December 3, 2004

Published December 03, 2004, issue of December 03, 2004.
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Magazine Cruises Offer Opportunity To Unite

A November 26 article describes how The Weekly Standard and The Nation magazines have taken to the high seas as part of their respective fundraising efforts (“From Port to Starboard, Magazines Take to High Seas Towing the Party Line”). With much irony, the Forward inveighs against the bourgeois underpinnings of the Caribbean cruise, and points out that despite their respective ideological differences, the magazines share a common itinerary, the centerpiece of which being the all-you-can-eat buffet.

But really, how can the Forward expect The Weekly Standard and The Nation to resist this goldmine of an opportunity to raise funds for their cash-strapped magazines? After all, who among us wouldn’t pay a hefty ransom for an afternoon of shuffleboard with crack-up Bill Kristol? Or for an evening playing the slots next to the lovely Katrina vanden Heuvel? If only to take a dance class with the lithe Fred Barnes.

At a time when the map of America is carved up into red and blue, it would behoove the Forward to take much more seriously those cultural expressions which seem to bring all of us together.

Joshua Neuman


Heeb Magazine

New York, N.Y.

I consider myself a friend and fan of the Forward, and so when your reporter called and asked me to speak yet again about magazine cruises, I agreed without much thought.

In our conversation, your reporter recalled my piece in the Nation about sailing on the 1997 National Review cruise and asked if it had caused me to do any “soul-searching,” and shouldn’t I have written an article making fun of the Nation’s cruises? What about my description of “the man who stands by the coffee dispenser so you don’t have to move the lever up and down with your index finger?”

I answered, as your article correctly noted, that I do not feel regret, but you failed to convey the rest of my answer: first, that my description of how the cruise ship serves its coffee was perfectly accurate; second, that one normally does not write articles critical of one’s employer; and third, it just so happens that I did write such an article, making fun of the Nation’s first cruise for The New Yorker.

The Forward should have given the full story.

For the record, no, I don’t feel haunted.

Eric Alterman

New York, N.Y.

Memories of Ladispoli

The November 19 article on the experiences of immigrants passing through the Italian town of Ladispoli brought forth memories from two generations ago (“An Italian Fountain of Liberty”).

It is also worth remembering that Ladispoli was home to several thousand Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe. They came in the late 1940s as refugees, and stayed on until they were able to emigrate. Several of my fellow survivors are among them.

Solomon Salat

Elizabeth, N.J.

A Cheer for Court Jews

A little addenda to the fine November 26 article on the film by David Vyorst about Jewish basketball players (“Film Examines Court Jews Who Dominated Basketball”).

I was on the Yeshiva College basketball team for three seasons, from 1944 to 1947. We had a special cheer when we played schools such as St. Johns, which went as follows: “aleph, beth, gimel, dal-ed, we’re the boys who are all gemal-ed.”

Rabbi Jerome Abrams

New York, N.Y.

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