I was saddened to read Vince Beiser's article chronicling the death of War, West Virginia mayor Tom Hatcher (Prescription for Death, March). Beiser's earlier playboy article on Mayor Hatcher ("Overdose County, USA," Forum, April 2012) detailed his struggle to maintain the health and safety of the citizens of this small Appalachian coal town beset by poverty, unemployment and drug use. The mayor's efforts ultimately ended with his own death at the hands of a family member. My father's family lived in War; I remember as a child spending summer vacations in this town with clean streets and welcoming people. The coal mines had not yet been shut down, and people lived a relatively content life. Unfortunately, my thoughts of a future visit for a nostalgic remembrance of my family roots have ended with Beiser's writings. John Murphy Alexandria, Virginia
I know that top-20 lists (20 Greatest Songs With Swearing, April) are supposed to create discussion and debate, but how could Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum foil to mention the Geto Boys' "Gangsta of Love," a groundbreaking, expletive-filled and ridiculously catchy rap anthem? Its absence calls into question the credibility of the entire article.
Great article about the Iron Sheik (/ Will Make You Humble!, March). As a lifelong wrestling fan, I know the Sheik refers to those he disdains as "jabronis," but I didn't know he refers to those he admires as being "Sheik class." Keith Elliot Greenberg's story shows that as far as being a character—both in and
Thank you for the enlightening glimpse into OneTaste and orgasmic meditation (Pleasure Seekers, March). It has always surprised me that more wellness programs don't incorporate pleasure. We should all embrace the body's potential as wholeheartedly as these "OMing" practitioners do. As a woman, I was also
April's Playboy Interview delighted me by uniting two American icons, Stan Lee and pijvyboy. But it irks me that although Lee gained fame for creating Hulk, the X-Men and other characters, it is the movie executives who get to swim in their Scrooge McDuck money bins, thanks to Marvel's House of Ideas. Meanwhile, the folks responsible for these creations—especially Lee's cohorts, including artists Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby—are relegated to the shadows. At least Kirby is accustomed to being ripped off: Roy Lichtenstein cleverly appropriated Kirby's style, the same pop art your girlfriend raves about at museums despite chiding you for the juvenile nature of your comic-book collection. In the end, Stan Lee's answers underscore that we should enjoy Lee while we can. "Who the hell is Ultron?" indeed.
• "SOUTHERN women get what they want by using their charm," says Mississippi-born actress Katherine Bailess. On VHI's Hit the Floor, she plays a former stripper who joins a basketball team's dance squad. The role provides the sultry blonde with a chance to use the moves she learned as a competitive gymnast. "I can jump in the air and land in a split with a smile," Katherine says. "Who doesn't feel sexy making heads turn?"
• Fans of the Transformers franchise can expect more of the same, only different, from director Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction. MarkWahlberg tops a cast that includes newcomer Nicola Peltz.
• HBO's lauded Southern Gothic crime series uses multiple timelines to chronicle two detectives' 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. Investigating the occultish murder of a prostitute is loner cop Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner, Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson), whom we meet in 2012 as they recount the facts of the 1995 case. Cohle is a real downer ("Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction") who drives Marty nuts with his existential philosophizing; Marty drinks too much and cheats on his wife. The pulpy swamp
• Lost guru Damon Lindelof s new HBO series opens with two percent of the human population suddenly vanishing without warning or fanfare. Don't expect another take on the Rapture prophecy, however. Instead, The Leftovers—based on Tom Perrotta's novel of the same name—is as much mystery as thriller. After a low-key (yet wholly unnerving) depiction of the disappearances, the series jumps ahead three years to a world still unsure how or why millions were taken. Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler and the other residents of a small New York town become a microcosm of how those left behind are coping: Some join religious cults; most just seem numb. Despite the supernatural underpinnings, The Leftovers feels completely realistic. That makes it more frightening than any Bible story. VVVV
I have a problem as old as time—or at least as old as best friends and their girlfriends. A couple of months into his latest relationship, a buddy of mine is deeply embroiled in la-la land. I'm happy for him, but the problem is I can't stand being around his new girlfriend. Of course I know the important thing is how they feel about each other. Still, I can't help but wonder if there's an acceptable way to say to him, "I miss seeing you without her." Or do I just wait until the honeymoon phase is over and he rediscovers his need for time away from his girlfriend? I've pretty much resigned myself to the latter, but is there an appropriate alternative?—T.W., Denver, Colorado
Nancy L. Cohen cites some victories and defeats in "The War on Sex" (September), but she leaves out a significant continuing loss in the wider war on sex: circumcision. Most American men have suffered from this forced penile-reduction surgery, but one hears nothing about it from the erstwhile men's rights movement.
I was surprised to pick up my husband's April playboy and find a story on women's rights issues ("Born to Lose"). Thank you and Rachel R. White for the article on prison doulas. I had no idea women who give birth in U.S. prisons face these injustices. I hope Isis Rising can find the funding it needs to continue its work.
ur era has witnessed the demise of a certain number of ridiculous taboos-which . before becoming ridiculous were very serious indeed-which had imposed a ban on sexual matters, on clothes that externalized sexual characteristics, on bodies, on nudity. And yet it still produces a shock whenever this ban is transgressed, as though it were still in force. Images with a (more or less explicit) erotic meaning, or simply the display of a woman's body, are violently attractive. The excessive use of such images in advertising has not yet exhausted the effect they have on us, and we may conclude that they correspond to something profound. Displays of sexuality and nudity break with everyday life and provide the sense of a break, which people look for in leisure: reading, shows, etc. On posters, in shop windows, on
A cyberattack that shuts down or even just renders unreliable the U.S. power grid, transportation systems, banking network and more could create serious problems, at least until we (presumably) regained control ("The New 9/11," November). Unlike 9/11, the effects of such an attack would not necessarily be localized but could instead be
Climate change is real and happening. Publishing letters from people who deny it is not only damaging but also unethical (Reader Response, January/ February). Such opinions do not deserve space in one of the world's best magazines.
Jonathan Crary considers sleep a casualty of modern life in a world ruled by capitalist ideology, and I can't disagree ("Sleepers Awake," March). In America especially, we scorn the (mostly European) nations where vacation days are plentiful, retirement is early and pensions aren't penurious. What is sleep but an unpaid daily holiday? Like the waxing and waning of daylight, all this is part of a cycle. Whatever DARPA has cooking to keep our soldiers alert and fighting fit for weeks on end—and however enthusiastically we guzzle energy drinks or pop Adderall—the chemical replacements for sleep are sure to remain, physiologically, pale imitations of the real thing. As with the workers who staged armed revolts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to win a 60-hour, six-day workweek (and then 40 hours and a two-day weekend), something will eventually have to give.