Letters to the Editor

Letters published March 5, 2003

42nd Street Palace Theatre, Playhouse Square Center, 1519 Euclid Avenue Through March 2, 216-241-6000.

Sitting Bull was a stand-up guy:

I was horrified when I saw the ad for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America [First Punch, February 12] that featured Chief Sitting Bull. The ad stated that Sitting Bull smoked pot and lived in a tent with no cable, and that the U.S. government killed him because of it.

Let's get some things straight: We have no proof whatsoever that Sitting Bull smoked marijuana. Regardless, that is not why the government killed him. It's true that he died in a gun battle that broke out while he was being removed from a reservation. He was not being removed because he smoked pot, but because the government feared he was masterminding an uprising among his people.

The ad made it seem like smoking pot should be punishable by death, and that it was OK to murder an Indian chief for it. Also, what's wrong with living in a tent with no cable? It was 1875, people. I realize that selling ads keeps your lights on, but you really ought to draw the line somewhere. The ad was erroneous, racist, and distasteful. It did inspire me to write this letter, and I may start my own campaign. How about the Partnership for a Dumb-Free America?

Lita-Marie Townsend

Humor's ignorant aftertaste:

I have always found the Partnership for a Drug-Free America ads humorous, with the frying-eggs TV commercials and all. However, the ad you published with Sitting Bull was not the least bit amusing. In fact, it was downright ignorant.

I can't believe that in today's age, you would publish such offensive crap. What's next? A picture of Notorious B.I.G. with text saying he smoked weed, grew up in the projects, was overweight, and then got himself killed? How can a magazine publish articles telling of people's plights against racism and inequality, and at the same time run ads of this nature? Scene needs to rethink where its advertising dollars are coming from.

Mike Torchia

Stoned in the sales department:

I'm responding to the "Harmless" ads in your paper. The Stalin ad was very offensive, especially considering the number of Russian immigrants in the city. However, the Stalin ad pales in comparison to the racist Sitting Bull ad.

What, exactly, is your advertising department smoking? Crack? Perhaps you should be using marijuana; then you'd be more culturally sensitive, rational, and effective in your campaigns.

Laura Hartman

Good news for Sitting Bull's lawyers:

I am appalled by the ad I saw in the February 12 edition. The depiction of Sitting Bull as a pothead is very offensive, libelous, and defamatory. I cannot believe Scene would print something like that. I hope that ad was not some sort of joke, because it wasn't funny.

It's sad for Scene -- or the Partnership for a Drug-Free America -- to use the Native American Holocaust as some sort of anti-drug medium. It's really surprising to see Scene support a claim that Native Americans smoked marijuana, when history shows they smoked kanic-nic, not pot. Then, to push it even further, you used a picture of Sitting Bull while he was holding a ceremonial pipe, as if it were some sort of paraphernalia.

Never mind the fact that white people and the American government destroyed the Native Americans and their culture. That's OK. We'll just lie and say they perished because they smoked pot. Because of this ad, Scene has lost all integrity and credibility with me as a reader.

John D. Anderson

Harmless fun:

Is this a joke? A friend of mine who lives in Cleveland sent me the clipping of your Drug-Free America ad. Tell me this was a joke, right? The ad had a picture of Sitting Bull and text under the picture reading, "Sitting Bull smoked marijuana. He lived in a tent with no cable. Then the U.S. government killed him. Harmless? Partnership for a Drug-Free America." If this is a joke, I can see a sarcastic slam on the war against drugs. If it isn't, I have to ask: Are you crazy?

Tony Amabile
New Castle, PA

Diana's saga continues:

When I first read the story about my daughter ["What to Do With Diana?" January 29], I cried. I was upset, sad, ashamed, and hurt. I'm not sure what I expected, but reading about her life in print was so difficult. I initially contacted Scene to help me find my daughter. I contacted the police, social workers, the jail -- anyone I thought who could help me find my daughter.

Before the story was published, Diana was arrested. A missing-person report caught their attention. I was so relieved that she was alive and OK. Sarah Fenske covered a lot in her story. Sandra McGee, who works in the Healthy Family, Healthy Start program, filed the missing-person report with police. She continually goes above and beyond. Cleveland is a better place because of her. I want to thank Sarah Fenske and Scene for assisting me, as well.

Diana is still in jail, awaiting indictment for a drug arrest. I am still seeking placement in a treatment program for her. I have not given up on her. If the story helps one person to help himself or another, it is worth it. Thank you for printing this story and assisting my family.

Deborah Santodonato
Ann Arbor, MI

OHSAA only hammers the little guy:

I'm responding to David Martin's article on LeBron James (and myself) ["Big Wheel," January 15]. I just want to say that he is getting away with murder with this Hummer that his mother got him, and the OHSAA giving him a chance to play, after accepting the gifts that he has [accepted]. All I wanted to do was play a game, while it seems all he wants to do is enjoy the money that a game can give you. Thank you for the recognition.

Jeff Panhorst

The Scene cure for racism:

How can Davey Houston complain [Letters, February 12] about Boris Shilman's racist remarks about blacks [Letters, November 27; Shilman's letter was in response to "Unpleasant Meadows," October 31].

Shilman said it was against his cultural experience to live among blacks, and that they can't live in civilized areas. Yeah, that totally pissed me off as well, but to retaliate by saying that Shilman is a "hick" and should do us all a favor, put a gun in his mouth, and move back to Russia with his inbred relatives? What the hell? How does that make Houston any less racist than Shilman?

All that letter did was make him a hypocrite. If Shilman should put a gun in his mouth for being racist, then maybe Houston should bash his own skull in with a brick. I don't actually think he should, but I don't see a difference. It sounds stupid all around.

Nathan Lizanich

Tipping the scales of justice:

It would be interesting to know the jurors' lifestyles ["Cash Diet," February 12]. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that two of them were basically healthy and of normal weight, while six of them were overweight smokers whose idea of exercise is walking through the door of McBurgermeister's instead of going through the drive-through.

Colette Gschwind
Mayfield Heights

SheBron's a bust:

I guess you guys were duped by the SheBron story too ["The Next LeBron," February 12]. I originally read the story in the St. Louis Riverfront Times [which is owned by the same company that owns Scene] and believed every word of it until today. It seems that this incredible story about a six-foot-plus 12-year-old headed for the WNBA, straight from middle school, was a hoax, thanks to the imaginative pen of writer Mike Seely.

The story seemed credible. Nowhere in the article is a disclaimer or a statement indicating that the piece is fictitious. I also sensed an undercurrent of veiled racism directed toward LeBron James, the high school talent after whom the story was modeled. I expected integrity in journalism from your publication. What a disappointment.

Rodney Lee Jones
St. Louis, MO

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