You’re Not Clever

To the Editor:

Re the headline “Hillary’s Chest Gets Bigger as ’08 Gets Closer” [Ben Smith and Jessica Bruder, Oct. 24]: What a cheap, cheap shot. What were you thinking? What decade—heck, what century?—are you all living in that you don’t see how this reflects upon you as journalists? How inappropriately sexist and sophomoric to use that headline. I find the humor (it was humor, right?) out of place. I’d expect to have to tune into one of radio’s “morning zoo” programs—the ones aimed at testosterone-riddled, unseasoned young male listeners—to find it. That audience would expect it and, at that juncture in their lives, appreciate the “joke.”

It wasn’t clever, it wasn’t even acerbic, it brought no insight to the article, and it reflects badly on The New York Observer and its content. The headline sends a clear message that The Observer doesn’t think the accompanying article is important enough to be treated seriously. I have to ask: Why then do you think your readers should treat it seriously?

This has definitely changed my impression of the level of reporting at your paper.

J.E. Cooper

Bloomfield, N.J.

Still Waters Run Deep

To the Editor:

I enjoyed Rebecca Dana’s piece on Michelle Kosinski’s canoe misadventure on the waters of the Passaic River [“Lovely Canoe-Gate Girl Tells All,” NYTV, Oct. 24]. Then, after reading it and mulling it over, it hit me that there was a more serious aspect to the story.

Ms. Kosinski said she had never been in a solo canoe before. Putting her in a canoe on floodwaters—even floodwaters that seem on the surface to be still—is like putting somebody on rollerblades for the first time.

Solo canoeing is something you shouldn’t try for the first time in the dark on floodwaters. People familiar with canoeing learn about the trickiness of eddy lines, and the danger posed by strainers and by foot entrapment. Flooded areas are notorious for those two dangers.

It’s a good thing she did stay embarrassingly close to shore. If she had paddled out to waist-deep water in the darkness, she possibly could have drifted out into a river current, been unable to control her canoe, and then NBC would have had a very interesting story to report.

Tom Butler

Tallahassee, Fla.

Don’t Mess With Texas

To the Editor:

Nicholas von Hoffman’s illuminating article made me feel a little better and gave me a new way to examine the Harriet Miers issue [“Cronyism on the Court? What a Shocking Thought!”, The National Observer, Oct. 24].

But a remark: My understanding is that S.M.U. Law School is the way to be a top Texas lawyer, perhaps mainly due to networking and being acquainted with the big guns there. It is a force to be reckoned with, not to be belittled. I think this would be a particularly important and not an easy career path for a woman lawyer in the state. For Harvard Law as well, “Who you know” is a major plus, isn’t it?

A Philadelphian by birth and an East Coast liberal at heart, I’ve lived in Texas for over 30 years. I never did convert, never felt quite at home, but I did grow to admire (or respect) the power and pride of the Texan.

Judith Goldman


Liberal Bias

To the Editor:

Even I, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, am not happy with George W. Bush. Not happy at all. Then I read the musings of a frustrated liberal [“Who’ll Clean Up the Bush Mess? Gore and Clinton (Bill, That Is),” Michael M. Thomas, The Midas Watch, Oct. 17] and realized how crazy a lot liberals are. The second Bush-election vote was for the lesser of two evils, and 2008 will be no different for America. A Republican will be elected again just because of the fear of liberals like Mr. Thomas.

Mark Newman

Lutz, Fla.

Movie Madness

To the Editor:

I have been in New York for only a year and a half and so have never had the pleasure of reading Andrew Sarris’ column [At the Movies] until just last year. The breadth of his knowledge, his memory and his point of view make each issue a pure joy to read.

I hope he won’t be offended, but I’ve long thought that only Leonard Maltin’s brief pocket reviews come close to what I look for in a review to help me understand whether the movie is any good and whether I would want to see it. (Roger Ebert is way too gushy, and I was never interested in Pauline Kael’s point of view.)

I now add Mr. Sarris’ expansive reviews as required reading for films, past and present, to help point the way.

Steve Douglas