Letters for November 27, 2003

Norman steps out of the deep freeze: Even though I have been enjoying Bob Norman's articles, I was ready to write and ask him to revisit the bloody mess in Iraq. (I think you guys call it "war"; since English is not my first language, I call it as I see it). And then I get my New Times from my neighborhood 7-Eleven, and there you are ("Loving the War," November 20), better than ever!

It was time, with the president saying the bloody mess was over months ago, with no "weapons of mass destruction" being found, American kids (and a bunch on the other side) dying every day, and the CIA starting to think that Iraq had the whole thing planned from the beginning -- pretending to lose just to use guerrilla tactics. It is time to talk about this "bushit" again and say, "I told you so!"

I am so glad they thawed Norman out, and I am sure that a great mind like his is eventually going to figure out how to use the indoor plumbing.

Chrys Rocha

Via the Internet

Notes from the serenity of my lonely room: Bob Norman is shocked that so many readers believe him to be a Jew-hating scumbag -- yet his November 20 column is a perfect example of why!

His "review" of past efforts to mock congressmen Wexler and Deutsch about their thoughts of the impending and now continuing Iraq War would be fair if he also included all the non-Jewish congressmen who serve your readership. The two-sentence blurb that waxed impolite about Clay Shaw doesn't count, because it has not been a year-long hate campaign like his numerous columns attacking Wexler and Deutsch have been.

What about all the other duped congressmen and congresswomen, Bob? Don't they count? If only Jewish congressmen supported the war invented by the Bushies, I could understand your vicious attacks on Wexler and Deutsch. But Bob, the truth is that many, many more goyim in Congress supported the war than Jews. But you chose to attack only the Jews who supported the war. You write what you are. So, once again, fuck you, Bob!

Harvey Slavin


If they have breasts, they're probably women: In response to Michael Mills' review ("Bodily Dysfunction," November 20) of "Corporal," the Schmidt Gallery staff would like to point out some faulty assumptions Mr. Mills made concerning the artwork. Mainly, his assertion that Monica Van Asperen's series of photographs dealt with the concept of contemporary gay male culture. Mr. Mills stated that the figures in the photographs "all look clearly male"; however, in the photograph included with his article, the figure on the left looks clearly feminine, as she has a breast protruding from underneath the balloons. The assumption that the balloons are symbolic of condoms is also false. The artist blew up all the balloons herself, and as the title "Inclusion of myself toward the other" suggests, she is dealing with human connection symbolized in the form of breath.

Additionally, Mr. Mills' assumption that Janneth Mendez "painstakingly wove" the strands of hair used for her artwork is false, as she uses fixative spray to mold the mass of hair. Although this information may not have been made obvious in the literature provided to Mr. Mills by the gallery, the staff would like to suggest that Mr. Mills refrain from printing material that he cannot support and consequently making false assumptions that may adversely bias readers' perceptions of the artwork.

FAU Gallery Staff

Via the Internet

A scrap of paper can stir up some deep emotions: I live on the second story of an apartment in not the greatest of neighborhoods, so trash on the front lawn is a usual occurrence. Except the trash today was extra special. I'm standing by my front door and looking down on the front lawn. I see a scrap of what looks like newspaper, and on it is a face staring up at me. I freeze just for a second, because I'm slow in recognizing it. It's Henry Lee Jones ("The Life and Crimes of Bam Jones," Trevor Aaronson, November 13). I'd seen his face before. In the Sun-Sentinel and the Herald. Needless to say, I ran down to the closest newsstand and found the complete article.

Henry Lee Jones is a predator of the worst kind. He preys on people's kindness and acceptance of him into their lives -- which is how this happened to the most friendly of people, Keith Gross [one of his murder victims]. I just wanted to say thank you. Keith's murder [on September 2, 2002] took the back burner to the September 11 anniversary. I could go on and on about how the system failed and blah, blah, blah. But, I actually just wanted to say the article made a difference to me. Keith possessed the great quality of understanding, and now I'm trying to follow his example.

Brittany Burry

Fort Lauderdale

Boycotting Jen: To the staff and editor of this wonderful paper, I'd like to say I am an avid reader, but I must say also that Jen Karetnick's November 13 review of Sublime restaurant ("No Beef Here") was the most biased article I have ever read in your paper.

It's a travesty when you have educated journalists such as Jen who would go out of her way to trash a wonderful establishment such as Sublime even before she got out of her car. I am an avid meat eater, but I also enjoy eating vegetables. I had the pleasure of eating at Sublime, and I must say, it was a wonderful experience. I went into this like any normal intelligent human being would, knowing that there would be no meat on the menu. Ms. Karetnick, however, had a different view on this and went in with her mind made up that everything would be a living hell.

For a journalist of her stature, I think Ms. Karetnick should be aware that intelligent people read your paper too. This article was based upon a personal feeling and a personal agenda of Ms. Karetnick's in slamming this wonderful establishment. I would ask you to ask Ms. Karetnick to read her article over again, then look into the mirror and ask herself if this is what a good journalist does.

As for your paper, I will continue to read your great articles, but I will never read another article by Ms. Karetnick and her biased opinions, which are based on personal feelings and not on journalistic intelligence.

Michael Rance

Boca Raton

The brighter side of Brite Side: I've followed the back-and-forth volley of letters between supporters and detractors of the Brite Side and Jeff Stratton. I've been (like anyone else who's seen any of this hilarity ensue) kind of laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. Mr. Stratton writes scathing review, Mr. Knapfel takes offense, girl defends band, guy defends writer, everyone looks ridiculous.

Do I agree with Mr. Stratton's view of the record? No. I've heard it, which clearly Mr. William Douglas Herring has not. It's not emo or boy band or "sensitive jock-strap crap." It wasn't formed from a "template," unless you're saying that every writer who loves the Beatles, folk, and American rock and writes the way he knows, has done it from a template. Shoot me too. And Wilco, Belle & Sebastian, and Radiohead. The Brite Side's debut EP, while being derivative of a certain style of singer/songwriter music, is just an honest evaluation of a person's world. A view of things through the eyes and words of a young man looking for his way in life and in music. I know the Brite Side. I've seen them live and played shows with them. They live and breathe their music. Whether critics like it or not, I've seen people genuinely moved at their shows. People buy the CDs, learn the songs and sing along at the next show. I've watched people enjoy the music, as unlikely as that seems these days.

In my three years of playing original music in South Florida, I've noticed that local rags are likely to give more praise to bands like Baby Robots and Remember the Ocean (whose music the Brite Side's resembles more so than any boy or emo band out there), and that's fine... They're great bands who deserve the praise. But they are also bands that established themselves in this area, just as the Brite Side is beginning to do.

As uninformed as they may be, writers get paid to give their opinions. Stratton heard a record he didn't like. So what? So have I! Would I have been angered if he were insulting me and my music? Damn right I would! Probably would've written him to tell him so too. Would I expect a guy like Death Metal Doug to come out and decry me for it? Sure.

But William Douglas Herring, if you really think that any of us believe that your baseless griping about us 20-somethings having nothing to offer musically even matters, I suggest you go ahead and find a doctor to finish the lobotomy. Maybe Mr. Stratton can direct you to the one he used?

Keith Michaud

Via the Internet

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