Diesel's heat and a pageant parody

Readers respond to an appreciation of Vin Diesel's mojo and a satire on beauty pageants.

Published August 20, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

[Read "Vin Diesel Is Hot," by Janelle Brown.]

I normally enjoy Janelle Brown's writing in Salon, but I was surprised by the apologetic tone in her article about Vin Diesel. Reading along, I found myself picturing Brown and her friends: the air of overeducation (whether deserved or not), soft hands, carefully designed artiness to the appearance, Starbucks latte in one hand, cell phone in the other, not looking directly at the counterworkers or bus drivers or doormen they encounter ... no, that's too extreme. I don't know Brown or her friends, but they sure sound like a bunch of snobs.

Vin Diesel ugly? Is she nuts? Her friends wouldn't know what to do with him? What is this, "Society Women Flirt With the Pool Boy Hour"? Give me a break. There's nothing embarrassing about thinking a muscular, tattooed hunk is hot. It's more embarrassing to try to pretend that you feel that way about your "sensitive film geek" boyfriend who can't open a jar of pickles.

-- Alexia Henke

Sometimes I wonder as a gay man if women know what they really want -- big sexy lug or thoughtful gentleman -- and wonder why they can't conceive of having both. Two glaring errors in Brown's judgment cement her indecisive nature. One, "Pitch Black" was not a great movie, but it was a very good one, certainly compared to the usual sci-fi crap we have to endure. And two, Vin Diesel is hardly ugly. Pretty -- no. Chiseled all-American -- no. Masculine and self-confident -- for sure. Maybe if Brown saw these attributes as admirable rather than obstacles to overlook, she might shed her girlish fantasies and discover there are a lot more Vin Diesels than Brad Pitts waiting for some attention.

-- Hugh Elliott

I really appreciated Janelle Brown's article on the mystery of Vin Diesel. I have followed this man's career as a fan for nearly three years now and his attractions for me continue to mystify me regularly. Am I entranced by his "potential"? Or am I simply mesmerized by his animal magnetism and vitality? In both his movies and interviews, Diesel is by turns goofy, intelligent, oafish, articulate, juvenile and wise. I thought that Brown captured much of his perplexing but enjoyable mystery and the appeal that he has for me.

He has barely begun his career. I can only hope that Diesel will prove to be an exceptional actor who can delve deep and go the emotional distance that his chosen discipline requires. I will be a very grateful recipient of his work if he can accomplish that feat. My personal thanks to Janelle Brown for a sharp, funny, yet ultimately kind article about this complicated actor.

-- Kris Kincade

[Read "I See London, I See France," by Roger Bruhn.]

Fabulous satirical commentary!!!!

-- Daphne Egan

Ironically, while the author of "I See London, I See France" seems to be trying to point out that "Plastic Pageant Pattys" are human beings, he strips beauty queens of their humanity with his insensitive treatment of a painful incident the media transformed into a scandal.

There's nothing wrong with a little fun. Beauty pageants, by their very nature, are walking targets for ridicule. I understand that. On the other hand, real women compete in the Miss America system. It's a lifelong dream for some women, and some women, like me, will complete their education with no debt thanks to Miss America scholarships. Rebekah Revels was forced to make a painful decision, give up a dream, and relive the nightmare of an abusive relationship. A rhinestone crown is no reason to mock an abused woman who, by all accounts, showed tremendous class when faced with a difficult situation.

The nicest thing to be said of "I See London, I See France" is that is was in very poor taste.

-- Sarah Hunt, Miss Northern New Mexico 2002

By Salon Staff

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