conceptual notion. That Texas is a backward Third World cesspool seething with moronic mouthbreathers who, when they can't drag a black man behind a pickup truck, send him to the death chamber thanks to a judicial system rife with inequity and venality. Not to mention with corrupt judges who appoint defense attorneys who wouldn't be allowed in a courtroom in most of the other 49 states.

    Shrub may get his first innocent man after all. And yes, I'm exaggerating to make a point, but if you think the Massachusetts Miracle got trashed a couple elections back, get ready to learn more than you ever wanted to know about pollution, health care, etc., in Texas.

    I wonder how many soccer moms, or whatever they're called these days, were watching the Today show this morning. Bet Shrub hopes they changed the channel.

    Harley Peyton, Santa Monica