Cool it NOW
Gary Phillips was not the only one hurt by the mail and phone campaign led by "Chatham County NOW" that was the feature of Jennifer Strom's "How Bunkey Won" article [Oct. 2]. The Triangle-area chapters of the National Organization for Women have been fielding calls and e-mails from concerned Chatham County citizens who were confused by what appeared to be a NOW chapter's radical stance against a local county commissioner.
North Carolina NOW would like to stress that these mailings are not connected to the National Organization for Women, which has no chapter in Chatham County. Further, no one listed as "founding members" on the Chatham County NOW mailings are members of the National Organization for Women.
As an organization, NOW does not endorse political candidates. The NOW Political Action Committee makes political endorsements, but did not endorse anyone in Chatham County this year. Had a Chatham County endorsement been made, it would have been paid for by "NC NOW PAC," as opposed to "NOW." NOW is the largest feminist organization in the nation, with over half a million members and 550 chapters in 50 states and the District of Columbia. We are displeased that Chatham County NOW chose, whether intentionally or not, to use a name that has been synonymous with women's liberation for the past three decades to use in a negative advertising campaign. We hope that in the future, Chatham County NOW and the press that may publicize it take steps to affirm that it is not involved with the National Organization for Women.
REBECCA MANN, PRESIDENT OF CHAPEL HILL/DURHAM NOW
In Bob Geary's recent article, "All in the Family, Raleigh-style," [Front Porch, Oct. 9] about the grassroots effort to redefine the definition of "family" in order to rescue single-family neighborhoods from student rentals, it is noted that Gary (it's actually Jerry) Goldberg spoke out against the proposal, saying that enforcement is the problem. He claims that there is no point in changing a law that can't be enforced. You may be interested to know that Mr. Goldberg has a stake in the status quo; he owns two lots in a Special R-6 zoning district (six homes per acre, maximum) near NCSU and is building student rentals on them, using he current definition of "family" as a loophole to build what amounts to apartment buildings in a district limited to single-family homes.
MARK DICKEY, RALEIGH
Some secretaries actually relish a good spanking ["Wilson's New Beat," Oct. 9]. While you might think that these women are duped, they are actually in control ... How very convenient.
Please note well that Professor Wilson spins her intriguing fantasies at an institution where those who pour the java and type the minutes have bare-minimal job protection, no parental leave to speak of, and no say about departmental policies. Their employer has expertly squelched all efforts at unionization. They put on their Dress Barn suits, curl their hair, and smile compliantly each day to keep their children fed. But, Wilson suggests, such an environment may provide these otherwise-repressed Southern ladies with the excitement of uncertainty, with a little spice. And, after all, they may truly be the ones calling the shots.
This new, "complicated" feminism is about the titillation of the Starbucks class, and Wilson represents the line masterfully. This playfully postmodern generation of feminism serves well to keep the decision-making class of women (not to mention men) centered on our own masturbatory projects. Reveling in sexual liberation, upper-class women have previously found themselves a tad bit haunted by the possible plight of women below us on the food chain. This film effectively closes that gap.
I predict that Wilson will become the lovely new spokeswoman for my generation and class of women. We may play freely, explore new sex toys, and guiltlessly delete a summons from the tediously old-fashioned feminist down the hall who is still working for unionization at Duke. Thanks, we needed that.
AMY LAURA HALL, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGICAL ETHICS, DUKE UINIOVERSITY, DURHAM
Cuban missive crisis
Jean Ranc's review of Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana ["Havana: Two Tales of a City," Oct. 16] is certainly one way of looking at Isadora Tattlin's book, albeit a distorted and transparently biased one. For those who are interested in deeper and more even-handed reviews, some of which are written by native Cubans, Cuban Americans, and scholars of Cuba, I encourage you to research the archives of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, the Tennessean, Commentary, and USA Today, among others.
Scott Simon's interview with Tattlin can be listened to on NPR's Web site. It's the same interview that set Ms. Ranc on her curious mission to do a hatchet job on Cuba Diaries, before she even laid eyes on the book.b
MICHAEL TAECKENS, SENIOR PUBLICIST, ALGONQUIN BOOKS, CHAPEL HILL