To the Editor:

I found Hooman Majd’s article (“President of Iran’s Visit to New York: One Speech for Iranian Ears Only,” Sept. 26) to be offensive and filled with rhetoric that incites hatred and prejudice toward Muslims in the U.S.

Mr. Majd mentions in your article that, en route to the Hilton, he saw women in hijabs and heels walking behind their husbands, “who walked a few paces ahead.” I firmly believe that Mr. Majd added these words not to point out that the women weren’t able to walk fast (perhaps because of their heels and full-length garb), but rather to add to the myth that Muslim women have to walk a few paces behind their husbands.

Mr. Majd also mocks the Iranian delegation by pointing out that they all have “stubble and [wear] ill-fitting suits.” Surely a person from Tehran wouldn’t know a thing or two about shaving or dressing well? He further mocks their religion by pointing out that the “bars” (in quotations in the original text, an obvious attempt at sarcasm) contained no alcoholic beverages, and that he wished he had smuggled alcohol into the function.

Lastly, Mr. Majd includes a reference to the phrase “Great Satan.” As most people know, this is the term the Ayatollah Khomeini used to describe the U.S. in his hateful tirades in the 80’s. He infers that perhaps some of the Iranian-Americans in attendance secretly refer to their adopted homeland as the Great Satan (although he did not hear the phrase uttered throughout the night).

Perhaps he doesn’t see it (although I believe he does), but articles like this incite hatred toward all Muslims living in the U.S.—whether or not they are zealots—by furthering ethnic stereotypes and gross misconceptions. I hope that next time, Mr. Majd will be a more responsible journalist. Or is that just an oxymoron these days?

Usman Shaikh


The Greatest Greta

To the Editor:

Reading Charles Taylor’s excellent appreciation of Greta Garbo [“Two-Faced Woman? The Glory of Garbo,” Mr. DVD, Sept. 26], specifically the debunking of Garbo parodists, prompts me to recommend the one successful Garbo parody I know of, which I greatly recommend if you haven’t seen it: the “Emma Bargo” sketch from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s The Best of What’s
Left of … Not Only … But Also
video. Cook rewatched several Garbo films before writing the sketch, and the research does show.

Anyway, thanks to Mr. Taylor’s piece, I’ll be on the lookout for A Woman of Affairs and Camille.

Ihsan Amanatullah

San Francisco

(Co-)Screenwriter Replies

To the Editor:

Thanks for the thoughtful mention of our film Brokeback Mountain in Rex Reed’s column about the Toronto International Film Festival [“TIFF: Thank God It’s Toronto!”, On the Town, Sept. 19].

Be advised that our screenplay was co-written by me and my writing partner, Diana Ossana. Ms. Ossana was the person who first read the story in The New Yorker in 1997 and convinced me to co-write the screenplay with her. She is also a producer on the film.

Larry McMurtry

Archer City, Tex.

Parrot Jungle

To the Editor:

Please tell Courtney Sullivan I can’t wait to use “Ivy League Tourette’s syndrome” in a conversation and pretend I made it up!

Fun article [“Toodle-oo, Book-Club Babes: I Want to Read Again!”, New Yorker’s Diary, Sept. 26], and it’s great to see Ms. Sullivan in print.

Patty Smith


Little Litotes

To the Editor:

On Sept. 19, Richard Brookhiser wrote, “It wasn’t perfect: The initial command center was in the World Trade Center itself,” [“Bush’s Suspicion of Rhetoric Led to His Lame Response,” National Observer].

Nice understatement.

Kevin Boyle

Rockaway, N.Y. Letters