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Shook Up in Shaker 

Letters published June 8, 2005

Shook Up in Shaker
Drunks send Whitey back to 'burbs:
I am shocked and disappointed to see such an ungenerous and limited social perspective published [First Punch, May 25]. According to his letter, "Whitey from Macedonia" took his family to Shaker Square to see a movie and decided to stay for dinner. He complains that their dinner was interrupted by the cursing of a group of apparently drunk African American men.

Whitey loses credibility by saying that he feared for his family's safety in the face of such men "obviously high on some of the evil white man's elixirs," and then, later, that the men's anger lacked "substance and originality," so he didn't believe it. But it seems that the black men cursed no one specifically, but, rather, the white world in general. Whitey tells us that he experienced "shock, discomfort, and a general sense of creepiness," and thus he will "forever avoid the Shaker Square area."

Most disturbing to me is that such an unintelligent and unethical view would be published. The racist and unfair implication here is that an occasional unruly African American presence is enough to make any business fail. And Whitey is justified in leaving the city -- again.

Whitey doesn't explore the moral contradiction that, though he and his kind have long since deserted Cleveland, he believes he should retain the privilege of coming to the city and enjoying its services. I am disappointed in Scene.

Gillian Johns
Oberlin

Argue with them, that's the ticket: Beneath the humor, Whitey does offer us some doughy lumps of reasoning. Although mainstream rap isn't as politically charged as it once was, it does often sell hollow premises of victimization and militancy (not to mention corny gangsta posturing!) to those too shiftless to derive their own opinions. But Whitey, if you already knew this, why didn't you air your grievances in front of these unsavory Negroes? Isn't it the white man's burden to civilize savages?

I'm not condoning what these dregs did, and Whitey and his kin have every right to feel indignant. Still, blacklisting Shaker Square and fleeing back to white suburbia won't solve anything. Like so many other practitioners of white flight, you just ran away from the problem. What else would explain your chickenshit alias, Whitey?

Kelley Gaines-El the II
Aurora

Armed and Defensive
Concealed weapons -- the American way:
There is nothing ironic about concealed-carry classes being held in the MLK Community Center [First Punch, May 25]. Martin Luther King Jr. employed armed bodyguards and applied for a permit to carry a handgun in his car (it was denied). African Americans using firearms in self-defense is a tradition that goes back to at least the Jim Crow days. W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, and Robert Morton all advocated armed self-reliance.

In a city as crime-ridden as ours, law-abiding black citizens should not be made to feel bad for taking legal steps to defend themselves. If there is any irony in your story, it is that in the old days, blacks had to defend themselves from rampaging white racists. Now they must defend themselves largely from each other.

Dan Schneider
Garfield Heights

Some Critic
But she's got adjectives out the wazoo:
Annie Zaleski doesn't know shit. The review on Alkaline Trio/Fall Out Boy [Playback, May 25] was absolutely ridiculous.

First off, the Trio couldn't give a shit about mainstream. If you were there to see them recently, My Chemical Romance left its own show to watch the Trio play. Although this new album is par, it definitely blows away anything that a whiny, pop-punk wannabe puts out. At least a band like the Trio can be recognized by any true punk fan.

Sorry, but get a better writer who knows a thing or two about what they're writing about.

Ryan Kelly
Cleveland

A Screamin' Shame
Credit where credit is due:
After reading Jason Bracelin's "Scream Kings" [May 25], I was appalled. It is shameful that Midnight Syndicate continues to practice revisionist history. Without Joseph Vargo and Monolith Graphics, Midnight Syndicate would have ceased to exist. It was Vargo who listened to their first piece of crap CD and somehow discerned potential. All I heard when I listened was a hilarious Shatneresque travesty.

Vargo was able to marshal the talents of Douglas and Goszka. Vargo gave them focus, direction, and purpose, and together they produced a pair of CDs that Midnight Syndicate has failed to equal since. All of Midnight Syndicate's subsequent work has been a pale imitation of those two Vargo-produced CDs.

Not to acknowledge Vargo's influence is utterly shameful and misleading. I am happy that a local band has made good. Too bad that it has done so at the expense of another artist.

If you're a fan of gothic horror music, give a listen to Vargo's new band, Nox Arcana, where he continues the dark legacy of Born of the Night and Realm of Shadows.

Peter Iorillo
Parma

Kids for Brains
Giving animal-lovers the bird:
It was nice of First Punch to cover the PETA chicken's trip to Gallagher Middle School in the same issue as all the horse-auction letters [First Punch, May 18]. I think you should bring those kids and the Flicka-worshipers together for some thoughtful dialogue. Both sides have similar powers of logic and rhetoric.

Jeffrey Quick
Windham

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