August 16, 2004
Abigail Pogrebin is a perfect example of what is called in elementary logic courses the pathetic fallacy: assuming that the world is what we think it ought to be [“Family Affairs: Nanny Scam,” by Abigail Pogrebin, July 26–August 2]. Even after all the irrefutable evidence is in, she still can’t accept the inevitable conclusion that conflicts with her liberal predisposition. Pathetic indeed!
—Burton M. Leiser, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Many thanks to Abigail Pogrebin for shedding some light on an all-too-common occurrence: nannies stealing from the families for whom they work. As for Ms. Pogrebin’s “liberal guilt,” get over it.
—Goldi Goldberg, Manhattan
Sorry, Abigail Pogrebin, I don’t feel sorry for you. I found your sanctimonious assurances that you were always feeling guilty about the economic gap between you and your nanny just a little disingenuous. Whether you believe it or not, you took advantage of your nanny before she took advantage of you. Her job was to care for your children, not to be your personal banker. In the future, go to the ATM yourself.
—Cari Oleskewicz, Baltimore, MD.
Parents and their children’s nannies need to understand that the relationship between them is based on business. Why would an employer ever hand over the keys to the kitty to an employee? I would not even give my ATM card to my kids!
—Jonathan Shaatal, Staten Island, N.Y.
Abigail Pogrebin plays for sympathy, while her conscience allows her to feel just “a little devious” when she blithely cuts off her ex-nanny’s most likely means of support. She then complains that she has not received a “good-faith nickel” in return. The hyper-privilege that suffuses Ms. Pogrebin’s aggrieved righteousness allows her to feel positively saintly about urging Maria to get a lawyer, having herself caused the woman to need a lawyer in the first place. Ms. Pogrebin calls herself a “liberal sucker,” but I wonder what punishment she would advocate if she considered herself a conservative: exile to Guantánamo?
—Jennifer Vorbach, Manhattan
Count me among those who are incredulous that anyone would give her ATM card and pin to the nanny. It is simply not a babysitter’s job to get cash when her employer is too lazy or disorganized to do it herself. By the way, getting your nails done with the nanny is supposed to make her adore you? Ms. Pogrebin really seems to be drowning in overwhelming guilt over paying a stranger to raise her children.
—Page Bondor, Manhattan
Why do people who employ nannies or home-care workers feel this liberal guilt about firing someone who has stolen? Unless these people employing domestics are severely underpaying them, they should not feel guilty about their money or possessions, nor should they feel guilty about having the law enforced.
—Alan Weaver, Norwalk, Conn.
Ms. Pogrebin shows us a woman completely out of touch with the realities of poverty and the struggle of the underclass that occurs right beneath her very nose. All she seems to understand is that her perfect little world was suddenly struck off balance.
—Nicholas Boston, Brooklyn
Wow! Don’t piss Abigail Pogrebin off! It’s ironic she thinks her young children learned a valuable lesson from the nanny-firing and subsequent slander, because they actually did. They learned not to forgive, not to be kind, not to be compassionate, and above all, to go after and torture anyone who crosses their path in a negative way. There’s a lesson in her story for us, all right, but Ms. Pogrebin didn’t get it.
—Paddy Scott Tosches, Ridgewood, N.J.
Law And Order
Robert Kolker’s piece on District Attorney Robert Morgenthau [“Happy 85th Birthday, Bob Morgenthau,” July 26–August 2] points out that Mr. Morgenthau quickly vacated the sentences against the five kids falsely imprisoned in the infamous Central Park jogger case, while somehow leaving out the unpleasant fact that it was Mr. Morgenthau who originally helped the NYPD frame them in the first place.
—Christopher X. Brodeur, Manhattan
Robert Morgenthau’s long and dedicated service to our community is now being tarnished by the Palladium murder convictions that have unjustly incarcerated two men for over a decade. He now has a chance to reclaim the respect that he may have lost because of this injustice, and to quickly move to reverse this travesty.
—Alan Solomon, Weston, Fla.
i just flipped through my Eat Cheap issue [July 26-August 2]. I have to say, the design of the magazine is fantastic. I love the covers, features, and photography—it’s all superb. I don’t know why but I only recently started noticing this.
—Peter Noah, Manhattan
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