Mel's Movie 

Letters published March 10, 2004

Mel's Movie
He took the call: In regard to Robert Wilonsky's "Suffer Unto Mel" [February 25], I was born Roman Catholic. I read this article with grief and disgust.

I read Scene every single week. We at the Justice Center greatly appreciate and admire your newspaper more than the notorious Plain Dealer. Because I and others in my department always find your articles moving, interesting, and insightful, I wanted to say that it's articles like this one that make the public comment in such hasty, ignorant ways.

Jesus plainly died for our sins. Mel Gibson, I believe, did have a calling to make the world aware of what Jesus did for all of us, no matter if you are Catholic or religious or whatever your faith is. This is exactly what Mel wanted: to bring people together to discuss God and Jesus, not for you to tear his masterpiece apart bit by bit. That is so ignorant of you. This is one of the worst things I have read in a long time -- especially in Scene. It really upset and disgusted me.

Heather A. Bazzerelli
Old Brooklyn

Wilonsky should read the book: In response to "Suffer Unto Mel": If reviewer Robert Wilonsky read the whole Bible, he would find that fallen angels and demons were standing around, watching the crucifixion. Just because Wilonsky is ignorant of certain facts doesn't quite make him a bad reviewer. A true Christian will not hate the Jews, as they did their job. God knows everything from start to finish. If Jesus Christ wasn't crucified for all of us sinners, we'd be lost for eternity. For those who refuse to believe, you'll find out the truth when you're on your knees in front of Christ on Judgment Day . . . when it's too late.

Rick Ray

Chill Out
Cool it with the Cube:
I think this attack on Ice Cube is wrong ["Murder, He Wrote," February 18]. No matter what he does, he's being positive now. He has come a long way from NWA. As a father, he is not going to say or rap something that will hurt our youth. Ice Cube is a positive role model for black youth. He shows that as a productive black man, you can go from gangster to role model.

Michelle Shirley

Go After the Car Crooks
If you want action, take action:
Just wanted to say Aina Hunter's story "Lemon Merchant" [January 22] was very startling. When I read Attorney Frank Romano's response, I thought he should read the article again. If you think you can help, then why don't you? Until action is taken by the Attorney General's office, Romano's critique of the article is just more B.S. and publicity -- not real action.

I applaud this small paper for having the guts to do what the big papers are scared to do. Good job, Aina and Scene. Keep it going on these fools, and keep informing us of the truth.

Frank Ford

Rest of Story
Racists come in every color:
In Christine Howey's review titled "Mattie's Choice" [February 4], she suggests violent racism only comes in vanilla. This is naive and disingenuous. Before she makes such assertions, she should study the violent hate crimes committed against white folks such as Michael Westerman, Melissa McLaughlin, Kevin Schiffet, and Betty Thompson Wade, among others. All the victims were white, all the assailants were black, and race was the cause for each murder.

These heinous crimes only confirm that black racial hatred can be just as violent, vicious, and disgusting as any acts committed by "two white yahoos." Racial animosity is alive and well, and it comes in many flavors. But whatever flavor it comes in, it is still repugnant and unacceptable. Hate crimes and racism will continue to be an "ugliness that resides just below our apparently civilized surface" until we confront them, no matter what color the perpetrator.

John T. Page

Back to the Tombs
Rocket should take off already:
I thought Rocket From the Tombs briefly reunited for a dusty stroll down memory lane [Playback, February 18]. Who knew they wanted to become the new Cowsills?

Jeff Magnum
New York, NY

Appreciating AP
A place, a time, a magazine:
Thanks for a great article highlighting the rise of Alternative Press ["Almost Famous," February 18]. Having spent my formative years in the late '80s and early '90s, I remember how important a magazine AP was. Without such news tools as the internet, this magazine was a must-read. It was the only "real" magazine where you could read up on all the great bands, particularly of the industrial genre. No other nationally published magazine had the guts to cover such artists. Bands such as Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and Front 242, who were still relative unknowns, got their first taste of exposure in AP.

Who could forget Jason Pettigrew's Revolting Cocks tour diary? Or his hilarious articles and interviews with Pigface's Martin Atkins? It was sad to follow AP's move away from covering the genre. The industrial scene was pretty stagnant by the mid-'90s, so I'm sure that they had to move on. After their low period of covering n&3252;-metal, it's nice to know that they are still on top of their game. I may not be able to relate to the music as much, but I know that kids reading AP now are getting blown away by something new and something that is their own.

Kevin Hoffman's article traced a lot of Mike Shea's struggles in those early years and how he willed the magazine forward. It was a great read and a fun trip down memory lane. What I don't understand is why it took so long to write Mike Shea's story. It took an out-of-towner to find something great about Cleveland and its music scene. Thanks, Kevin.

Mike Wegling

Taft Steps Back
Do the rights thing:
When I heard about Bob Taft signing the Defense of Marriage Act ["Bob Taft's Hidden Desires," February 11], I was appalled. I find it difficult to believe that this is what the majority of Ohio citizens wanted. This is like a step backward and a slap in the face to Martin Luther King Jr. and all of those who fought so hard for civil rights. This isn't a matter of morals, but a matter of civil rights!

Julie Taylor
Chandler, AZ

More Space, Please
A refreshing read:
Thank you, Andrew McMillan, for your article on Plate Tectonics at Abbasso [Night and Day, February 18]. For a while, I've been searching through Scene, trying to find more coverage of the local EDM events in Cleveland versus the usual focus on international and national headliners. It was refreshing to see you give an ounce of credit and coverage to what actual Clevelanders are doing for our music scene.

Valerie Cooper
North Royalton

Ins and Outs
Free speech costs some people more:
I read Frank Lewis's piece "He Didn't Play Nice" [February 11]. Most Americans think of this as a free-speech country. But is it so in practice?

I wonder if this type of phenomenon is explained by the in-group/out-group dynamics written about by sociologists. If you are a member of the in-group, you can speak more freely, but if you are in the out-group, your "permission to speak" is more limited. For instance, I have noticed dissenting opinions by Ohio Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court justices that contain carping and insulting references to the majority judges, but no disciplinary action is taken. However, in a county with 6,700 attorneys, there may be less hesitation to act against an outspoken outsider.

Lawrence R. Floyd, Esq.

Sound Check
No music in that mix:
Just a correction on Darren Keast's "Sonic Bullets" [February 11]. "From Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange," he wrote, "British psychiatrists use Beethoven's 'Ninth Symphony' to program the mind of young Alex, a juvenile delinquent, to abhor violence." However, the music was not intentionally used for this purpose. The music was an accidental by-product of Alex's reprogramming procedure. The violent video, along with the chemicals that the scientists were dropping in his eyes while he witnessed the violence, was supposed to be the actual procedure.

Interesting concept in the article, though. Thanks for the article.

Mike Miheli

Blues Treasures
Get it while you can:
Thanks to Duane Verh and Scene for giving Wallace Coleman his due ["Devil on the Harp," February 18]. Along with Robert Lockwood Jr., he has the pedigree and the chops to play the blues as they really were. Cleveland is lucky to have them both. I couldn't agree more with Wallace's feeling that real blues (he called it "deep blues") are lost on most clubgoers. Audiences are small and the pay sucks, but they play anyway, because that's what they love.

I dont have that kind of pedigree, and I know zilch about sharecropping or being treated as property, but I do know about heartache, hopelessness, and how to rise above it all by singing my damn heart out. God willing, we still have a few good years before the last of the real bluesmen die off. When they are gone, there won't be any more, so enjoy them while you all can.

Bruce Vavra

Not So Fast
Don't write off your local market:
The February 11 installment of Café ["Phunk'd"] stated: "Half of the large, annotated wine list is devoted to Italian reds and whites, by the bottle and the glass; the other half is drawn from an international lineup of critically acclaimed wineries, many of which -- Liberty School, Giesen, and Bogle among them -- aren't anything you're likely to find at your local Giant Eagle."

Giant Eagle is committed to providing our customers with more than 3,000 varieties of high-quality wines. Many Northeast Ohio locations, including the location near the restaurant named in Elaine Cicora's article, do in fact carry the specific choices she mentioned.

The Fairlawn Giant Eagle carries Bogle Zinfandel Old Vines, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Syrah, Merlot, and Chardonnay, as well as Liberty School Chardonnay and Cabernet. Many local stores in Cleveland, Canton, and Akron offer these wines as well as Giesen Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

Rob Borella
Director, Corporate Communications and Sports Marketing
Giant Eagle


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