Pay Grind No Mind

To the Editor:

I am the Robert F. Byrne kid quoted in The New York Times that Nicholas von Hoffman mentions at the beginning of his article on dancing [“A Glimpse of the Future, and—Yikes—It’s Bad!”, The National Observer, Jan. 15]. He draws some interesting points in the remainder of that article; however, I wish that The New York Times also included the explanation I gave after saying that quote. There are different variations of grinding. Yes, the dance looks sexual, but sexuality and pornography differ. At the dance at our high school, there were roughly 10 or so kids who were dancing as he described—inappropriate touching, etc. The thing that angered our student body the most was how they punished all of us for those kids’ wrongdoing, and also how it is now immediately assumed that this is how we all dance.

Grinding is a personal choice that two people make; it is a dance, and that is how a significant part of our generation has chosen to dance. The music industry is full of hip-hop, pop and other byproducts of music producers who pull simple melodies out of their asses to make a quick buck. There is hardly any art left in mainstream music—instead, music has now become a product. Partly because of this, grinding is the only new way to dance. There is no other new dance. It appears in music videos, and it is all our generation can do to feel even the slightest bit unique.

I never said that grinding to the extreme is morally right. I said that the school is not changing with the times. The waltz was frowned upon at one point in history because there was too much contact between the two partners dancing. I am not saying we should lower the bar for what is socially acceptable; however, I am saying that things will continue to change, and that it is impossible to stand still in time and wait for them to pass.

I am only 15. Writers must just chuckle to themselves when they hear some middle-class white kid say what he thinks about society, but it doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. There is a quote by Andy Warhol: “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” So I guess, yeah, it kind of sucks how The New York Times, after a half-hour interview on the phone, made me look like some shallow kid who likes to rub up against women. But at least I know what I believe in, and the 15 minutes of fame, either way, wasn’t such a bad thing.

Robert F. Byrne

Manlius, N.Y.

Get Your Hot Dogs! Peanuts! Playbill!

To the Editor:

Thanks to John Heilpern for his wise (and amusing) article regarding eating in Broadway theaters [“A Trough at the Theater—To Chow or Not to Chow?”, At the Theater, Jan. 15]. Yes, why can’t Americans stop eating for two hours?

Kevin Lambert


To the Editor:

Thank you! Thank you! That article should be posted in every available space throughout N.Y.C., especially around the TKTS booth and beside the box offices.

David Logan-Morrow

Boston, Mass.

Tireless Terms

To the Editor:

Bruce Feirstein’s “People, Please! Limit Terms Such As—Well, ‘Term Limits’” [New Yorker’s Diary, Jan. 15] was an amusing take on the paths of culture and politics, with one exception: “Trying to explain the difference between Shiites and Sunnis. Enough, unless the story somehow miraculously incorporates the phrase ‘both agreed to the cessation of hostilities.’”

Regardless of our views about all sorts of politics and political affairs, this matter is going to keep coming back to slap us in the face over and over again, until we (meaning both the U.S. and the West in general) get a handle on how best to deal with a powerful, resurgent, resentful Arab and Islamic world.

Sorry, but we really do need to keep explaining this to ourselves, at least until we start to understand it—even if the explanations seem hackneyed, boring and trite.

Dennis Gura

Santa Monica, Calif.

Airing Dirty Laundry

To the Editor:

Re Jason Horowitz’s “Heyyy! Who Stole Rudy’s Black Book From Carry-On?” piece in the Jan. 8, 2007, edition: As a much-maligned supposed “dirty trickster” of the Clinton era—I was the director of White House personnel security from January 1993 to June 1996—I can offer a simple explanation to this story. I believe that the campaign decided this was the best way to get their “dirty laundry” out of the way before the primary’s bright glare. I believe the Giuliani campaign just left this document out so it would be “discovered,” and then Rudy could claim foul play, etc., and get all his indiscretions out for discussion. Things aren’t always what they seem.

D. Craig Livingstone

Gaithersburg, Md. Letters