Wrong Man for the Job
What a shame that newly, wildly revamped and modernized Scene would allow its writers to take the same tired, rockist attitude toward new music. David Powers reviews Portishead's latest Roseland NYC Live ["Playback," December 3] as if comparing it to a Bruce Springsteen CD.

It's clear from his first paragraph that Powers is completely unfamiliar with Portishead. Insinuating that "there is nothing on Roseland to prove that Portishead is a real, working band" is a truly bizarre statement in 1998. Why do Scene writers continue to assert the belief that the only acceptable music is that from the standard four-piece guitar/drums/bass/vocals arrangement? Powers goes on to show further ignorance and complain that vocalist Beth Gibbons "doesn't defer enough to even allow the slightest hint of banter--or life--between songs." Oh, that's right, the old Scene divided music into two camps: metal/guitar/white trash schlock and Lilith Fair folk, with little room or tolerance for anything in between. Maybe Powers was expecting Sarah McLachlan live?

Perhaps if our city papers took a more inclusive approach to music, live appearances by Portishead wouldn't be so semi-secret and Clevelanders wouldn't have to travel to Chicago or Detroit to experience them. In the future, please direct the appropriate writer to the appropriate job.

Larry McTighe

Get Off Your Cans
For the first time in more than a year, I actually read David Sowd's column. I couldn't believe that the man I had pegged as having the intelligence of moldy bread had actually presented a near-brilliant argument against our ever-increasingly communist government gaining further control over our lives. Intrigued, I dug through a few old issues and read Sowd's columns. Imagine my rage when I read the column where Sowd literally bragged about never voting. Worse, he even trotted out the old "don't blame me, I don't vote" saw.

Well, Mr. Sowd, and anyone who doesn't vote, I have news for you. The sorry state of affairs our country is in is your fault. You piss and moan about mandatory drug tests, sobriety checkpoints, and other blatant infringements upon our civil rights and don't do a damn thing about it. So few people voted this past November that if everyone who didn't vote had voted for a third party candidate, that person would have received almost four times the votes that Governor-elect Bob Taft received.

I originally quit reading Mr. Sowd's column because I couldn't stomach his disgusting employment of stereotypes and hateful remarks about gays, women, and other minorities. Yet, his December 3 column reminded me of when I was growing up in the '70s. At the time biker chicks and motorcycle enthusiast groups were vigorously fighting mandatory helmet laws. The government won by employing the argument "It's only a small group. It'll reduce your insurance costs. And you'll be protected from these immoral people." Rights groups such as HRC, GLAAD, JOL, NAACP, and the Urban League would do well to loudly paraphrase the sentiment heard from many of these "immoral" bikers: "If the government takes away our freedoms, you're next."

What surprises me most is that the generation so blithely giving away our freedom is old enough to have heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say what I am only able to read: "As long as one man is in chains, no man is free."

Paul Bowles
Broadview Heights

Garbage In, Garbage Out
Oh no! Two disappointing issues of Scene in a row! To start, there was the recent issue with Kiss on the cover ["Kiss the Culprit," December 3]. Imagine all those thousands of fans eager to read a great article on their favorite band only to find out it was just a slam. That type of article is okay when a band isn't touring, but to print it just days before the local show is poor journalism. That's not what your readers want!

Then the concert review itself, if you can call it that. What happened to reviews where you learn what songs were played, what the stage was like, the sound quality? All we get these days is someone's attitude-driven garbage, which is useless. A concert review is supposed to explain what happened so those who couldn't be there can know what was missed. I was at the concert; it was great and I doubt that any of those 18,000 fans in attendance were disappointed. It's no wonder Scene is running ads for writers and editors.

Name withheld upon request

Log on, Anonymous Kiss Fan
Please do your readers a favor and don't print any more tough-sounding letters so full of righteous indignation from yutzes who don't have the balls to let their names be printed ["Letters," December 10]. There's a place for people who want to talk trash and stay anonymous: the Internet. As for me, I say Kiss always sucked, and you may print my name under it.

Mark Oxner
Maple Heights

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World
First of all I really prefer the old Scene; why change a good thing? Second, please explain to me what "Jesus of the Week" is. It sure seems to be a cheap attempt at comedy. Are we also going to have a Buddha or Allah or Jehovah of the week? This world is crazy enough, and now we're going to mock God? There's really something wrong here.

Leona Guzowski