FEATURE, JANUARY 8, 2009
High standards have disappeared: Lowering the dropout rate is an idea that sounds noble but comes with significant drawbacks ["Class Action," Aimee Levitt]. Today's schools are measured by numerous goals that have little or nothing to do with the publicly stated goal "to prepare our youth to be productive members of society."
Instead, we now adapt the school environment to keep everyone in school. We make it easy and without consequence. We continually lower our standards to accommodate the small minority of students while ignoring the majority. I guess we just take it for granted that the majority will attend, finish and will accept whatever we give them. We ignore them so that we can celebrate saving just one uninterested, angry, baggage-heavy, future felon. At what cost?
Today, we say things like "all children can learn," but we don't really know what that means. It just sounds good. We accommodate, entertain and push kids through. We no longer educate. Keeping kids in school keeps kids off the streets, but it also ruins any chance the schools have of teaching the majority.
Someguy Talkin', via the Internet
STLOG, JANUARY 8, 2009
Zoos are like prisons: The Saint Louis Zoo is something we all grew up prideful about, and I know for some it's hard to accept the fact that these animals are suffering in what we all thought was such a wonderful place ["Elephant Treatment Lands Saint Louis Zoo in 'Hall of Shame,'" Nick Lucchesi].
Take a deep breath, consider the facts, and visit Clarasvoice.org before brushing off this information. One of the biggest revelations to me about animal suffering in zoos was that it was always such a miracle when a new animal was born via artificial means. There's a reason why animals won't mate in zoos: They are in shock and don't want to raise children in that environment. I know it's an impossibly far stretch for some, but imagine raising your own child in prison.
Lex, via the Internet
Tears for Clara: The situation with this zoo saddens me. Why? Clara is gone; she was euthanized March 14, 2007. She was no longer responding to pain meds for a captivity-induced disease called osteoarthritis. Her feet no longer responded to foot care. She wore sandals 24/7 to protect her feet from the decay that had worn away their soft covering. She was not retaining nutrition either and lost so much weight in the last two years of her life that she was a skeleton by the time the zoo put her out of the misery captivity created. Is this any way for an elephant to live?
Bigfanx, via the Internet
MUSIC, JANUARY 1, 2009
All they do is rip off local musicians: I was thrilled and surprised to see the bogus "pay-to-play" scam exposed for the garbage that it is ["Resolution No. '09," Annie Zaleski]. Promoters in St. Louis are worthless scumbags who believe a few postings on MySpace qualify them to take payment out of musicians' hands. If bands want their shows promoted, DIY is the only way to be sure your event or show gets noticed.
However, I was seriously disappointed to see that playing out "too much" is considered a problem for RFT critics. That is advice that should be ignored at all costs. Bands should try not to play to the same crowd every night, sure, but the fact is that there are plenty of different crowds in St. Louis. You could play out every night and still get new faces at every show. Play different places all the time! Constant playing will only improve your sound and songwriting.
Play dirty underground shithole clubs, legit venues, your friends' birthday parties and on street corners. Play for free at charity events, at KDHX (88.1 FM) or at any festival you can talk your way into. Advertise shows that you want packed to the gills as huge events with other great local acts, and the fans will come out. I mean, the point is to be heard, right? Shove your music down our throats, and if you're any good, you will do just fine — with or without RFT critics at every show.
Jenn DeRose, St. Louis
STAGE, DECEMBER 18, 2008
Come now, Dennis
The show was spectacular: Dennis Brown is a good writer, but his review of the Rockettes' Radio City Christmas Spectacular was baffling ["Everything but the Crèche"]. He criticized the transition from a high-energy dance finale to a "Living Nativity," called by Mr. Brown a "dumb-show reenactment of the birth of Jesus." He concludes by saying "Maybe it works for the Bible Belt. But from the standpoint of good theater, this is such an odd, impersonal and anticlimactic way to end a show." On the contrary, this is essentially the same show that I saw to a rave reception and fine reviews at Radio City Music Hall in New York City — hardly part of the "Bible Belt."
Richard J. Wall Jr., Cheyenne, Wyoming
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