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Scratch My Itch 

Week of November 7, 2001

Scratch My Itch
It's tough getting excited about an exhibition game: While I respect Joe Yates as a promoter, I'm not so sure that the attendance at one NBA exhibition game is a barometer of fan interest in professional basketball [D.J. Wilson, "He Got Game," Oct. 31]. For example, I went to the first NBA game at the Savvis Center (Anthony Bonner was with the Knicks), had seats 15 rows back and haven't been to another exhibition since. It didn't do anything for me.

St. Louis fans have to have a tie-in with a team to get excited about, and just because Darius Miles returns for one game, that doesn't scratch my itch for NBA basketball. Most of my friends feel the same way. Hell, most fans who have season tickets don't attend the exhibition games and wish they didn't have to pay for the tickets. I'm an African-American and a big Blues fan, and if Bill Laurie wants to place an NBA team in his building, that's all right by me. I will attend games.
Greg Gibson
University City

Northern Exposure
Is he or isn't he? I found your recent article "Feeding Frenzy" [Elizabeth Vega, Oct. 24] troubling to say the least. But the thing that disturbed me the most was St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall's statement that the development of this prime North County land would "improve the quality of life for all residents, and if not stopping [it] altogether, it will most certainly slow down the exodus of people from North County."

As a North County resident, I have to say that I have never felt Westfall's overwhelming concern for my quality of life. Furthermore, I find it ironic that he is suddenly concerned about the exodus of people from my community, especially in light of his strong support of the Page Avenue extension. Personally, I wonder if Westfall grasps that his new bridge is not only an incentive for people from North County to move to the St. Charles area but will soon be the means by which they may leave. Either you're concerned about North County population attrition or you're not, Buzz. I just wish I could tell.
Sheryl Chisholm

Stop This Music
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry: This is Eric from Stare the Infant. This morning, I opened up the latest issue to find, oddly enough, that a copy of our album that we distributed around the Loop was actually reviewed and, at that, pitted against the new Molly Hatchet album [Paul Friswold, "Hatchet Job," Oct. 31]. I found this remarkably ironic, seeing as how John Forrester and I formed STI to confuse and annoy music journalists through excess. In defense of our performance, the majority of that album was recorded as ad-libbed don't-know-what-we're-singing-until-we're-singing first takes. By the way, I did try to make that guitar sound as disgusting as possible.

This in no way whatsoever is a criticism of the article; I laughed. Hard. The reviewing process that you described makes me giggle, but, on the other hand, we tied with Molly Hatchet. Past-their-prime Molly Hatchet at that. So, all in all, I'm not entirely sure whether to laugh or cry.
Eric Seelig
St. Louis

Laugh-out-loud funny: I just wanted to congratulate Paul Friswold on the "Black Panel" story. I was standing in line for breakfast at the St. Louis Bread Co., laughing out loud amid the corporate lunch rush. Funny, funny!
Chris Deckard
St. Louis

Wake Up, Missouri
So much to learn, so little time: Great article and very thorough [Jeannette Batz, "Grave Losses," Oct. 31]. I was surprised to learn about what happened to the remains and all the finger-pointing that has taken place. Maybe now some people will wake up to the fact that Missouri, especially the Meramec River Valley area, is rich in American Indian history as well as tangible artifacts. We can't stop progress, but at least we should slow down enough to study what time and nature are willing to reveal. There is so much to learn and so much to lose.
Kevin Yanker

Drugs Might Help
And a leash couldn't hurt: I have to shake my head at René Spencer Saller's jealous jab at St. Louis Magazine's "sex, drugs and rock & roll" issue ["Radar Station," Oct. 31]. Just because something is written in a decorous and highbrow manner does not mean it lacks "edge." It doesn't have to read like soft porn to garner reader interest, nor does it take a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, which Saller is definitely not, to realize that fundamental. As for her blatantly ignorant and unethical support of drugs, there are multitudes of musicians who do not need to boost their creativity with them, but if it helps her to sound better than an average angry high-school sophomore, perhaps she should. The Riverfront Times will never be able to undo Saller's damage to music journalism in St. Louis, and they won't be able to correct the situation unless Saller learns journalistic decency and/or is put on a leash. At least St. Louis Magazine can call themselves a "magazine" and their content "journalism." "Radar Station," since Randall Roberts' departure, is nonsensical trash.
Emily Larret Donner

The Big Chill
Hollow Shell of the Midwest: The letter published in the Oct. 31 issue contains a letter from a Washington University student who expresses concern about the university's purchase of off-campus apartment buildings. The student requested that his name be withheld. Something is very wrong here. What sort of university intimidates its students so that they fear to criticize it publicly? The sort of university which promulgates "guidelines for media" like those Wash. U. recently announced: No reporter is permitted on campus without permission, and no student, faculty or staff member can talk to a reporter without a member of the university's "press police" present. Is this happening in America? A university becomes a hollow shell if students and faculty are afraid, or need permission, to exercise their rights of freedom of speech and of the press.

"Name witheld'" called Washington University "liberal," but "police state" is closer to the mark. Maybe a left-wing police state, but no less a police state. Fear is contagious. Please withhold my name, too. (You may indicate that I am a Wash. U. faculty member, but, please, not my department.)
Name withheld by request

Sept. 11
Having it both ways: What would Bill Ramsey tell a woman who was raped or a child who was molested [Safir Ahmed, "Cleaning House," Oct. 10]? Would he tell them it was their fault? What about the abortion doctor who is murdered or assaulted by some religious fanatic? Do we tell their loved ones they shouldn't have performed abortions?

On one hand, Ramsey says a reason "they" hate us is because we support repressive regimes, but on the other, "they" hate us because "they" live in poverty because we have embargoes and no normalized relations with these same repressive regimes. What the hell does Ramsey want the U.S. to do? Both he and Muslim fanatics can't have it both ways.

There is no one policy to blame, for there is no "reason" for hatred, murder or violence. We do not tell the people who died in the Holocaust to blame the French and the Treaty of Versailles; we do not tell blacks who suffered violence under Jim Crow and the KKK to blame Reconstruction. The attacks on Sept. 11 happened because the Islamic world, like Nazi Germany, is being seduced by a vile doctrine of violence and hate, and the people of the U.S., Israel, India, Europe, Polynesia and elsewhere are not to blame -- Muslims carrying box cutters are. Anyone who doesn't realize that has his head in the sand.
Tony McMillan
Millstadt, Ill.

Thanks for the alternative: I want to say how very much I appreciated the excellent quality of reporting and coverage of the various peace-protest activities taking place in St. Louis ["Is It Safe Yet?" Oct. 10]. Especially well done was the article interviewing Bill Ramsey and highlighting his work, both in the past and at this time. Your paper is such a welcome addition to the journalism scene here, as it dares to present another view, alternative to the usual canned one being offered to the public.
Marjorie Wisor
via the Internet

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