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In Defense of the White Stripes

To the Editor,

Why everybody gotta talk smack about the White Stripes? More puzzling, why must they do this even while praising them? Curtis McCrary's review of Elephant (Rhythm & Views, April 24) seems to go out of its way to find fault with the band, if not with the album.

For example, where does McCrary draw the line between shtick and style? By his stringent standards, even friggin' Fugazi is shticky. Image--both shticky or genuinely stylish--is about 90 percent of any rock and roll act, and the Stripes just happen to have oodles of style. So, let's see, the Stripes' alleged shtick consists of, what, the red and white color scheme and an extended prank about their relationship? Ooh, gimmicky! Oh, that's right--there's the vintage instruments and recording, too. That adds up to about as much shtick as Elvis Costello's glasses and gap teeth, the Ramones' mop-tops and common stage-name, or Charles Thompson's "Black Francis" pseudonym and obsession with space. Would the music be any better or worse if these performers had dressed and acted like Hootie and the Blowfish? Or, if Jack and Meg expanded their sartorial palette? Of course not, but the bands themselves would probably be a lot less intriguing, memorable and fun.

He doesn't stop there, though; he picks nits all the way through. Yeah, Meg's no Neil Peart, but that's exactly the point. Yeah, it's recycled blues, but what pop music in the past 50 years isn't? Yeah, Jack's lyrics are goofy, but so are Jonathan Richman's and Billy Childish's--and they're all great. (Oh, and I'm so sure Jack and Meg sat around and decided to name all their fans the "candy cane children.") It all seems like an effort to give the Stripes only grudging praise, when they deserve better. Why?

As all the kids are saying these days, "Don't be hatin'!"

--John Cafiero and Sarah Barone
Candy Cane Children

Curtis McCrary responds: "I wasn't sold until you used the tag line from Malibu's Most Wanted. I now stand corrected."

Q&A With Norma K. and James D.

To James DiGiovanna,

What exactly did you mean by saying the French have "a superiority" in women ("Heist Heaven," April 24)? Is this superior to the United States, or anywhere?

--Norma Kwestel

James DiGiovanna responds: Recently, American movie audiences were treated to The Real Cancun, a "film" wherein actual Americans engaged in the activity that has made our nation great: the spreading of venereal diseases. A young woman who was a participant in this brutal attempt to exterminate art as we know it, when informed of the criticism the film had received, said: "I'd rather be known for this instead of being smart or something. There's a million people who are smart. There's only 16 of us who were in Cancun together." I hope this answers your question.

It's Not News When Diamond Screws the County, Runs a Landmark Into the Ground

To the Editor,

I just finished reading the Tucson Weekly story about Old Tucson and Donald Diamond ("The Battle Over Old Tucson," May 1). I have the following observations:

Old Tucson is a small business operated, along with several other businesses, by Donald Diamond and others.

Old Tucson is, and has been, operating at a financial loss. This has lead to attempts to renegotiate the operating agreement with Pima County--a very logical and appropriate thing for the operators to do. Rather than focus on the relevant financial information, attempts to renegotiate the agreement have become tainted with a focus on the personalities involved as well as their relative wealth and/or power.

If Old Tucson were operated by someone other than Donald Diamond--under the same financial situation--it is doubtful that this issue would have been a front-page cover by Tucson Weekly.

There is an underlying and unstated suggestion in the tenor of the article that Mr. Diamond, since he has other, very successful businesses, should subsidize the Old Tucson financial loss and keep the current agreement with Pima County unchanged.

The reference in the article to Mr. Diamond's birthday party and its associated costs is an unwarranted and inappropriate cheap shot. Unlike Chuck, I wasn't invited.

I'm disappointed in the lack of quality relating to this issue and the news coverage. Try harder next time to report the news instead of make the news.

--Bert Landau

Men Are Sexually Assaulted, Too

To the Editor,

I am writing in response to the story that appeared in the April 10 issue, "Men Who Get Hurt." As is well known, our culture fosters violence; one of its most egregious manifestations is, however, sexual violence. Sexual violence is similar to but distinct from domestic violence and can include sexual assault (a legal term that includes the popularly recognized definition of rape), sexual abuse, sexual harassment, molestation or exposure. Any of these traumatic events can occur either within or outside of a domestic or intimate partner relationship.

The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault seeks to reduce the impact and incidence of sexual violence in our community. We do this by providing community education and outreach, 24-hour crisis services and psychotherapeutic services to men, women and children who are affected by sexual violence.

The research has shown for years that about one in four or one in five women will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in her lifetime. What's come to light more recently is the extent of sexual abuse and sexual assault experienced by men. Multiple studies over the past 15 years all reach the same conclusion: About one in six men will experience sexual abuse or sexual assault in their lifetimes. Clearly, sexual violence affects a wide cross-section of the population. Unfortunately, our culture still makes it incredibly difficult for men to come forward and give a voice to their experiences and their pain. We at the center recognize this and work with men, as we do with women and children, to end the silence and the shame that surrounds sexual violence. Our message to all is simple: We believe you; you are not alone; it is not your fault; help is available.

We simultaneously recognize the gender-based power inequalities inherent in society. Anyone is a potential victim/survivor of sexual violence. We empower victims/survivors by offering them choices in dealing with their trauma. We treat victims/survivors with respect and honor. And we do all of this without regard to the gender of the victim/survivor. Nobody deserves to be sexually abused or sexually assaulted; by offering a full continuum of sexual violence prevention and recovery services to women, men and children, we get closer to achieving our mission every day.

--Bridget Riceci
President and CEO
Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault

An anonymous and toll free crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-400-1001 or 327-7273

Throw Red Light Runners in Jail!

To the Editor,

Tom Danehy's list of red light runners ("Picture Unperfect," May 1) was not complete. In addition to the phlegm wads, idiots, cell phone talkers, Hummer drivers, drinkers, pot smokers, Eminem wannabes, etc., he needs to add: school bus drivers (yes, with children in the bus), the Arizona Shuttle and the Tucson Police Department (no lights or siren, just going to the Texaco station mini-mart for coffee--really, I checked). I have witnessed all of this.

As to the suggested $500 fine for red-light running, I would add a mandatory night in jail. Stiffer penalties and fines for all forms of reckless driving are what we need to change the deterioration of traffic safety in this country. The increased penalties for drunken driving transformed our culture. It's time we did the same thing with the aggressive and ignorant drivers who threaten all our lives. We are in a collective state of denial as to the realities of what it means to be hurtling around in a 2,000-pound hunk of steel with 10 to 20 gallons of flammable liquid in the back. There is an elephant on the highway and he's speeding and passing too close, and now he's 2 feet from your bumper--and he doesn't give a damn for you, your loved ones or the laws of physics.

And for those who have forgotten their driver's training:

1. The speed limit is the maximum (not minimum) speed under optimum conditions. Under any other conditions, due to weather, congestion, poor visibility (sunrise and sunset) or impairment of the driver (fatigue etc.), safety requires one to drive less than the maximum speed limit.

2. When following another vehicle one should keep at least one car length behind for every 10 miles an hour one is traveling.

--Larry Waters

Getting Intergalactic on Yo Ass

To the Editor,

Connie Tuttle's proposed use of the Bush doctrine ("Troops for Hire," April 24) to kick any country or institution's ass that has somehow offended our sensibilities was dead-on. Her list was far from thorough, as she enthusiastically admitted at the end of her essay. I say: Round up them posses, and let's go intergalactic and multi-dimensional!

First, the Planet of the Apes must be dealt with and soon. They are our closest inter-species competitor as well as being hairy, smelly and overly aggressive. It has been observed that during their high mating season, the dominant silverbacks will even get frisky with our females. Although a non-nuclear planet, a pre-emptive strike of complete annihilation is the only option, before these horny Simian brigands achieve space travel and arrive here on earth (ETA: 3,000-5,000 years).

Secondly, sure those furry Ewoks are cute and cuddly but the little bastards are also as obstinate as a Scot holding on to a schilling. It has become increasingly difficult to integrate them into our galactic economic system. They won't use our banks; they spend only Euros because they can't say the word dollar, and worst of all, they won't leave those damn tree houses and purchase the new modular homes (at very low interest rates) that we built for them. Domination of the Ewoks however, will be easy and cost-efficient; therefore it must be pursued. Simply shave them. Without their fur, they look like two-legged Chihuahuas. Feeling naked and thoroughly shamed, they begin drinking copious amounts of alcohol and become very compliant.

Finally, but most importantly, we have to locate and enter that "gateway" in the main London train station. We can then drop a MOAB on Hogwarts, obliterating that hotbed of the occult and anti-Christian sensibility. But not before we find and string up that upstart Harry Potter who refuses to live as a "muggle." We need to show the children of the world that using one's imagination is not an option in our new world order.

--Matt Smith

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