"The word ‘faggot’ seems to come very naturally to Mr. Crawford.”

Week of November 23, 2005

Mad About the Blogger
Kudos for Kanye: So Byron Crawford wants us to believe that he's not homophobic because he allegedly voted against the Missouri gay marriage ban last year [Ben Westhoff, "The Mad Blogger," November 2]? I lost count of how many times he used the word "faggot" or "faggoty" as I read the article on him. Then he went on to talk about the gay dog that he saw "get head" from other male dogs. Huh? It sounds like he has devoted a lot of interest to homosexuality.

While Byron might have a loyal cult following, that doesn't mean that he is intelligent, insightful or even relevant. While I agree with him that many people say and do things under the influence of liquor that they normally wouldn't, why should we give him credit because he "brought it out in the open"? Wouldn't a better use of time and energy be to question why our society is racist and homophobic, rather than simply tossing out juvenile insults? I admire the hell out of Kanye West for one simple thing: He called out the hip-hop community for being gay bashers and encouraged them to put an end to it. What a concept: Don't hate people just because they are different. Sounds a lot like the early stages of civil rights, doesn't it?

Finally, can you imagine the utter hell that would be unleashed if a white person used the N-word during an interview, regardless of context? The word "faggot," however, seems to come very naturally to Mr. Crawford. Language precedes thought, and until such time that we learn to "think differently" about those who are different from us, this type of ignorance and harm will continue.
Donald C. Miller
Richmond Heights

Rappin' Nelly
This side of the bridge:It's unfortunate the East St. Louis native can't see beyond her surroundings and appreciate the good that happens on this side of the bridge [Letters, November 2]. Yes, Chad Garrison's October 26 B-Side item "A Day in the Life" was a hilarious satire. I L'[d]MFAO! But within the exaggeration on off-da-chain parties was youth organizations and community direction. Hip-hop will only go down the tubes if we let it. Just because the trendy radio station you may listen to, formerly the only hip-hop station in St. Louis (twice), doesn't play the songs Nelly has with a message doesn't mean other stations don't.

Change the dial sometime and you'll find "N Dey Say" and "Longest Yard" and other Nelly songs played right along with moving-ass and making-baby tracks. There is no fun in hard work without time to enjoy it.

Perhaps Ms. Ali only understands messages when there are videos for her to stare at.
Nicole Barnes

Overland

Boo!
Nobody knows the scary movies I've seen:I would like to compliment Chad Garrison on his excellent, informative feature ["The Exorcist Was Here," October 26].

I of course recognized the photo on the cover. I remember very well seeing The Exorcistwhen it first came out. I also remembered that I had read that the basis for the book and film was a true case that was at least partly based in St. Louis. Your research was very thorough and it was very well written. I am not sure if I would feel that comfortable living in that house, but I guess I could.

Actually, the scariest movie I have ever seen was Play Misty for Me, because it hit very close to home. I was in a situation like that, where I was followed and harassed, but it never got even close to physical danger or being attacked — but it still scares me.
Marshall Long
Maryland Heights

L. Ron Encore
Watch out for the ol' cult shift:I thought it was funny how Mary Adams, the spokeswoman for Applied Scholastics, seemed to think the St. Louis community's "introduction" to their organization was Kristen Hinman's article "L Is for L. Ron,"October 27]. I wasn't entirely sure what she meant by "organization," since there are two: Applied Scholastics and Scientology. If she meant Applied Scholastics, well, I first heard about it in the Post-Dispatch, which published an article on the new local educational arm of Scientology, the day Applied Scholastics opened. If she meant Scientology, well, then I wonder how she could ignore the leaflet distributors in the Loop passing out hundreds of fliers prompting you to take their "test." And at the Galleria there is a little stand — not to be confused with the kiosk that sells you cell phones or jewelry. You get to dabble with the e-meter machine right there. But certainly most people heard about Scientology before either of these local endeavors, due to their infomercials on TV.

I also find it rather odd that a state representative tells us that we cannot afford to "cast suspicion" on this wing of the Scientology organization. Well, why not? Take for instance how the Cult Awareness Network used to include Scientology at the top of their list of cults. Then one day they go bankrupt, only to be purchased by Steven L. Hayes, a Scientologist (according to the Washington Post). The "new" CAN seems to no longer view Scientology as a cult. Even further, in what seems like a 180-degree turnaround, the site now offers eight links to "pro"-Scientology sites. That sounds a little suspicious. And you want us to turn a blind eye when it comes to our children?

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