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The Mail

Nelly Ache

Posted 6/11/2008

Well, now that I'm a D.C. commuter I don't get a chance to read City Paper like I used to. I wish it was in Penn Station, because plenty of Washington City Papers are shoved in my face when I hit the D.C. Metro.

I read your article this morning on my crazy boyfriend hip-hop and thought about Nelly (Social Studies, June 4). Puffy, Diddy, Sean, whatever, follows a dollar sign when it comes to music. He gives his heart and soul to his fashion "empire." I'm from St. Louis/East St.Louis, so when Nelly first hit the scene I enjoyed his first two CDs bringing back memories of my Lou, but as usual, the dollar kicked in and my hip-hop boyfriend's music became ridiculous. Nelly is right, hip-hop doesn't always have to be serious, but when every CD and video becomes about popping bottles, big butts, and jewelry from Jacob's, it's time for my boyfriend and I to take a break. I told Nelly "I need space."

Recently VH1 did an old-school hip-hop tribute, and my daughters laughed at me jamming to the "real" rappers, but that day my high-school hip-hop boyfriends gave me a private party. Yes, freaks came out at night. . . .

Sharon Wright
Baltimore

In Defense of Literacy

Have we really come to the point where reading is being blamed for both our individual and societal shortcomings ("Now Read This," Arts & Entertainment, June 4)? When I was a child, I wanted to have adults read me a story in order to excite my imagination. Indeed, stories satisfy the need to communicate life experiences and to teach others about cultural expectations. Also, we read nonfiction simply for the purpose of educating ourselves. To suggest that reading somehow negatively impacts us as human beings is laughable. When I am lying on my deathbed, I may have a few regrets as I look back on what I have or have not done, but reading too many books will not be on the list.

As to comparing someone carrying around a book to someone with their cell phone, there's a big difference. Someone reading a book in public is never a disturbance to me, while listening to someone on a cell phone rambling on about his or her personal business always does.

Literacy is never a bad thing. It's the reason you can read this newspaper.

Jack Walter
Baltimore

I enjoyed reading Heather Harris' article about Mikita Brottman and her fascinating book The Solitary Vice: Against Reading, but Harris misses a beat when she offhandedly asserts that a writer who was "actually opposed to reading" would be "like a musician who's opposed to going to concerts." There was such a musician, and an illustrious one at that. Glenn Gould, the brilliant Canadian pianist, gave up his enormously successful concert career in 1964, performing only in recording studios from then until his death in 1982. This was partly a technical decision, based on the possibility of producing ideal interpretations via creative uses of recording technology, and partly a "moral" one, since it let him get away from "voyeuristic" audiences who lie in wait for a slip of the fingers, turning concert-hall performances into "the last blood sport." But he also said he couldn't understand why anyone would choose attending a concert over listening to a well-made recording--in a concert hall the performer might indeed spoil the music with a mistake, and in any case, the seats aren't all that comfortable.

David Sterritt
Baltimore

Ginger Beer, My Good Man!

Glad to see that you pulled Pimm's to the front of the shelf ("Ahhhh!" Sizzlin' Summer, May 21). Meant to send a note earlier, but after mixing one this past weekend, I vowed to remember to pass on a minor variation while summer is still ahead of us. You mentioned ginger ale as an alternative--what I have found more interesting is a good ginger beer. Spicy Pimm's stands up nicely to a zesty ginger beer. Garnishes of citrus work well--orange, lime, lemon, or even a combination of them. Have to credit the Oban Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, with introducing me to this a number of years ago. Sadly the bar is supposedly gone now, but the inn, restaurant, and hopefully the custom live on. Keep writing and enjoy the summer!

Ron Kreitner
Baltimore

Editor's note: The winners of the 2007 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards were announced June 7 and City Paper and its staff took home a number of awards in competition with other papers with a circulation greater than 55,000. Staff writer Jeffrey Anderson won honorable mention in the News Story: Long Form category for "Juvenile Disservices" (Mobtown Beat, Nov. 28. 2007) and "The Colonel" (Mobtown Beat, Dec. 12, 2007), both about (now former) head of the Victor Cullen Academy Christopher Perkins. Jeff also won first place in Investigative Reporting and second place in News Story: Short Form for work he did for L.A. Weekly before coming to Baltimore. Staff writer Edward Ericson Jr. won honorable mention in the Public Service category for "Watching the Inspectors" (Feature, Nov. 7, 2007) and his ongoing coverage of the city's housing department. And CP contributing photographer Rarah won third in the Photography category. Congratulations to all.

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