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Going Postal

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Place for the elite
Thank you for writing "Booty Call" (Jan. 16). Your article accurately covered many of the industry-specific issues and allowed for equal analysis of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I have been studying the industry for three months and have discovered many things in your article ring true. The comparison you made to the price war and men entering into the management end of escorting was brilliant.

I believe quality escorts will continue to command pay at the high end of the spectrum. They will be the educated, intelligent, witty, mentally stable, attractive women that defy the typical escort stereotype. There will always be a place for the elite; however, the qualifications will be more stringent.

Yes, I'm an escort. I didn't enter into the business by any of the traditional routes mentioned in your article. I'm an educated professional woman in my mid-30s with no past history of abuse, no lack of self-esteem and no addictions. If you must classify, call it an intellectual pursuit or sexual adventure.

Hmm ... it seems that I've found the need to qualify myself in this e-mail when I truly intended to simply thank you for a well-researched article. I guess it's just because I'm constantly being asked, "What's an intelligent woman like you ... "

-- "Alicia" (last name withheld for obvious reasons), Pittsburgh

'Craven' good criticism
Your "Deafening Buzz" piece was dead-on (Vibes, Jan. 23). I have done some freelance music writing, and I have come face-to-face with the craven nature of some music editors. Craven in the sense that they don't want to read a writer's real opinion if it is antithetical to the going "buzz" and craven in that they love to take whatever Universal Music's PR department sends them.

Some music writers don't do much more than regurgitate the pap that the label's PR people send them in glossy press kits.

I have hoped that Rolling Stone (what good is it now, anyway, other than as a platform for Britney?) and Spin would veer away from the thundering corporate herd, but I guess they are just taking the easy, profitable way out.

Kudos to you on the piece. It was a nice, clear piece of work, and doubtless it will be lost on those people who most need to read it.

-- Mike Carlson, Lilburn

Tell it like it is
I just wanted to take the opportunity to commend David Peisner's article (Vibes, "The Deafening Buzz," Jan. 23) about the sorry state of music reviews. I have been waiting impatiently for the past few years for somebody to shed some light on why so many mainstream music magazines tend to review (and praise) the exact same artists/albums.

I stopped reading "rags" like Rolling Stone and Spin before I graduated high school because of their copycat covers and album reviews of bands that already had a lion's share of publicity. I often wondered if Rolling Stone was written for 50-year-olds or by 50-year-olds trying to keep up with contemporary youth culture. I saw a lack of real criticism in the music press that frustrated me for many years.

I would love to see a year-end issue only covering the worst albums of the year, instead of a rating system of a 1-to-5 "thumbs up" (where every album still gets a "thumbs up" from the mag, regardless of quality). We need more true reviews, not just some detailed advertisements and homogenized opinions listed merely because the competition is covering the same bands.

-- Chris Leclair, Alpharetta

Back up your beliefs
(In response to Paradigms, "Sullivan's fundamentalism," Jan. 9): While I enjoy your reviews of restaurants and movies and find them worthwhile, I have just finally had it with some of your smug, self-righteous columns in Think Tank. I have two main thoughts I'll try to express.

1) I think what you did to Andrew Sullivan was petty, childish, mean spirited and wrong. Why? Unlike Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson or Jimmy Swaggart, Mr. Sullivan was not in any long-term, monogamous relationship. Secondly, unlike any of the above, Mr. Sullivan does not deny anything -- his admission is still up on his website -- nor anything he did involved two consenting adults and is quite frankly none of our business.

Clinton, you raise -- he was married and had entered into a legally binding monogamous contract with Hillary. Personally, I think the whole Monica thing should have never to been pursued but for you to raise it as a defense of your actions is kind of like two kids on a playground ("he did it first") and doesn't make it any more defensible. Finally, if you have such a problem with Andrew Sullivan's ideas, attack the ideas not the person, which brings me to my next point.

2) You frequently make statements with no backup, such as the following quote: "On the same day my column was printed, salon.com featured an amazingly distorted essay by Sullivan in which he basically blames Bill Clinton for Sept. 11." Sure he does, but you do nothing to refute any of the charges Sullivan makes in his essay. You simply expect your readers to believe that this is an "amazingly distorted essay" yet provide no proof.

In reading your articles, I sometimes feel that you are saying, "This is how it is and everyone else is wrong" (sounds similar to what you accuse Mr. Sullivan of), but yet you never give any of the reasoning behind it. I'm sorry, but I'd like to know how you arrived at that opinion and what the underlying reasoning is before I jump on your bandwagon.

-- John Crocker, Atlanta

Opposing forces
(In response to News, "Watch out for 'Vote for Me' bills," Jan. 16): You are so right in that lawmakers have to appear to be looking after their constituents. Yet, government officials follow their self-interest just like private individuals do. They do not turn into selfless people when they gain political power. They always talk about good intentions, but what drives them is self-interest.

In my lifetime I have seen that voters have little impact on the power-maximizing behavior of government. As a voter and business owner, I observe that politicians are less accountable than businesses. Market competition is unremitting; at each instance of purchase, a buyer is able to choose from competing sellers. Political competition is intermittent; a person is elected for a fixed period, typically two, four or six years. Market competition allows several competitors to carry on concurrently; the capture by one seller of a majority of the market does not deny the ability of the minority to choose its favorite supplier. In politics, the capture of the majority of the market gives the entire market to a single supplier.

We all want an ideal government; unfortunately what we get is the actual government. Constitutional restraints which cover the general rules within politicians operates are the only way to limit government power. We need taxing, spending and term limits.

-- Jay Whitney, Alpharetta

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