Week of July 10, 2002

Where were you guys? Your outrage over the adverse effects to businesses of the construction on Washington Avenue downtown [Jim Nesbitt, "Street Crime," July 3] may be justified, but it's a little late. Where was all the huffing and puffing when downtown's only live theater, the ArtLoft Theatre, bringing about 17,000 people a year into downtown St. Louis, was suffering the same plight this past year? There was no cover story then about the struggles of New Line Theatre and the HotHouse Theatre Company, the two major residents of the theater, to keep their audiences. Or do theater companies just not count since the Riverfront Times has decided to all but abandon the arts in St. Louis?
Scott Miller
New Line Theatre
St. Louis

Buck Shots
Grind it fine, please: What is it with the Riverfront Times' new, coarse take on everything? The viciousness in restaurant reviewing on nearly a weekly basis; the horrid cover showing disemboweled, lifelike movie characters, which provided quite a greeting to the restaurant patrons seeing your issues in the lobby; and, now, D.J. Wilson's astonishingly callous and foolish suggestion that Joe Buck actually timed his call to KMOX to parallel his father's longtime employer's dial position, 1120, in being the first to report Jack Buck's death ["Sudden Death," June 26]. Wilson's suggestion that KMOX was "hyping" Buck's importance to the community is outlandish. KMOX put a hold on commercial advertising for many, many hours in order to give the thousands of St. Louisans who were helped, entertained and moved by Jack Buck's prodigiously generous life a forum to vent their emotions. Many of those callers waited for hours to get through, even a few days after Buck's death. All three local major TV network affiliates also ran live, ad-free programming in the immediate aftermath of Buck's passing. The RFT is becoming disturbingly small-minded and petty in searching for ways to demean anything and anyone that dares to be popular, lest that reflect the tastes of the hated mainstream so loathed by the self-superior elite staining the RFT's increasingly effete column inches.
D.J. Fone

The essence endures: I just wanted to say kudos on a job done with perfect demeanor and grace for covering the recent sad passing of Jack Buck. Everything you said and mentioned was true to the man himself, and it was an excellent tribute to the great person that he is, was and always will be. I might only be 24 years old, but I can still remember hearing Jack Buck on the radio back when I was younger -- listening and watching the games with my dad (as well as just last year, before Jack was unable to broadcast anymore), when I (like most people) turned down the TV announcers and turned on the radio just to hear Jack tell the game with the passion that he did it with. He is and will always surely be missed.
Nick Calcaterra
via the Internet

Believe it, bud: I don't believe what I just read! I don't believe what I just read! Did I just read a cynical column about Jack Buck? I suppose the column wasn't really negative, but there were shots taken at his former employer, the fact that he was fired by two national networks and that someone complained that he didn't hit or pitch but just called the plays over the air. Since when did alternative newspaper and liberal viewpoint have to constantly stand for "pain in the ass"? Look, I vote Democratic, and I'm pro-choice. I used to be the program director of KDHX (88.1 FM), your favorite radio station, so I'm not to be labeled conservative. I know Jack Buck's politics were conservative. I couldn't care less. I know he supported the Cardinal ownership's stadium-financing plans. I couldn't care less. The man was universally loved in St. Louis and was admired in many parts of this country. That is why he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame and has won a lifetime Emmy Award. Every other media outlet in this town found a way to gracefully separate and place into perspective the Jack Buck and Darryl Kile deaths -- except the Riverfront Times. Ray Hartmann resigned one month too early. Maybe your publication should keep him on retainer for tragic situations or when you need someone with some common sense. As a believer in the First Amendment, [I know] you are entitled to your opinion. Maybe you should just use better judgment in expressing it.
Terry Moses
St. Louis

Failing Grade
The RFT and the decline of Western civilization: As a senior citizen but, fortunately, not just yet over the hill, I am appalled and absolutely disgusted at your pornographic journalism. The language factor and your approval of same, both by your writers and outsiders, interviews and the like, is totally repulsive. I know full well that filth sells papers and draws revenue and the like, but you should have the decency to administer limitations on such crude writings. The adult-bookstore ads and similar off-color ads are somewhat tolerable, but you, otherwise, are instilling increased degradation upon a society that is already at a new all-time low. In fact ... I am sure you are adding to the general demise of decency.
Howard Sandler

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