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Too Long; Did Read

Posted 4/9/2008

I don't like sports. I'd prefer to watch war, but we're not allowed to in America. I've not been Obamasized nor Clintonated. Martin O'Malley and Sheila Dixon are just two more jokes in a long line of bad jokes. I care not for stories on thugs and drugs, I take the MTA to work. Angry fat women? I walk the other way.

Being a Celto-centric San Franciscan refugee in hell, I eschew the dominant paradigms and prefer the company of the Great God Pan and Sri Ganesh. Hence, I was quite taken by your story on Anonymous ("Serious Business," Feature, April 2), the first City Paper story I actually read all the way through in years.

It's always exciting, as one slogs through the deadly mundane, to find that there are funny, intelligent pranksters within a 50-mile radius who are willing to take on the humorless and powerful Church of Scientology.

Back when it used the innocent to recruit the ignorant, a friend of mine was caught up in its snare, and became addicted to L. Ron Hubbard as surely as a dope fiend lives for smack.

Here's one for Edgardo! Go Anonymous, go!

Michael S Eckenrode
Baltimore

Licensed to Create

Reading "Licensing to Kill" (Feature, March 26) was the first I'd heard of Sherwin Mark's run-in with the ASCAP goons at Load of Fun. Maybe it was that thrift-store 45 of "Muskrat Love" we spun on the RCA Victor that evening that pushed them over the edge. Anyhow, Sherwin and company must be commended for providing, let alone bankrolling(!), an amazing space where creative people can come together and do their thing.

And yes, Virginia, there IS an alternative to ASCAP and BMI. It's called Creative Commons. According to its web site, Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." So if you, the artist, decide you want your anti-corporate anthem to be free for all to sing, but not for, say, the Backstreet Boys to re-record and sell for profit, you can stipulate that under the license you choose.

Lee Connah
Baltimore

Against Harvell

I don't consider myself a letter to the editor type of person. And yet on this day, I suppose I am. I feel the need to comment on the article entitled "Against Hype," by Jess Harvell (Feedback, March 26). To preface, I do not consider myself a "fan" of Crystal Castles. I simply enjoyed the show at the Ottobar last week and wanted to offer a second opinion.

It seems to me hype is only hype because people give credence to it. So I would argue the author would have been better served to write a critique on the nature of hype. The band cannot control the buzz it has received--should they be judged according to it? I think not.

I wonder what Mr. Harvell would have said had he had a chance to interview the band members after their set and question and critique their performance to their face. Perhaps that isn't the point--or perhaps the writer realized the band often shuns the media and interviews, which he deems a slap in the face to his honored profession.

Better still, as a member of the audience, moderately near the stage, it seemed to me most people were enjoying the show. I mean, I could be wrong, goodness knows that much is true, but I suppose such an allowance isn't really made within the field of expert criticism. Sure, the nonstop strobe light was a little much--but who doesn't look good dancing in a strobe light? I mean, come on. I know I looked cool as fuck.

Was Crystal Castles doing something that hasn't been done before? Of course not. But is that always the point? So perhaps the next time they come around you don't go to the show and you don't tell us about it. I will go, and I'll probably have fun again. I like this plan.

As one of my favorite authors, Dave Eggers (nice name-drop, eh?), once said: "Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes."

I understand we need critics. We need people who know more than we do to tell us what is good and what is not. We need the hype machine, which critics perpetuate and in the same breath lambaste. So I suppose this is my critique of critics. I suppose I am the same as you. Fuck.

Dave Greenplate
Baltimore

Correction: Last week's feature story on Anonymous and its campaign against the Church of Scientology reported that 11 people, including Sue Hubbard, went to prison in 1977 for their part in Operation Snow White, the church's anti-federal-agency initiative. In fact, the prison terms resulted from an FBI raid on the church in 1977, but those convicted as a result of subsequent charges did not go to prison until several years later, and Sue Hubbard is more properly known as Mary Sue Hubbard.

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