Buggy Whippings?

Letters published December 4, 2002

Major labels can't handle technology:

Jason Bracelin's points are right on the mark ["Rooked in Advance," November 6]. The labels are reacting to the new technologies as if they made buggy whips at the turn of the last century. The scary thing is, maybe they do. Only the small labels seem to have the flexibility to make the necessary adjustments and use technological change to their advantage.

Alan Ross
Bay Village

Good albums sell, bad albums suck:

Let me get this: Online sharing is to be lauded for the response to Wilco's new album, but then it's given the pass on Eve-Olution's poor sales? I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. You can't say that online sharing is a boon to "good" albums and a non-factor on "bad" ones. Blame it on high prices, blame it on lack of availability, but don't come up with a paradoxical theory where sharing is some unilateral good.

John Schloman

A hammer to the ego:

"Make no mistake: We are the ones whom your all-important sales depend on," he fumed. "Do not fuck with us."

I know you didn't write this, but you quoted it, so let's get real. Reviewers are in the same game as radio, but in the Little League, comparatively speaking. You're paid off the same way, whether it be by the stroke of your ego, the favor to your friends, tickets to a concert, the freebies in your mailbox, or the chance to move your career to another magazine.

The fact that you're being bypassed in a system that no longer needs you isn't sad. You made it so by supporting and milking it. Take most reviews in the Cleveland local papers, for example: They are usually either bland thumbs-ups designed not to discourage advertisers, blatant advertisements for a friend, or cheap shots at those who are (thankfully) out of your loop. I don't think it's cynical to say that the business office at Scene calls the shots on relatively "important" reviews.

Try shooting higher in your writing style, opinions, criticism, and most of all, integrity. One way to do this is actually paying your music writers a decent wage, so you can attract some real talent that stays and doesn't need to be bought.

Mike McDonald

Editor's note: With respect to the business office dictating reviews: Naaah. The business office rarely knows what stories we're doing till the paper comes out, much less orchestrates the tenor of those stories. Sorry to deflate your conspiracy theory.

Mayor Robart is a joke:

On August 17, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett decried in a letter to The Plain Dealer the vicious attacks some GOP members had directed at Jennette Bradley, the African American woman running on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor. Bennett said that "If bigotry is the true motivation [of those maligning Bradley] . . . we can do without them."

Bennett may want to convey this same message to the Republican mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, Don Robart, the Summit County Einstein who has stupidly embroiled his city in a colossally ugly housing lawsuit ["Unpleasant Meadows," October 30].

If Bennett truly believes that "diversity is a strength, not a weakness," where does that leave Robart, a braying jackass whose political philosophy sometimes appears to date from around the 12th century? Robart's idea of diversity would be a deep-water port on the Cuyahoga River for submarines.

Sarah Fenske's excellent article gave Scene readers the unvarnished Robart. His calculated use of the race card and subsequent descent into the political sewer is clear evidence of his lack of character. How long before area fast-food chicken restaurants offer a special Don Robart 12-piece bucket -- all right wings and red necks?

James S. Collver

Get to know the new ODJFS:

The temptation not to let the facts get in the way of a good story must have been too much for Pete Kotz to resist. If Kotz had bothered to talk with us before writing his article about the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services ["Encountering the Beast," November 6], he would have learned about the many improvements that have taken place.

For example, Kotz did not note that a new telephone registration system has dramatically reduced waits for callers seeking unemployment. Or that the department has issued more than 48,000 child support repayments worth more than $10 million to correct the handling of payments dating back to 1997. Or that the federal government has certified the state's child support computer system as meeting requirements of the Family Support Act. Or that computer contracts are now being awarded solely through competitive procurement. Or that a new job-matching computer system is being developed based on an existing and effective public-domain system in the state of Washington.

But, since Kotz violated one of the rules of Journalism 101 and did not speak with the subject of his article, how would he have known? I invite him to call next time before he writes.

Tom Hayes,
Director of Ohio Job and Family Services


Shit hits the fan:

Although I realize there is much truth in the article written by Pete Kotz, I personally take great offense. As a long-term, very dedicated employee of the former OBES, now ODJFS, I do not appreciate the agency being referred to as a "pile of excrement."

There are many of us out here doing our very best to help every unemployed person we can. We work diligently to pay as many claims as we can, so no one goes hungry. As employees, we had absolutely no say about the reorganization, and we have had to live with the decisions made in Columbus. Although on many occasions we have been embarrassed because of poor customer service, there are those of us who do good, quality work and feel we earn our daily allotment. Criticism may be due in some cases, but I can assure you the entire agency is not a pile of shit.

Ellen Wolfe
Canal Fulton

Mortisha's Secret is out:

We just wanted to say thank you for reviewing our latest CD, Us Against the World [Regional Beat, November 6]. Unfortunately, Jason Bracelin hated it. With comments like ". . . topped off with truly horrible lyrics and some pretty laughable solos . . .," we are very curious to know if he even listened to the entire CD. Is he a guitar player or metalhead? Eddie Van Halen finger-tapping and speed metal guitar solos have no place in today's alternative music. We are very happy to accept intelligent criticism, but are you kidding?

Todd and Missy Shay

When bad things happen to nice neighborhoods:

What an irony: Yuppies singing the blues 'cause they have to follow the rules, too ["Bullies With Badges," November 6]. I don't mean to be so sarcastic, but if a couple of homeless people were roughed up by the police, would that warrant a story? I am certain those same privileged CWRU law students would be calling the police -- rattling the phone off the hook -- if some neighborhood people were making a disturbance. It seems they feel they are somehow different.

The facts of the story are a little murky to me. What is clear to me is that the people at the party were loud and probably drunk. Such behavior is going to prompt neighbors to call the police. When the cops finally did show, it sounds like the partygoers got a little indignant. It doesn't take a CWRU graduate to know that mouthing off to the police with music blaring and liquor on one's breath would elicit an arrest.

I am not defending police brutality; however, everyone in Cleveland should be subject to the same rules. Being white and privileged is not an exemption. Tremont is a great neighborhood with a lot to offer. Too bad all the press it is getting of late concerns alcohol-related issues.

Ryan Moore
Bedford Heights

Brutality check:

Excellent article. I was at this party, but missed the brutality because I was in the backyard when this went down. I'm glad Scene brought it to light.

Tim Montana