Comments: April 21, 2008

1. Within each of the sections of last week’s New York cultural canon (Culture Pages: The New York Canon 1968–2008,” April 14), there was one entry singled out as “The Argument Starter.” But really, we anticipated that every aspect of the canon would start arguments, and that’s what happened. Fear of a Black Planet over Nation of Millions—seriously?,” wrote the first commenter on, reacting to our selection of Public Enemy albums. “Y’all are trippin’. Nation of Millions signaled the dawn of the Golden Age of hip-hop and was a true New York classic.” That writer went on to rightly castigate the magazine for including only one Latin-music album among the pop choices. Meanwhile, fans howled about favorites that had been excluded—what, no Taxi?! No Howard Stern?! No Cost Revs? “You may not like Billy Joel”—are you kidding?—“and, hell, you may even think some of his songs are derivative”—never!—“but he also pioneered his own distinctive sound, and he chronicled a big part of the New York experience. If we ever do the Long Island canon, we promise Billy will be on it. Finally, one fan deserves recognition for her impassioned support of left-out Moonstruck: “Such a perfect glass of Asti and cannoli lifted to the city’s screwball, romantic edge.”

2. Lawrence O’Donnell’s movie treatment of a fictitious Obama-Clinton showdown at the Democratic convention (Four Days in Denver,” April 14) had readers happily offering their own scenarios, including a shocking number (well, two) that imagined McCain dying in office. One had Hillary Clinton bartering for an allegedly better post than the presidency: “There’s one job that she and Bill covet even more than president, and that’s Supreme Court justice.” Another proposed an elaborate plot that ended with Bill Richardson watching Hillary’s inauguration in 2012, “in underpants, sobbing gently.” Finally, a reader felt O’Donnell gave undue credit to politicians for candor: “The party stalwarts sound too neutral in this; people do not act so consistently with what they say they believe.”

3. Jeff Coplon’s eulogy for the Knicks and the likely end of the Isiah Thomas era (Absolutely, Positively the Worst Team in the History of Professional Sports,” April 14) gave long-suffering fans something to feel good about. “Fabulous, in-depth, analytical, tragic. One of the best-written sports stories that I have ever read,” went one response. Some, however, took exception to tagging the Knicks as the worst of all time. “As we speak,” wrote one commenter, “the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco Giants are in worse shape in their respective sports than the Knicks.” A few even argued that the Knicks are less wretched with Thomas than they were under Scott Layden, who ran the team from 1999 to 2003. “Isiah brought us youth and hope—even if only for a split second,” wrote one reader. “Success is defined by winning—and Isiah failed at that—but this chapter in Knicks history wasn’t the darkest. I’d rather go down in flames like Isiah than have things the way the Layden era had them.”

Photo: Patrick McMullan

4. Finally, an old-fashioned letter (well, e-mail) from one Mark Peters: “I noticed something curious in the April 7 ‘Party Lines’ page. Though all of the photos of people are cut off at the waist or shoulders, you decided to show little Peter Dinklage from head to toe, in all his glory. I was wondering why you wouldn’t just show a torso shot like everyone else. Did you put him in that way because, due to his lack of height, you could, or because you didn’t think anyone would recognize him without showing where his feet are?”

Comments: April 21, 2008