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Week of December 29, 2004

Flogging for Blogging
Hawkishly monitoring since 2004: I suppose that congratulations would be in order to Unreal ["Local Blog o' the Week," December 15] for the debut of your "cutting-edge" blog reporting, but getting someone suspended (and, presumably, fired) crosses a line that really offends me. It also saddens me that the creative community here is constantly lashing out and damaging each other's careers and reputations.

It's not bad enough that nurses and teachers are on strike, that conservative ding-a-lings are running the state and country, but now the local bastion of arts and culture is hawkishly monitoring the creative expression of bloggers and will run "shocking exposés" doused with condescending, snarky vitriol.

With regard to the follow-up ["Attack of the Blog," December 22], I do have a few questions as to why Mr. Westhoff and/or Mr. Gay went down that "young people" road and focused on Mr. Finney's collectibles. What's up with the "young people" at the Post who spoke under the shroud of anonymity? Since when are Eve Harrington interns that swap blow jobs for New Times promo items considered reliable? And is 29 ancient nowadays -- and is Geritol a must for anyone over 25?

Furthermore, is it really so strange, kooky and worth mentioning that someone who writes about pop culture actually enjoys it? I know that's a strange concept for most Riverfront Times writers (actually enjoying the subject one writes about) -- but it honestly does happen. Try reading Playback or Sauce sometime.

I don't know Mr. Finney, but as someone whose blog was mentioned in your publication last year (without warning), I do question to what depths the RFT will sink to brand itself as the supposed voice of alternative culture. Your latest efforts to be relevant will do more to kill creative expression in this town than your ill-conceived, trite and hate-filled reviews and columns already have.

You've taken smarmy to a whole new level, and as writers, artists and creative citizens, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Rob Thurman
St. Louis

Lethal Objection
Don't eat the ham: After reading Malcolm Gay's feature "Uncomfortably Numb" [December 15], concerning capital punishment and its implementation, I am forced to concede that he has made his point. It might well be that we should revamp the chemicals currently combined into the deadly cocktail used in lethal injection to at least mirror those used to put down a cocker spaniel or rabid schnauzer. I don't doubt that those who oppose the death penalty will embrace this argument and, in doing, not gain one inch of ground on the majority of Americans who currently support capital punishment. I have heard some argue that the very anticipation of a death sentence being carried out at a specified date and time constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment for the condemned. This school of logic isn't going to win many converts either, but perhaps there is another way.

Why not consider making the manner and timing of the death sentence to be somewhat more...elastic? It might be that the court bailiff will draw his pistol and open fire five seconds after the sentence is rendered, or that two years later the prisoner will sit down to lunch, bite into a ham sandwich and boom -- instant sleepy hollow. I propose creating a reality show that would blow Donald Trump's The Apprentice clear out of the water. People would be willing to pay big bucks to see prisoners gingerly prodding their bedding as they search for sleeping wolverines or coiled cobras. And when the condemned crawl behind their commodes, looking for a camouflaged wire that might indicate that the toilet seat has 50,000 volts coursing through it, the show would become an instant audience-pleaser. I hope that this notion will be given the serious consideration that it deserves.
Mark Lehde
St. Charles

Et Tu, Bob?
The beat goes on: I am responding to Chelsey Roy's letter [December 15] regarding Beatle Bob. She wrote that he is "the coolest cat around, and everyone I know adores the man." I am unaware of any book or record store in the St. Louis area from which Beatle Bob has not been barred. Chelsey also wrote that Beatle Bob "has good taste in music." That is subjective, and I don't agree. It is my belief that Beatle Bob has no taste in music; I have seen him make virtually the same moves, no matter what the music is. And Beatle Bob's lack of integrity is not subjective.
Sheldon Margulis

Going Corporate
Reader disagrees with critic! I very much enjoyed "The Best Movies and Music of the Year" [December 22]. However, I was shocked at the exclusion of the powerful documentary The Corporation. This film, even with its modest release, was much more powerful and damning in its content than Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Obviously, his film reached an infinitely larger audience, but as your review correctly points out, he failed to make use of fail-safe evidence and to connect the dots, as it were.

The Corporation is a sweeping condemnation of corporate power. It drew from a rich pool of evidence in its arguments and used them to convincing effect. It made note of the litany of abuses of corporate power and provided the viewer with a broad look at the nature of the corporation itself as a business model. It had fantastic interviews, including corporate spies, executives, neo-liberal economists, South American progressive leaders, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and many more. It was an exhaustive and comprehensive look at one of the central forces in our society that subverts democratic rule and principle.
Nick Clark
University City

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