If high school kids could read, they could figure out how to use a condom, no? Not only is sex ed a stupid thing to spend school time on, it's a bad thing. Frankly, the less they know about it the better?and don't tell me this is a backward view. Kids have no use for a comprehensive knowledge of sex before they're 17 or so?at least. It can only do them damage.
"Unless the importance of condom use is impressed upon these kids before they start having sex, it doesn't take." Baloney. That's just a scare tactic.
As for your assertion that more kids are becoming sexually active earlier, despite the hype from morons in the media, I doubt the situation is much different than it was 30 or 40 years ago. To the extent that it is true, it is no doubt due to the influence of liberal degenerates starting with Bill Clinton and his supporters.
What was wrong with Levy's statement that "we're against all forms of harassment"? Does that cover your pet group or not? If he's not living up to that statement, complain about it. But don't expect him to make special rules to meet your agenda.
Evidently Mr. Levy believes there are more important problems to be dealt with in New York City schools than the "problem" of teaching kids how to avoid HIV infection. Hell, maybe Mr. Levy doesn't believe that HIV causes AIDS?he may be smarter than you think!
Incidentally, will the AIDS education you propose include the "fact" that HIV is the cause of AIDS? Thought so.
You should watch whom you call a "primitive." It is nonsense to say that yielding to pressure from conservative Catholics and Jews violates separation of church and state. They are citizens too, though I know how much that pains you. Their biases are no weirder than yours.
It sounds to me as if Mr. Levy's priorities are in the right place.
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Mike Love Doug Ireland ("Opinion," 6/7): If you have a problem with gays being pushed around, perhaps you should have some sympathy for the rest of us, who find ourselves pushed around by an activist homosexual agenda. Drop that nonsense and you'll find things get better fast. Fags dressed as nuns just don't make the rest of us get to feeling all warm and fuzzy.
As to AIDS? Ever hear of abstinence, tough guy? It works for normal folk, and I guaran-damn-tee it will work for gays as well. Or is it that being gay means having promiscuous sex with whomever, wherever? Yeah, that's it, isn't it? If having sex means death, I reckon you boys are going to have to make some decisions. Don't sweat it, the rest of us will pay for your medical care. But be aware?having nursed an AIDS patient, I can tell you, you might want to think twice about dying that way.
Harvey Milk High School for all gay children? God help us, and them. You will be held accountable for crimes like pushing children into sexual perversion. That is the most disgusting thing I've heard in a lifetime of hearing disgusting things. You push children into the homosexual lifestyle and then have the nerve to fuss at normal taxpayers because we are unsympathetic to your agenda? You push children into a high-risk lifestyle and then play the part of the aggrieved? That is the single most incredible piece of hubris I've yet encountered.
You, sir, are a very sick and very sinful man.
Michael Peirce, Atlanta
Tribeca Testifyin' Why must MUGGER season his (otherwise fine) political opinionizing with those grating and obnoxious yuppie-isms? Nothing against precious little angel children, esthetically pleasing meals served in trendy eateries or giant-screen televisions?but why shoehorn these bits of personal fabulousness into nearly every fucking column? Apparently, Russ Smith believes shrill, hey-looka-me autobiographical detail adds luster to his essays, regardless of whether or not it reveals his inability to view the rest of us as anything other than extras in his movie.
Here's a newsflash for you, Russ?you don't have to suck up to Hillary Clinton to turn into Frank Rich. A little restraint goes a long way.
Lou Manzato, Metairie, LA
Loss, No Gaines MUGGER: I love your columns, but the extensive Yankees notes just bring back memories of the San Diego Padres' 1998 World Series whupping that I'd like to forget. Keep up the good work, though.
Frank Gaines, Santee, CA
Latinate Machismo Psephologist (Christopher Caldwell, "Hill of Beans," 6/7)? Inspissated (Melik Kaylan, "Taki's Top Drawer," 6/7)?
What is this? An in-house joke? Did you give your columnists a list of weird words to work into their prose?
Either I'm thick, or I've been reading too many election reports. I don't get it.
W.T. Quick, San Francisco
Bloody Kansas I was very impressed with your story about rock at Max's Kansas City ("Rock in New York," 6/7) and all the other wonderful clubs of yesteryear in New York City. I was very happy to see your inclusion of the wonderful and beautiful Bebe Buell, who is always a delight to see.
Ginger Coyote, Hollywood
An Irreverent Young Fellow About last week's New York Press: I bet you guys think you are hot shit now because you put on a "Rock in New York" benefit. Oh! Ronnie Spector played! Wow-wee! And Babe Buell! Woo-ha! M. Doughty? The cat's meow! You guys are really supporting the scene! What's next? Phil Spector? Coyote Shivers? Ricky Martin? Instead of further inflating the egos of these never-has-beens, why not promote new and exciting bands like the ones that are emerging from the hot new Williamsburg scene? Or better yet, throw a hiphop benefit!
After seeing that photo of George Tabb I almost barfed. Invite Eminem to play the next event and hopefully he'll show George "Stuck-Up Pussy" Tabb who the real Slim Shady is. Right over his fat face. Face it, New York Press, your newspaper is a joke. I'm the only one laughing.
Kent Armstrong, Brooklyn
You're in It Where is Adam Heimlich? Where is "Heimytown"? Where are Spike Vrusho and his delightful baseball ramblings? And where is the soulmate your "Press Match" advertising seemed to promise I would find?
Thank you for the return of "Billboard," though. And Christopher Caldwell's great. So are "Maakies" and Kaz.
Mark Duffy, Manhattan
The editors reply: Adam Heimlich stopped writing "Heimytown," but continues to contribute regularly to New York Press. As for where Spike Vrusho is, that's a good question.
Throwing Relief MUGGER: You are about the only commentator who's not kicking John Rocker now that he's down (6/7). That writer from Sports Illustrated was getting a lot of attention, and he went to confront Rocker in order to generate more. Rocker should have decked the lowlife.
Political correctness was not written into the Constitution. However, freedom of speech was.
Robert F. Jacobs, Coudersport, PA
Fehway Park MUGGER: Fenway Park, the best stadium in the country (6/7)? You must be joking.
Fenway Park has to be the biggest sham foisted upon baseball fans everywhere.
It is a claustrophobic architectural anachronism. The architect who designed that travesty had to be either drunk or completely clueless about baseball. I think Norman Cousins once said, "A hospital is no place for a person that is ill." Fenway Park is no place to hold a baseball game.
John Brechue, Lakeland, FL
Mazza Balls The help at Pepe Rosso to Go were described in your 5/17 "Summer Guide" as sucking "in the manner in which Italian men can suck in general." Gee, was this review written by the same rocket scientist who wrote a couple of months ago ("Soup to Nuts," 3/22) something to the effect that Bensonhurst is a good neighborhood in which to fence a stolen Plymouth?
Russ Smith, these ethnic slurs have no place in your otherwise outstanding paper.
Joseph Mazza, Manhattan
Down, Pat Tim Hall's "First Person" piece, "Down in San Francisco," was terrific. Thoughtful and funny. As someone working in advertising, I'm as guilty as anyone of caffeinating society with the need for speed, a sense of entitlement and annoying public cellphone calls. It's good to have people like Tim, gutsy enough to point out the specific noxiousness of it all, and also to publicly confront it with discipline and humor.
Jonathan Field, Manhattan
Dude, Play "Maggot Brain" Andrey Slivka is one of your smarter, and better, writers. But he would benefit from: a) ditching some of his grad school tendencies toward meta-analysis; and b) an editor.
Slivka's piece on Murray Sabrin ("In God's Country," 5/31) is a good case in point. It's the equivalent of a 20-minute guitar solo by a good guitarist. Sure, it's decent stuff, but at some point the endless riffing crosses the line into wankery and irrelevancy.
There's just not that much to write about Sabrin (who's probably a decent enough guy), so Slivka turns his article into an occasion for lengthy disquisitions on Jersey and the politics of "suburban white guys." It's here that his postmodern-influenced approach becomes not just boring, but borderline dumb. Slivka affects to be bemused by Sabrin. After all, "all of the bugbears, bogeymen and demons of the proverbial (and probably to some extent mythical) suburban white guy [have] been effectively vanquished and destroyed." Is that a statement of political or cultural fact, or rather the languid scorn of a Columbia hipster who analyzes political positions the same way he would a once-happening restaurant or musical genre: "That's so 1996"?
Slivka can't get over his surprise that anyone could still be bothered by "bugbears" such as "Big Government" or "political correctness"; because, remember, all such phenomena have long since been "effectively vanquished and destroyed."
What Slivka really means, though, is that these issues have ceased to interest him as cultural phenomena, much as he or his hipster friends might declare themselves to be so over Moomba, or triphop, or Asian fusion cuisine, or anime, man.
I'm not looking to argue with Slivka on the substantive political themes (Slivka would probably call them "tropes") raised by his depiction (archetype, avatar, construct) of the "suburban white guy" mentality. In fact, I guess my beef is that Slivka himself eschews serious analysis of the substantive arguments on these issues in favor of treating serious cultural and political disagreements as if they were tv-series storylines that have been dragging out too long. Who, apart from John Rocker, the entire population of the armed services forced to endure sex-integrated training and Tailhook-inspired sensitivity indoctrination, and about 50 million smokers who spent last winter huddled on frozen sidewalks, could seriously be talking about "political correctness" in this day and age? Get a clue, Murray! Slivka and I bet that you still eat at Balthazar and think that Martin Amis and Fugazi are really cool.
I seem to remember Slivka writing about how much he hated his English graduate school program. Maybe he should consider finally extirpating some of the over-it-all pose of his former compatriots that probably had a lot to do with his getting fed up with that world, and that continues every now and then to mar his otherwise intelligent work.
Stephen Huerta, Manhattan
When the Levy Breaks Doug Ireland's 6/7 "Opinion" piece is just another example of gross overreaction by the whining p.c. police. Ireland attempts to bring New York City Schools Chancellor Levy to task for not protecting gay students from "homophobic harassment."
It may come as a shock to Mr. Ireland, but the different are often singled out and ridiculed, especially in high school. Kids can be extremely cruel and brutally honest. If you don't conform, there's a price to be paid. That's a valuable lesson in life. It would be ludicrous to pass legislation with the intent of criminalizing this type of behavior. We're talking about the normal process of assimilation into society. And yeah, it can be tough on some. Boo-hoo.
Mr. Ireland's kind of thinking will lead to eight-year-olds who play doctor being prosecuted for sexual harassment and adolescents getting expelled from school for calling someone a "faggot."
Brian O'Hara, Manhattan
Bagman and Robyn In response to Emily Prager's "Getting to know the Homeless," ("Opinion," 5/31):
I didn't find Prager's article funny or cute. What does she think the reason is that we find people in "ever-increasing states of wretchedness along the pavements"?
Isn't it too bad we can't be as pure and perfect as she thinks she is? She sounded very ungrateful for what she has. Why does it bother her that a man wants to sit on a park bench under a blanket?
If a man is lying on the ground in a bloated" state, as Prager wrote, did Prager call an ambulance? The man who thumped her?was he homeless? Maybe he was just another subway rider, like the ones who assault me when I get in their way.
Some poor man who's rejected everywhere he goes still has the heart to offer his box of cookies to Prager's daughter?an act of extreme kindness?and Prager complains.
She goes on to say that if she gives to the poor she'll end up in the poorhouse. Apparently she doesn't know the Bible (specifically, the Proverbs).
Then she tells about how she let her dog piss on a homeless person's bag. If a dog did that to her bag, she would probably have its owner arrested, or worse.
Furthermore, she states that two women peed in their pants while she watched them, with her daughter in tow. Needless to say, she has never had a bad bladder problem. She assumes it's alcohol, and just watches.
Next time her daughter asks of a homeless man, "Is he dead?" it might occur to Prager that maybe the man was suffering from a heart attack, a stroke or a diabetic coma. She should do unto others and check it out.
Her last cheap shot is to call the police on a homeless man, probably knowing that when someone makes a complaint, the police have no choice but to take action.
I think Prager's article was wretched. But for the grace of God is she not homeless.
Robyn Daugherty, Manhattan
Godsmack MUGGER: Just read your superb 5/31 observations on the current political climate.
I do, however, have one complaint. I, being one of those "religious right" types, don't understand why we must be labeled as fanatics (your term for Dr. James Dobson). Decent, law-abiding citizens, who have strong religious convictions?what's wrong with that?
And, golly, being pro-life?wanting to protect the lives of innocent children?is an abomination! So when do you consider abortion immoral?only at the stage of viability? Do you know of one newborn who could survive without someone to care for him? Do you know that there is an identifiable heartbeat at 21 days of gestation? Before a missed menstrual cycle?
Do you have children? Were they your children while yet in the womb, or just unnamed masses of unidentifiable tissue? Or perhaps, an unwanted fetus in one instance and a baby in another.
It is schizophrenia, MUGGER, pure and simple.
Phyllis Ponnech, Bellingham, WA
Aye of Newt MUGGER: In your 6/9 "e-MUGGER" you write of Newt Gingrich: "The former speaker had many faults: he caved in to Bill Clinton's hillbilly charm too easily; he often spoke without thinking; and his vanity was without parallel in Washington."
Perhaps you should qualify this. I don't remember Gingrich delaying thousands of passengers at LAX for the sake of a haircut. As embarrassing as his kvetching about the seating order on Air Force One was, it can't hold a candle to the Commander-in-Chief. A man who, in my opinion, has successfully seized any and all superlative adjectives applying to the seven deadly sins, save maybe sloth?and he may yet grab that one after January.
Otherwise, a good column, and an excellent defense of Robert Bartley.
Derek Copold, Houston
100% Unedited Anuiano MUGGER: "Jus Sposin?" (6/7) That is rich. Right out of Mayberry. Your take on Reagan (scaled back', Sure the DOD was really scaled back) elevated your mag a quantum jump; 10^-10 Angstroms. The content in this sad little simulacrum for a political snuffle mag is in the terminal stages of anorexia. The prissy whining and weak lipped complaining......tooooo much!
I do love the rough trade prattle about; "He's nice (Robert L. Bartley) because he thinks like me, don't mess around or your a Rocker. This kind of Journ...(Sorry) writing probably gives you you your built audience of badly boyish types that whimper about reverse discrimination and the gov. Their flesh so thin and so pale exposing venous valves opening and closing with each yowl of oppression. Come on! Be a victim do something but stop being a bloodless gossip. Better yet try asserting yourself and saying something that goes beyond anemic opinion and piss poor exploratory description.
R. Anuiano, Lakewood, CO
Atlanta Rock City MUGGER: You're absolutely right in your 6/7 column. John Rocker is entitled to think and say anything he wants about New York. One can only be sorry that Bob Gibson is no longer pitching in the National League. As a closer, Rocker probably would never have had to face Gibson. But one can dream.
As for the incident with the Sports Illustrated reporter: I'm sure you're aware that one of the strictest rules on any professional team is "don't frighten the media." Without media coverage, these guys are pumping gas somewhere west of Terre Haute. I don't know if it is still the case, but the ball clubs used to pick up all expenses so that the papers would send the beat reporters on the road trips. They know how important coverage is.
The Braves are right in fining Rocker for that violation. As for sending him down to AAA, don't worry. He'll be back as soon as he locates the strike zone again.
Mort Weintraub, Larchmont, NY
Base on Balls In reference to MUGGER's 6/7 column, I would be remiss if I did not point out a few errors:
1) The caption under the Ramon Martinez photo reads simply "Martinez," not distinguishing between the elder Martinez and the unmatchable Pedro.
2) Yankee Stadium is simply not "certainly the best baseball park in the country aside from Boston's Fenway." In fact, take the Yankees out of the Stadium and replace them with the Royals, and you'll have nothing worth mentioning. You are correct in asserting that Fenway is easily Number One or Number Two, but Chicago's Wrigley Field?not the Stadium?is the other leader. And by all accounts San Francisco's PacBell Park is quite amazing. Of course, it, too, is pretty much there to create fake nostalgia...but I digress.
3) As a Met fan, I can assure others that the Curse of the Bambino is alive and well, but I find your seven-year-old's comment that the hex may have expired to be a good reason to expect a Bosox title this year or next (because that's when the new century really begins). I guess this isn't a correction, but more of a "thank-you."
4) On the notion that the Braves are not classy, with which I would certainly agree, your points had three problems. First, Ted Turner recused himself from the issue of naming the stadium?he had no (official) say in calling it Turner Field. (Yes, I realize how shortsighted this comment is, as he obviously could have stopped it, and chose not to do so.) Second, the entire John Rocker issue makes the Braves' nickname and love of the Tomahawk Chop entirely hypocritical. Personally, I like the chop (it's damn fun), but one has to wonder why the Braves are willing to likely offend Native Americans but not those enumerated by Rocker. Lastly, one cannot call Turner and the Braves classless without making reference to the anti-Catholic and anti-Polish slurs uttered by the media mogul just 16 months ago.
Of course, Bud Selig didn't hand down a Marge Schott-esque suspension with Turner's name on it.
5) Finally (insert deep breath here), alluding to Rocker's demotion and fine as "rampant liberalism" is most likely a false conclusion. Rocker was pitching rather poorly, making his demotion necessary. The fine, too, was commonplace. Cursing at and poking journalists often generates at least censure, so going out of one's way to do so would naturally result in more quantifiable culpability.
Dan Lewis, Philadelphia
The editors reply: We don't know which 6/7 issue you were looking at, but the one we have shows the caption under the picture of Pedro?for it was Pedro pitching against Clemens on May 28, when the picture was taken?beginning, "Pedro Martinez (top)..."
Triumph of the Will MUGGER: Why are you lumping Roger Angell and George Will together (6/7)? This seems more than a bit unfair to Angell. Will is smug and indigestible. Angell, however, is a genuine fan as well as a very fine writer. I've enjoyed his periodic reports on the baseball season since the early 70s. Roger is a smooth and talented writer who communicates his love of the game. Contrast that with Will, a man with a lot less style who seems primarily concerned with sending readers messages about George Will.
Will's political writing usually has a clear subtext: what a smart guy he is. Hence the tired device of the quotations of genuinely clever or talented people. He works the baseball angle to show that he's really a regular guy. Angell's work is strictly about baseball.
Been meaning to drop you a line about New York Press' 5/17 Summer Guide issue. I enjoyed it. It got me thinking about my summers in Pawtucket, RI, in the early 60s, and the truly idyllic times we had at our family "beach house" in the mid 60s. That issue had a nice varied texture that is usually missing from your pages.
Kenneth Haupt, Providence
I'm Solly Re: Tim Hall's "Down In San Francisco" ("First Person" 5/31)?what was that, revisionist journalism?
No doubt, everything you wrote in junior high ended with, "regardless of race, creed, color."
You state that there was a gringo ranting over a car pulled a few inches into the crosswalk? This in verve-dead California? In Chinatown, no less?
You have a good imagination, and should write fiction. But put at the top of the page, "First Fiction."
This is the kind of fabrication that makes racial tensions. You want to be Quixote and invent prejudice where there is none.
If indeed a coffee-sipper behaved like this with complete adherence to the rules, he should run for political office. Got my vote.
Let us hypothesize a stretch and say your story is true. This means you did not follow up, and left out the best part of the tale: the "red-faced" protagonist losing his daughter to a speeding van while crossing in a baby carriage?WHAM!?at the same or similar crosswalk.
I think you've seen too many movies, like Shaft, in which there are always "red-faced" villains.
Go to Canal St. and count how many times you note an Oriental say, "I'm sorry."
Pat Menhall, Manhattan
Rigged BET Christopher Caldwell ("Hill of Beans," 5/31) alleges that Robert Johnson, CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET), has gotten rich "largely thanks to government must-carry directives that get BET included in cable packages that even Fox doesn't get into."
Mr. Caldwell has it upside down. Congress enacted "must-carry" rules in 1992 that give over-the-air tv stations priority slots on basic cable. These bump cable-only channels like BET in favor of broadcasters?including affiliates of Fox Television. Must-carry was upheld as constitutional by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court in March 1997 (Turner Broadcasting v. FCC), although the dissent by Sandra O'Connor is quite compelling.
Thomas Hazlett, Washington, DC
Four Bits I'd like to thank Giorgio Gomelsky, George Tabb and New York Press for inviting me to participate in New York Press' 5/7 "Rock in New York" panel discussion at the Bowery Ballroom.
However, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I failed to make a few important points during the event. I hope you'll indulge me now and let me make four small corrections to the article that appeared in your fine publication:
1) The Fast "came over" from Brooklyn (not England) in the early 70s, and quickly earned a place in the hierarchy of New York rock.
2) The first New York rock band to play CBGB was Jayne County's Queen Elizabeth in December 1973, about four months before Terry Ork brought in Television.
3) Both the hardcore and No Wave scenes of the late 70s and early 80s owe a great deal to the pioneering efforts of the inimitable Von LMO.
4) Suicide were among the most influential bands ever to play Max's Kansas City. They're right up there with the Stooges and the Velvet Underground.
5) The best example of a band that learned to play onstage in front of an audience were the Cramps, who actually failed their 1975 CBGB audition, only to become one of Max's greatest attractions, returning to CBGB in triumph a few months later.
I also should have mentioned Sea Monster, the Waldos and Fellini's Basement, three current New York bands that are, in my opinion, the equal of the best 60s and 70s bands.
Peter Crowley, Manhattan