Wow, only two! The only two! Thanks, Joe. Now I can stop wasting my time with all these other "cultural happenings" that don't mean a damn thing. I'm such an idiot. That membership I had planned to get to the Museum of Modern Art? I would have actually shelled out good money if Harrington hadn't clued me in that nothing in that place means a damn thing. Those tickets for Kissin at Carnegie Hall? I'm tradin' 'em for the Ramones box set. I'm throwin' out all my B.B. King, Howlin Wolf, Frank Zappa and Kate Bush albums. No more Bowie. I'm gettin' rid of all those darn books?none of those authors, painters and poets mean a damn thing. And to think of all those years I wasted listening to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. (Yes, I confess I actually bought all three volumes of the Beatles Anthology. I am so stupid!)
Actually I believe that if we could send Joe S. Harrington back in time to Liverpool, circa 1959, and have him track down John, Paul, George and Ringo to tell them not to bother forming a band because all it would be is "The Everly Brothers with sonic jet-plane wings," I'd bet the boys would take it as a highly motivating compliment. Matter of fact, I have a great idea for a millennium band: the concept would be "The Beatles with rocket fins" and we could call the band "Joe" in honor of one of the only music reviewers who meant a damn thing this century. J.S. Harrington.
In this stifling detox-tent of a world we live in, it's becoming obvious that critics were best described by Orson Welles (whose contributions to 20th-century culture, I now realize, didn't mean a damn thing), when he described them as "Eunuchs at the Orgy."
Anyway, thanks for the laughs, Joe. And honestly, New York Press is the only free weekly that means a damn thing! Really!
Peter Zoernig, Manhattan
Castro?Convertible? MUGGER: I was reading through your 12/22 column and felt the urge to retch. I stifled it and decided to write to you instead.
You make such impressive statements in your conservative, government-hating way. Your anti-Clinton attitude comes on a bit strong. (Though it's deserved by Bubba.)
However, your marvelous statement about Cuba is one of the top peas in my shoe. And I quote: "There is a lot of money to be made on that island, not to mention many Cubans who deserve a better life."
There may well be a lot of money to be made on that island, but don't you think that making money should take second place to freeing an oppressed people? Your statement seems to place the welfare of the people below making money. Boy, that's sure admirable.
Then you express such wide-eyed astonishment that NBC is a bastion of liberalism. In fact, you seem amazed that all of the major media outlets are such bastions.
The most amazing part of your attitude is that you seem to forget that your very livelihood exists solely because of such liberal bastions. These major media outlets and networks have stood up time and again against censorship, have pushed for the full enforcement of the rights of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Without their influence, you would be lucky to be able to publish a cookbook!
Ken Leon, Thousand Oaks, CA
Soup Bones I thought the story of the Gore-Prudhomme exchange in New Hampshire ("MUGGER," 12/22) was an excellent example of how the Internet, in the person of Matt Drudge, has changed news reporting for the better. I thought this was an important story, and thought it was inexcusable that all of the major news networks except for Fox suppressed it. In the days before Drudge I almost certainly would have never heard about it.
There's another reason why I like Drudge, besides his relatively unbiased viewpoint. I don't like the willfully ignorant, ugly monochrome design of his site, but I appreciate its no-frills character, with practically no ads. Most newspaper sites, like The Washington Post's, have too many stupid ads, animated GIFs and other extraneous noise. It's like trying to read at a carnival. Not only is it annoying, it's slow to load.
Just one other nit to pick with MUGGER over the Prudhomme incident. Gore only claimed that he hadn't seen the Juanita Broaddrick interview, not that he wasn't familiar with the story. I don't think he's lying here. It's quite possible that he didn't see the interview, because like all Democrats he doesn't want to know about it. He knows enough to know that whatever she says it's not going to be pretty, and he also knows that it's probably going to be true and indefensible. So he opts to stick his head in the sand again and repeat that Clinton is one of our greatest presidents.
Because like Al Sharpton, and like the rest of the Clinton administration, he knows that it doesn't matter whether something is true or not, so long as you repeat it over and over again.
Luckily for Gore, the liberals who run the major networks always seem to find that inconvenient people like Broaddrick are "not news" and thus ignore them. I wonder why that is.
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Un Chien Anda-who? In regard to George Tabb's latest essay involving his make-believe dog and the visually handicapped ("Music," 12/22): Q: Why does Mr. Tabb wear so much cologne? A: So the blind may hate him as well.
Annie Martin, Manhattan
Sullivan Unravels In regard to Tom Scocca's 12/22 "Opinion" piece: I've not read Andrew Sullivan's piece on hate crimes, and I do not wish to. I fail to see how that or the media's misinterpretation of hate-crime legislation is relevant to the issue at hand. While in a perfect world hate-crime legislation would be an idea with at least some merit, it would never work in ours. Hate-crime law punishes transgressions of thought, because additional punishment is assigned based on the crime's motive. Now, motive is tricky enough to determine even where the distinction is as great as that between self-defense and premeditated murder. The skill of the lawyers involved would have a greater effect on the outcome of a hate-crime trial than the truth itself.
The only fair way of classifying a crime as a hate crime is, as far as I can see, according to a strict, precise and irrevocable set of criteria firmly grounded in reality. Can such a thing even exist? I'm not going to waste my time speculating, but even if it was a possibility, would the two sides, radically opposed to each other, ever reach agreement?
Anyone who believes that such a nuanced idea can be turned into law and fairly enacted deserves the title "king of naivete" far more than does any Log Cabin Republican. As, indeed, does anyone who believes that "humanity is morally perfectible." "[P]hilosopher-king of naivete" is as stupid and arrogant a term as I've ever heard.
So Scocca's heard of Plato and he has a capacity for irony and a great deal of disdain for Andrew Sullivan. Oh, and he either doesn't know what a philosopher-king is or he feels he can flagrantly misuse words. Who the hell cares?
Milosz Meller, Queens
No Controlling Legal Authority Well, at least Matt Zoller Seitz had the sense of mind to include Hoop Dreams in his top-films-of-the-decade list ("Film," 12/22). By far, it was one of the strongest movies of the decade, far superior to JFK and The Thin Red Line. I'm sorry Godfrey Cheshire really doesn't understand the definition of the word "best," and Armond White's choice of Godfather III either means he's too big a fan of the first two movies or never saw the first two movies. Coppola's daughter sank that movie into the ground, and any movie that gives a large amount of screen time to Andy Garcia and isn't The Untouchables needs not to be on any list. All of these guys overlooked great movies like Bob Roberts, The Shawshank Redemption, Fresh, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Last Seduction and Fargo.
And for all of these foreign film buffs, what ever happened to Kolya and Ma Vie En Rose? It's just another reason why I oppose lists.
As for your political coverage ("MUGGER," 12/22), I find it hard to believe that Al Gore, who watches The Simpsons and calls Futurama his favorite show, didn't find the time to tune into Dateline to watch the Juanita Broaddrick interview. For a man who prepared to run for president for a long time, he sure has trouble with the Clinton questions. My guess is that he gets stronger with these questions if he makes it into the general, because it is there that he can turn them around and play GOP vs. Dem. I may be biased, but Bill Bradley ripped him on Meet the Press.
Greg Joseph, Manhattan
Knock on Wood MUGGER: How could you tell he was lying (12/22)? Al Bore's lips never move!
Israel Keller, Manhattan