October 24, 2005

Identity Theft
I read JT LeRoy’s Sarah several years ago [“Who is the Real JT LeRoy?,” by Stephen Beachy, October 17]. There was one thing that stuck out that totally read fraud: a mention of his enjoying a crème brûlée after escaping the horrors of being held hostage at the hands of a perverted redneck. I hope he is a fake. I applaud the performance art and that it’s gone on as long as it has.
—Holly Jefferson Parsons, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

As JT’s assistant, I was disappointed that the proof that I gave of the reality of JT LeRoy as the author of his own writing did not show up in this hatchet job parading as an exposé. Considering that Stephen Beachy is, after all, a fiction writer himself, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. As P. T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” and anyone who believes this article further proves it.
—Nancy Murdock, Milton, Mass.

As someone who has spent almost ten years speaking to JT LeRoy, editing his manuscripts, comforting him, talking to his therapist, reading his work for him in public, and showing his manuscripts to editors (and, finally, to Joel Rose, which led to their publication), I cannot refute Beachy’s allegations or theories for one simple reason: Nobody can prove that LeRoy has written a book after it has been published. And anyway, who’s to say that Stephen Beachy really wrote this article? Where is the proof of that?
—Bruce Benderson, Manhattan

Monkey Trial
Lf “liberals need to pick their battles,” Kurt Andersen should not be the one doing the picking [“The Imperial City: Backward, Christian Soldiers!,” October 17]. The most important battles are not fought when issues arise. They are fought every November—in voting booths—and they are not won by telling an 80 percent majority that their belief in Heaven is a “medieval fever dream.” Issues like intelligent design are being put in the hands of increasingly conservative and religious elected officials and their appointees because, like Henry Clay, liberals would rather be right than be president.
—Brian Newman, Manhattan

Perhaps conservatives should look at the financial implications of teaching intelligent design as a science. How are we to compete in the global marketplace if the next generation of scientists has no appreciation of the rigors of the scientific method? Vaccines and microchips and even bunker-buster bombs aren’t created because of a dutiful reading of the Bible. I know intellectual curiosity is not the hallmark of this administration, but if the sloppy thinking of our politicians does manage to pollute our schools, we may rest assured that the scientists of Europe, India, and the Far East will pick up the slack.
—Bryan Williams, Manhattan

As a molecular biologist, I belong to the 5 percent that comprises atheists, or “freaks.” I can’t think of another First World country where there are as many religious fanatics as in the United States. There has to be something very wrong with the school system here. There are no scientific data whatsoever to refute the evidence that evolution is the only explanation of life’s origins and diversity.
—Tatiana Slepak, Miami, Fla.

I’m on Kurt Andersen’s side, except for one thing. Comparing the ID crowd to the Holocaust deniers is unfair and inappropriate. The latter are motivated by a real hatred of Jews. The ID crowd lacks malice; they’re simply delusional.
—Mel Kreitzer, Cincinnati, Ohio

In a free society like ours, even bad ideas have a right to be advanced by individuals who hold them.
—Chris Segedy, Brooklyn

Mother Knows Best
I loved Amy Sohn’s comment about her attempt to swaddle her new baby daughter [“Mating: My Husband, My Rival,” October 17]: “If she could have held up her middle finger, she would have.” A line from Hello, Dolly! says it best: “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong.” We missed you.
—Gail Farrelly, Bronxville, N.Y.

October 24, 2005