Dear Mr MacDonald,
Read your article in NYC Profiles (Feb 16). Nice article, good writing. One question. Why the Irish denial? The name you are using would be predominantly Scottish. Are you in denial about being Scottish? Or did you or your family take the name? It just seems odd!
Not denying my Irishness,
Mickey Burke (The Bronx)
The writer responds: Nobody ever asks me if I’m Scottish. I could be wearing a bloody kilt with the MacDonald clan tartan and people (Irish people, half the time, drunk as usual) would still want to know if I’m Irish. Not that I would know. My mom said I’m 1/16 Scottish, 1/4 Irish. Should I drop this piece of knowledge on my customers? “So, uh, wow, interesting... Hey, can you put on Hot 97?”
Idiotic and stupid a Cancerian I may be, but in the very least, my dear, I can spell “hear” correctly, in reference to the act of listening, as opposed to “here”, as you so errantly scribed. Touché.
Deborah (via email)
The astrologer responds: Ahhhh, my dear Deborah, kudos to you for picking up on my tricky linguistic hiccup. You see, the autochthonous people of central Lappland have a particular way of interacting with their very snowy, incredibly uniform landscape. Instead of relying on visual faculties, they resort to the aural to orient themselves, and have developed an uncanny ability to distinguish between the sounds of various types of wind as it passes over glacial ice, solid land, tundra lichen, open water or ice floes of varying aggregates. Consequently, their verb to hear (slootchan) also carries a secondary connotation of “to be in the here and now.” I’m glad you were able to appreciate the double meaning! As for your use of touché, which is uttered as an acknowledgement of a point scored against oneself, I can only say “Bravo!” for anticipating my response.
All of my love,
The question “How did it happen?” is not at the heart of any story about Adolph Hitler, as you state in your review of Downfall (Feb 16). Quite the opposite, that question ends discussion and debate about the Holocaust. We know exactly how it happened — it was documented to the person. Why do we keep asking that thoughtless question, and present it in the context of genocide. In fact, there remain real questions to be asked (Where and when might it happen again? How do we stop it?) Until we stop dissociating ourselves from the catastrophe of another age, we’ll inevitably repeat its crimes.
Pete Kline (Lower East Side)