Check out letters from those who agreed with us, and those who didn't

By EW Staff
March 26, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Our cover story on pop phenoms ‘N Sync and Britney Spears (#475, March 5) divided readers into two camps. On one side was Jessica Steele of Pittsburgh, who gushes, “You just made me the happiest person alive. With five midterms looming over my head and nights of missed sleep catching up with me, this issue has given me the strength I need to go on.” Among the unhappy campers was Charis Collins of Portland, Ore., who pleads, “For the love of God! I just want to be able to put EW right side up on my coffee table! I’m begging you: No more bubblegum covers.” Erik Noriega of Houston was even more distressed: “‘N Sync and Britney Spears on one cover? Are you guys mad at me or something?” We swear, Erik, it’s nothing personal.

I just want to say thanks for making us aware of the business side of pop music! But most of all, thanks a bunch for putting the most harmonious singers, definitely graceful dancers, and totally in sync, ‘N Sync, on your cover! Finally! I’m a 21-year-old fan who just can’t get enough of them, and you betcha, there are a lot of us out there!
Mary Francisco
La Jolla, Calif.

With your cover story on teen pop (”Bubblegum Blows Up”), you have correctly identified and exposed exactly what is wrong with today’s music: singers who are more robotic models than artists, more marketing ploys than musicians. These groups are given undeserved credibility and popularity, while artists like Tori Amos, Bjork, and Robert Miles seem to be relegated to underground radio stations.
Paul Harmeyer

Let’s see. Like Britney Spears, I’m 17 and have a flat stomach, dancing ability, and can hardly sing a note. So where’s my record deal?
Amanda Neal
Atascadero, Calif.

I am a 31-year-old graduate student with a public mailbox. Having to pull out a magazine with teenybopper idols on the cover, in full view of all my friends and peers, was quite embarrassing. Couldn’t you stick to The X-Files and Ally Mc-Flockhart? Please?
Karin Allen

Closing Credits
Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Gene Siskel. His passion for movies inspired a whole new generation of film critics, myself included. However, I take exception to your remark that Siskel ”wasn’t always right (he gave Simon Birch a big thumbs-up).” That he had so much enthusiasm for the picture (which, incidentally, was No. 3 on my list of 1998’s best films) was indicative of his strength as a critic; he could advocate strongly a movie he believed in, even if others were ripping it apart. There are many things I will miss about Gene Siskel. His exceptional good taste is just one of them.
Mike McGranaghan
Film Critic, Gamut!
Sunbury, Pa.

The credits recently ran on Gene Siskel. His voice, along with Roger Ebert’s, was perhaps the one heard loudest in a business that in many ways determines the success or failure of a film. I believe EW owed more to its readers than one page. It’s safe to say virtually everyone who has graced your pages knows what Gene Siskel meant to the entertainment business. It’s too bad EW doesn’t. Thumbs down.
Michael Lucier
Schaumburg, Ill.

‘PJ’ Party
A message to Spike Lee, Stanley Crouch, and everybody else who’s been bashing The PJs: Lighten up! It’s a comedy! These guys really think we need their guidance to choose which shows to watch? I love Eddie Murphy, and I think The PJs is one of the funniest shows on TV. If you don’t like it, there’s always the remote control.
Andre Albuquerque
New York City

‘Sister’ React
As the parent of a developmentally disabled child, I can’t begin to express how offended I am by Ms. Schwarzbaum’s final comment on the movie The Other Sister. Her use of the word retarded only adds to the discrimination that many disabled children and adults confront daily. Would you make a racial slur if you disliked Beloved or Amistad? Does a negative review of a film such as Philadelphia allow you to gay-bash? I daresay not. Yet you do not hesitate to so rudely comment on a population of our society subject to ridicule every day.
Kevin Larkin
Encino, Calif.