Props to PBR

Letters published January 29, 2003

Norma Jean, with Every Time I Die, Newwithoutyou, and others Peabody's Monday, January 27

The cream soda of beers:

Many thanks for your PBR article ["Cool in a Can," December 25]. I'm writing from Kansas City, where my husband and I, both in our mid-20s, are huge supporters of the Pabst legend. We get it in bottles at our neighborhood bar and have all of the bars that serve it on tap memorized. I'm not a huge beer drinker, but PBR tastes like cream soda to me, and it's probably my husband's main source of grain. So thanks for giving props to the blue ribbon of beers.

Erin Friedrich
Kansas City, MO

Family says thanks:

I am a second cousin of this child ["Fourteen Shots," December 25], and I know he was in trouble at times, but to shoot someone 14 times is unreal. Does everyone think it honestly took 14 shots to bring this kid down? I think this cop was bullet-happy. Anyone else would be in jail. Thanks for publishing this story.

Brenda Pinson
Monterey, TN

Neighbor says f@#$:

I have a huge gripe regarding "Fourteen Shots." Mr. Kuz's reporting was a complete f@#$up. If you actually believe the story that this kid was running for his life, then you need to have your heads pulled out of your asses. This kid was nothing more than a drug-using, gang-banging punk. When people choose to hang with the type of people this kid did, their fate is inevitable -- if not by Officer Toomey's hand, then someone else's.

Our neighborhood is a "disheveled enclave" due to absentee landlords and an uneducated, ignorant population. If this kid had so many relatives in the neighborhood, why didn't he flee to a family member's home for help? I don't buy the story that he didn't want harm to come to his family or friends. He had no problem bringing potential harm to a complete stranger's door.

Officer Toomey erected the fence across his backyard to block out Ms. Miller's tall grass and loud noises. The teenagers who hung out there were always yelling, partying, and playing loud rap music, which drove Officer Toomey's dogs crazy. True, the fence did go up three or four years ago. Would you remember a kid, whom you may or may not have met that long ago, at 2:30 a.m.?

If we are to believe the story that he was being chased, why didn't he run out into West Boulevard (a very busy street) and flag down a car? Or scream for someone to call the police? Or go to a public place and ask for help?

The use of the term "murder vacation" is appalling and outrageous. Officer Toomey and his wife spent the entire summer in hiding. The party you refer to was a neighbor's wedding reception.

Officer Toomey was not "bent on cleaning up his corner of Cleveland," as you quoted one neighbor. All he wanted was not to have to stare at garbage and garbage cans out on the tree lawn of the woman who lives across the street. It's obvious by the statement, "He's always seemed a little off the edge," that the person has never met or spoken to Officer Toomey.

It's a shame that a grand street like West Boulevard cuts through a neighborhood infested with drugs, gangs, and crime. The undesirables are driving out the good people. The protests have to stop. I don't enjoy being disturbed for several hours each evening by an inconsiderate mob.

I'm very disappointed in Scene for doing such a poor job of getting the facts straight. I'll have to go back to using your magazine only to find out where my friends' bands are playing and then lining my cat's litter box with it when I'm done.

Julia K. Foster

Thanks for the awful story:

That Har Mar Superstar article ["Stakes Is Low," December 25] was the worst thing I've read in a long time. Sean Tillmann is hilarious, and his music is fun. Why do you have such a huge chip on your shoulder, and why the hell do you think the public needed to be subjected to your lame fit of jealousy?

The "low stakes" frame you utilize to reveal your prejudices is completely self-indulgent and dishonest. Thank God you had just enough integrity to let Britt Daniels speak for himself at the piece's end.

Is Har Mar misogynistic? Racist? No way. All those discussions took place like two years ago, with Har Mar's debut release. Way to be current. You've obviously never seen him live, so maybe you should leave your typewriter from time to time.

Patrick Thomas
Evanston, IL

How the mighty are fallen:

The withering criticism directed at the Akron Beacon Journal ["Rating Season," December 11] by Andrew Putz and David Martin is an accurate barometer of just how far this once great newspaper has fallen. Putz and Martin lamented that ABJ "is a doily of the day's events." "The wafer-thin news hole befits a paper serving a city half Akron's size." "English muffins are devoured in more time." How true.

The Beacon today avoids the probing kind of journalism it was once famous for. It avoids it because its profits depend on advertisers who'd pull away their ads if they were less happy with the "news."

The Beacon today only rarely displays its once fundamental crankiness about injustice, hypocrisy, dangerous practices, and crimes committed by people in power. The Beacon no longer asks what others don't, or prints what others won't. How else do you explain its allowing Maureen O'Connor to conceal the Blue Cross health insurance scandal in Cuyahoga Falls ["And Justice For Mo," October 23]. Stories like the Cuyahoga Falls scandal are muzzled and marked off-limits.

How ironic that Beacon Editor Jan Leach would say in a speech to the Akron Roundtable, "If the Beacon Journal is timid about asking tough questions about the police, the county prosecutor and others . . . then there will be nobody to ask them."

Scene isn't afraid of the sacred cows and doesn't worry about which politician it might offend or which advertiser it might annoy. I hope Scene continues to bare what others like the Beacon bury, to print what others hide, to ask important questions, and to bring its readers answers.

Walter Miller

Racism's not funny, and neither is Derf:

Your publication's sister paper, East Bay Express, recently discontinued Derf's cartoon The City, a wise if long-overdue act. I hope you will follow East Bay's decision.

That the cartoon isn't funny is not the basis for my request, since none of the liberal weeklies' comics are funny. My main objection is The City's frequent anti-white racist stereotyping, particularly a recurring character in the strip called "White Middle-Class Suburban Man" (WMCSM). Racism isn't funny. To truly rid us of racism requires not directing at anyone. If you printed a cartoon equally maligning and inaccurately overgeneralizing about nonwhites, cries of outrage would be a hundredfold. Imagine if Derf had a recurring "Black Crack-Smoking Ghetto Pimp" or "Low-Riding Drive-By-Shooting Barrio Hombre," both vile depictions, but no less unrealistic than Derf's "Caped Caucasian Crusader."

I had a white, middle-class suburban upbringing. My father and all his friends were honest, hardworking, and practical -- the segment that pays an inordinate amount of taxes that the poor don't have to pay, because of their limited economics, and that the rich avoid with myriad loopholes. Maybe Derf thinks that's funny, that WMCSMs are dupes and saps, deserving to be leeched, so he depicts them as paranoid, sexually maladjusted, judgmental zealots.

George Warren
Alameda, CA

Praise from the musically educated:

I would like to praise Andrew Miller for his outstanding, honest, and accurate article ["Iron Men," January 8] about Iron Maiden. Far from trying to appear trendy and (dare I say?) relevant by poking fun at the band, Miller's article describes the timeless appeal and innovative quality that Iron Maiden still gives to its millions of worldwide fans. While there have been many copiers and even more influenced by Maiden's unique style, none is better.

All credit to Miller for paying tribute to the fathers of the music that many love for what it is, rather than trying to gain credibility with musically uneducated readers. Up the Irons.

Chris Flockhart
Scotland, U.K.

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