Letters to the editor
Rap and Imuss real hos
To The Editor:
In its April 11 editorial about Imus, The Villager wonders, How these words even found their way into his head, well never know. Actually, any teenager, or even preteen will know: Its hip-hop and its everywhere.
Those are hip-hops normal terms of speech about women, most usually black women, of course, but it puts white and black women who deplore and detest it in a difficult position: To date, protests by both groups have been futile. There may also be some reluctance of black women to fight black men, who, after generations as Stepin Fetchit, are now stars and kingpins especially since theyre more likely to be humiliated in the fight than successful.
Still, the news on Friday the 13th that Imus had been fired, while reaction continues to build, may mark a step forward.
As for the why of Imuss blunder, today its axiomatic that culture and style, which used to arrive top down, from the rich to the masses, come from the street. Like the kid with his preppy blond hair teased into a pathetic imitation of dreadlocks I found applying graffiti to a mailbox on Bedford St. one night: He admitted attending a prestigious East Coast prep school, but insisted that marking on the mailbox was his own idea and he did it for fun.
Imus may be old enough to be that kids grandfather, but he still thinks its fun and cool to call women hos. He was making a joke, being humorous, he explained. Why anyone not among the criminally insane would find that remark humorous is a question not yet answered, although its clear that many do.
An even more serious point, not sufficiently stressed in all this palaver, is about the powerful, important, successful politicians, writers and journalists et al., who, knowing Imuss propensities full well, still lent him their presence for their own purposes, becoming the source of much of his power. We cant necessarily blame Imus for being a moron, but we can blame his enablers, who are the real hos.
As for the culture Imus finds so cool and funny that he imitates it, any 6-year-old can access it on YouTube. Click on Ludacris P Poppin. (The P stands for a part of the female genitalia, and the video is a contest about shaking said genitalia.) Yes, on YouTube, in a culture that wont let 6-year-olds see Star Wars because of the violence and in which a university refuses to let college women produce The Vagina Monologues, a huge sum is offered to the very same Ludacris.
Yes, St. Johns University denied permission to a student group to perform The Vagina Monologues for Valentines Day, but engaged Ludacris for its April 21 Queens campus spring concert, presumably for his usual $85,000 fee. However, the April 12 Queens Times-Ledger reports that last week the university cancelled even the sanitized for radio version of Ludacris due, we dare assume, to the Imus uproar.
Meanwhile, search Ludacris or any other rapper and ho on the Internet and a million stories will pop up, although, for at least a while, the genre may be somewhat sanitized. Thanks to Imus.
You can have Kucinich
To The Editor:
Re Medias anti-Kucinich spin (letter, by Claire McGee, April 11):
Having been directly subjected to Do Nothing Denny for the past 10-plus years as a resident of northeast Ohio, I can vouch that his 40-year political history paints him as a total joke.
Thirty years ago, the ex-boy wonder mayor was able in less than one year to lead Cleveland into becoming the first major city in the U.S.A. since the 1930s Depression to default. Unfortunately, he survived a recall election by 200 votes.
More recently, in his past 10-plus years as the congressional representative for northeast Ohio, just one bill he sponsored has become federal law allowing a Ukrainian organization to rebroadcast television programs. Outstanding work for the locals.
Kucinich was and continues to be a big-mouthed clown who accomplishes nothing. He represents northeast Ohio to our shame.
Dennis J. Kampe
Just give us the facts
To The Editor:
Re Stop the silly lawsuits (letter, by Bob OSullivan, April 11) and Keep fighting, Greenberg! (letter, by Stacy Kaufman, April 11):
As a psychology professor, I find motivation fascinating. I taught a semester-long course titled Human Motivation. But as district leader, I need facts.
Two dueling letters in the April 11 Villager discussed motivation and Washington Square Park. One claims that Jonathan Greenberg fights the redesign of the park because he wants to be on the City Council; the other says that New York University wants a flat central plaza to fit more chairs at graduation. I doubt both, but my doubts are irrelevant.
We need facts, not speculation.
The city Parks Department has not yet told the community the specifics of the initial bid documents for Washington Square Parks renovation, nor how those documents were revised when the first responses were prohibitively expensive. Community Board 2, in a unanimous resolution in November 2006, asked Parks to give us accurate, written, up-to-date plans. That request was repeated many times, but the Parks Department did not appear on the advice of their lawyers, because an appeal was pending.
Now that the city won their appeal, C.B. 2s Parks and Waterfront Committee resolved that Parks present plans by May 9, 2007. If not, C.B. 2 approval will be withdrawn. This resolution will be voted on by the full board on April 19.
Most people would agree with the first letter that the current park is in terrible physical condition and with the second letter that the park must retain its historic and user-friendly condition. I wonder why our park has been allowed to deteriorate, or why user-friendly is crucial. But stop. No more speculation.
I hope the Parks Department will tell us the facts.
Berger is female Democratic district leader for the 66th Assembly District, Part A, and member, Community Board 2 Parks and Waterfront Committee
Hey, Bob not running
To The Editor:
Re Stop the silly lawsuits (letter, by Bob OSullivan, April 11):
Bob OSullivans letter provides insight into the thinking and tactics of that increasingly rare Villager: one who still supports the immensely unpopular radical redesign, unnecessary closing and fencing in of Washington Square Park.
Bob has no tolerance of anyone who lobbies for something different than what the Parks Department has from on high and with no consultation, survey or study chosen to give us. According to Bob, community activism should bethe art of pleasing the powerful as they do what they, in their munificence, choose with our tax dollars and public space. As a strategy for advancing his brand of community involvement, OSullivan borrows a page from Karl Roves playbook: When the facts are stacked against him, he chooses to ignore the message and insult the messengers.
Without one word responding to my March 21 talking points documentation of the deception that the Parks Department used to gain approval for its radical redesign, he accuses me of being divisive in pursuit of publicity. He asserts that I am attacking New York University, in my desire to run for City Council. Had he bothered to actually read our legal filings or court rulings, he would have found that we never mention N.Y.U. The attack N.Y.U. lie comes right after he disparages Councilmember Alan Gersons painful and incompetent tenure.
While I continue to oppose many of Alans positions regarding the park redesign, I know of nobody who has devoted himself so selflessly to public service to our community, and I find OSullivans allegation of Alans incompetenceinaccurate and obnoxious.
Community Board 2 is another of OSullivans targets. C.B. 2 representatives and numerous Democratic clubs are characterized as blowhards of the Village political establishment for trying to stand up for preserving the park so many of us love, and daring to question the three-year construction job and radical transformation that is about to happen. In the world according to OSullivan, the struggle for C.B. 2 to insist on reviewing Parks full plans before the bulldozers start becomes objectionable grandstanding.
The full C.B. 2 board will vote on Thursday evening, April 19, whether torescind its earlier approval if Parks continues to refuse to submit its final plans for review. OSullivan would have everyone shut up and rubber-stamp whatever the Parks Department thinks is best for us.
All in all, I find that OSullivans nasty letter represents the desperateflailing of a dwindling but powerful minority. He stands with the WashingtonSquare Park Association and at most a few dozen Villagers in supporting animmensely unpopular radical redesign that has been bulldozed through ourcommunity on a road of distortions, lies and withheld information.
Meanwhile, Judson Church recently joined the growing ranks of institutions and officials opposing this plan and the Parks Departments manipulation of the public process to get it passed. Village Independent Democrats has long been against it, the Greenwich Village Block Associations opposes it, surveys show that some 98 percent of park users are against it, as are the editorial pages of The New York Times, the New York Post, The Villager and the Washington Square News. Even the Washington Square Park Council, of which OSullivan was once president, refuses to support the plan.
The only true statement OSullivan makes is that most Villagers want thepark renovated as soon as possible. Certainly, we all want it repaired and improved; but as soon as possible means repairing, not radically redesigning. The unpopular redesign plan would close at least half the park for two to three years, possibly much more, and transform its very spirit. Repairs could start next week if Parks would only listen to our community and drop its insistence that it be their radical redesign or nothing.
OSullivan reveals his real feelings at the end of his letter when hecomplains that it took 40 years to change the parks existing design. Bob OSullivan, like the members of the Washington Square Park Association whom I have heard speak, finds the current open assembly and impromptu performances in the park a misuse of this great public space, instead of aunique asset that characterizes the open spirit of Greenwich Village. Hencethe park needs a radical redesign so it can be fenced, manicured and admired from Fifth Ave. terraces, while the people who visit it are forced to adapt to a place inhospitable to hanging out.
In closing, Mr. OSullivan, let me clearly state that I am not running forCity Council.
Nor, however, am I running from anyone. Not Parks Commissioner AdrianBenepe, nor our billionaire, privatization-mad mayor, nor the fact-reversingfiction-writing Appellate judges intent upon inventing a revisionist coverfor their political fix. Nor, Bob, from the slimy innuendos of a tiny,powerful minority. There are many more Villagers who feel as I do about thepark than there are elitists like Bob OSullivan who hate the way the parkis and want it transformed into something else and theyre not runningeither.
Greenberg is coordinator, Open Washington Square Park Coalition
N.Y.U. is so predictable
To The Editor:
Re N.Y.U. support for new historic district goes south (news article, April 11):
Is it any surprise that New York University is saying that they support the designation, while their actions say otherwise? I do not suppose that a South Village Historic District is in their best interest. How would they be able to continue tearing down buildings, putting up poorly designed structures and thereby altering our neighborhood if a landmark district existed?
Beam is a member, Van Dam Street Block Association and South Village Historic District Designation Advisory Board
Little Britain vs. Starbucks
To The Editor:
Re Rule Britannia! English merchants push for new district (news article, March 21) and Little Britain? Balderdash! (letter, by Miriam Sarzin, March 28):
Bully for Little Britain!
Miriam Sarzin recalls living above a block of family-owned shops, which is precisely what Little Britain conjures. Its not Little Barnes & Noble or Little Starbucks, but a fascinating destination point that can only stimulate worldwide visits to the whole area. It is a good fit, and would look even better on a tourist map.
And how lovely that so many multiethnic neighbors have organized around the idea. How perceptive that city officials think it an idea that should have happened by now.
Little Britain seems to stave off the invasive doom of gentrification and chain stores, and give a nod to a vital independent presence in the Village.
While I agree that not much can lessen the eternal confusion between Greenwich Ave. and Greenwich St., one is bound to wander into Meyers of Keswick, Tea & Sympathy, Showroom 64 or Soho House to ask proper directions
. Cheers to the whole idea!
The April 4 obituary of Dr. Hartvig Dahl erroneously said his mother died when he was 6. In fact, she lived to the age of 95. Survivors in addition to his wife, Virginia Teller, are a son, Christopher, of Seattle and a sister, Carol Kempf, of Minneapolis.
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