August 23, 2004

Bravo To The Mailers for their lucid discussion of the anger that will arise in response to the Republican National Convention [“What I’ve Learned About Rage,” by Norman Mailer and John Buffalo Mailer, August 9]. But why should an uncivil protest benefit the Republicans as it did in the sixties? It’s not billy clubs on Fifth Avenue that matter in this election, but suicide bombs in Baghdad. Most of the country expects New Yorkers to be loud and outrageous, voicing the anguish of Middle Americans, those people the Mailers assume have been brainwashed by Bush’s clichés. Maybe they cheered for the president after 9/11, but now they’re cheering for Michael Moore.
—Jeffrey Feldman, Manhattan

Norman Mailer’s advice is both irrelevant and unnecessary. Kerry has already won the election. Who could possibly vote against 20 million new jobs (and good ones at that!), affordable high-quality medical care, middle-class tax relief, more funding for education, and strengthened homeland security—all with a balanced budget?
—Tom Farrelly, Seattle, Wash.

Congratulations to Mailer and son. Their quaint rant against corporations as the font of all evil exposes an intellectual bankruptcy that does more to discredit what passes for the left today than any right-wing polemic.
—James R. Wiggins, Manhattan

State Of Mind
Jennifer Senior’s article was so seductive it was painful [“The Independent Republic of New York,” August 9]. Secession would obviously be the best of all possible worlds, but barring that, I genuinely hope the feasibility of establishing a commonwealth is being investigated. And perhaps the idea of tax equality, as in we get back what we put in, could be explored. Again, thanks for a wonderful article. I’m going to go reread it and dream of the nation-state of New York City.
—Barnet SchecterMoby, Manhattan

It seems everyone I talk to lately threatens to move to Europe or even Canada if Bush wins in November. But Jennifer Senior’s idea is much better. Of course, secession sounds like a crazy pipe dream, but when most city residents feel like strangers in their own country, the idea of living in an autonomous New York, where we could embrace our own values, is tempting. Why not?
—Barnet SchecterTracy Saelinger, Brooklyn

Should New York City secede from the Union or even the state? As we say here in upstate New York: Don’t let the screen door hit you in the a—.
—Linda Spears, Horseheads, N.Y.

Secede from the Union? In a New York minute.
—Scott Salvator, Manhattan

Sorry, but New Yorkers were not hatched from eggs in Central Park. Too many successful writers, actors, bankers, lawyers, and designers come from other cities, such as Chicago and San Francisco. New York is indeed a metropolitan showcase of American style, where the best and the brightest from all over this country come to prosper.
—Howard Gollop, Cleveland, Ohio

As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve heard this all before. New York is treated like a pariah, but we never really fight back; we just allow ourselves to be bled dry over and over again. But what would happen if we refused to sign those checks over to Albany and Washington, hmm? What if we kept the money and spent it on our city? Would they take us to court? You bet!
—Barbara Einstein, Brooklyn

New York City is not an island off the coast of the United States. Rather, it is two islands, and two counties that spread to a small portion of a larger island, and a peninsula off the mainland. It’s bad enough to imply that New York City is separate and divided from the rest of the country, but far worse to separate and divide the city against itself.
—Joanne Mastropolo, The Bronx

The City of New York is not exclusively the island of Manhattan. In the warped Manhattan-centric view, the only good reason to even consider including the outer boroughs in the republic would be to solve the problem of where to put the prisons and sanitation stations.
—Robert J. Eddy, Forest Hills

Amazing Grace
I could not believe the naked and relentless Catholic bashing contained in the otherwise interesting article “The Convert” [by Steve Fishman, August 9]. Mr. Fishman seems to equate Catholicism with moral bankruptcy. Attitudes like these could set Jewish-Catholic relations back to the pre–Vatican II days!
—Kelliann Kavanagh, Brooklyn

As a liberal Catholic who was born Jewish, I read with sadness Mark Belnick’s statement “I’ll get even,” referring to his difficulties related to his work with Tyco. A few heartening pages earlier, Norman Mailer put it perfectly when he quoted the old Italian saying: Revenge is a dish that people of taste eat cold.
—Barbara Berman, San Francisco, Calif.

I suspect that the juror who voted to acquit Mark Belnick but noted that Belnick was morally guilty got it right. What is really shocking about Belnick are his continuing reactions: a sense of victimization, a lack of any sense of wrongdoing, a desire to get even, and a hunger to regain his wealth. For all the emphasis on his religious conversion, such sentiments reflect little learned from either his new religion or his old. It’s impossible to imagine that Pope John Paul II or the ancient Hebrew prophets would find much in his attitudes to commend.
—David B. Simpson, Tenafly, N.J.

Mark Belnick was not only acquitted of all charges but in fact chose to turn down an easy, slap-on-the-wrist plea bargain in order to clear his name. In other words, he doesn’t actually seem to have undergone the moral fall from grace that the story’s anti-Catholic title suggests.
—Fred Weller, Manhattan

Table Manners
Kelly Alexander’s essay [“Smart City: Whining and Dining,” August 9] unfairly classifies gluten-intolerant people with people who have food aversions. In fact, gluten-intolerance, or celiac disease, can be a debilitating intestinal condition. To stay healthy, the only thing celiac sufferers need are friends who care enough to take their illness seriously.
—Mona Spector, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

I disagree with Kelly Alexander that Indian food is the only solution to pleasing all the people all the time. The best solution is to take your guests out to dinner at an eclectic restaurant.
—Fran Hill, Manhattan

Shock Value
I am so happy that I was not the only person to feel both connected to and betrayed by the Six Feet Under episode [“Critics: Captive Audience,” by Emily Nussbaum, August 9]. I had to look away most of the time; the violence was so powerful I could taste it. Every week the writers and actors achieve excellence.
—Linda Lachickr, Brooklyn

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August 23, 2004