Letters to the editor

Spouses who switch teams Plus: Is the media ignoring racism in Zimbabwe? James Woods' puppy love.

Published May 1, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

The other side of the closet

July 17, 1997: "C-O Day." After almost 30 years of marriage, three children, two dogs, three cats and the "perfect" relationship, my husband/best friend/partner/confidant, announced that he had tried to commit suicide while traveling. That was his solution to being gay. He would rather be dead, at that moment, than tell me the truth. Three years, a river of tears and a myriad of wonderful new friends later, he is healthy and happy and we are finally honest. This article was overdue. The support available through the Str8 Spouse Network cannot be fully understood or appreciated unless you are "one of us."

Thank you to Salon and the author. There is life after this. It just isn't necessarily the life they taught me about in Sunday school. Here's to honesty!

-- Name withheld

If society didn't shame those with homosexual longings, surely fewer would mistakenly seek to hide in or heal themselves through a heterosexual union.

-- Dawn Thornton Duke

Good article with a much-needed look into the experience of the spouse who is either left or bewildered at this "sudden" development. It's important to mention HIV risk when people decide to have open relationships. Partners of men who have sex with men are in a high-risk group for contracting HIV, as are newly out men who feel wild and free. Remember to play safe(r).

-- Sharon Bettis

Janet Nicolazzo's story is a heart-rending one, in every way. Her tale left me wondering, ultimately, why she herself, after suspecting and subsequently confirming her suspicions with the damning evidence she found secreted away ("We do snoop," we're reminded), chose to continue living a lie for so long. Her former spouse was not the only one living a lie, sadly. One supposes there were real investments in the lie (and the residual truths) on both sides.

-- W.B. MacGregor

While what happened to Janet Nicolazzo is very sad, in the end it has more to do with her husband being an asshole than with her husband being gay. Had he cheated on her with other women and then, when finally confronted with photographic evidence of his activities, blithely walked away, leaving her alone with her misery, no one would say her situation was a result of his being heterosexual.

Social and cultural homophobia is a terrible thing, but there's a difference between acknowledging the awful toll that the closet takes on those who are trapped within its confines, and asserting that that pain justifies behaving badly to people in your life who have, themselves, done you no harm.

Marriages end, all the time. There are better and worse ways to do it. Being gay has nothing to do with how you handle yourself at that moment.

-- Ellen Evans

The shame of Zimbabwe


As a white ex-Rhodesian/Zimbabwean, I must applaud Stanley Crouch's balanced assessment of Zimbabwean affairs. I am always happy to see racism called racism, regardless of what color the perpetrator is. That seems to be the essential, inescapable message of his article. And it has a universal application. Even in this country, where sensitivities so often seem to be skewed depending on the color of the victim.

-- Shimon Israel

I was gratified to read Stanley Crouch's column castigating dictator Robert Mugabe and his policy of using activists of the ruling ZANU party to occupy white-owned farms and to murder, torture and rape their owners and (black) workers. He is absolutely correct to point out that if the color polarity were reversed and we had whites killing blacks anywhere in southern Africa, the outcry from the media and the political class would be deafening. The refusal of our media to give this story any of the moral urgency it deserves is a disgrace.

The silence from Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright is particularly noxious, in light of their enthusiasm for turning Belgrade into a pile of rubble in order to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo (for what we see going on in Zimbabwe today is ethnic cleansing, in addition to an attempt to weaken the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which virtually all whites in Zimbabwe, along with a great many blacks, support). The U.S. government, the United Nations and the media are willing to remain silent in the face of these hideous crimes, merely because the victims aren't fashionable. That is extremely disgusting.

-- Kevin R. O'Keeffe

Safely perched as Crouch is in the patron state of the colonial power, it must be a simple task to reduce the extraordinarily complex problem of land tenure in Zimbabwe to a simple case of black and white. Land tenure remains a vital thread woven into every aspect of the social, political and economic tapestry of the country, and not just a symbolic reminder of its incomplete revolution. The problem supercedes black Africans killing white Africans, or any other coloration of violence in the region -- brutality is commonplace regardless of the color of your skin, and was so long before the West turned its eyes to this latest round.

Nobody wants violence to persist here, but no hope exists to end this everyday battle until the fundamental social and economic inequalizer is removed, and that will involve people disenfranchised from their land being empowered to reclaim it.

-- Miles Keogh

I agree with Stanley Crouch in his assessment of Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. I lived in that beautiful country for a year in the early 1990s and I am deeply saddened by the turn of events.

Calling the issue "tribal," however, is not only incorrect (for one, there are simply too many subgroups of Shona for it to be considered a single, united tribe), but dangerous as well. It adds a level of separation between these events and the international reaction to them. Thus the international community sees this not as it is, an attempt by a totalitarian-minded leader to overthrow his country's constitutional democracy, but as some sort of tribal conflict, which "those Africans" get into from time to time.

Moreover, Crouch should be somewhat skeptical of the claims of the Ndebele man he spoke to, as from my recollection every participant in the country's struggle for independence, including the whites, thought that their side put forth the greatest fighting efforts and suffered the most horrifying losses.

In any case thank you for your article, it is good to see news of Zimbabwe make it into Western news outlets.

-- Chris Owens

Robert Moog

I found the article about Moog very interesting. There was no reference at all to the thousands of musicians who were put out of work because of his invention. It is useless to study music today because the composers are not using live musicians. It is a disservice to all of the people studying music today to even think that they can do record and TV dates. Very few humans see the inside of a recording studio. If the facts about being a musician today were really known, not one parent would insist on music lessons.

-- Iris Russell

While I agree that Robert Moog along with others like Don Buchla helped launch the modern age of electronic music, we mustn't forget the true father of the field, Thadeus Cahill. Cahill, an electrical engineer with numerous patents to his credit, built what was probably the first electronic synthesizer.

In the late 1890s Cahill rented three floors of space in an office building. The two bottom floors were full of several boxcars full of giant oscillators to provide the tone for his "Teleharmonium." The instrument was played in "Telemonium hall," the top floor of the complex. The player would play into a telephone receiver and the subscriber would be rung up by Cahill. Then laying his hand set down, the dulcet tones of the Teleharmonium would waft through the subscriber's office. It was the first Muzak! Unfortunately the whole enterprise eventually flopped, but it was probably the first synthesizer.

-- Kevin Tikker

Thanks for this great article, which to the best of my modest knowledge captures much of the persona of Moog as well as documents his wonderful contributions. It also affords him some distance from some of the negative fallout of the synthesizer industry. I particularly like the description of his latest efforts and his desire to make music a more social activity.

-- Gary Gibian

Conger line

With James Woods' disrespectful analogy of his new teenage girlfriend being like a puppy dog to him, I have to wonder if this man (and I use the term loosely) looks in the mirror and actually thinks that anything other than his wallet is attractive to this girl. I have news for him. I have used and continue to use aging, rich idiots just like him. These type of men think they are so damn hot as do their idiot buddies, but it is they who are being laughed at behind their backs while women like me and his girlfriend laugh all the way to Tiffany's. Did I mention that we also spend their money on our attractive young lovers? When will these old guys get a clue!

-- R. Walters

What a total loser. Too bad he will probably have to tie a pork chop around his neck(?) to get the "puppy" to play with it.

-- Rosemary Collins

By Salon Staff

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