Standing Up to a Stand-Up Guy

To the Editor:

I like Joe Conason because I think he’s a stand-up guy. He has been an ardent defender of President Clinton and his administration’s accomplishments. So it is with regret that I conclude that he has gotten Joe Lieberman all wrong in his July 17 column [“Lieberman Misses Point of Opponents”].

Senator Lieberman has a proven track record of taking on big business—just ask the oil industry and Hollywood—from his days as Connecticut’s attorney general to his career in the Senate. He also has a proven track record of working for the people of Connecticut, and that means fighting to keep jobs in the state whether they are defense-related, insurance companies, small and medium-sized exporters or pharmaceutical companies. Because of his efforts, 33,000 jobs were saved at the state’s submarine base. That’s what a Senator is supposed to do: stand up for the people of his state.

The idea that Mr. Lieberman’s wife or anyone else sways him to take a position that he might not otherwise have taken is just plain wrong. I have worked for him and known him for nearly 20 years, and Joe Lieberman is all about integrity. Besides, his wife is an advisor, not a lobbyist for Hill and Knowlton or anyone else. As to the New Haven Register editorial that Mr. Conason refers to in his article, it disagrees with the Senator’s policy position. It does not question his integrity.

Joe Lieberman works for the people of Connecticut, and if he does anyone’s “bidding,” it is theirs.

Bill Danvers

Arlington, Va.

No God in Vegas

To the Editor:

Star Jones’ consultation with God, and all of those other chosen ones, needs to be taken down a notch [“Are You There, God? It’s Moi, Muddled …. ”, Simon Doonan, Simon Says, July 17].

I cringe whenever I hear someone say, “God was watching over me, therefore I was spared.” Or when I’m at the casino and the person next to me makes the sign of the cross before pulling that handle on the slot machine. Or after they win something, they say, “Thank you, God.” I told one lady, “Do you think God wants you to be gambling?”

Mary Lorene Salgardo

Fort Pierce, Fla.

Dearest Mommie

To the Editor:

I simply wanted to write and say I vastly enjoyed Mr. Taylor’s review of the new edition of Mommie Dearest [“No More Wire Hangers! Dunaway’s Mommie Returns,” Mr. DVD, July 3-10]. He really dug deep into the true meaning of the story and revealed it—not something easy to do. The comparison to Sunset Blvd. was also intriguing. Both films, after all, are about how a society throws things away—something both Joan and Norma were afraid of. Now the only thing I can complain about is his claim at the end of the review that Joan turned into a monster. Although this may be true—and certainly the character in the film did—I do not feel one can say for certain that Ms. Crawford became that monster. There are conflicting opinions, after all (Carl Johnes’ The Last Years, for one). Anyway, great review and thanks!

Jonathon Denson

Lansing, Mich.

Tears for Lears

To the Editor:

Re “Considering King Lear: Kline Road-Tests Part in Super-Secret Heath” [Ron Rosenbaum, The Edgy Enthusiast, July 3-10]: I’m a 67-year-old amateur actor. (Two or three dozen provincial-theater roles, Lear not among them.) I had to cry onstage, once. Raised to not cry, I couldn’t.

In preparing for my crying moment (I hope the inspiration for this was mine; don’t remember), I went to Lear’s last speech. It was the five-times-uttered “never” that stopped me cold. In the Lears I’d seen, the actors, I felt—all of them—failed to give those “nevers” their due. The more I read them and mouthed them, the more I was persuaded that a world is contained in them and that each is perfectly different from the others, ending with a finality and naked affirmation that chills the bones.

Anyway, that last speech—with its breathing dog, horse and rat, and its still Cordelia—made me cry while practicing it. I rushed to a mirror and looked at my ugly, buckled face. I listened to my voice breaking like an adolescent boy’s. I was living alone after 18 years of raising my three kids (two girls) as a single father, so I could do this without self-consciousness or alarming anybody. What a weird moment!

When I finally had to do it onstage, I got lots of compliments, nobody noticing that I was actually dry-eyed. I haven’t tried in a long time, but I’d bet Lear would still yank tears from me—at least my Lear.

As for Kline’s, Mr. Rosenbaum didn’t say. His article was provocative and a fucking tease.

Mitch Clogg

Mendocino, Calif. Letters