September 26, 2005

Shepard Smith 180°
I was puzzled as to why you chose to focus on Anderson Cooper for his Katrina coverage [“Unanchored,” by Jonathan Van Meter, September 19]. The real standout in this arena was Fox’s Shepard Smith. Though I’m not a fan of Smith’s cocky on-air persona when he’s in the studio, the passion, rage, and intelligence he displayed while on the scene of the tragedy was nothing short of astonishing. By comparison, Cooper seemed like a cold fish. And yes, while Cooper’s viewership may have increased 400 percent during Katrina, Smith still beat him hands down every time in the ratings.
—Victoria Balfour, Manhattan Buttercream of the Crop
Buttercup and Magnolia should put down their flaming spatulas; neither was first [“Sweet and Vicious,” by Adam Sternbergh, September 19]. The cupcake was elevated to object of desire over fifteen years ago by Cupcake Café on the West Side.
—Gerard Yosca, Manhattan No Doubt
It’s easy to sit back and complain about a situation, as Taye Diggs did when he said, “It’s always a good year for white people, and we have to wait for folks to decide whether or not it’s a good year for us” [“Fall Preview Theater: Army of One,” by Boris Kachka, September 12]. It can’t be that difficult, using the resources available to someone with Diggs’s standing in the acting community, to make it a good year for black actors. I’m sure there are plenty of black playwrights just waiting for a producer of a show with a largely African-American cast.
—Kate E. Salute, Woodbury, N.Y.

Golden Parachutes
Gwyneth Paltrow bemoans the fact that she had done so many roles in her twenties, some that she actually had to be “talked into,” and that she “hated acting” [“Fall Preview Movies: Aftermath,” by Logan Hill, September 12]. It’s tough to hear this when so many talented, unknown actresses of her age—who did not have the good fortune to be born into the industry—would give their left arm for even a chance at one of those roles. To be able to retire enormously wealthy in your early thirties and raise your child without having to work? She should count her blessings.
—Jessica Scott, Brooklyn

Enemy at the Gates
I usually enjoy reading your magazine, but I was disappointed by Peter de Jonge’s anti-Maidstone rant and antics [“Barbarian at the Tee,” August 29–September 5], which sounded like the childish behavior of a rejected applicant. He unfairly connects his undeserved disdain for the club with his religion, a view not all Jews share, especially those who are members. What baffles me most is the pride with which he trespasses, as if it were some big achievement to flaunt.
—Jacqueline Buda, East Hampton, N.Y.

Freddy Mercurial
Chris Smith argues that Fernando Ferrer is the Democratic Party’s best choice for the coming primary [“The City Politic: The Case for Ferrer,” September 12] and rehashes the feel-good story of Ferrer’s slow and steady rise to prominence without measuring his political acumen or assessing his qualifications for City Hall. In the end, this tepid endorsement suggests that Ferrer isn’t a good choice for a party that lacks a coherent identity. Maybe if Ferrer didn’t equivocate on issues like the death penalty and abortion, and championed sensible plans for our city, we could feel good about putting our support behind him.
—Tommy Augoustatos, Middle Village

Flunking History
Regarding William Holl’s letter [“Letters: King of the Hill,” August 29–September 5]: “Unethical Clinton administration”? Ha! George W. Bush and his cronies will be remembered as the most unethical, incompetent, self-serving, duplicitous me-firsters to have pillaged this country’s military, legislature, and treasury since the nation was founded. The consequences of the Iraqi occupation will reverberate throughout this century as the insurgency gathers strength—and add to that the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the president’s sorry response to it.
—Nancy Lyttle, New Windsor, N.Y.

Money Honey
Mark Jacobson’s “$2,000-an-Hour Woman” [July 18] fails to address the issue of sexual addiction. I am a former escort, and I went through a rehab program with LICCV (Long Island Citizens for Community Values). There, they helped heal my wounds and enabled me to understand why I had decided to become an escort in the first place. Most important, they eased the emotional scars I had incurred from being in the industry. I urge Natalia and others caught in this web to get help too.
—Name and Address Withheld by Request

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September 26, 2005