"The article makes everyone in Valley Park, save a select few, look like huge hoosiers.

"I read the article and instead of thinking, 'Wow, that's awful,' I thought, 'Hey, she's attacking us!'"

Mar 21, 2007 at 4:00 am

Unreal, March 15, 2007

Down the Stretch They Come

What happens at Fairmount stays at Fairmount: Glad to see that River Front Times finally won a race. However, there is no mention in the article of how much the horse paid! For each $2 bet, you would win $3.80. OK, come on. How much did you folks have on the race?

Hope he has many more wins.
Earl Sigoloff, Creve Coeur

Feature, March 1, 2007

(Still) Down in the Valley

Between the lines: As a liberal, politically active and intelligent college student, I disagree with what Jeffery Whitteaker is doing ["Valley Park to Mexicans: Hasta La Vista, Baby!"].. It is right to call him out on his racism and question the Board of Aldermen's reasons for creating such questionable laws.

My problem with the article is the very biased approach in which it is written. The article makes everyone in Valley Park, save a select few, look like huge hoosiers. When Kristen Hinman describes people, she includes information that is irrelevant in order to make people sound bad. When quoting a couple who support the mayor, she includes the fact that they are living together, unmarried and that the man is a retired trucker. There is no reason to point these things out other than to make the couple sound like "rednecks." Instead of using statistical evidence and focusing on laws and facts, the author focuses on personal attacks on the community of Valley Park.

I will not deny that I have seen racism in Valley Park. I will not deny that I have seen a few rednecks or hoosiers in Valley Park. However, these people are not the majority of the population! I've seen just as many racists and rednecks in Kirkwood, Webster Groves, St. Ann, south St. Louis and every other community I have lived in.

I moved to Valley Park last year and have made lots of friends. None of them have ever told me phrases like "Be careful what you say about somebody, because chances are the person you say it about, and to, are probably related."

I feel Hinman simply made up the phrase in order to make Valley Park sound inbred. The truth of the matter is that there are just as many people upset with what the mayor is doing as there are people who support it, and whether or not they are truckers has nothing to do with it.

The way the article was written made it more gossip than politics. I read the article and instead of thinking, "Wow, that's awful," I thought, "Hey, she's attacking us!" Next time you publish an article about important political events going on in a community, don't write a piece of fluff entertainment turning a whole community into hoosiers who hate Mexicans. Write a real article about a community fighting with a racist mayor and the stereotypes and educational downfalls that cause racism! If you keep writing infotainment instead of information, you'll become a liberal version of FOX News. Is that really what you want?
Langen Neubacher, Valley Park

News Real, March 1, 2007

Rig This

Heck of a job: St. Louis and Mayor Francis Slay get more pathetic with each passing day. Schools are a disaster, the school board's a joke, and awarding a Wi-Fi contract is the kind of nonsense you'd see in a city 50 years ago [Chad Garrison, "Secret Deal"]..

The Dome was supposed to save downtown, then the loft district and now Ballpark Village. Oh, and Slay arranged for a consulting group to save the schools. To quote another politician who's not too bright, "Slay, you're doing a heck of a job."
Mike Reilly, St. Louis

Stage, February 22, 2007

Standing on Dennis Brown

Dennis doesn't get it: Dennis Brown opens his critique of Standing on My Knees ["Standing on My Brain"] by asking whether there is a disconnect between what critics and audiences see when attending a play. There certainly was in this case.

Mr. Brown is more knowledgeable of the play's history, so he may very well have seen a staging that worked better. But that doesn't merit the harshness of his criticism of the current production.

Finding fault with the fact that we never see Catherine pick up a pen even though she is a poet misses the main point of the play. She's unable to write due to the medication she takes. This is the very reality that informs her actions and propels her to another psychotic break. Faulting the set design for having her racing from bed to analyst's office to restaurant also misses the point. Catherine is having difficulty waking from her Thorazine fog. Her racing from place to place brings to life nicely the harshness of being yanked through life with a brain that can't quite keep up. That this results in her analyst speaking to a blank wall at times represents nicely Catherine's lack of cognitive presence at those times. That Catherine and Robert have little in common is not necessarily a shortcoming either. From Catherine's point of view, this signifies her desire to reach out to normalcy — any normalcy — even as the reality of her illness tugs her away. It is also not difficult to understand Robert's motivation for falling in love with Catherine. She represents the radical departure he craves from his buttoned-down corporate existence. We do, in fact, see this motivation develop over the course of the play.

There were instances where the dialogue between Catherine and Robert was less than totally believable. This occurred when conflict between them began and their emotions bounced a little too quickly between attraction and repulsion. I actually think this was due to the playwright pushing too much character development too soon rather than not enough. The ending perhaps could have been more subtly effective if Catherine had descended further into isolation from those who were reaching out to her rather than experiencing another psychotic break and hospitalization. But referring to this as "obligatory theatrics" goes too far. Such "obligatory theatrics" are sometimes the reality of mental illness.

If Mr. Brown is correct in his characterization of Standing as an "issue" play, then I believe the issue is an important one. We do need to humanize mental illness. We need to become as adept at supporting a friend with mental illness as we do a friend with cancer. People struggling with mental illness want like everyone else to make the most of their life and their talents.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in the production. It was the type of meaningful and risk-taking production that could entice me to the theater more often.
Mark R. Frank, University City

Letters, February 15, 2007

Monster's Make-Up

Dirty looks: Thanks much for printing Frank Hogrebe's letter in your February 15 issue. Frank makes a solid point about how pornography can spawn a sexual predator.
Father Wm. Cardy, St. Anthony Friary, St. Louis