Honor Thy Writer of Talese

To the Editor:

I cannot find the words to tell you how much I enjoyed Jason Horowitz’s piece on Gay Talese [“Honor Thy Talese,” April 24]. Oh, … yes, I can. It was a masterpiece—crafted beautifully and spun together like fine silk. I discovered it because I couldn’t sleep. I’m so glad I had insomnia. I so admire Mr. Horowitz for taking him on as a subject. How daunting that must have been. I have long admired Mr. Talese and his ability to tell the world to jump off a cliff. Ah, that we could all be so bold. I was thrilled to learn of his writing habits and learn that, perhaps, I’m not crazy—maybe a bit eccentric. It took me seven years to write my first book because I was meeting other deadlines. Izzy’s Fire could have taken me 10 years or more, but I wanted to publish it in my lifetime! Anyway, I just had to write a note to encourage Mr. Horowitz. I was positively captivated by his words and especially because they opened the lid to something wonderful I had always wanted to know about.

Keep up the good work. Mr. Horo-witz has reminded me why, after almost 30 years, I still yearn to be a writer. He has painted a beautiful word picture.

Nancy Wright Beasley

Richmond, Va.

A Quick Study

To the Editor:

Re Ron Rosenbaum’s article “When Intellectuals Had a Real Magazine: Viva Lingua Franca!” [The Edgy Enthusiast, April 24]: While it’s not the same as its source, one can be slightly heartened by the existence of Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca, edited by Alexander Star.

Ryan Purdy


Gin Rummy

To the Editor:

Re Richard Brookhiser’s column “Critics Assail Rumsfeld, But What Is Their Plan?” [The National Observer, April 24]: Iraq is a mess because the Bush administration ignored the advice of the professional soldiers for the size of force required to occupy Iraq.

Where is the accountability?

Given that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and liar Bush conned the nation into supporting the invasion, why are we even there?

John J. Leonard

Medina, Ohio

To the Editor:

I just read Mr. Brookhiser’s piece about Rummy and the generals, and since it is really marvelous, I thought I would tell you so and thank Mr. Brookhiser for it.

Midge Decter


Say Something New About TV News

To the Editor:

Jane Whitney’s April 17 op-ed about TV network news [“Why Pretend That TV Actually Covers News?”, Wise Guys] revisits old territory—the declining standard of TV news, the commingling of news and entertainment, a preference for anchor Q-ratings rather than anchor “gravitas.”

Though Ms. Whitney’s assessments hit the mark, they also miss it. The America of the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s—the years of Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor, Reasoner, Walters, Brokaw, Rather and Jennings—are gone. The days when families sat around their television sets at 6:30 in the evening are gone.

The technology of electronic newsgathering is forever changed. During the Vietnam War, reports on that far-flung conflict could take several days to reach the anchor desk in New York. Today, events can be covered immediately and live. When the jetliners used as missiles hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, every network news division—and the cable networks too—went live with blanket coverage. In a way, that coverage was a throwback to the 1963 Kennedy assassination, when a nation sat riveted to the television screen for four days.

It’s easy to say that network news has seen its best days, but as Mark Twain said when his obituary was mistakenly published, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Paul Kellogg


The Doonan Defense Continued

To the Editor:

As an artist, I just want to voice my wholehearted support of Simon Doonan in this Jack-madness [“How Did I Become the Typhoid Mary of the Art World?”, Simon Says, April 17]. The problem here has to do with what Nietzsche called “the lust for ownership.” You see, Jack Pierson thinks he owns an “idea,” the idea being the use of found lettering. I can only say that in defense of art and decency, I am compelled to just let Mr. Doonan know that I am firmly on his side. Over and out!

M.F. Tichy

Manhattan Letters