Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why?

Entertainment Weekly, Dec. 21, 2007

As a die-hard Potterphile, I am speechless with glee over your choice for Entertainer of the Year. I'm not surprised, of course: J.K. Rowling has been one of the most brilliant and influential figures of the past decade. You have made at least one reader very, very happy.
Allyson Gronowitz

Teaneck, N.J.


Allyson,
As a die-hard Potterphile, I imagine you're stricken speechless with glee over any number of phenomena, such as watching a YouTube clip of a puppy hiccuping, say, or finding an extra meatball in your spaghetti at The Olive Garden. But that's neither here nor there. What really counts is that you're happy. Which I'm sure has no relation to the fact that you're able to achieve multiple orgasms over children's lit. I'm just guessing, obviously - it's not like I'm some kind of wizard with the ability to watch your every move in my magical crystal ball. I mean, that would be just flat-out insane, wouldn't you agree? Insanely sexy.

I know this world is killing you,
John

The Harry Potter books are interesting reads, but you've blown them out of proportion. Yes, J.K. Rowling should be commended for inspiring more children to read. But ultimately, they're just books.
Lance Berry

Ashburn, Va.


Lance,
Yeah, and ultimately, your letter - indeed, your entire life - is just a meaningless and finally futile attempt to deny that one day you'll be consumed by The Void, and no one will even remember you existed 100 years hence. So what? Doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a nice plate of hot wings right now, does it? You can apply your "They're just books" sophistry to pretty much anything in the universe, but you know when it comes down to cases most people feel some kind of intellectual or emotional attachment to such trivialities as "just books" or "just nature" or "just sex" or "just other human beings". So either you're intentionally putting forward a logical fallacy and trying to pass it off as a basic principle of philosophy, or you're some manner of futuristic life-like robot, a la Carson Daly. Are you some kind of punk bitch robot, Lance? Because if you are, take heed: If there's one thing the movies have taught us, it's that even robots can cry. So chickety-check yo'self.

Back that ass up,
John

Thanks for including Gerard Butler on your list. This tremendously talented actor is not only conquering the world of film, he can also slay a talk-show audience with his wit and charm. Keep the buzz going loud and strong!
Grace Young

Phoenix


Dear Grace,
What's with all the violent imagery? "Conquering worlds", "slaying audiences" - sounds like someone could use a hug! But, in the (damn near inconceivable) event that you're having trouble finding someone willing to hug you, here's a picture of a kitten:


Isn't that just the most adorable thing ever? Of course it is! Anyway, I do hope that quells your rage, even if only temporarily. One step at a time, Grace. One step at a time.

p.s. Who the hell is Gerard Butler? Was he the guy who played Buck Rogers on the 80s TV show, or the bass player for the Psychedelic Furs?

There is no love in this world anymore,
John

While you made some great choices (Tina Fey, Vanessa Williams), I was shocked by certain oversights. Where was Ellen DeGeneres? And what about the ladies of The View? No show captured America's attention this year like it did.
Matthew Cormier
North Scituate, R.I.


Matthew,
If by "America" you mean "the unemployed; heavily medicated nursing home residents; stoners who work the graveyard shift; and housewives/husbands trapped in suffocating loveless marriages"; and if by "attention" you mean "single remaining functioning brain cell not devoted to gross motor functions"; and if by "this year like it did" you mean "I am a stupidhead dum-dum halfwit", then we are in complete agreement.
As for where Ellen DeGeneres was, I'm going to have to say: using her tongue in some fashion to please a hotter woman than you'll ever score. Though I have a nagging suspicion that scoring hot chicks isn't high on your "to-do" list. Call it a hunch.

Your kiss is on my list,
John

I appreciated the "Save This Career!" commentary on Wes Bentley (News & Notes). In college, I'd scour the internet for any information about him. As time passed and the news dried up, I moved on. Seeing this gives me hope that producers may rediscover him.
Jennifer Rokasky
Woodbridge, Va.


Jennifer,
Sounds like you've got a bit of a problem. What's more, it sounds like you've got a bit of a problem that no one else on Earth shares with you, with the possible exception of Wes Bentley's mother. But I hear the psychiatric and neurological departments of some medical schools will pay big money to study walking freakshows such as yourself. So, there's your silver lining. You're welcome.

Bass! - how low can you go?,
John

What? No mention of Hermione's "top of the stairs" moment in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Style)? When she turned the corner in that pink gown, she went from a frizzy-haired brainiac to a true young woman.
Jessica Richards

League City, Tex.

Jessica,
Oh, the shock horror! How could they forget Hermione's "top of the stairs" moment? Don't they realize there's nothing more beautiful than a girl's sudden blossoming into womanhood? I bet they overlooked Raven Symone's first menstruation, too! Misogynistic pig-fuckers! Let's all call up our local N.O.W. chapters and organize a boycott! Sheeeit.

When you're born a woman, you're born to be hurt,
John


You missed the most significant death scene of all time (The Glutton). How could anyone forget the funeral pyre for Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi? It was gooey and sad, human yet otherworldly. Death doesn't get much better than this.
Ed Wahl

Fillmore, Calif.


Ed,
"Gooey and sad"? Did you use some kind of random adjective generator to compose this letter? Who in their right mind describes a funeral pyre as "gooey", save perhaps the poor wretches who have to clean up afterwards? Maybe you skipped the day they covered this in 2nd grade, but words have specific meanings, and you can't just go around combining them willy-nilly, or the entire bedrock of civilization will crumble. What are you, some kind of terrorist or something?
As to how anyone could forget the scene in question: Well, I can't presume to speak for everyone, but I pretty much blocked it from my memory once I realized it occurred in what was possibly the lamest installment in what was a pretty goddamn lame franchise to begin with. I mean, I'll take Jar Jar Binks over those treacly little muppets any day. At least he was a rasta, and so presumably only talked like a retard because he was high off his ass all the time. But those Ewok bastards had me rooting for Darth Vader to destroy their rodent-infested planet tout suite. So, in a way, I guess I agree with you - it was sad that he died! Thanks for helping me see the light. Now get the fuck out of my sight.

I want to reach out and touch the flame,
John

Why didn't you include Francis Ford Coppola's magnificently staged slaying of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather?
Ken Sheil

Moorestown, N.J.


Ken,
Because they're fucking idiots, maybe?

Just a crazy feeling I have,
John

I've disagreed with you before, but I was incited to write in about your A- review of Kathy Griffin's new stand-up special (What to Watch). I was expecting a D-, as she's ceased to make jokes and merely recites the news.
David Crespo

Miami


David,
That's fascinating. Please, keep writing, no matter how many rejection letters you get! Geniuses are seldom recognized in their own times.

I give your letter an F - for "fantastic"!,
John

People, Dec. 24, 2007

Drew Peterson seems to have convenient excuses and explanations for everything, which makes me rather suspicious of him. I think he is not only arrogant and controlling but quite capable of murder as well.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Kenneth,
I bet you're picked for juries all the time if you display that kind of rigorous analysis and thoughtful insight during the selection process. God knows there aren't enough people in this country who possess both the intellect and tenacity to wade through an entire People Magazine article before rushing to judgment. Bravo, sir! You are a true patriot, and, if I may be so bold, a hero for the ages. I can only hope that I'll be able to achieve the same level of - ah, screw it; you're a douche.

I once was lost but now I'm found,
John

While reading your article on Sgt. Drew Peterson, I couldn't help but wonder: Here is a cop who has been married four times, has several children and is buying his wives furs, jewelry, matching motorcycles and breast implants. Where's the money coming from?
Tina House

Dallas, Texas


Tina,
Just a hunch, but I'd venture it came from the evidence locker, kickback from drug dealers and thieves, mysterious suitcases found at busts that never got entered on reports, and shakedowns at routine traffic stops. Jeez, have you never met a cop before?

Fuck tha police,
John

Drew Peterson has a history of wife abuse and the fact that no charges were brought against him is disturbing. Unfortunately, this may be a situation where the law tends to protect its own.
Nelson Marans

Silver Spring, Md.


Nelson,
And a bang-up job they're doing of it, too, what with him getting a cover story in a national magazine painting him as a murderous scumbag and all. Heck, if they keep it up, maybe he'll be nothing but a head attached to a stump by the end of the week! It's just too bad the victims weren't minorities - then the cops wouldn't have had to cover up anything, because it never would have made the national press in the first place, and your faith in the justice system could have remained unshaken.

I love it when you call me names,
John

Your article on Celine Dion showed us many things about this multitalented, free-spirited, down-to-earth woman. Not only is she a rare breed but she is raising a son who, no doubt, is going to turn into a mature, well-rounded young man. Amen for letting him decide his hair length.
Beth Wilson

Raleigh, N.C.

"Beth",
Yeah, if he's got his father's genes he's definitely going to turn out "well-rounded", if you know what I'm saying. Do you know what I'm saying, Beth? His dad's kind of a fattie! Ahaha! Isn't it great making fun of others for totally superficial reasons? You cold, heartless witch.

Did you ever notice how white people dance like this, and black people dance like this?,
John

I'm all for parents letting a child make a decision. However, does a 6-year-old really know what they want? Celine needs to tell Rene-Charles he needs a haircut. I thought he was a girl when I first looked at the pictures!
Rachel Case

Castle Rock, Colo.


Rene-Charles Dion: Almost certainly a Godless homo

Rachel,
Seriously, what the fuck is this obsession People readers have with the hairstyles of celebrity offspring? It's honestly getting alarming. Maybe the tyke has some disgusting tumor on his neck he's trying to cover up - did you ever stop to think of that? So why don't you stop trying to cock-block him? Childhood is confusing enough without having your gender questioned by busybodies in Colorado. I agree with you on one point, however: 6-year-olds don't know shit about nothin'. Why, when my sons were 6 and would constantly whine about wanting dinner, I just told them they weren't old enough to know what they wanted and sent them to bed with a packet of Chiclets. That's called "building character", and now that they're older they thank me for it. At least, I assume they do. I kind of lost track of them half a decade or so ago.

It's a Man Ray kind of sky,
John

As a nurse, it always amazes me that many people do not consider cosmetic surgery a true surgical procedure. Any time anesthesia is involved, it is surgery and any surgical procedure, no matter how minor, can have risks such as death. Donda West unfortunately paid with her life. People contemplating any surgical procedure must check out their doctor. Get onto your state's Board of Medicine web site, make sure that the physician is board certified and no matter what the surgeon says, get a pre-op internal-medicine clearance so any medical problems can be determined and managed. Consumers need to be responsible for their care.
S. Shore
via e-mail


S.,
Frankly, that all sounds like quite a bit of effort. And really, if people wanted to put effort into things, they probably wouldn't be getting tummy tucks and pectoral implants in the first place, would they? So I really fail to see quite who you think you're addressing here. Also, are you not aware it is a Constitutional right to rush ill-informed into life-threatening situations if it means there's even the slightest chance you'll come out of it with a set of abominably enormous tits? I guess they don't make nurses study history anymore, because that's the most important principle upon which this country was founded. Even immigrants know that. In fact, mark my words: In another couple decades, fake tits will be on all our currency, and this nation's infrastructure will be subsidized by Microsoft and Coca-Cola. As one of your fellow do-gooder hippies once "sang", S., the times they are a-changin'. But don't worry - I went to Wikipedia and edited the entry on cosmetic surgery so everyone will know it's OK to dive right in without researching the procedures whatsoever. I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you that your archaic model of the world is no longer relevant. Luckily, there are about a million pills to help you cope with the anxiety such a realization will no doubt cause you. Here's to Utopia!
We don't need no education,
John

I loved your update on the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but you forgot one member: Spike! James Masters was a delicious villain, not to mention Buffy's love interest for several seasons.
Kelly Schmidt
via e-mail


Kelly,
Here's a surefire way to keep up on what's going on with James "Spike" Masters: First, roll a single 20-sided die. Make sure you're clear of any Orc raiding parties, then multiply your roll by the number of gold pieces you acquired at the end of your last adventure. This will give you the value of Spike's charisma. Now, all you have to do is - Oh, shit! I just took away all your hit points with a single blow from my +20 broadsword! Daaaayum! Oh, dude, I totally fucked your shit up. Seriously, you should have seen your face! Oh, man. Priceless. Heh.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow...,
John

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dummies For Dummies (4th Edition)

Note: There was no letters page for Entertainment Weekly this week. The devious swine!

People, Dec. 17, 2007

You got it right by choosing Matt Damon as the Sexiest man Alive. But the sexiest things about Matt aren't his killer smile and gorgeous blue eyes. It's his sense of humor and his devotion to his family and friends that makes Matt so sexy. Thanks for the best SMA issue ever.
Melanie Davies

Freeport, Maine


Matt Damon: Finest Actor of His Generation

Melanie,
Right - those are the qualities that make him sexy. That must be why you hear so many funny, loyal, morbidly obese garbage men referred to as "The Sexiest Men Alive". Come on, this is People magazine - you don't have to try to impress anybody by pretending to possess depth. We worship the surface here, baby! That's why they don't put out a "Wittiest Man Alive" issue or a "Most Likely To Make You The Perfect Mix CD Man Alive" issue. Or maybe they do. How the hell would I know? You're the jive turkey fool who reads this rag. Still, I won't hold that against you. Or will I?

Yes, I will,
John

Perfect pick for SMA! Matt Damon could not be more adorable. He is witty, smart, genuine and hot! His humility only adds to his charm.
Maren Zielony-Schultz

Portland, Ore.


Maren,
I must strenuously disagree. Matt could indeed be more adorable if he got a fucking haircut so he looked like a little boy instead of a little girl. Just ask Kathie Rementer of Yardville, N.J. She's an expert in this particular field. I bet she's even got graphs showing the relationship between adorableness and hair length that she'd be happy to send you as a PowerPoint presentation. It is always best to defer to her Buddha-like wisdom in these matters. So, if it's all the same to you, I'll take your opinion for what it's worth: a heaving lump of crap.

The walrus was Paul,
John

Every week when my husband goes grocery shopping, he brings home PEOPLE magazine for me. This week he was laughing when he gave it to me. "Matt Damon?" he said. "Is this a joke?" We are both huge fans of Mr. Damon's. He's a phenomenal actor. But Sexiest Man Alive? Matt isn't being humble in denying the title; he's just being realistic.
Dr. and Mrs. Lee Hein

Seattle, Wash.

Dear Mrs. Hein,
Three things:
First, I don't believe your husband is a doctor. Oh, he may have his doctorate, but so what? I've spent years of my life stealing information from reliable sources and passing it off as my own in papers I wrote, too (I called it "school" - and, later, "a job"). But I'll bet my Batman Underoos he's no physician. I make this judgment based solely on the fact that you claim he buys a People magazine at the supermarket every week. Everyone knows real doctors get, like, 90% off the cover price for their subscriptions. I myself attest this is immutable truth, because I always pretend to be a "doctor", too, and reap the endless benefits every day of my life (free popsicle sticks!). Anyway, your preoccupation with name-dropping and social standing is completely out of place. This is not the Victorian era, in case that fact has slipped your mind. So your pathetic stab at pretension is doubly misguided.

Second, speaking of this not being the Victorian era, do you actually refer to yourself exclusively in reference to your husband? What kind of crazy Stepford Wife shit is that? You didn't even use your own first name, for Chrissake! Do you really value yourself so little that your entire identity is based on the accomplishments of other people? Wait, you read People every week - of course you do!

There is no third point. I lied. Work on your gullibility.

Stop! In The Name Of Love,
John


You've got to be kidding! Matt Damon? Don't get me wrong, he's adorable and all, and I had a crush on him back in 1997 when he did Good Will Hunting. He's cute like a puppy, or someone's kid brother. But Sexiest Man Alive? No way!
Jennifer Kennimer
via e-mail

Jennifer,
Ooh, you're so cool - you had a crush on Matt Damon way back in '97, before he sold out and everybody knew who he was! I bet you saw U2 at The Paradise in Boston in 1980, too, huh? And now all the rest of us plebes are years behind the curve, just like always. Please, write back soon and tell me who it's acceptable to have a crush on now, so I don't look like a complete moron at the next shindig I attend with all my 15-year-old hipster girl friends! Those things are difficult enough as it is. I mean, what with the restraining order and all.

Thanking you in advance,
John

I just plain laughed out loud at the comments of Matt, Ben and George. This is what makes them so very sexy - they don't take themselves too seriously. And the shot of Jimmy Kimmel in his Barbie pink bedroom is priceless.
Cindy Schiller
Waukesha, Wis.


Here we go again with the bullshit list of What Makes People Sexy. You know who else doesn't take themselves too seriously? Smack addicts and the mentally impaired. How could they? They're too busy being high and/or stupid! And I can tell from your moralistic tone that you're not attracted to either of these groups. So save your platitudes for your Oprah Book Club meetings. You know damn well they're sexy for purely aesthetic reasons. Nobody ever masturbated to The Quality Of Being Carefree.

Oh, and you're wrong about the Jimmy Kimmel thing, too. As most individuals of breeding and refinement are aware, there is a price to everything Kimmel-related, and that price is usually $2.47 (Canadian).

Nobody' gonna break-a my stride,
John

Year after year you feature George Clooney in the Sexiest Man Alive issue. Are you all forgetting his father, Nick Clooney, still lives? Nick has always been way hotter than George.

Sandra Jane West

Ripley, Ohio


Sandra,
No, I'm a frayed knot.

p.s. If you're going to try to tell dumb jokes, it's usually good form to supply the punchline yourself.

Where the hell is Bill?,
John

I recently lost my father to a heart attack, and it was very hard on my family. The love and support of his family and friends will get Kanye through this trying time.
Angie Kowal

California City, Calf.


Angie,
And let's not forget his piles of cash and mountains of drugs and hookers!

We had joy, we had fun,
John

I have never seen anything more beautiful than your photo of Robin Roberts with her bald head. Her positive outlook on life makes her an inspiration for those who find themselves battling breast cancer. Thanks to Robin for showing us courage and strength.
Amanda Juarez

Tacoma, Wash.


Amanda,
Seriously? You've never seen anything more beautiful than that? The only way I can see that that's possible is if you went blind from staring at the sun and then fell and suffered head trauma that resulted in amnesia so you forgot what seeing was like, but you finally got an operation to restore your sight and it was a success except it only lasted long enough for you to see that picture before going blind again. Which seems highly unlikely. Not that I'm saying she's fugly or anything, but get a grip. If you're that easily impressed, pull my finger and you'll get the most beautiful olfactory experience of your life.

All aboard for Funtime,
John

Rethinking Eugenics

Entertainment Weekly, Fall TV Preview '07

Thanks, EW, for giving readers a real photo of a woman. I was surprised and then excited that you would show lines, pores, and freckles on a movie star's face. And Reese still looks beautiful, even so close up.
Jessamyn Saxon

Auburn, Ala.


Jessamyn (if that is indeed your real name),
I, too, was amazed that a woman could look beautiful close up - I usually have to close my eyes whenever I get within three feet of the fairer sex for fear of stimulating my gag reflex! Lines, pores, and freckles? That shit's fucking grotesque! If women don't look like airbrushed Maxim covers at all times, how can they ever hope to catch a man? They can't, that's how. And you know what? I can't believe EW's stooped to doctoring photos - everybody knows movie stars don't have pores! Or freckles! Come on!
You're right, though - Ms. Witherspoon's true beauty shines through despite the magazine's cheap attempt to sabotage her love life. Besides, even if she does stop landing acting jobs due to her facial lines, she can always use her chin to cut glass. So don't cry for her. She's living the dream.

Where is my spleen?,
John

Reese Witherspoon is a class act. Attractive, talented, and smart yet humble. I'm happy to see such a positive force on your cover in a time when many young Hollywood girls seem to have gone mad.
Karyn Oswell

Enfield, Conn.


Dear Karyn,
Is that the extreme feminist way of spelling "Karen" now? I can't keep up with every wacky fluctuation in the chicks' lib tide, you know.

Oh happy day!,
John

It's about time the porkpie hat got its due (News & Notes)! However, you forgot to include tenor sax man Lester Young, who famously sported a porkpie with a wide brim. In fact, Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" was written about Young, not about the hat style itself.
Mike Medina

Chicago


Mike,
Lester Young? Charles Mingus? Did you not realize you were writing to Entertainment Weekly? I'll let it slide for now, but the next time you want to bring up artists with actual talent, please try to do it in the appropriate environment. Nobody wants to hear a dissertation on the work of Cassavetes when they're standing around the water cooler chatting about America's Next Top Model, you dig? Try a little consideration once in a while. For realz, dawg.

I love to sing-a about the moon-a and the June-a and the Spring-a,
John

I've been fortunate enough to see My Chemical Romance live six times - twice on the Projekt Revolution tour alone - and each time they've delivered a unique, high-impact performance. Reviewers are often too preoccupied with MCR's fan base or wardrobe choices to notice the band's energy and musical integrity. Kudos to Shirley Halperin (Music) for paying attention.
Tiffany Clemmons

Powhatan, Va.


Free range minks: The humane alternative

Tiffany,
Reason no. 47 that we will never conceive children together: I consider myself fortunate to have never seen My Chemical Romance live. I consider myself equally fortunate to have never seen Fallout Boy, and when I stop to reflect that I've also never seen Marilyn Manson, Korn, or Slipknot, it's almost enough to make me believe in a higher power. Then I'm reminded of the fact that I once attended a concert where I was forced to sit through Jimmy Eat World, and the horror of existence is brought back into sharp focus. Oh, but feel free to listen to whatever makes you happy. I'm not one to judge.

My God, you have horrible taste in music,
John

What a lovely tribute to Tony Wilson (News & Notes). This music icon's influence grew as his fledglings - namely Happy Mondays, New Order, and Joy Division - spread their wings and became the basis for the Manchester sound. A brilliant producer and a true artist, Tony will be missed.
Julie Bate
Glenview, Ill.

Julie,
Since, like Mike Medina above, you in fact seem to know your head from your ass, I'll assume you wrote to EW while in the grip of an intense 'shroom freakout. However, you might still want to check to make sure you're not sticking your noggin in the toilet next time you go to the bathroom, because Tony Wilson, as far as I can tell, never produced any of the bands you mentioned. He was part owner of Factory Records, which put the albums out, but unless you're using "producer" in the sense of "somewhat responsible for the manufacture of the actual physical albums" - which, to keep it real, would be quite stupid - you pretty much just pissed away your street cred like so much cheap wine. Not that I would expect EW to catch your mistake - they probably thought Tony Wilson was the grumpy old man from Dennis The Menace - but if you're going to be cool, at least do your homework so you don't make such a rookie mistake. It's like the time, in my senior year of high school, when I met this girl at a party and we seemed to be hitting it off - chatting about music, making clumsy stabs at sexual innuendo - and then she told me how much she enjoyed the latest album by "Echo & The Rabbits". Was she drunk? Undoubtedly. Yet I could not let it slide, and I've never spoken to her since. Now, dear Julie, you don't want to die alone, do you? Then heed my advice: In most situations, it's highly beneficial to just keep your yap shut, even if you're fairly certain you know whereof you speak. I say this strictly out of agape. Go forth, and sin no more.

It's getting hot in here,
John

I'm sorry, but not having a penis is no excuse for not laughing all the way through "Superbad" (Movies). This movie was not about delving into the angst and confusion of teenage boys; it's about having a super-good time at the movies. Next time you feel the urge, Ms. Schwarzbaum, just say no to your buzzkill ways and let the rest of us enjoy.
Leif Tillotson

Enosburg Falls, Vt.


Yeah, how dare that Schwarzbaum utterly prevent you from enjoying a film by offering her opinion! And, to top it off, it sounds like she's one o' them shifty Jews, to boot! If I were you, I'd relocate to a remote bunker, stockpile ammo, and prepare for The Great Reckoning.

Nothing you can do that can't be done,
John

Thank you for the spotlight piece on Brad Paisley. The statement "who might be the best country entertainer we've got" should have actually read "who is the best..." Paisley's music is always terrific - from the funny songs to the ballads.
Wendy Pender

Wilson, N.C.


Wendy,
You poor fool - the ballads are the funny songs.

p.s. But then, so are the non-ballads.

p.p.s. But then again, they're not so much "ha ha" funny as they are examples of why we have terms like "existential despair" and "Wal-Mart lifestyle".

It's all gravy, baby,
John

People, Dec. 3, 2007

Anyone who has seen Keith Urban perform can tell you that he is an amazingly talented musician and entertainer. After reading your interview with him, we can see that he lives his life with the same honesty and pure emotion that he sings about in his songs. It is wonderful that Keith has found his soulmate in Nicole and peace in his first year of sobriety. Thank you for your story about this extraordinary artist.
Kathy Lawler

Cicero, N.Y.


Keith Urban: Ironically, not a hit on urban radio

Kathy, Kathy, Kathy,
Considering Nicole found her last "soulmate" (do people still use this incredibly retarded term?) in Tom Cruise, perhaps it's worth considering that Keith isn't quite as salt-of-the-earth as his publicity machine would have us believe. I mean, apparently the guy likes to play his guitar naked while sitting on the couch (there were 2 different pictures of this on the first page of my Google Image search!), completely unconcerned about what kind of stains he might be leaving for the maid to have to clean off later. Does that really sound like the kind of guy you want singing your ersatz country ditties? Or, more to the point, like the kind of guy who's found peace in his first year of sobriety? And anyway, nobody's at peace when they're sober - that's why we have alcohol in the first place! Stop being so provincial.This is the late '90s, not the Eisenhower era.
Also, Santa Claus is a big fucking lie. Yeah, I said it.

I wanna sex you up,
John

Keith sings a song in which he says, "Everyone has a story to tell." Truer words were never spoken. Thanks to Keith for sharing his story with all of us, and thanks to his beautiful wife for inspiring him to be a "better man". Mission accomplished, mate!
Kip Frerichs
Raleigh, N.C.


Kip,
Really? Truer words were never spoken than "Everyone has a story to tell"? How about "Idiots go apeshit for clich├ęs"? Or "People from North Carolina sound like assholes when they use Anglicisms like 'mate' "? But maybe you were just trying to sound "folksy", eh? In that case: Mission a complete failure, dipshit!

I love how you love me,
John

Kudos to Oprah for going to her Leadership Academy in South Africa and apologizing to the students' parents. Oprah has selflessly done so much for people worldwide, especially in Africa, that we shouldn't condemn her for the misconduct of others. She has taken responsibility for the people she hired and will deal with this situation as she does with all other things: admirably.
Lynda Drew
Danville, Calif.

Lynda,
Sure, but she still has creepy fish eyes.

You go girl!,
John

When I was 10 years old, I was taking a ballroom dance class with Fred Kelly (Gene Kelly's brother). During one of the classes, a very handsome young man stopped by to visit. His charm caused all of the girls in the class to release a collective sigh. As the music began, he walked up to me and asked if I would honor him with a dance. When I think of that moment, I still smile - 47 years later. That is the Robert Goulet I will always remember.
Wendy Haas

Atlanta, Ga.


Robert Goulet: Sweet hoary mother of fuck!

Wendy,
What a coincidence! When I was 13, I took vocal lessons from Vince Neil's plumber! Well, he called them vocal lessons, but it wasn't until recently that I realized what he had really taught me: the art of making gentle yet passionate love for hours at a time (which in retrospect seems inevitable, after all his babbling about "pipes" and "tubes"). I wouldn't give that up for 10 Bob Goulets - mostly because, ever since I was a kid, I had the unsettling suspicion that Robert Goulet was the physical manifestation of Satan on Earth. In fact, I urge any readers who are so inclined to make a pilgrimage to R.G.'s grave, exhume his corpse, and drive a stake through the freaky old fucker's heart to ensure that he won't rise again and finally realize his dream of enslaving humankind (and forcing us to listen to his "singing").
Oh, but I'm sure he was being sincere with his line about you honoring him with a dance.

I'm so pilled up I R-r-r-rattle,
John

Could someone please point out to Kate Hudson that her son Ryder is in dire need of a haircut? I'm sure he would be absolutely adorable if he looked like a little boy instead of a little girl.
Kathie Rementer
Yardville, N.J.

Kathie,
I think you just did point it out, bitch.
As for why no one else pointed it out: Maybe it's because it's been 4 goddamn decades since long hair has been associated exclusively with girls in this country. Maybe it's because even motherfucking crack fiends know enough about manners to not mock the appearance of a defenseless child. Perhaps they assumed (rightly) that it was none of their business. Or maybe they realized that it made absolutely no difference to their lives.
But I'm sure you'd be absolutely adorable if you weren't such a petty old crone.

Scaramouch, scaramouch, will you do the fandango?,
John

Note: The final letter for this issue was all about the death of family members, and while that topic can be quite the laugh riot in the right hands, I couldn't figure out how to make it work in this instance. So instead of trying, I urge you to insert your favorite fart joke here in its place.

Second Edition

Since we could all benefit from losing a few pounds, let's dispense with the appetizers and jump straight into the main course. Digging into the past:

Entertainment Weekly, Nov. 9, 2007

Your photo issue was a delight, with those eye-candy pictures of Patrick Dempsey. But the photo that made me stare with true adoration? The lovely image of Atticus Finch's glasses. Be still my heart.
Kimberly Perry
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Kimberly,
It's not like you're the only one of the bunch to fall into such a trap, but you are the first, so I feel it is my Christian duty to inform you that Atticus Finch is not a real person. Now, I haven't perused the issue to which you're referring - and there's not a chance in Hell that I ever will - but I'm going to assume what's got your loins all toasty is a picture of the glasses Gregory Peck wore for his role as Atticus Finch. And let me tell you something, sister: I can relate! Why, just the other night I sprang a chubby while gazing at a picture of Bea Arthur's dentures! Nevertheless, instead of bragging about my bizarre fetish in the pages of a national magazine, I have sought professional counseling. I'd urge you to do the same, lest you end up on the front page of the Myrtle Beach Gazette after having been arrested for breaking and entering so you could sniff Jeremy Piven's old socks or somesuch. The first step in recovery is admitting you have a (severe, creepy) problem. I know you can overcome, girlfriend!

Nothin' but love for you, baby,
John

I was so glad that the shot of Sylvester Stallone's gloves from the original Rocky opened "The Things They Carried". To see the gloves from one of the most famous boxing matches in cinema history was a treat. Wonder if Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed) has the other pair.
Rocky Winer
El Cajon, California


I hate to be the one to break this to you, Rocky (man, you really are a fan, aren't you?), but that wasn't an actual boxing match. It was a scene in a movie, which, despite what EW readers seem to think, means it was make-believe. That belt Apollo Creed won? A prop. The blood on Rocky's face? Ketchup. Stallone's acting? CGI and robotics. It's always painful (by which I mean "gratifying") to have to shatter someone's deeply-held illusions, but The Truth doesn't take any vacation days.

By the way, it was certainly thoughtful of you to parenthetically clear up the role played by Mr. Weathers for your readers, but completely unnecessary. If they don't know who Carl Weathers is, I guarantee you they damn sure won't know who Apollo Creed is, since that's pretty much where his career began and ended. It's difficult to accept that not everyone shares our obsessions, but this is how we become fully actualized. Now, if you don't mind, I have grown weary of you and your issues. I bid you good day, sir!

I'll always remember you fondly,
John

Thanks for showing some class and justifiably castigating The Jazz Singer (DVD). Like The Birth of a Nation, it may have been a milestone in filmmaking, but that doesn't make it any less abhorrent.
Megan Grant

Iowa City


The Jazz Singer: Still not as offensive as the Wayans Brothers


Dear Megan,
I'm glad to see you're getting something out of your Liberal Arts curriculum - sounds like you were paying attention in The History of American Cinema and Racial Studies 101. I'll be sure and drop in on you after you graduate when I want to order some fries.

You had me at "Hello",
John

By focusing on Al Jolson's trademark black-face numbers, this review does a great disservice to a landmark film and one of the preeminent entertainers of the 20th century. The movie should be required viewing for anyone who wishes to learn from the past.
Rob Roy

Cerritos, Calif.

Hey Rob,
If you're ever in Iowa City looking to get laid, I can tell you who not to call.

That's just my baby daddy,
John

In your Josh Brolin article (Spotlight), I was surprised you talked about Mr. Sterling but didn't mention his three seasons as Jimmy Hickok on The Young Riders. Thanks to the show, Josh has a group of "Jimmyholics" who still follow his career.
Lisa Willobee

South Haven, Mich.


La-la-la-Lisa,
I was surprised myself. Not that they didn't refer to The Young Riders - I doubt anybody but shut-ins who've willed their estates to their innumerable cats even gives half a poo about that TV show at this late date - but that you actually used (coined?) the word "Jimmyholics" with apparent sincerity. But hey - in our everyone's-a-victim age, there's probably a legitimate 12-step program out there for you and your similarly afflicted brethren. In any case, I'm sure Mr. Brolin wouldn't be at all disturbed by how you choose to identify yourself. In fact, you should probably wait for him in the bushes outside his house some night and proclaim your Jimmyholism to his face. I bet he'll end up asking you to marry him! You'll never know if you don't try.

Your letter shrank my soul a bit,
John


While "The Big Bang Theory" doesn't break new ground, C- was too harsh (Television)! With the recent drought of good sitcoms, it's worth adjusting the curve for comedies with laughs and likable characters. Not every great comedy has a complex premise, nor do they all do their best work in season 1 (see: Seinfeld).
Josh Weikert

Collegeville, Pa.


Josh,
I don't know how much of a sitcom aficionado you are, but most of them that suck ass in the first season continue to suck ass throughout their runs (see: According To Jim, Wings, Home Improvement, Two And A Half Men, Coach, Will & Grace, ad infinitum). Using Seinfeld as an example is akin to those people who always pipe up about Einstein dropping out of school - it says much more about Einstein than it does about drop-outs in general, the vast majority of whom, let's face it, are about as likely to come up with a Unified Field Theory as I am to spontaneously shit out a fully-formed baby macaw on my next trip to the lavatory. Anyway, if people like you would learn to pipe down every time they feel the networks have done them an injustice by canceling some idiot-drool high-def pabulum, maybe crap like Full House and Martin wouldn't have cluttered up the airwaves for countless fucking eons. Have a little mercy on your fellow human beings and keep those thoughts to yourself. Ass.

Love is the seventh wave,
John


I found "The Waiting Game" interesting (News & Notes). The Nielsen ratings are antiquated and inaccurate. I don't know anyone who watches live TV anymore: We're using our DVRs or our computers. If the networks are listening to Nielsen, they should also be airing The Ed Sullivan Show.
Lalenia Lichamer

Plainfield, Ill.


Lalenia,
While I vaguely agree with your general sentiments (inasmuch as I give a damn at all, I mean), you are surely of an advanced enough age to realize that "everyone I know" is not a statistically significant sample size when you're trying to dictate policy. Hell, nobody I know has cervical cancer, but you don't see me petitioning the AMA to force OB/GYNs to stop testing for it. This is an age of technology and progress, Lichamer, and if you don't want to use the Scientific Method we might as well go back to the Middle Ages, when people believed their destinies were determined by the stars and were afraid to put 13th floors on buildings and thought there was a benevolent mystical being in the clouds who controlled everything in creation. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty hellish scenario in my book.

Oh, also, people who watch TV shows on their DVRs and computers aren't forced to watch commercials, so Nielsen doesn't care about them. I mean, you don't think the Nielsen system's in place to determine the aesthetic value of the actual programs, do you?

I've never been to me,
John

People, Nov. 12, 2007

Note: The first 3 letters of this issue dealt with the latest Britney tragedy, and I just didn't have the stomach to deal with them, so I've edited them out. Rest assured, they were all as moronic as you'd figure.

As the mother of an 8-year-old girl who has Asperger's Syndrome, I enjoyed the article about Heather Kuzmich. Kaitlin and I watch America's Next Top Model, and Heather gives my daughter hope that she too can reach her dreams and not let her Asperger's stand in her way. Stories like this shed light on autism and show that those who live with it can make their lives whatever they choose to.
Carrie Chavanne
Washington, Maine

Heather Kuzmich is putting an end to all the old stereotypes, and I pray she makes it all the way to the end of the show. But she has already won in my eyes - she is a beautiful person inside and out. As the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, I finally have hope!
Andrea Gagnon
Valencia, Calif.

Carrie & Andrea,
I'm sorry to hear about your children. No parent should have to go through that. But on a brighter note, I used to know some kids whose parents thought they had Asperger's, and in the end it turned out they were just kind of assholes. So there's always hope!

In any case, I can't see where Asperger's or even full-blown autism would pose any special obstacle to anyone wanting to become a professional model. Heck, having Down Syndrome hasn't stopped Tyra Banks from enjoying a lucrative career, has it?

At the Copa, Copacabana,
John

Like Isaac Hanson, I was hospitalized for a pulmonary embolism. At age 25, I never thought something like this could happen to me. It's certainly a scary experience, but if caught early enough it can be treated, so be aware of the symptoms. Thanks for bringing this story to the attention of more young adults.
Nicky S. via e-mail

Isaac Hanson: Pulmonary Embolismmm-Bop


Nicky,
A pulmonary embolism at age 25? How old were you the first time you broke your hip - 12? My advice: you might want to cut bacon out of your diet, or two years from now you're going to need a quadruple-bypass. If you want, I'd be glad hook you up with a distributor that can get you Depends at wholesale prices. That connection has gotten me out of many a potentially embarrassing sitch, let me tell you!

All kidding aside, though, in my opinion you're merely inches away from grim death. If you've ever wanted to rob a bank, I'd do it soon.

In my life I loved you more,
John


I fell in love with Joey Fatone last year on "Dancing With The Stars" and have been going through withdrawal pains ever since it ended. Thanks very much for giving me my "Yoey" fix!
Tony Bradley
Sedalia, Mo.

Dear freak,
I'm not even going to pretend I'm in hip to your "Yoey" nickname, but I recommend you strike up a correspondence with Lisa "Jimmyholic" Willobee upthread, and the two of you can continue to come up with terminology designed to ostracize you from every sane person within an 8-mile radius. That way you guys can cultivate an "outsider" pose but still have the security of knowing there's one special person out there who truly understands you. It'll be kinda like Bonnie & Clyde, only with (I'm guessing) vastly larger quantities of Nacho Cheese Doritos consumed.

Is that all there is?,
John

Saturday, February 9, 2008

And So It Begins

Welcome, friends, lovers and estranged uncles!

Some background: This actually began as a post in my old blog, wherein I decided to reply to the letters written to Entertainment Weekly (this was March '06). Then, a mere 2 years later, I decided: what the fuckin' shit? Might as well do a whole blog dedicated to the concept! And yea, verily, here it be.

I've decided, for diversity's sake, to respond to the letters in People magazine as well. Because - and I think we can all agree on this - I believe that when sociologists in the future want to get an idea of what life was like in our era, these letters will be the best illustrations of the cultural and intellectual atmosphere of the times. Also, I just really enjoy mocking people.

For the sake of historical accuracy, here's a re-post of the original blog entry:

Thank you for your usual stellar coverage of the Oscar nominations (Oscar Guide 2006). Flipping through my copy, I realized that this year, for the first time ever, I'm truly excited about the Oscar telecast - and not just because my hero Jon Stewart is hosting (though he really helps!). I'm excited because, for once, I feel like every person or film nominated in the major categories truly deserves an award. I'm delighted with and impressed by the challenging topics the films tackled, the abundant talent demonstrated by the actors, and the skill with which each movie was shot.

Megan Grittani-Livingston
2mg@qlink.queensu.ca
Ontario, Canada

Dear Megan,
What in God's name (Phil) are you babbling about? I didn't cover the Oscar nominations, and even if I had, I guarantee you it wouldn't have been "stellar". It would have been half-assed, which is much closer to my comfort zone. And why, exactly, is Jon Stewart your "hero"? Did he save your kitten from a tree? Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my heroes to be actually, you know, heroic - not that I don't think asking for millions of dollars for telling jokes and interviewing celebrities 2 hours a week doesn't require some balls. But you really should try to aim higher in determining who you want to deify. Then again, I see you're in Canada, so you're probably used to criminally lowered expectations.

I agree with you about the challenging topics these films tackled, though - homosexuality, all out in the open for the whole world to see and everything! And racism in America! And politicians conducting modern-day witch hunts for political gain! Man, if it wasn't for major Hollywood studios, I'd still believe we were all made of rainbow dust and the streets were paved with delicious milk chocolate and our world leaders were going to hold a summit in a field of cotton candy to announce the end of all pain! Gosh, just think how much less naive I'm going to be when they start making movies about the slave trade and the Teapot Dome scandal! You stupid fool.

Thank you for taking the time to write.
- John

Thanks for the wonderful essay chronicling the massive influx of Australian actors into Oscar's prestigious hall of fame ("Wizards of Oz"). It has seemed for years that Aussies have had a monopoly on the best performances coming out of Hollywood, and I'm grateful that EW went back through the annals of Oscar history to remind us of all the phenomenal actors and performances that came from Down Under in the past decade.
Mike Engh
Laurel, Mont.

The "phenomenal" Paul Hogan



Dear Mr. "Engh",
What the fuck do you care? Unless "Mont." is short for "Sydney" (and it isn't), you live in Montana, so I can't see why you're getting so worked up about your precious Aussies. If you love Australia so much, why don't you avail yourself of a one-way plane ticket, motherfucker? Then maybe you'd waste their column space writing to whatever third-rate publications they produce instead of sullying the fine pages of an institution as hallowed as Entertainment Weekly with your trite "observations". Not that I think you're a complete idiot; on the one hand, if I lived in Montana, I'd probably come to the conclusion that America sucked, too, and look to someplace like Australia (or "Britain East", as I prefer to think of it) as a beacon of hope in my sad, limited world. But on the other hand, I've got five fingers. Ahahahaha! Oh, man, the classics never get old, do they? In any event, as they say Down under: piss off.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
-John

I enjoyed your intriguing article on The Usual Suspects ("Starring Lineup"). It's my favorite movie. I thought I knew every detail of the film, but I learned so much from your story. Who knew that Soze meant "verbal" in Turkish? Fascinating.
Danielle Hallman
Dani1@aol.com
Riverdale, NY

Mizz Hallman,
Yeah, who knew? Gee, I don't know - maybe the 60 million or so people in the world whose primary language is Turkish? Or maybe, to round off, the 120 or so million who speak it as either their first or second language? Here's another "fascinating" fact for you: There are, believe it or not, other cultures outside of Riverdale, NY, and some of them use languages I'm sure would sound like Moon-man gibberish to you and your more "civilized" friends. Maybe if you didn't spend all your time investigating the nuances of heist films and cracked open something a bit more scholarly than Entertainment Weekly every once in a while, I wouldn't have to explain that which should be painfully obvious to anyone not in a persistent vegetative state. I can't begin to explain how you sicken me.

p.s. AOL sucks!

I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
-John

Five words for Lisa Schwarzbaum: The Bridges of Madison County. A simplistic, and terribly superficial book is turned into a heart-wrenching story of love found and lost with astonishing performances by Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. How could you leave it off your list and include lame fare (by comparison) such as The Verdict? You missed the one example with the widest gap between quality (the movie) and trash (the book).
John D. Patrone
West Hollywood

John,
Have you ever considered suicide as a viable course of action? You should.

p.s. The comma after "simplistic" was unnecessary.

p.p.s. Wait a minute - a guy wrote this?

Be assured I'll take your suggestions under advisement.
-John

Any time Lisa Schwarzbaum wants to hand over her tickets and pass to Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Vancouver, or any other such gathering so that a passionate and devoted moviegoing schmo like me (50-70 films a year) can attend the fest, I'd be eternally grateful (News & Notes). In fact, why not draw from some of your readers and send a few non-jaded cineastic neophytes? Ask them (me!) to pen an epistle or two in exchange for the experience. Who cares about the schwag - for someone like me it would be a filmgoer's dream come true. Plus, I'd be happy to sign a release promising not to get all angsty, alienated, and bathed in ennui.
Mark Hatch
markhatch108@gmail.com
Stockbridge, Mass.

Hatch,
If you want the passes, you'd better be sure to keep your room in the basement clean so mom will loan you the money for plane fare. While you're at it, maybe you could explain the difference between "angsty", "alienated", and "bathed in ennui". There's a lad.

I pity the foo',
John

I take exception to marc Bernardin's comments about Star trek in his otherwise well-written Battlestar Galactica review. A future where there is no "poverty, no war; our only pursuit is the betterment of ourselves and the exploration of brave new worlds" (funny; sounds like two pursuits to me - John) is not boring. That's exactly the future we want to live in. Bernardin is correct that Galactica has real, ugly, human conflict," which is brilliantly written and acted by a talented cast and crew. But while conflict makes for good entertainment, it does not make for a good existence. Gene Roddenberry created Star trek to show a positive and optimistic view of the future - to show us how we could be if we lived up to our potential. To dismiss Trek as unexciting or uninteresting for not having its crew at one another's throats is to miss the point, and its message entirely. Galactica is a great show, but I wouldn't want to live there.
Evan Knight
Brooklyn


Left to right: Evan Knight

Evan,
It's a great show, but you wouldn't want to live there? WTF are you talking about? A TV show is not an actual location, in case you failed to learn that in goddamn kindergarten like the rest of us. And if by "there" you meant the actual Battlestar (which I assume is some sort of spacecraft; I can't say for sure, as I actually plan on getting laid again in my lifetime), guess what? It still doesn't exist! And Blossom wasn't really Joey Lawrence's sister, either! My God, people. Get a collective grip.

Oh, but don't mind me - I'm sure we'll create a utopian civilization in space one day rather than destroying the entire species long before it becomes feasible. I also believe my skin is made of tiny monkeys who go out and fight crime while I'm asleep.

I hope this is the beginning of a lasting friendship.
-John

Anyway, that killed a lunch hour, and we all had some disease-free laughs, but the real payoff came almost a year later, when I received an e-mail with the subject line "Dear poor, pathetic soul" (which, being actually a quite common subject line in the e-mails I receive, failed to arouse my interest at first). Turns out it was from none other than Danielle Hallman (dani1@aol.com), who seemed a bit miffed at my blog entry for some reason (probably rabies). Here's the content of the mail:

I just happened to come across your response to a letter I wrote to entertainment weekly. Don't you have better things to do than to insult an educated, working, 28 year old woman. I'm also a member of mensa and have a doctorate. What do you do again? I'm sorry but are you someone special? Do you make a difference in this world? I apologize for not knowing Turkish and that "Soze" means verbal in Turkish. I do, however, speak several languages (other than Turkish), know that there is a lot more other than Riverdale, and than people like you obviously have no lives. Feel free to post this on your blog, then go and get a life.
You make me want to vomit.
Danielle Hallman


I therefore, being a firm believer in journalistic integrity, posted her e-mail to my blog and offered a line-by-line rebuttal:

Thanks, Danielle - it's always a pleasure to hear from my readers! Since you took the time to write (and I don't even work at Entertainment Weekly or anything!), I think the chivalrous thing to do would be to respond to your thoughtful correspondence line by line. Let's begin, shall we?

I just happened to come across your response to a letter I wrote to entertainment weekly.

"Just happened to", eh? I'm no statistician, but I'd bet the odds of you coming across my entry by chance would be about the same as my eating barbecued unicorn with Darth Vader for dinner tonight. Come on, Dani, how many times did you have to Google your name before my blog showed up? When I Googled you, it was at the bottom of the 2nd page. I don't know - if I Googled myself and didn't see anything even remotely to do with me on the first page, I'd probably be too bummed to click "Next". But maybe you don't have my self-esteem issues. Also, I'm surprised a member of Mensa wouldn't know to capitalize the name of a publication.

Don't you have better things to do than to insult an educated, working, 28 year old woman.

Danielle, if you can give me any ideas on what could possibly be a "better thing to do" than that, I'm all ears, because, frankly, that sounds like a recipe for hours of madcap hilarity to me. Also, I never understand when people begin inquiries with "Don't you have anything better to do than...?", because if I did, wouldn't the logical conclusion be that that's what I'd be doing instead? It is just such supercilious communication that keeps the class war going.
Also, usually when we pose a question, we indicate this by sticking a question mark at the end of our query. But then, you're so much more educated than I am, maybe I'm wrong about that. You've got me rethinking everything now; it's like being in The Matrix. Maybe dogs actually say "moo" instead "woof" and there are 19 words in the English language that rhyme with "orange". Why must women always confuse me?

I'm also a member of mensa and have a doctorate.

I'm duly impressed. But how many eggs can you fit into your mouth at once? Because my personal record is 47. There are many paths to greatness, Dani, and we each contribute in our own way.
Also, "Mensa" should be capitalized.

What do you do again? I'm sorry but are you someone special? Do you make a difference in this world?

Me? I work in a mail room. I guess that means I'm not anyone special, and I couldn't possibly make a difference in the world. I don't have a degree, either. Come to think of it, it's a wonder I can even manage to get this keyboard to convey my thoughts without causing me to experience a grand mal seizure or lapse into a coma. All this drool does make it hard to type, I admit. Gosh, if only I'd ever had potential, maybe I could have lived up to it, but clearly I was destined to be nothing more than a big heaving lump of shit while you and the rest of the superior race got to change the world by writing doctoral theses that would only confuse/bore the poo out of the rest of us mere mortals. Wait, what was I saying? I lose track so easily. What? Who said that? Burlap?!
Oh, and there should be a comma after "sorry".

I apologize for not knowing Turkish and that "Soze" means verbal in Turkish.

I'm afraid I cannot accept your apology.

I do, however, speak several languages (other than Turkish), know that there is a lot more other than Riverdale, and than people like you obviously have no lives.

Really? Do you speak Swahili? How do you say "tits" in that language? It's not in any of the dictionaries I found. "Boobs" would be fine, if that's all you know, but it's not going to be as effective when I finally get the chance to use my new phrase on my native-African co-worker.
It does sting a bit to be told I have no life (especially coming from someone who wrote a letter to Entertainment Weekly), but then I remember that this life is only an illusion anyway, and the real party begins when we die and enter the glorious Kingdom of Heaven and suckle at Christ's teat for all eternity. So I'm not losing any sleep over it.
Also, I won't mention the fact that you wrote "than" when you meant "that". I'm sure it was a typo, because "n" and "t" are so close to each other on the keyboard.

Feel free to post this on your blog, then go and get a life.

I do indeed feel free to post this on my blog, since, after you sent me the e-mail, it became my property. In fact, I may even sell your e-mail on EBay, and I think I'm only required to give you 10%. You should really do more to copyright your intellectual property, Dani - I bet EW didn't even pay you. The world is full of unscrupulous con men such as myself and major mainstream publications. Best you learn that now, before senility kicks in and you've willed away your vast reams of correspondence to General Motors or something.
Thank you for giving me permission to get a life. It's touching, really. But it's probably too late, at this point. If it's all right with you, I'll just continue on in this purgatorial state until I'm eventually hit by a bus. After all, who would miss me?


You make me want to vomit.

It's too late to try to turn me on, Danielle. Maybe if you'd started your e-mail with that, things would have been different. Still, if you're ever in Oakland, I'll buy you a drink. Which reminds me: can I borrow $10?

I love you always,
John

p.s. AOL still sucks! Come on, Danielle, it's the 21st century!


Alas, I have yet to hear back from her. But the work must continue! I think Dani would have wanted it that way. So, I'll be posting the backlog of responses over the coming days and/or weeks. until I've caught up, at which point this will be updated weekly (or more often, if I get lots of e-mail). And just in case you're too lazy to read the sidebar, questions from readers are also welcome. Just be aware that anything sent to me is liable to be put up here for the world to see. Anyway, I guess that's about it. As they say in Mexico, "Bon Voyage!".