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Letters to the Editor


In the past 60 years I have never read such diarrhea of the brain as 'Purification Rites' by Jason Berry (Nov. 16). It is so evil that I will keep the issue at hand both to remind me of such vilification and to remind many not to support the businesses which provide funds for such public defamation.

I will print out and take with me copies of this note to give to the many people I deal with every day. If they chose to continue to support Gambit Weekly, that is their choice. But they will know well that I will not support them.

Peter G. Burke

NECESSARY "PURIFICATION" Having just moved from the Dallas area to the Northshore, I am happy to finally find a newspaper that publishes real journalism and has competent, articulate writers. I especially found Jason Berry's article 'Purification Rites' extremely well-written and researched.

It appears your paper is the only one ready to take an objective stance on issues and risk offending any locals. I agree with Berry's thoughts on the pitiful situation in Rome and applaud his attempt to expose a centuries old 'good old boys' system. I was a practicing Catholic but over the past years have distanced myself from the organization. The church's focus is directed toward perpetuating itself and its power, and not toward Christ's mission. Keep up the good work and keep exposing hypocrisy when necessary.

Marion Frayne


Your parade of assorted items trimmed or covered in animal remains is, to say the least, hideous ('Haute for the Holidays,' L'Image, Nov. 9)! I cannot imagine the vain and vapid individual who would find these tacky and gruesome items attractive. I don't think hookers would even be so tacky as to drape these awful remnants on their bodies!

Although fashion magazines and articles seem to be falling all over themselves to push the remains of violently murdered animals this season, I, for one, cannot and will not accept this trend. Fur is not new, and it has not, all of a sudden, become humane to electrocute, gas, strangle, trap, drown or otherwise murder animals for human uses including 'fashion.'

Timothy Wright Chicago, IL


Kudos to Mr. Bill Sasser for his adept overview of Loreta Velazquez's life, autobiography and controversy ('The Lady in Gray,' Sept. 14). As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and a graduate history student at Rutgers University-Newark, I have had three occasions to write about Velazquez, including in my B.A. thesis. I have examined many of the arguments of her detractors, as well as the evidence put forward for the essential veracity for much of The Woman in Battle presented by Elizabeth D. Leonard in All the Daring of the Soldier, as well as by Blanton and Cook. I believe that though the book contains exaggerations, Velazquez's account is basically truthful. For those who questioned her Cuban origins, I point to the fact that she obviously knew Spanish, which was not common knowledge among non-Hispanic whites in the mid- to late-19th century United States. She may have been of partial Latino descent even if she really was the woman soldier and spy documented in newspaper accounts as Laura J. Williams. (I suspect, however, that her real name was Loreta Janeta Velazquez.)

I have yet to see Rebel, but I commend your efforts in getting the facts out before the public. Velazquez is a significant figure in the strange history of the Confederacy and the Civil War, and her life and memoirs touch on a number of larger issues. If we try to blot out her book, we blot out the past and present reality of the South and the United States, as well as the fraught nature of race, gender, class and sexuality.

Mike DeMarco New Providence, NJ


Dan Kennedy's story about Fallujah ('The Morning After,' Nov. 3) was basically a well-written and informative piece, but it does not help clarify the already confusing situation to tell me about 'Iraq's Sunni majority' in the third paragraph and 'Iraq's Sunni minority' in the sixth paragraph. Also, what he calls 'the grotesque anti-Semitism that lies just beneath the surface in many Arab and Muslim societies' would indeed be grotesque, since Arabs are a Semitic people. 'Anti-Jewish feeling' might have been better.

Steve Steinberg

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Sunnis are a minority in Iraq. Gambit Weekly regrets the error.


I was reading the Nov. 30 edition of Gambit and came across the article 'Tru Colors' regarding the Le Petit Theatre play Tru. In the article, Dalt Wonk refers to a photograph of a young Truman Capote 'sitting on a wrought-iron bench surrounded by giant elephant-ear plants.' I am familiar with the photograph, which was actually taken in New Orleans by the iconic French street photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. The photo of Capote was taken in 1947 by Cartier-Bresson, while on an assignment for Harper's Bazaar, during which the two hung out together for a few days in New Orleans.

When I turned the page, I found an article about a photo exhibit featuring the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson ('Time Meets Space'). The article describes Cartier-Bresson as 'tall and lithe,' a man who 'took pictures on the fly.' I was reminded that, in Capote's recollections of his encounter with Cartier-Bresson, he described Cartier-Bresson flitting in and out of a crowd on St. Charles Avenue taking pictures, with four cameras clanging around his neck. While Capote's impressions of Cartier-Bresson's unbridled energy were on the mark, Cartier-Bresson was known to shoot with only one small Leica, with perhaps a spare in his bag. Either Capote exaggerated the encounter for effect or Cartier-Bresson gave the impression of superhuman energy and focus while stalking and capturing his prey with his Leica. Dennis Couvillion

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