Letters

George and Hilly Must Be Stopped

To the Editor:

Let me begin by saying that I really like The New York Observer. That said, I’ve got to tell you that the amount of space the paper has devoted over the past several months to the vapid chronicles of George Gurley can no longer be dismissed as an excusable editorial affectation. Please, no more!

Mark Kozlowski

Manhattan

Between the Lines

To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing Edward Sorel [“My Fabulous (1942) Bar Mitzvah,” The Observatory, Feb. 27]! The lines in each panel, the simplicity and, somehow most of all, the appearance of Peter Arno made this especially evocative and moving.

Jennifer Paull

Manhattan

N.Y.U. Professor Responds

To the Editor:

As a professor intimately involved with many of the advanced productions at New York University’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, Undergraduate Film Program, I was dismayed by Andrew Stengel’s article, “N.Y.U.’s Li’l Big-Budget Blockbusters” [The Transom, Feb. 27]. Mr. Stengel has used the broadest possible brush to paint a misleading and misinformed image of N.Y.U.’s undergraduate film program. From the moment our students enter the school as freshman, the naïve myth that they need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on their films is relentlessly countered by a faculty that preaches the merit of a film being in its characters and story—not in any hyped-up production values. In fact, we make a point of showing our students numerous examples of award-winning short films made with scant resources and minimal budgets.

While it’s true that we don’t censor our students’ budgets (making movies can be an expensive business), just as we don’t censor their ideas, it’s again misleading to compare our department’s practices with those of U.S.C.’s. At N.Y.U., the student maintains ownership of his or her own film. At U.S.C., the university maintains ownership. Two very different situations. Still, what I found to be most depressing about Mr. Stengel’s article is the subject he chose to focus on in the first place: the cost of some of our student’s films rather than the creativity of their vision.

Ezra Sacks

Associate Professor

New York University

Manhattan

Broadway? Can’t Afford It!

To the Editor:

Re “Elliott Gets Lost in the Park—Simon’s Barefoot Stuck in ’63” [John Heilpern, At the Theater, Feb. 27]: The problem with Broadway culture, in my view, is that on Broadway—and much of what lies beyond it—one cannot distinguish between cotton-candy cuteness and having a cool factor. Let me put it this way: When you ask most people of my generation why they don’t go to the theater, they give you a look, not an answer—the same look you’d get if you asked them to spend 90 bucks for Barefoot in the Park.

Raeder Lomax

Manhattan

I Feel Like an Ass

To the Editor:

Great article on e-books [“Downloading Dickens: Inevitable, or a Fantasy?”, Richard Brookhiser, The National Observer, Feb. 27]. I’m looking forward to seeing whether publishers support this effort and prices drop; $375 is a lot of paperbacks to trust to a new technology. I, for one, hope that the textbook publishers and universities back it.

A six-pound laptop with two or three big textbooks is enough to make cycling or skating dangerous, and walking simply makes me hallucinate that there’s a Sherpa on the horizon waiting to lighten my load. Fortunately, I graduate in May.

The downside to universities backing it is that with the security, it will be impossible to find “used” e-books, and thus students will be on the hook for as much as the publishers and professors want.

Paul Thompson

Atlanta

The War’s the Thing

To the Editor:

Re “Nixon’s ’68 Comeback Offers Clues for Gore” [Roger J. Stone Jr., Wise Guys, Feb. 27]: One big difference …. Richard Nixon was on the Right side of the war.

David Beruh

Hockessin, Del.

F.D.R.’s Foe’s Family Tree

To the Editor:

Thanks to Philip Kaiser for his fascinating piece “F.D.R.’s Closest Call: What If He Had Lost?”, in which F.D.R. edged out my great-uncle Albert Ottinger for Governor of New York in 1928 [Wise Guys, Feb. 6]. One correction and quick reflection: My father, Richard Ottinger, was not Albert’s son but his nephew. Perhaps ironically, my father was and continues to be a progressive Democrat in the tradition of F.D.R. A former Congressman of 16 years and the first Democratic one from Westchester County, Richard Ottinger was recently dean of Pace Law School for 10 years and has been one of the nation’s foremost leaders on environmental and energy-sustainability issues.

While Albert was a moderate, anti-corruption Republican of that era (a minority voice in today’s Republican Party), I think I can speak for all living members of the Ottinger family that we’re very proud to be associated with, and to have had anything to do with, the rise of F.D.R. We consider F.D.R. and Eleanor Roosevelt to have been among the greatest leaders in our nation’s history.

Larry Ottinger

Washington, D.C.

Letters