October 30, 2006

Rape, Justice, and the ‘Times’
Thank goodness Kurt Andersen added his name to the list of respected journalists questioning the Duke-lacrosse rape case and the New York Times’ coverage of it [“The Imperial City: Rape, Justice, and the Times,” October 16]. The case is a travesty of our judicial system, and the Times’ coverage of it has been inaccurate from the start. I hope Andersen’s column will bring some awareness to the grave injustice of which David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann and their families are victims.
—Samantha Lynn , Bethesda, Md.

War Story
I greatly enjoyed Niall Ferguson’s “How to Win a War” [October 23] on the role computer games may have in the teaching of history, particularly the history of war, and agree that such technology may augment book learning. But we lose sight of a key reality here: It’s not a game. Learning tactics is one thing; understanding the terrible impact of war is another. Show me the computer game that teaches the human cost of a Stalingrad or a Gallipoli as well as a book can—including Ferguson’s own The Pity of War—and then I’ll accept the online version.
—Simon Ollerenshaw, Greenwich, Conn.

The premise behind the headline “How to Win a War” is faulty and dangerous. It has been said and is worth repeating—there are no winners in a war, only losers, if human progress is the prize. So advice on how to do so should fall on deaf ears.
—Don Sloan, Manhattan

Ales in Comparison
As writers and editors who specialize in beer, we’re always delighted to see our preferred beverage receive coverage in the mainstream press, even when the story doesn’t involve any of us. Really, we are. But we’re dismayed when said story fails to treat such a noble drink with the respect it deserves, as was the case in Ben Mathis-Lilley’s “Ales in Comparison” [“Strategist: Taste Testing,” October 16]. Would New York Magazine assemble a random group of “enthusiastic” art lovers to critique the latest show at the MoMA? Would it publish a review of a haphazardly selected group of wines, sherries, ports, and champagnes, dismissing one as “girlie,” another as “sissy,” and a third simply because it has “a funny name”? Again, likely not. Yet this is exactly what Mathis-Lilley does, presumably because beer’s egalitarian reputation makes it somehow okay. Please, continue publishing stories about beer. There is a wealth of choice out there, and consumers no doubt appreciate all the guidance they can find. But before you commission your next article, please take a look at the methodology involved and ask yourselves, “Would this be acceptable were the topic fine wine, theater, or the city’s latest culinary hot spot?”
—Stephen Beaumont, writer, worldofbeer.com; Julie Bradford, editor, All About Beer; Jay Brooks, writer, brookston.org/beer; Lew Bryson, writer, lewbryson.com; Tom Dalldorf, publisher, Celebrator Beer News; John Hansell, publisher, Malt Advocate

Life in the Bronx
I was stunned to read Theodora Richards’s quote that her mother, Patti Hansen, considered the Bronx to be a place where kidnappings are common [“Party Lines,” October 23]. Hansen apparently feels free to visit every borough except the Bronx. As lifelong Bronx residents and avid Rolling Stones fans, we find this ignorant. By the way, Theodora could walk down Fordham Road, through Van Cortlandt Park, or watch a Yankees game and nobody would even recognize her, much less think of kidnapping her.
—Timo and Andrea Hughes, the Bronx

Note: In our “Winter Planner” (“Strategist: Are We There Yet?,” October 23), information on visiting Oaxaca and surrounding towns failed to account for the recent violence and demonstrations that make it an inappropriate vacation destination at this time. Go to the State Department Website (travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1766.html) for further updates on travel to the region.

Correction: In “Are We There Yet?,” a rhino safari in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, should have been listed as costing about $1,975 for three nights, with accommodations from about $338 a night.

October 30, 2006