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May 2, 2005

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Semper Fi
As a former Marine officer who also led troops in Iraq, I think Steve Fishman’s “Hell’s Kitchen” [April 25] reflects New Yorkers’ detachment from the realities of military life. They’re shocked that a person of intellect and opportunity would choose a career in the military. Sometimes there are more valuable experiences than what these five boroughs hold and greater rewards than the money to be made here. Like Ilario Pantano, I have Iraqi blood on my hands. I have brought death to about as many innocents as enemies, yet I face no charges. I can only thank more forgiving rules of engagement and a coterie of sergeants more capable and loyal than Sergeant Coburn. The fact that Ilario faces the death penalty is criminal.
—Matt Ufford, Manhattan

We recruit Americans to kill, we teach them to kill, we pay them to kill, and then we try them for killing? The government should drop the charges against Ilario Pantano. I remember when the government tried Lieutenant William Calley for massacring civilians in Vietnam. It’s a disgrace that prosecutors still can’t understand how men react under constant stress. Even women and children carry bombs over there. Let it go.
—Ellene Bornem, Flushing

Bedfellows
Thank you for bringing my terrific neighborhood to life in your pages [“The Tipping of Jefferson Avenue,” by Jeff Coplon, April 25]. I’d like to address one issue I believe was ignored. Increasingly, more gays and lesbians are settling here. To further bolster this neighborhood’s reputation, I’d like to report that our neighbors, who know my boyfriend and I are partners, have been just as friendly and warm.
—Daniel M. Moynihan, Brooklyn

Of Spooning and Forked Tongues
I was infuriated to read “Naked Lunch” [“The Everything Guide to: Lunch Hour,” April 25], which listed discreet locations for a rendezvous. Our spineless society is increasingly cavalier about cheating and lying, and here you are condoning it and encouraging people to spice things up with some tramp from the office.
—Gwynne McCue, Manhattan

Money in the Middle
I believe you have mistaken Reaganomics for actual economic analysis in “Don’t Hate Them Because They’re Rich” [by Daniel Gross, April 18]. As anyone who actually lived in New York during the eighties can tell you—and that was when the rich also held prominent sway—the city may need the rich, but not as much as it needs a committed and energized middle class of people who reject a laissez-faire attitude toward the city they live in.
—Jodi Liss, Manhattan

Those of us in Middle America who read this magazine every week find New Yorkers’ attitudes on wealth quite amusing. I live in a town where you can buy a large four-bedroom house in a very nice neighborhood for less than $300,000. The thought of living in the teensy apartment that the same amount would buy in your city makes me very claustrophobic. To us, those of you merely affording to pay rent in Manhattan and Brooklyn are the ultrarich.
—Sherry Lind, Cincinnati, Ohio

Brutally Honest
John Simon’s review of Julius Caesar [“Character Assassination,” April 18] was just ridiculous. What is the right pitch for Shakespearean verse to be delivered? Must we get a team of mathematicians to prepare the correct algorithm? While I agree with Simon’s comments on the underwhelming actresses and confused set, I’d say he has a personal vendetta against this largely powerful work of theater. And if he’s so disturbed by the multiracial cast, perhaps he can join John Patrick Shanley [“ Influences: Pulitzer Winner,” by Boris Kachka, April 18] in finding a show with “a uniform, very white sound.”
—Stephen Conn, Las Cruces, N.M.

Klingon, With Devotion
William Shatner was much admired by teenagers before Star Trek [“Long Story Short: How William Shatner Went From Has-Been to Icon in Seven Self-Aware Steps,” April 11]. The only fan letter I have ever written in my entire life was to him. My memory is failing me now, but I do remember thinking that he was hot.
—Joan April, Chevy Chase, Md.

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