August 28, 2006

John Homans’s column on “grief culture” [“Cityside: The Long Funeral,” August 21] is a welcome step toward accepting what I think 9/11 truly represented: a failure for the United States so blatant and so grave that any “memorial” only serves to remind us, our enemies, and the rest of the world of that defeat.
—Neil Leonard, Manhattan

Homans’s characterization of Howard Lutnick seems to insinuate that he is less than genuine. Lutnick and the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, overseen by Edie Lutnick, have been and continue to be a huge source of support to the Cantor families, mine included. In addition to providing medical benefits, ongoing financial support, and ­mental-health counseling, Cantor hosts two yearly events for the families. Lutnick is a source of strength and comfort every time I am in his presence. I know it’s more compelling to vilify someone, but in this case, please give credit where credit is due.
—Jennifer Scordato, Hempstead, N.Y.

The question “What if 9/11 never happened?” is hardly the most urgent one to be posed [“What If 102 Minutes of History Were Erased?” by Andrew Sullivan, August 21]. Five years after the attacks, the U.S. still has not fully acknowledged the fact of global jihad and the immense peril we face from it. A powerful message was sent to the jihadists when the federal government cut anti-­terror funding to New York City. We should be posing tougher questions about how to effectively counter jihadists.
—Scott Rose, Manhattan

Even though the events of 9/11 are still as clear as day in many people’s minds, I believe that it’s time for us all to stop thinking up more what-ifs and start thinking, What now? By continuing to live in the past, we are losing out on saving the future.
—Elisabeth Greenberg, Tenafly, N.J.

Spike Lee
As a senior at the same private school Spike Lee’s children attend, I would like to correct the impression that he gives about our curriculum in “The Angriest Auteur” [by Ariel Levy, August 21]. He is quoted as saying that he and his children “got to … go over incorrect shit they get in school all the time!” He claims that our school whitewashes the history of the United States by brushing over issues like George Washington’s slaves and the brutal treatment of Native Americans. My teachers deliver a balanced, unedited account of history, discussing in great detail the very issues Lee claims they disregard. Last year’s Book Day selection was James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, essays by an African-American author that discuss race relations in a raw, stream-of-­consciousness format. I can’t speak for other schools, and whether, as Lee said, “kids are still learning in-1492-he-sailed-the-ocean-blue bullshit.” But he should give his children’s school some credit.
—Ben Sumers, Montrose, N.Y.

Care Bears on Fire
Is nothing sacred anymore? Just when I thought that punk rock was the last holdout against the Invasion of the Kiddies, I read about Care Bears on Fire [“Burning Down the House,” by Jem Aswad, August 21]. Look for my Richard Hell and Black Flag LPs on eBay.
—Martta Rose, Verona, N.J.

Steve Carell
I enjoyed your profile of Steve Carell [“Steve Carell’s Smokin’!” by Logan Hill, July 31–August 7], but there was an ­error in it. I was in the audience during the screening of Little Miss Sunshine at Sundance, and I was the one who expressed my desire to give a big hug to the cast afterward. I am not a woman, and it was Carell who ran up and enveloped me in a warm embrace. He was wearing a brown fleece pullover, he smelled good, and it was one of the best hugs I’ve ever received.
—Boaz Frankel, Manhattan

Correction: In “Big Man on Camp” (August 21), Merrick, New York, was referred to as the site of Camp Echo’s sleepaway camp, which is actually located in Burlingham, New York. Merrick is the site of an affiliated day camp.

August 28, 2006