Week of April 11, 2001

Where Credit Is Due
I may yet destroy the thing: Eddie Silva's article on the People Project was basically right on target, and St. Louis should thank its lucky stars it has a critic that doles out the thunder ["Street People," RFT, April 4]. Patrons, artists and critics are the blood of any scene that hopes to make anything of merit. Let's rephrase that: good artists, hard critics and benevolent patrons.

I did find it odd that a picture of my sculpture "Three Sheets to the Wind" had no indication that I made it. You know, something like "Even though we hate this piece of idiotic sentimental junk, it was made by artist Charlie Moser." Or something like that. Of course, since I signed away all rights to reproduction when I volunteered my ideas to the project, all I can really do is complain here. I would have gladly told Eddie that I had authored the work, but the half-price tickets to the gala would have been $100 for my wife and I, and since I ended up making about $1.50 an hour completing the thing, I decided I wouldn't pay to attend a show I'd contributed to.

So, Eddie, a little consideration for authorship next time, keep up the hard talk and keep tuned -- I may yet destroy the thing with baseball bats before the show is over.
Charles R. Moser
Hamtramck, Mich.

Programmed to Fail
City residents should be heard: One of the major problems with St. Louis 2004 is that it's set up to fail [Ray Hartmann, "2004: A Wasted-Space Odyssey," RFT, April 4]. Why would the guy with the big house on a hill want to change his surroundings when he lives on the biggest hill? It's sad to see most of the organization's money going to payroll and not to the issues.

I was born in the city, grew up in the city and currently live in the city. I have a lot of pride in the city. I have a hard time trying to understand why people who live and breathe in the city are not on the board of 2004 and that the spoon-fed babies are on top. The year 2004 could be great if they'd listen to the people who matter.
Ronald Fleshman
St. Louis

Pack up your troubles: The regional centerpiece for 2004 has always been a reopened Kiel Opera House, not the three sporting events we have already lost. The waste of the Opera House is the glaring indictment that should send Dick Fleming, Bob Bedell, Tom Reeves, David Darnell and others all packing.
Ed L. Golterman
via the Internet

Taking the Cake
Sinking to a new low: The Riverfront Times has, amazingly, been able to sink to a new level. D.J. Wilson's "Short Cuts" column ["In a Class by Itself," RFT, March 28] describes Francis Slay's introduction of three gay siblings at the Pride St. Louis open house. Wilson writes: "Just because Slay was an altar boy and a soccer player doesn't mean that every papist is a product of a Catholic cookie-cutter that churns out social bigots whose world is confined to fish fries and bingo and school picnics."

Is it your contention that if one doesn't happen to have three gay siblings to introduce at a Pride festival, then they must fit Wilson's description of a Catholic?

I have seen numerous anti-Catholic references in your newspaper, but this one really takes the cake. For a newspaper that pretends to be liberal, you sure expose your own biases and bigotry when it comes to being tolerant of another person's religious beliefs.
Patrick W. Maloney
St. Louis

His life seemed sad and bereft of any kindness: I am one of the psych nurses who took care of Donald Thweatt last year [Bruce Rushton, "Hard Luck, Hard Times," RFT, March 28]. The first time I saw him, he was being beaten by the fists of a new psych admit, a young male admitted for sudden violent acts. Mr. Thweatt fell on the floor and was crying his heart out. I felt terrible! We were never sure what the real story was -- did he accidentally spill coffee on the young guy due to his size, trying to go around him to return his breakfast tray, or had Donald thrown coffee on the new guy?

Other events that happened included a young lady in her 20s who threw her breakfast tray in his face and another time beat him with the telephone. Both times, Don seemed the victim and cried his heart out. He could cry in the most heart-wrenching way I've ever seen. It would break your heart! It seemed as if his previous head injuries contributed to his uncontrollable emotions.

Investigation revealed that Donald had quietly called the young female perpetrator a racial slur in a quiet voice that no one else heard. I talked to Donald about this. He would say he was sorry and would try not to do it again. Again, he had a way of making you feel sorry for him. The life he used to have was gone, and all he had to look forward to was his return to jail.

I did see him one time get mad at me. This was right after I had cleaned him off with towels and calmed him after the female had thrown her tray in his face. He came to the nurses' station and wanted to see his notebook. I told him he could look at it but not keep it due to the metal spiral (not allowed on ward). He said he needed to write in it. I said he could have paper and we could later tape it in the book, but he wouldn't have the notebook due to the metal spiral. He became very angry and rude to me, took the notebook and locked himself in the bathroom where staff had to enter with keys and forcibly take the notebook away. I was very surprised at how he could show such anger toward me when I had just helped clean him off and empathized with him after the tray-throwing incident.

I think most of the staff felt sorry for him. His life seemed sad and bereft of kindness or understanding, which we tried to provide. However, one was never sure if Donald purposely did aggravating things to get beat up and get sympathy or truly lacked emotional control due to the previous head injuries. No one knows but Mr. Thweatt himself -- and sometimes I'm not sure if he knows! Maybe only God knows. But we definitely tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

When he left our facility into the custody of police, the police would not let him take any of the many books and pamphlets and magazines he had collected while in our stay. Were they actually belonging to our library, or had visitors and his friends or parole officer or guardian brought them? We didn't know. But again, Donald had this sad, pathetic face of a child being told he would not have his toys. He didn't cry this time. But as he walked away slowly down the hall with the police officers, we almost did.
Name withheld by request

Two Lessers
Mind your own business, Hartmann: While St. Louis continues to crumble and deteriorate around your feet, you feel the need to come to the rescue of us poor hog farmers in St. Charles County [Ray Hartmann, "Saintly in St. Chuck," RFT, March 21]. I guess that we aren't smart enough to figure out what is happening in our county without you, the Defender of All That Is Good and Decent and Fair, being our mouthpiece.

If we have a choice, there's Joe Ortwerth, a guy who has decent moral convictions even though he wants to push them on us and has taken on the job of censor for the entire county, or Ray Hartmann, a guy with the morality and convictions of a Klansman.

I'll go with Joe Ortwerth -- the lesser of two evils! Mind your own business, Hartmann -- we don't need you out here.

You have wasted another page of an otherwise great publication with your garbage.
Willy Jones
Lake St. Louis

Cool Clones
Still more enjoyable than the Post: I was shocked when I visited Dallas and saw that their "cool" paper was identical to ours. How many other cities share this format? I really don't care all that much; as a Webster University almost-grad, I've picked up many an RFT instead of the Post-Dispatch and generally enjoyed it much more.

Anyway, I was wondering if there were any thoughts on that in the office.
Dan Calicotte
via the Internet

Editor's note: Yes, all our sisters are just as pretty. Check out Dallas and the rest of the family at www.newtimes.com

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