September 8, 2003

In Search Of Sexy
In the preface to your list of the sexiest New Yorkers [“Sexy in the City,” August 11], Michael Tomasky insists that, unlike the citizens of L.A., where it’s all about physical beauty, New Yorkers require other qualities, like “neon seductiveness” and “streetwiseness.” And yet in Amy Larocca’s companion piece [“Street Talking”], a panel of “experts” evaluates the sexiness of a group of random New Yorkers based solely on their physical appearance. So how, exactly, are we different from L.A. again?
- Jamie Beaman, Manhattan

Model Student
Heidi klum is one of the sexiest New Yorkers, sure. But how about an article advising how a regular guy can date her? Robert Roth, Brooklyn

You’re The One For Me, Fatty
There aren’t many men sexier than James Gandolfini. So, at the risk of sounding totally p.c., might I suggest that he has earned a better (and sexier) title than fatty. How about “larger than life”?
- Kay Broughton, Maple Shade, N.J.

On The Mark
Just a couple of quick points concerning Michael Tomasky’s “Mark My Words” [“The City Politic,” August 11]. To say that “Jack Newfield and Colin Miner have written a series of pieces trying to nail the Green campaign on everything from alleged money- laundering to racial arson” unfairly characterizes our reporting, which has been about possible violations of the law and campaign-finance regulations and not about Mark Green. Of the nearly three dozen stories we have done, only eight have mentioned Mr. Green’s campaign at any length. Our stories have focused on what happened, who knew what, and what is being investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. Mr. Tomasky quotes Mr. Green describing Jack Newfield as someone who “repeatedly” implies that Green is a “corrupt racist.” That is Mr. Green once again responding to charges that have never been made. If, as Mr. Tomasky writes, there is a battle going on between Mr. Green and Mr. Newfield, it is being waged only by Mr. Green.
- Colin Miner, Manhattan

Compromising Position
Michael Tomasky blames the “Sharpton flyer” for Mark Green’s mayoral defeat. However, just as Florida was only one cause of Al Gore’s defeat, there were many other reasons for Bloomberg’s victory. One of the most galling moments for Green’s liberal supporters was when he yielded to Giuliani’s threat and promised him three more months in office if elected. It was then we realized how deluded we were in thinking him a man of principle with great leadership ability.
- Robert M. Ginsberg, Manhattan

On Green’S Team
As a person who’s been, and still is, fairly well acquainted with Mark Green, I was elated to read Mr. Tomasky’s “Mark My Words.” I have volunteered for Mark in all his campaigns since the late eighties. What drew me then, and still does today, is his tenacious commitment to liberal ideology and philosophy; I have never questioned his integrity. As for his personality? True, he can be arrogant and snobbish, especially to those who haven’t climbed very high in the ranks of the Democratic Party. And yet if Mark should run for office again, I’ll continue my masochist ways and give his campaign my all.
- Hilda B. Classon, Manhattan

Parsing The Peace
I hate to parade on Michael Wolff’s rain—namely, his claim that “the extent of the screwup in Iraq is nearly as great as it could possibly be” [“This Media Life: In Search of WM(S)D,” August 11]—but there’s some good news, too. Of course, you won’t read about it in the Times; you have to look at the blogs and read soldiers’ letters home and the like. You’d think liberals would be happy that Iraq’s hospitals, schools, and courts are slowly reviving, but no—it helps Bush, and we can’t have that. To be sure, the left is all for the wretched of the earth, including those in Baghdad and Tehran. But let’s get our priorities straight: Bashing the opposing team is more important.
- Jeffrey Gross, Brooklyn

A Blip Or A Blot?
Michael Wolff deftly summarizes the opposing media narratives that could come to define the Iraq war. I would, however, disagree when he concludes that the war will represent either a permanent blot on the Bush administration, on the one hand, or merely a momentary and fixable “blip.” It seems to me that the very thing that keeps the issue churning is that it is both. While Bush’s handlers scramble to minimize the damage incurred by reports of hyped intelligence leading up to the war, his opponents will continue to harp on them. If there is anything that the process of democratic politics has taught us, it is that there is always more than one story, always more than one truth—notwithstanding the fact that there can be but one winner when the polls are finally in.
- Lee Stringer, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

What’S At Stake
Reading Michael Wolff’s “Weapons of WM(S)D,” you’d think all is lost. Here’s my forecast: a difficult road ahead, the eventual death of radical Islamic fundamentalism, some sort of Israeli-Palestinian compromise, quasi-democratic leadership in the Middle East, and an eventual American pullback from the region. The alternative: American capitulation, a nuclear device exploding in a large city, all-out retaliation, a deathly pall over international affairs for generations. Time will tell.
- Harold Paez, Brooklyn

How thrilling it was to read John Simon’s review of Big River [“Theater: The Twain Meet,” August 11]. The recognition of how the beauty of sign language is incorporated into the play was long overdue. For that, I am grateful for the exposure; however, the term deaf-mute is demeaning and totally unacceptable to the deaf community.
- Judith M. Gilliam, Talladega, Ala.

Do Your Homework
As attorneys of Din Legal Center, Inc., a legal-services organization that represents Jewish victims (both male and female) of domestic abuse in Jewish court (Beis Din) and family court, we want to commend Craig Horowitz for making public an issue that has been brewing in the Jewish community for years [“An Unorthodox Divorce,” July 28]. Clearly, Jewish law has been turned on its head and is now being abused by unscrupulous husbands who use willing rabbis as their personal tools. A woman should do her homework prior to entering a Beis Din or before pursuing a Jewish divorce just as she should before going to civil court to get a civil divorce. Learning basic tenets of Jewish matrimonial and procedural law or finding someone who is trustworthy and knowledgeable in the field is vital and will ultimately save her years of emotional and financial hardship. Only the Beis Din, and not a New York court, can grant a Jewish woman or man a Jewish divorce, and it need not be as painful as that described in your article.
- Margaret E. Retter and Rebecca E. Samson, Manhattan

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September 8, 2003