Class Dismissed 

Letters published June 30, 2004

Class Dismissed
Time to drop the F-bomb:
Just wanted to make a few general comments about your article "The Fifteenth Minute" [June 2], written about Fredo LaPonza. First of all, was it really necessary to use the F-bomb? That made the article seem trashy right from the get-go. Second, was it also necessary to describe what the girls were wearing when they approached Fredo (miniskirt, tube top, etc.)? Lastly, I found the wake reference extremely tacky. Please stop treating Fredo like an A-list celebrity, as he is more G-list material.

I really hope that in the future you raise the bar a bit and use some classy references in your writing. You may find that better-quality "celebrities" are willing to contribute to such articles if you take my advice.

Andrea Schopfer
Cuyahoga Falls

Petro Faction
We surmise that AG means "above the guidelines":
The June 16 First Punch surmises that Attorney General Jim Petro made an illegal move by granting an award for funeral expenses to the family of Army Staff Sgt. Sean Landrus, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. In fact, Petro's decision was made in accordance with both state and federal law. Information quoted in the article does not apply to the Attorney General's use of the state fund. Rather, it refers to the guidelines that local victim-assistance agencies must follow.

Funeral expenses are clearly defined as an "economic loss" in Ohio Revised Code. Additionally, the state must adhere to federal guidelines, which also state that funeral expenses are compensable.

Bob Beasley
Attorney General's Office
Columbus, OH

Rootin' for Renee
Nice words and
Sweet Talk: Thank you for your great review of Renee Austin [Nightwatch, May 26]. It's all true, and her well-deserved recognition for Sweet Talk has been a long time coming. I believe that if she gets the tiniest of breaks, she could become a major star.

Bill Wood
San Diego

Contesting the Contest
Scratch the makeover:
I am an avid Scene reader who's considering not reading your magazine again. I am concerned with your "makeover" thing you have going on [Scene Make Me Over! contest]. I do not know what the young ladies are going through that you honored with a makeover, but I know what I am going through. I wrote a letter for your consideration as a single mom wearing wigs for years because of self-esteem issues. Well, maybe I shouldn't have. My luck is so bad, I've never won a scratch-off. I was really interested in a makeover, but now I am interested in making this contest over.

I see your magazine in numerous stores on the East Side. Many people I know read your magazine. For two months, there has been not one African American female, not one Chinese American, or one easy-to-identify Puerto Rican female, and I am f*****g disgusted. Treat us better! We patronize you and are your customers!

Kim Langston
"Angry Sista"

Aurally Challenged
Music to the ears is what counts:
I'm kind of offended that Eric Davidson thought I was putting on an Irish accent [Nightwatch, June 2]. That's really weird. Apparently he's the only person who thinks I've ever done that. Personally, if I thought somebody was putting on an accent, I would think they were one 100 percent crap, and I wouldn't have said anything nice about them. But he did say he thought I had talent, so I guess I just can't relate.

Jolie Holland
San Francisco, California

For the Record
Strong opinions and a long memory:
Eric Davidson's article on the God Squad [Regional Beat, June 2] accurately sums up the short life cycle of many alternative bands in Cleveland during the '80s. Having seen the band play on a multitude of occasions, though, I believe the Sex Pistols get a little too much credit as an influence.

Mark Raicevich's vocals sound closer to The Buzzcocks, and drummer Mike Sukys's workmanlike beats have a heavy dose of Hüsker Dü. Punk had only one important survivor by the late '80s -- the Ramones. The God Squad emulated them more than any other band. The energy, speed, and brevity of their songs did hark back to an earlier punk era, but like a post-high school kid taking a girl to the junior prom, they sentimentalized a scene that had already passed them by. The dance was over, and grunge was gathering its metal-alt-mix mindset while bands like the God Squad looked backward.

As for Death of Samantha, they were hardly a classic rock band and definitely not post-post-punk. Petrovic's band with guitarist Doug Gillard was very much in the middle of the alternative scene (pre-Nirvana explosion). If they had been truly ahead of their times, as Davidson attests, then why aren't we all listening to Death of Samantha instead of the grunge rockers' nihilistic tunes on midday flashback radio?

The fact that Gillard left Samantha for the more musically advanced Guided by Voices proves the point. The God Squad "retrospective" is an appropriate title for the band's small vision of themselves, and now old and new listeners can discover how one small Cleveland band carried the punk sound on its shoulders.

Tom Jakovlic
Westmont, IL


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