America and Its Mayor
Stephen Rodrick missed the point on why Rudy Giuliani appeals to “the rest of America” so deeply [“Rudy Tuesday,” March 5]. Americans do admire Rudy for his courage and leadership on 9/11. His handling of it was proof of something much more important: Giuliani is the competent version of George W. Bush. His was perhaps the greatest mayoral performance in American history. Americans aren’t sick of Bush’s goals; they’re frustrated that he hasn’t achieved them. They don’t think they were a great mistake; they think he failed to execute.
—John Reagan, Santa Monica, Calif.
Great article on Rudy Giuliani. It’s very ironic that Giuliani makes a point of claiming to appoint strict constructionists to the bench to “interpret, not invent” the Constitution. The entire time he was mayor, he tried to reinvent the First Amendment, only to find that the courts consistently ruled that his “interpretations” were not even close to the Constitution. It’s a scary thought that such a megalomaniac, who like George Bush surrounded himself with nothing but yes-men while in office, would be the leader of the Free World. Wait until Middle America hears how he tried to sell off the public-hospital system and had at least one trusted appointee move on to become an ex-con.
—Stan Pruszynski, Bayside
Rudolph Giuliani has a lot of flaws, and I might not vote for him. But on our worst day, he was our best leader. He was the fighter pilot who got in the air at Pearl Harbor, and he was Jimmy Doolittle taking off into the wind.
— Charles I. Kingson, Manhattan
Fame Undoes Them
We will never learn to take seriously the notion that fame is a curse rather than a blessing for children. Mark Stevens’s “Britney Spears, Outsider Artist” [“Intelligencer,” March 5] ought to be required reading for every stage mother before any contracts can be signed.
—Ellen Gilliam, Lewiston, Maine
I enjoyed Sam Anderson’s review of Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich [“Books: The Shotaholic,” February 19]. I only hope the book is as well written, witty, and insightful.
—Susanna Noon, Manhattan
I am an educator who has introduced children to the fun of poetry. Emily Nussbaum’s thought-provoking “The Incredible Shrinking Model” [February 26] brought the following poem to mind: “There was a young lady from Lynn/Who became so incredibly thin/That in bringing her lip/To some Coke for a sip/She slid through the straw and fell in.”
—Carolyn Green, Manhattan
Models are so thin because designers simply don’t make clothes in sizes above zero. Only a 90-pound girl could make these designs look remotely wearable.
— Janine Martinelli,, Boston, Mass.
A Girl on Fire
Of the eleven photographs of Arcade Fire [“A Band on Fire,” March 5], seven were of the admittedly photogenic Régine Chassagne. That’s quite an interesting way to depict a band whose touring version includes up to ten musicians.
—Sara Ryckebosch, Forest Hills
Sugar and Sauce
I lived in Indonesia many years ago and became fond of ketjap manis, a condiment mentioned in Adam Platt’s “Chelsea for Foodies” [“Food,” February 19] as “an exotic Indonesian spice.” Kecap (as it is commonly spelled) is pronounced like ketchup and means soy sauce. Kecap manis is simply a sweetened soy sauce, slightly thicker than regular soy sauce.
—Laura Shin, Brooklyn
Correction: In “American Jeremiad” (February 12), Andrew Cuomo should have been referred to as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s former brother-in-law; also, Bobby Shriver should have been referred to as Kennedy’s cousin.