Mail 1/9/1998


I loved your cover for Amistad (#409, Dec. 12); it really shows Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman, and Anthony Hopkins at their best. Thanks for the great cover, and cover story. JUSTIN SEATON Beavercreek, Ohio

I had to shake my head with disgust when I read about Hollywood’s wheeling and dealing of a potential Steven Spielberg blockbuster, Amistad, in Jeff Gordinier’s ”Mutiny and the Bounty.” Isn’t the main point of making this film—that any chance to see a depiction of black history is a good thing, no matter who gets credit—getting lost? The fact that Debbie Allen’s original proposal was rejected by the entertainment industry is proof of just how near impossible it is to see more than the usual white America fare. And how wonderful it is that one more new voice broke through the color barrier. CAROL BANKS WEBER Honolulu

How many more white-liberal, guilt-ridden black history lessons from Hollywood do we really need? How many more flops will it take before Hollywood realizes that these movies are insulting at best and harmful at worst? Get over your guilt, Hollywood; neither white nor black America benefits from your apologias. BRETT ROTH Milwaukee


I’m confused. wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that EW featured the Spice Girls on the top of its cover and proclaimed, ”What’s Right With the Spice Girls!” Now, just a few weeks later and on that very same spot on the cover, you ask the burning question, ”Are the Spice Girls in Trouble?” First of all, please make up your mind. Second, why not ask the question that most of America has been asking recently: Who cares? GEORGE PAXMAN Burlington, Vt.


I would like to thank you for your article on The Capeman. Opening EW and finding a story on Paul Simon, one of the greatest songwriters ever, was an early Christmas treat. SAMUEL J. SCHMIDT Pittsburgh


I just want to express my thanks for Owen Gleiberman’s insightful review/analysis of Amistad. He has given me serious ideas to consider once I get a chance to see the film. It’s this type of thought-provoking commentary, which rarely appears in any of the other mainstream press, entertainment mags or otherwise, that got me to subscribe to EW in the first place. Please keep it coming. KEITH TISHKEN Baltimore

While I cannot say that I totally disagree with Owen Gleiberman’s assessment of Amistad, I find his summation of the movie as being ”two and a half hours of black men sitting around in chains waiting to be given their freedom” to be profoundly insensitive and repugnant. I’m sure that no mainstream critic, regardless of what he or she thought about the artistry of the film, would have dared to say that Schindler’s List was about ”Jews sitting around naked waiting to be saved from the gas chamber.” TRACY M. FOSTER Kansas City, Mo.

CORRECTION: Commercial 78 records, not field recordings, were the source material for the Smithsonian Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music boxed set (Music).