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August 1-8, 2005

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Sitting Pretty
Given the volume of words written on the life of Nan Kempner [“Intelligencer: She Wore It Well,” July 18], it’s surprising that little seems to have been written about what she actually did during her life. It’s very confusing when Yves Saint Laurent says, “Nan exemplified the true spirit of a modern woman.” A modern woman is one who juggles the demands of family and career, who constantly fights for equal representation in a corporate system still pretty much run by men, and who, if she breaks her hip, does so by doing something more strenuous than “navigating her bedroom in a pair of stiletto stockings by John Galliano.”
—Christopher Peake, Greenwich, Conn.

Best in Show
How heartwarming and delightful it was to see the beautiful achieving family featured in “The Look Book” [by Amy Larocca, July 25]. It brought back happy memories of my more than three decades of teaching. Not all my students were as gifted as these lovely young ladies, but they all came to school well groomed with clean faces and combed hair. I am appalled at what the majority of young people look like today, and this includes the rich and famous.
—Helen C. Arvanitis, Somers, N.Y.

Derick George and family, who apparently have everything, are lacking two very basic elements of the “A-to-Z principles of attitude” that they follow. H is for humility, and M is for modesty.
—Charles Blackwell, Manhattan

Player Hater
After reading “The $2,000-an-Hour Woman” [by Mark Jacobson, July 18], I had to go wash my hands. Natalia, even in her pink satin corset, is not as hot as she thinks, and she’s definitely no Marlene Dietrich, who had true sex appeal. A ten? More like a five. As for the description of Jason Itzler as “still boyishly handsome,” all I can say is, he looks like a zhlub in a garbage bag.
—Mary-Ellen Banashek, Manhattan

Even Ayn Rand (Ms. Narcissus herself) would be appalled by Jason Itzler’s comparing himself to John Galt. Thinking that he could “save the world by bringing together the truly elite people”? What a crock!
—Judy Crowell, St. Louis, Mo.

Out of the Blue
It’s no surprise to me that liberal guest commentator Rachel Maddow is giving conservative pundits a run for their money [“Television: Rooting for Lefty,” by Ken Tucker, July 18]. She is articulate, forthright, and unapologetic. My only hope is that the media take notice that there is a huge market for left-wing pundits who can take their conservative counterparts to task for the way the Bush administration has managed to screw everything up in the past five years.
—Phil Rosenberg, West New York, N.J.

Our Town
I’m a Queens native, and I enjoyed “The Queens 50” [July 18]. But I also found the tone of the article not a little ironic: A publication that targets the sort of upwardly mobile readership largely responsible for gentrification ends up lamenting the supposedly inevitable gentrification of Queens. In ten years, if Queens is overrun with hipsters and yuppies and the working people have been priced out, please don’t shake your heads solemnly as if you had nothing to do with it.
—Dave Stork, New Paltz, N.Y.

I grew up during a gentler time (pre–World War II) near the home you’ve dubbed “Tara” in old Astoria Village. I was disappointed when you failed to mention Astoria Bank and Astoria Pool, where my siblings and I spent many summer days and nights swimming, picnicking, and playing ball under the Hellgate Bridge. These were special vacation spots during a time when money was scarce but we were still happy. Thanks for the memories of those wonderful days gone by.
—Millie McGuire, Middletown, N.J.

Corrections
Contrary to published reports summarized in “The Approval Matrix” (July 25), Nicole Kidman was not offered a fee to speak at a Forbes conference scheduled to take place this August in Australia.

In “There Are Only So Many Fish in the Sea” (July 25), by Clive Thompson, the date that Robert DeMasco, owner of Pierless Fish, sued David Bouley should have been listed as 2001, not “last year.”

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