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Mything the Point

To the Editor:

I have to say that in theory this “myth” idea sounds nice [“Do You Know What It Means to Myth New Orleans?,” Aug. 24]. I was at the Superdome before, during and after the hurricane, and I can say for a fact that the rumors about the Superdome were in fact not rumors at all. I also know other people who helped after the fact, including a marine working with the 82nd Airborne for two weeks after the hurricane. He was with search and rescue with his dog Theodore. He formerly had a SAR dog named Bear that helped him at the World Trade Center. He now has a foundation for Bear due to the fact that Bear died as a result of his post-9/11 efforts. I was at a national EMS convention immediately prior to the hurricane, and having no way to leave, I went over to help out. Every time I see people underreporting these facts, the pain and the terror come back to me all over again. I was personally in danger on at least two occasions, not mentioning the threat of the hurricane itself. I was threatened to be stuck with a needle that was “used” by one person, and I was waiting on the helipad my final day there for a Black Hawk to take me from there, when one of the officials I was sitting with was notified by another official that a sniper was nearby. I could tell many, many more stories, but just suffice it to say that this article angered me and minimized what I went through (the hell I experienced) and questioned my very reality and the reality of some very credible people.

Stephanie Korzyk

New York State Paramedic

Colonie

Take It or Leave It?

To the Editor:

When I saw the cover of the Aug. 17 Metroland [“Riches Amid the Ruins”], I eagerly grabbed it up from the Hill Street Cafe table along with my wings. I am always excited for the new edition, but still, I knew you guys were onto something. And you didn’t fail. You (Dan and Shawn and David, really) fulfilled my voyeuristic fantasies of exploring and finding out what the hell goes on inside that abandoned hotel! Being a downtown resident, I have the privilege of peering at its graffiti-laden glory every day and night. I always say I want to go in there, but realistically, never have the impetus (or the balls!) to do so. You are the manifestation of every amateur graffiti fan’s dreams, and the living spark of the child explorer within us all which dies amongst so many adults. Kudos to you, gentlemen, lunch-break warriors that you are! Most of all, big up PRVRT, UNIT, and DWELL (how did you get your name top-to-bottom in those windows on the south end?) for beautifying the scenery!

Michael Meyer

Albany

To the Editor:

In response to the “Riches Amid the Ruins” by David King, not only was I repulsed by Dan and Shawn’s actions in their attempt to dismantle the “nine-story, living, breathing work of art” that is the Wellington, I was also pretty disgusted by the fact that Metroland practically glorified their actions, as if they are some kind of real-life Indiana Joneses.

I have to admit a bias here: I am quite sure Dan and Shawn have taken a piece of my artwork off a building wall, one that was on the outside of a building on Grand Street. When confronted by two of my friends, they replied that they were going to put it someplace where a lot of people could see it. I have a hard time understanding how more people will see it in their cubicles than on a busy city street.

I think the main thing that bothers me about their actions is the lack of respect Dan and Shawn have for the art and the artists. First, if they respect the art, if the art is beautiful, how are they “helping the neighborhood” by taking it down? How much different is what they’re doing from what the anti-graffiti van is doing? Second, if they respected the artists, they’d do what PRVRT and DWELL do: They’d contact the artists, let them know, offer something in exchange and ask if they have any special instructions. They may even ask the consent of the artist! Regardless, PRVRT and DWELL are not doing mass takedowns of art, they are taking one piece here or there of artists they have come to admire.

How does David King deal with these contradictions? By setting up critique of their actions as straw men and knocking them down. Taking the art is cast aside with a quote from PRVRT, who says, “All of us have taken a piece of it.” Then there are the ‘unwritten rules’ of the street-art scene that Dan and Shawn are breaking, which the author sums up as “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” Dan’s unquestioned response? “The graffiti artists themselves are breaking the rules of urban exploring by leaving graffiti in the first place.” Uh, what? In my understanding, and according to the article, most graffiti artists believe they are beautifying the space where they are placing their art. So how can taking it down (removing beautiful art) equate to installing it? (The art is not “left behind.”) This can only make sense if one believes the art has no intrinsic value to the space itself.

Finally, as an artist and someone who has a few artist friends (and I’m not, nor do I know anyone who’s “like, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever, man’ “ about friends’ art), I can say pretty surely that there is a reason artists like PRVRT and DWELL place stuff in public places. It’s so the public, that is the non-gallery-going public, can see their work. If they wanted all their art to be stowed away by state workers, they’d just do art exhibits (and get paid for it). The only reason doing street art makes any sense (the artists take a loss; they don’t get paid for it and have to spend time putting it up, money for materials, and risk injury and arrest) is if the public gets to see it and it improves the commons. Street art only makes sense in the context of the street. Take it out of the street altogether, and it loses its soul and its purpose. If Dan and Shawn understood any of this, if they respected the art, the artist, or the scene, they’d leave it intact, instead of systematically dismantling it and leaving the artist empty-handed.

Dylan Boyce

Albany

Cult Following To the Editor:

I am writing to commend Metroland—and especially reporter Chet Hardin—for the recent article concerning NXIVM/ESP, Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman [“Stress in the Family,” Aug. 10]. In this regard, I believe that this article does an excellent job of documenting why several people have concluded that NXIVM/ESP is “dangerous” and/or that it’s a “cult.”

As the defendant in a current legal action that was initiated by NXIVM/ESP et al, I am well aware of the type of “Smear and Sneer” tactics that these self-proclaimed “Ethical Experts” often utilize in order to intimidate anyone that they perceive to be a threat to their various business enterprises. In this regard, I believe that Metroland and Mr. Hardin have demonstrated a great deal of courage bringing this matter to the attention of our local area residents.

At this point, the onus is clearly on the federal government to make Mr. Raniere and Ms. Salzman account for the millions of dollars that they have already taken in from their thousands of followers/students—and to justify their highly unusual business practices. To do otherwise will make a mockery of our country’s tax laws—and cause legitimate businesses to question why they should “play by the rules” when there is no apparent penalty for breaking them.

Joseph J. O’Hara

Loudonville

To the Editor:

Regarding “Stress in the Family”: Interesting article; though I don’t know Keith or his organization except from what has been reported recently in the Times Union and now Metroland, I do know about hypnosis and the wonderful power of the mind for positive change and healing.

Being that hypnosis and other complementary and alternative modalities are just now finally becoming recognized by hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and the public for their non-invasive and healthful benefits, I trust that Metroland readers are savvy enough to separate sensationalism from true progress.

Any powerful process in unscrupulous hands can be manipulated badly, and that may be what Chet Hardin is implying with his article; however, I sense a misunderstanding by the author. Chet’s research of the organization in many areas of his article is far superior to the daily paper, but his bracketed attribution to hypnosis was misplaced. The technique of back of the palm triggers/anchors is a powerful NLP technique that can be used within hypnosis with many positive results, but is not hypnosis and should not be confused with it.

I assure you that the vast majority of credible hypnotists, especially those working within the National Guild of Hypnotists’ Code of Ethics, are available to serve the public forthrightly and are eager to share their talents openly by answering any and all questions with sincerity and passion.

I have just returned from the yearly NGH conference in Marlboro, Mass., with a certification in pain management, where approximately 1,000 hypnotists met for education, deliberation and a bit of camaraderie between exciting sessions that the public will experience the benefit of in the months to come.

Metroland readers, known for open minds, please feel welcome to come and explore the benefits of hypnosis—free—at the Washington Park Wellness Center, 706 Madison Ave., Tuesdays in September at 6:30 PM.

George Guarino

Albany

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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Letters, Metroland

419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

e-mail: metroland@metroland.net

fax: 463-3726


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