February 19, 2007

The New ‘Me’
Emily Nussbaum’s “Say Everything” [February 12] was probing and fascinating, and without the usual built-in sneer. I am 24 and don’t participate in any social-networking Websites. Most of my friends, however, are fifteen-times-a-day MySpace users. I disagree that this new wave of exhibitionism comes with no shame. My friends spend hours deciding which photographs and blog entries best express their personalities, while hoping to appear that they could not care less. If this were truly the end of privacy, these kids would relinquish such control. It would be more Wiki-like. And then we’ll see how interesting other people’s daily details can be.
Gabriel Nussbaum, Manhattan

What a wonderfully Cartesian front page. I YouTube, therefore I am. I blog, therefore I am. I surf, link, download, and post, therefore I am. I am. I am.
Steven Morris, East Hampton, N.Y.

I am a high-school teacher who sees the daily issues that arise from online-networking cultures. Not a day goes by without a tearful girl lamenting her demotion from someone’s top eight or a boy ready to fight someone who called him a racial slur on a blog. Then there’s meeting with unsuspecting parents to show them the latest YouTube video circulating, which usually involves their daughter prancing around in her undergarments. This culture encourages disturbing teen behavior, yet it also provides a valuable space for teens to explore identity. Parents should not only be aware but savvy.
Candice M. Kelsey, Los Angeles, Calif.

Bush on the Couch
I was heartened by your series of psychopolitical analyses of the president [“The Loneliest President,” February 5]. Your contributors made many interesting points. For my book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, I offered an extensive psychoanalytic study of George W. Bush. Thinking about the psyche of our president is a serious matter. As Bush plays out his psychological problems on the world stage, we have the right to be informed about his mental health. An annual psychological exam should accompany the physical exam of future presidents as part of the routine monitoring of their overall health.
Justin A. Frank, M.D., Washington, D.C.

Not All Bitches
I was disappointed to read about the usual catfight mentality between the publishing powerhouses Jane Friedman and Judith Regan [“She’s Come Undone,” by Vanessa Grigoriadis, February 5]. Friedman has been painted with the same brush we use for most ambitious, successful women. A CEO who wants team players? Who doesn’t like to be spoken to in an impertinent tone? Friedman helms a successful publishing house, and I give her credit for making a sound business decision.
Karin Slaughter, Atlanta, Ga.

Historical Thinking
Cardinal Egan is doing his job in making tough decisions and saving the archdiocese of New York from financial ruin [“The Cardinal’s Sins,” by David Gibson, February 5]. If he were a politician, he would be acclaimed as a reformer. Gibson suggests Egan isn’t as effective as his predecessors, who have the benefit of history, which minimizes their missteps and celebrates their triumphs. I trust Cardinal Egan will leave the diocese in far better shape than when he found it.
Timothy J. Joyce, Bedford, N.Y.

Black Sunday
Robert Kolker’s “No Way Out” [January 22–29] elegantly narrated the tragic events and lasting effects of Black Sunday. The surviving firefighters and families of the victims face endless challenges. I hope your article will help maintain the public’s awareness as our emergency responders struggle with reduced budgets and staffing.
Kevin J. Breen, Salem, N.H.

Correction: In the “Deluxe” column of “The Everything Guide to Shoes: Men’s Shoe Primer” (“Strategist,” February 12), an Alden shell cordovan straight-tip blucher (pictured) should have been shown, rather than its “Bargain” parallel, the Florsheim Lexington.

February 19, 2007