The idea that Rudy Giuliani lacks experience because he was “just” the mayor of New York City is a joke [“Rudy Tuesday,” by Stephen Rodrick, March 5]. New York City is more heavily populated than some of this country’s smaller states. If Giuliani lacks foreign-policy experience, what aspect of Bill Clinton’s term as governor of Arkansas gave him such experience? Although none of the candidates is fully prepared for the war on terror, Giuliani’s crime-fighting credentials put him in the best position to keep this nation secure.
—Chris Segedy, Brooklyn
“Rudy Tuesday” should be required reading for Americans living in the backcountry. I have long believed that if it weren’t for 9/11, Rudy would be selling pizza in Coney Island with his pal Bernie Kerik.
—Joe Buzz Bardsley, Darien, Conn.
Even though Rudy Giuliani will undoubtedly tie the brunt of his campaign to security issues and 9/11, Rodrick states that it would take another terrorist attack on American soil for suburban moms to “pull the lever for Rudy.” The implication is that Giuliani is a nonstarter for many center-left voters. It will be difficult for Giuliani to simultaneously placate social conservatives while reaching out to the middle to pull those suburban-mom votes. If Giuliani can’t woo the base, he can’t win the vote. But if he woos the base, he’ll lose credibility with the general public.
—Jared Peet, Sarajevo, Bosnia
With all the buzz about Rudy, no one has asked the big question: Who is his dentist? His mouth restorations are gorgeous.
—Joanne Tischler Stern, Metuchen, N.J.
The Culture of Praise
As a recent Cornell graduate, I discuss with friends why there is such an aversion to challenge among Ivy League students [“How Not to Talk to Your Kids,” by Po Bronson, February 19]. We’ve seen that anxiety and insecurity come with success. We question if it is not the result of parents’ praise but of the crippling expectations society places on gifted children. Nearly perfect students become consumed with closing the gap, however tiny, separating them from the top. Some opt out entirely while others burn out competing. Both are symptoms of the same anxieties.
—Lisa Jacobs, Manhattan
“Britney Spears: Outsider Artist,” [“Intelligencer,” by Mark Stevens, March 5] was the most insightful and accurate take I’ve read on Spears yet. Let’s hope that Spears figures it out, too, before she ends up killing herself, just as Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith did. Spears’s behavior reminds me of a quote from Thelma & Louise regarding women’s regrettable position in society: “I’ve had it … with sedate.”
—Mary Gilpatrick, Brooklyn
Over and Out
I was the lawyer quoted in “Chopper Fight” [“Intelligencer,” by Geoffrey Gray, February 26], and wish to set the record straight: The complaints against Air Pegasus have either been resolved or the courts have dismissed them. When the Hudson River Park Trust settled with Air Pegasus in November, it agreed that there was no evidence of wrongdoing and deemed Air Pegasus in good standing after a complete audit of its books and records.
—Leon Friedman, Manhattan
I’m hesitant to watch a big-screen adaptation of a beloved book, but Mira Nair’s adaptation of The Namesake was pitch-perfect [“The Culture Pages: The White-Castle Ceiling,” by Jada Yuan, March 12–19]. Nair’s anecdote of how her teenage son brought Kal Penn to her attention ended up being a funny parallel to a movie in which the parents stole the show.
—Lydia Jones, Manhattan
Correction: In “XOXO, Anna” (“Intelligencer,” March 12–19), a letter incorporated into Helmut Lang’s Selective Memory Series was misattributed; it should have been credited to Bruce Weber and Nan Bush, not Nan Goldin, who had a separate letter appear in the work.