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Feedback: Sept. 2, 2011

Reader reactions to our ”Help” cover story, ”Glee” backlash, and more

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Domestic Affairs
I was very happy to see the ladies from The Help on this week’s cover. I understand the touchiness of the subject matter, but underneath the hot-button issues is a story about how the person you are is not based on race, wealth, or position alone. It is the culmination of how you live your life, how you were raised, and who you have surrounded yourself with. Kathryn Stockett captured the soul and voice and hearts of some amazing women. It made me miss my mother and think of my girlfriends; I couldn’t wait to share these women with them.
Erin Phillips
Knoxville, Tenn.

Thank you for publishing Martha Southgate’s opinion piece ”The Truth About the Civil Rights Era.” It’s hard to be the naysayer when it seems everyone is rushing to embrace a film or book, but her points are valid and need to be heard. I would extend her critique to films that cover any nonwhite cultures: From The Last Samurai to Invictus, Hollywood seems unwilling to risk making more movies starring — gasp — only people of color! We can do much better, Hollywood.
S. Waheed

While I respect Martha Southgate’s perspective, I feel she has missed the point of The Help. It is not about who gets credit for the civil rights movement’s successes. It is about how very different people from very different backgrounds worked together to achieve a common goal of justice and equality, which improved everyone’s lives, no matter what color.
Risha O’Neill
Maricopa, Ariz.

If You Love The Help
…check out Alice Childress’ 1956 novel, Like One of the Family: Conversations From a Domestic’s Life, recommended by readers Jason Lyon of Pasadena and Courtney R. Johnson of Silver Spring, Md. Here’s a primer on this seminal work.

Though African-American writer Alice Childress was mostly known for her stage work, she ventured into novel writing with Family, made up of 62 firsthand accounts by Mildred, a New York City housekeeper who shares tales of injustice at the hands of employer Mrs. C. (The monologues — addressed to Mildred’s friend Marge — first appeared as the weekly series ”Conversations From Life” in Paul Robeson’s newspaper Freedom.) Through her protagonist, Childress balks at the notion that a maid in the ’50s was simply ”one of the family,” as the title suggests. Indeed, in one encounter, the lady of the house clutches her purse tightly, fearing Mildred will try to steal from her. Mildred humorously assures her that she too would suspect theft after paying someone so little. —Kevin Sullivan

Pitch Problems
To say that season 2 of Glee was uneven is an understatement (News and Notes). There was an angry undercurrent running through it, and the cringeworthy performances and plotlines often left me feeling sad/disappointed/insert negative feeling here. What was once a culturally relevant show appears to have been clouded by the arrogance of the talent involved. And there is nothing funny about that.
Tom Iannone
Los Angeles

Sex Miseducation
Modern romantic comedies evolved from 1930s screwball comedies, famously described by critic Andrew Sarris as ”sex comedies without the sex” (”Why Is It So Hard to Make a Good Romantic Comedy?”). Today, it takes an awfully clever screenwriter to devise a reason to keep an attractive couple out of bed. Hence the weary reliance on the Big Misunderstanding.
Laura Boyes
Durham, N.C.

I’ve seen Julia Roberts standing in front of a boy asking him to love her over and over. The best rom-coms are the ones you can watch that often without getting tired of them.
Sarah Hughes
Gladstone, Mich.

King of the Jungle
Your EW.com poll asked readers to name their favorite film starring a primate, and the original King Kong didn’t even make the list? Really? Compare 1933’s version with 2005’s overblown CGI-fest, and if you still think it should be overlooked…well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.
Michal Jacot
East Tawas, Mich.