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Letters: Jul. 30, 2001

4 minute read

Americans at the Top of Their Game

“Julia Roberts is our best movie star? Not so long as Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Kathleen Turner and Winona Ryder are breathing!” SHELDON L. GREEN Cleveland, Ohio

Right on to TIME for naming Sleater-Kinney America’s best rock band [AMERICA’S BEST, ARTISTS & ENTERTAINERS, July 9]. Not best girl band, not best band you’ve never heard of, not best independent band, but best band! I hope this is an indication of the future of music. SARAH STOLLAK Lansing, Mich.

The selection of flavor-of-the-month Ang Lee as best American film director had more to do with hype and fashion than artistry or achievement. How could Lee be chosen over a far more accomplished filmmaker like Robert Altman? He continues to create works of passion and originality at an age (76) when most directors are far past their prime. His influence can be felt in the most exciting films of recent years, and he has worked in just about every film genre known to man. In a field of imitators, Altman is an innovator–one of the best America has. JIM HEMPHILL Los Angeles

I’ve been an admirer of Sally Mann’s photography since I was introduced to it as a student. A few months ago, my husband and I took a trip to her hometown in Virginia. Not only did we meet the most delightful people there, but I was able to see some of Mann’s surroundings and inspirations. I now own all her books, and through the help of a supernice bookstore owner, they are autographed by Mann! I treasure them. DORA SUMMA New York City

Highlighting America’s most prolific and successful artists and entertainers is certainly a formidable task. Your categories, however, were not comprehensive. You completely disregarded our dancers. I’m sure you could have found an abundance of talent. Dancers, like the other artists in your feature, are enlivening traditional art forms with creativity, innovation and freshness. SARAH C. HALZACK Suffield, Conn.

Best movie star, best TV host and best comedian? Come on! TIME is bent on reducing American popular culture to nothing but adolescent pap! P.J. PESCE Los Angeles

–Our first installment of America’s Best brought out the worst in many of you. By far the cruelest cut came from a Boulder, Colo., man who griped, “You wouldn’t even know the best Chinese restaurant within two blocks of your office!”

Leave Microsoft Alone!

The Microsoft ruling last week was a temporary victory for the software giant but a great loss for capitalism and freedom [BUSINESS, July 9]. Microsoft wins, obviously, because it does not have to break up its company at government gunpoint. But it’s sobering that Microsoft ever faced such a threat in the first place. Now it’s time to recognize that the very arbitrary foundations of antitrust law are a disgrace and should be repealed. MICHAEL J. HURD Chevy Chase, Md.

Milosevic’s Joust with Justice

Disputing my view that the transfer of Slobodan Milosevic to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague was a momentous event for international justice, Charles Krauthammer argues that Western political and economic leverage is the real champion of an “illegal” transfer that “threatens to destabilize Serbia” [VIEWPOINT, July 9]. While it is fortunate that no global police force exists, the enforcement tools for international justice indeed are political and economic pressure. These have been applied for years to assist a legitimate war-crimes tribunal whose indictments merit enforcement. Fear of turmoil usually precedes justice. Over time, Milosevic’s joust with international justice will undergird Serbia’s emerging democracy. DAVID J. SCHEFFER U.S. Institute of Peace Washington

Finger-Picking Good

At the risk of sounding like a crybaby, I feel the short item on Chet Atkins was an insult [MILESTONES, July 9]. You made him sound like some unknown guy who was just sitting on a curb hummin’ and strummin’. In fact, Atkins was probably the best guitarist the U.S. has ever produced. As a guitarist for more than 40 years, I have listened to everyone from Andres Segovia to Jimi Hendrix, and the only other guitarist I would put in Atkins’ class is Segovia. There is a huge group of people over 50 who have heard some real talent in the past years. How about an in-depth article on “Mr. Guitar”? He didn’t get that name by accident. PAUL PUGLIESE Long Branch, N.J.

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