Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:
Big thanks for providing a lengthy piece on St. Louis hip-hop ("Meet the Beat," RFT, Feb. 3), one that I could give my boss to read and actually believe he'd understand rap without having known a bit about it before. Randall Roberts should have made a mention of the college-radio players in the game, ones whose freedom to support the local and regional acts is quite large. Tiny but amazingly well-versed KWUR must program the most rap music in the country; it has been doing so for years. Leaving them out was a crime. Many of the local hip-hop-heads would tell you when they were starting out in the last five to 10 years that KWUR gave support. Who cares if the signal is weak; there's plenty of people KWUR does reach, and plenty of ways to receive the signal (e.g., Internet).

I'd also like to wish the best to those players trying to make a name for St. Louis with their acts. It seems as if the lack of business organization in the past is being replaced with people who are following a true understanding of rap music, distribution, marketing and business. This is not to say that the blood, sweat and tears of the past is not appreciated or fruitless. Instead, the work of the founders has gained momentum. Now, we need to see if the bum-rush goes national. I believe it can, but not without the people here showing support for the shows and acts here, or publications remembering to include all those who provide support, regardless of their power (frequency) in the community.

Marshall Gralnick

To the Editor:
I must admit I was quite surprised when I picked up The Riverfront Times this week. Even when I did realize it was your paper I still figured you would bash the lovely culture of hip-hop. I read the article and was somewhat stunned at the respect Randall Roberts showed for the true heads (hard-core hip-hoppers) here in St. Louis. The article was very much overdue, and for The Riverfront Times to step to the plate first is a very big step. I only hope that the coverage of hip-hop would extend beyond a small Monday-night venue at Hi-Pointe Cafe next time.

Malik Crumer


To the Editor:
I found the tone of your feature article "Pope and Circumstance" (RFT, Feb. 3) on the visit of John Paul II to be most disappointing. The cynicism and negativity with which Wm. Stage and D.J. Wilson reported on trivial aspects of the two-day event -- minor protesters, the design merits of the popemobile, squirrel and pigeon control, souvenir traffic, etc. -- seemed totally inappropriate coverage for a thought-provoking and intelligent newspaper.

The papal visit brought St. Louisans together with more hope, enthusiasm and goodwill than any other event in recent history. To have explored that phenomenon in a little depth would have been a true service to the community. Instead, legitimate skepticism and journalistic inquiry yielded to mere superficial comment.

In the same issue/same topic, Ray Hartmann's "Commentary" states, "The messenger was more important than the message." This conclusion totally misses the mark. The messenger (John Paul II) is important only because he embodies the message. His consistent, sincere and loving communication of the Gospel message is exactly what draws so many hearts to him. The fact that many are not ready or able to live up to this calling in no way diminishes its power or legitimacy.

Joan Falk

To the Editor:
The article on Father Guadalupe Carney ("The Tragic Christian," RFT, Jan. 27) left me feeling sad. Sad, not only because of the conditions in Central America, not only because of the complicity of United States and the Catholic Church, but also because Father Carney felt it necessary to take up arms to bring about change.

Prior to reading this article, I was vaguely aware of Father Carney's life and death (contrary to C.D. Stelzer's implication, annual Masses celebrating his memory have been well-publicized in the Catholic community). I was not aware that he was part of an armed revolutionary group when he died. I can only imagine the experiences that must have led him to this decision. However, he seems to have fallen into the same trap as the Jews in the book of Isaiah who allied with Assyria or the modern Christians who support Missouri's concealed-weapons referendum: Rather than trusting in God to keep them safe and bring about positive change, they rely on physical force.

I'm also curious about the timing of this article. While Jeanette Batz's article last week ("Sins of Omission") gave refreshing voice to groups not normally heard in the official church, Stelzer takes swipes at the pope and the Vatican that seem out of context with the rest of his article.

The Catholic Church, as an institution administered by human beings, has its share of problems. However, as a prophetic force empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is doing more than its share of good. If you're looking for proof that the papal visit really made a difference, talk to Darrell Mease.

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