August 15, 2005

Tinsel Townies
As a psychiatrist who has treated celebrities for 30 years, I enjoyed “Celebrity and Its Discontents” [by Vanessa Grigoriadis, July 25]. The S.A.G. card (Situationally Acquired Grandiosity) is conferred by us upon celebrities because it comforts us with the fantasy that it is possible to be loved by everyone, all the time. Celebrities’ discontents—more correctly, their inability to tolerate frustration—are due to their frightening realization that our adulation is an illusion. We place them on pedestals only so we can have the thrill of knocking them off. This madness is mutual.
—Dr. Isaac Steven Herschkopf, Manhattan

Apparently there was so little to criticize Tom Cruise about that his being more considerate of his fans than the typical movie idol by arriving early at a movie premiere was cited as evidence of some kind of disorder. I’m not a fan of any celebrity, but we degrade our society when we allow a smear job against anyone to stand unchallenged. Whatever personal issues Cruise does have, I wish him luck in overcoming them. 
—Briseis Gatto, White Plains, N.Y. Thank you for defending The Comeback [“Television: In Defense of The Comeback,” by Ken Tucker, August 1–8]. I don’t understand all this hoopla over Entourage. Apart from Jeremy Piven’s snarky comebacks, the show is annoying as hell. What’s so great about watching spoiled, overgrown frat boys indulge every Hollywood cliché in the book?
—Paul Hallasy, Manhattan

Excellent article on Kathy Griffin [“Dorothy Snarker,” by Adam Sternbergh, August 1–8]. She has the balls to say whatever she wants, whenever she wants. It’s such a welcome relief from the phoniness that we experience in Hollywood and in everyday life.
—Blair Warriner, Manhattan

Full Blown
I can sympathize with Dave Itzkoff, as my father was afflicted with depression for most of his life as well [“Cocaine’s Kid,” August 1–8]. In a similar fashion, I became his parent and confidant: When I was 7, my father told me he wanted to commit suicide. I’m happy to see this issue out in the open so that other children are not forced to grow up too fast.
—David Schwartz, Forest Hills

I am a mother and a recovering cocaine addict. This boy’s father’s predicament isn’t inevitable. I was an addict for five years, from the time my youngest child was 2. Our children have paid a horrible price, one that can never be repaid. By showing them on a daily basis that we are clean, we do our best to make amends. Today marks my 3,700th day. It works.
—Name Withheld, New Rochelle, N.Y.

A Bigger Fan
Congratulations! You spend so much time and space on specious no-talents that it was a pleasure to see you acknowledge two real contributors, Emmylou Harris [“Stumbling Into Grace,” by Greg Williams, July 25] and Lorrie Moore [“Influences,” by Boris Kachka, July 25], however tenuous their connection to New York may be.
—Ralph Novak, Tenafly, N.J.

Women’s Glib
I’m sure Amy Sohn was writing for the sexually liberated modern woman and trying to sound a bit risqué, but calling sexually independent New York women “secret sluts” is not progressive [“Mating: On the Sly,” July 25]. I know, I know, she’s “owning” the word slut, right? Redefining it. Taking it back for women. Right.
—Katherine McIntee, Manhattan

Calling Their Bluff
As a Democrat, I reluctantly admit to being impressed with the Republicans quoted in “The ATM for Bush’s America” [by Ryan Lizza, July 25], specifically their ability to—with straight faces—stay on-message and suggest their values remain “lower taxes, lower spending, smaller government.” It’s Orwellian to hear them make such claims while they oversee the largest increase in federal spending and biggest federal deficit in recent history.
—Bill Davis, Manhattan

Maine Dish
When I read Adam Platt’s “Lobster is on a Roll” [August 1-8], I was transported to a hot July evening, eight years ago, when I ambled into Pearl Oyster Bar. It was brand new and blessedly empty. I can still recall my first bite. Platt’s right: New York is lobster-roll town, and Pearl will always be the standard-bearer!
—Richard Allen, San Francisco, Calif.

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August 15, 2005