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Letters: Week of May 26, 2003

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Besides the Music

Why was Ethan Brown’s “review” of the new Fleetwood Mac and Madonna CDs placed in the “Pop Music” section [“The War at Home,” April 28]? He spent nearly the entire column raging against the artists because a few songs on their albums vaguely suggest that they don’t fully support President Bush and Ethan Brown’s view of proper foreign policy. I learned nothing about the quality of the CDs and whether I would enjoy listening to them.
- Cliff Chenfeld, Manhattan

I have to take issue with Ethan Brown’s rant over Fleetwood Mac’s supposed politics. Say You Will is a very good album of mainly unpolitical statements. Lindsey Buckingham wrote “Peacekeeper” a few years ago, before war against Iraq was on the horizon, and it is more a love song than a political statement. Mr. Brown also fails to mention Stevie Nicks’s haunting “Illume,” a tribute to the fallen heroes of 9/11. Fleetwood Mac has not taken a stand for or against the war, the current administration, or anything else remotely political.
- Randall K. Ham, Odessa, Tex.

If, as Ethan Brown postulates, “no one, not even fans, looks to Fleetwood Mac for Foreign Affairs–style insight,” then I can likewise assure you that no one looks to Mr. Brown for Foreign Affairs–style insight either.
- Christopher Burden, Manhattan

What the World Needs Now

Michael Tomasky ably characterized the self-doubt and anxiety that have beset liberals who opposed our invasion of Iraq [“Gotham: Fog of Victory,” April 28]. However, he omitted one important reason for our opposition: not because we thought “it would become a quagmire” or because we “weren’t buying the whole weapons-of-mass-destruction thing” but rather because of the precedent it sets and the likely consequences of that precedent in a badly divided world filled with hurt and hate. Those consequences, sad to say, have yet to be felt. What the world needs today is a healing savior, not a burning Bush.
- Leonard Greenberg, Sterling, VA.

Michael Tomasky omits to mention those who were enthusiastically pro-war in the belief that the conquest of Iraq would ultimately be good for Israel. Of course, now that it’s becoming evident that Iraqis are interpreting Operation Iraqi Freedom to mean they are free to be what they want, rather than what the Bush and Sharon administrations want them to be, these hawks might be having second thoughts.
- John Costa, Manhattan

Inner Childishness

In his review of Nine, starring Antonio Banderas, John Simon writes, “Banderas’s Guido, barely intelligible, overdoes childishness at the expense of charisma” [“Theater: Little Demons,” April 21]. At the performance I attended, I sat in Row F, orchestra, and could understand every word Mr. Banderas said. And as far as the “childishness” is concerned, I might point out that Mr. Banderas’s role specifically calls for “a man of 40 with the mind of a 10-year-old.” If that weren’t enough, Mr. Banderas received a ten-minute standing ovation that night. So much for lack of charisma. Do I detect a bit of jealousy on Mr. Simon’s part?
- Beverly Peare, Brooklyn

Stephen Gets Even

In his review of A Little Night Music [“Classical Music: Uneven Stephen,” March 31], Peter G. Davis wonders what Ingmar Bergman thinks of the piece. I can tell him. Mr. Bergman liked the score so much that he came to New York to see the show. And he liked the show so much that he asked me to work with him on an anarchic film version of The Merry Widow. (The financing evaporated, however, and the project never came to fruition.) I asked him if the change in tone from Smiles of a Summer Night to A Little Night Music bothered him. He replied that it didn’t bother him at all, that our show and his movie had nothing to do with each other except that they had the same plot. “Besides,” he added (and this is an exact quote), “we all eat from the same cake.”
- Stephen Sondheim, Manhattan

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