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Letters to the Editor

Smoking Susan: What was Susan Orwell -- er, ah, Eastman -- smoking when she penned "1984 and Counting" (September 27)?

First, Katie Couric and others had the correct and not Orwellian responses to the terrorist tragedies in New York and Washington, D.C. What was Orwellian about them or the various types of patriotism shown during the past two weeks by truly concerned Americans? Truly Orwellian was Eastman's comment that a small group of Palestinians cheered the second hijacked plane as it crashed into the World Trade Center! In fact it was bullshit!

Paula Zahn showed thousands of Palestinians and Arabs celebrating in Nablus, Ramallah, and even in Beirut to that Orwellian fraud, the Christian (and therefore infidel) Hanan Ashwari of the Palestinian Authority. Ashwari begged Zahn to remove this American propaganda from the screen. (I guess that's what these people do to factual coverage that does anything but show them in the best light!)

There was nothing Orwellian about the lousy reporting by that amateur fraud of a reporter for WSVN-TV (Channel 7) -- Rick Sanchez's protégé? -- Juan Carlos Fanjul. He simply did a slovenly, unprofessional job trying to cover the story about the black firemen and the American flag. What was Orwellian was New Times and Eastman trying to make her pathetic drivel read like an Orwell novel.

Harvey Slavin

Good News Times: Susan Eastman's article "1984 and Counting" is a wonderful commentary and so important right now. She hit the nail right on the head, and as a journalist who has been working in television news for almost ten years, I appreciate her bold statements. I am currently teaching a college-level media-ethics course, and since the attacks I have been teaching the students about many of the issues Eastman mentioned: a reporter's objectivity, a reporter's responsibility to get all sides of a story even on a crazy deadline, and the preference for truth over sensationalism. Freedom of speech is more important than ever, and we can thank New Times for continuing the dialogue.

Laurie Stein
Miami Beach

Wasting freedom on hate: Here's my first, quick, angry response to Susan Eastman's article: If she wanted to piss people off, she succeeded. I have one suggestion: Move to a country where the sh-- you write will be more appreciated. I can mention a few possibilities: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, et cetera.

Upon reflection I realized that you have every right to disagree with all the patriotism and fanaticism. You are correct in your assessment of the media and their new love-fest with patriotism. They are the worst type of hypocrite.

I am one of the lucky ones who was brought to this country, not by force but by choice, to grow up free and with choices. My Cuban heritage has tainted my view of the events that you so cynically recount in your article. You see, I still have family living in a country where each day is a struggle, where the government turns ordinary citizens into criminals because they just want the basic things in life, where someone with a differing opinion is arrested, tortured, and sometimes made to disappear. So when I see this country, with all its defects, coming together and showing what it really stands for, I too get the patriotic bug.

I would politely remind Eastman that it is this country that allows you to express an opinion, however unpopular. I just wish she would waste her freedom on a different brand of hate.

Carlos Aragon
via the Internet

Wasting hate on firefighters: Please let your readers know that the wives and kids of the firefighters who died doing a job they love don't mean a crap to those three people that get paychecks from the Miami-Dade Fire Department. They're not firefighters; real firefighters would never pull this stunt. It's more important to them to start "the black thing" than to mourn the loss of 350 brother firefighters. This is so wrong it's not funny, and their changing their story after the shit hit the fan to "it blocked my view" is bullshit. They are trying to cover their asses, that's all.

Most if not all real firefighters are very upset with regard to this matter. The fact that Miami-Dade Fire Department gave these clowns a PAID VACATION ON OUR TAX DOLLARS IS NOT FAIR AT ALL. This is not the first time the Miami area has been in the spotlight; just look at the police department or county commission. The people in the rest of America think Miami-Dade County is just a big joke between Broward County and the Florida Keys. They might be right. I spoke to some real firefighters from New York, and the only thing that's keeping them going is knowing the U.S.A. and their flag are behind them.

These three men from the Miami-Dade Fire Department are a black eye to the fire service as well as the human race. This country has enough trouble now; we don't need some clowns starting a civil war. Maybe they're on bin Laden's payroll. Divide and conquer. Please don't let this matter rest.

Mark Conn

The only way in? Thank you for writing the article on eModel.com ("Hustling for Models," Wyatt Olson, September 6). I was almost scammed by the company. I was "discovered" at the Cheesecake Factory one day when I was having lunch. The scout told me I had a very unique look and asked if would come to an open call that night in Boca Raton. I live in Boca and I've always wanted to try modeling, so I went. It was exactly what the story described.... They made me feel like I was the perfect model candidate. But they wanted the $400 right then. That made me VERY suspicious. I called around before my second interview (I work at Boca Raton magazine and I called the Green Agency, who we use to get models), and no one had heard of this company. Luckily I have a good head on my shoulders and a good job, and I'm not desperate to break into the modeling business! What bothered me most about the whole thing was that they scouted me out, and at the interview they made it sound like I was desperate to be in the industry and this was the only smart way to do it!

I hope many people will learn from others' mistakes!

Courtney Bliss
Boca Raton

Faking it: When you think about it, restaurant critics are like prostitutes. Their stock-in-trade is something wonderful, but their experience of it is corrupted by the fact that they are paid to do it -- too often and without love. In her purported review of Hollywood's delightful Café del Maxx in the July 26 issue ("Anybody Home?"), Jen Karetnick demonstrates once again that she's been doing it for money for far too long. It reads like she's bored out of her mind and finds her only pleasure penning bitchy putdowns while porking out for pay.

Having spent most of the article waxing bilious, Karetnick had no room to discuss the café's well-selected, reasonably priced wine list or its terrific desserts, like the creamy panna cotta in caramel sauce, a superior Italian version of flan. Nor could she find room in her rant to fit a discussion of the theatrical, charming, and attentive service of waiter and co-owner Christian Signorini and the rest of the staff. Having said all this, I now realize I did a disservice to prostitutes in comparing them to Karetnick. As professionals they at least try to convincingly fake enjoyment of the act.

Harris Meyer

Editor's Note: Harris Meyer is a former New Times staff writer.

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