As a Phish fan, it's often hard to understand why nonfans don't enjoy the band. I find it to be a positive experience when someone presents an articulate, if dissenting, opinion. My only wish is that he had been a bit more encompassing of the scene around him.
As a 25-year-old multimedia developer (read: someone with a steady job and limited vacation time to follow a band), I certainly don't like everything I see on the lots. People like "Crash" and "Burn" are only a small faction of an enormous fan population. My campground neighbors and I (all professionals on a sorely needed vacation) spent a lot of time listening to NPR on our camp radio and discussing politics. We also spent a lot of time dancing, drinking, consuming drugs responsibly, and just generally enjoying a party atmosphere that closed the millennium with a bang.
I don't disagree that fans like "Crash" and "Burn" exist, but they are about as far from my lifestyle as they are from yours. The diversity of the people at Phish shows (freaks included) reminds me that my opinion is not the only one worth considering. When we share space with people unlike ourselves, we can either criticize or learn what we can from them. If nothing else, "Crash" and "Burn" exhibit an amusing laissez-faire attitude. Must be nice to be that free, huh?
I once again thank Bob for his article. It takes guts to move beyond your frame of reference. However, next time I encourage him to represent more accurately a cross section of the people around him. We can all learn a lot from each other!
Bob Whitby Is a Britney Spears Fan
via the Internet Hey Bob, I'm real sorry you didn't get it -- New Year's that is. For some of us, it was more than a big drug fest. At one time I, too, was like you. Well, I don't think I was that bad. At least my brother raised me on Led Zeppelin and the Doors.
I thank God every day that I'm not one of those automatons stuck listening to the mindless dribble that MTV pushes upon the masses. "There's something to be said for a catchy, four-minute pop tune." That's what you said. Well I do feel sorry for you. Instead of taking up space at Big Cypress, maybe you should have been with that guy from the Sun-Sentinel, what's his face, [Sean] Piccoli, who has nothing better to do than rip on a band who've had the luxury to play what they want and not have to give in to corporate pressure. So they made 12 million bucks. Good for them. I don't see you criticizing Barbra Streisand or Gloria Estefan, who charged way more for tickets for their New Year's gigs. And you fail to mention that the Gloria gig had more problems with 20,000 supposed society folk than the Phish show did with 80,000 "drug-addled heads."
As for myself, well, I'm 25 years old, have a college degree, own my own business, and have seen close to 75 shows in the past three-and-a-half years. I've traveled all over the U.S., been to Europe, and met scores and scores of people, people who I'll have lasting relationships with for the rest of my life. I wouldn't give it up for anything.
Oh, and one other point: the music. Like I said before, Bob, I feel sorry for you. Like 79,999 other people, give or take a bitter journalist like yourself, I get it. I get it and I get it, and then you know what? I get it again.
So maybe in April, when you go and do a story on the majestic pageantry that is the Britney Spears tour, you can do an interview with some 12-year-olds, only don't touch them Bob -- that's called pedophilia. There is something to be said for a four-minute, catchy pop song.
Giving Every Part of Hollywood a Voice
Gary Tortora, Cofounder
Reform Hollywood Political Committee
via the Internet Thanks for your coverage of districting in Hollywood ("Hollywood's True Colors," Julie Kay, January 13). The crop of [year] 2000 candidates is truly more diverse than ever before, but of course no minority candidate is ever assured of election.
Our goal always was better representation of Hollywood's diverse neighborhoods. Better minority representation usually comes as a byproduct of districting. Candidates this year are much more grassroots and probably could not have run under the old at-large method due to the high cost of campaigning. No matter who wins in February, districting has revitalized and reformed Hollywood's old power broker elections system, which was what we had in mind for the city.