It seems to me to be "blame the hop broker" time! ("Brewing Storm," Nov. 25). The article has some real flaws in my opinion, and I am a retired hop broker. If you take one variety and its price, which Gail Gosche quotes, and then compare that to a price which Archie Johnson quotes he has bought at, then the market does not to make sense.
But what I read there is only possible if all hop brokers got together and set the market price, and that is illegal! It has not been called "the green gold" for nothing, you know!
When one year hop farmers and hop brokers make some money, then everyone points the finger. When for years hop farmers made no money and went bankrupt, most brewers did not care a dime! Please do not forget the latter !
Wadhurst, East Sussex England
I was glad to see David Sason address the "murder music" aspect of reggae music ("One Hate, One Fear," Dec. 2). I am a longtime reggae fan, and have been disconcerted over the appearance of overt homophobia in reggae music, especially in dancehall. I thank you for pointing out Buju Banton's hypocrisy and many attempts to manipulate the media.
However, I found it interesting that no mention was made of the event which most likely sparked your article: the Santa Rosa appearance of Buju Banton at Club Casbar in early October. I also found the extensive quotes from Pato Banton interesting. Apparently they were intended to show how tolerant some reggae musicians are.
Maybe he has changed, but I saw him at Reggae on the River in 2003. He was doing great, the music rocked, the lyrics were good. I was up there in front of the stage dancing and having a great time. He introduced a song that he said was written the night that two of his sons were shot in a drive-by in L.A. (they both survived). It was great, had me close to tears.
By that point, I was putty in his hands. His next song spoke of Jah, and before I knew it I heard him denouncing hypocrites and evil-doers and "sodomites." I stopped dancing, looked at the people around me as though to say, "Did I just hear what I think I heard?" but no one else seemed to have heard it or to have been bothered by it. I suddenly felt marked, hunted, endangered. I wandered away from the stage with deep disappointment.
As the article pointed out, reggae music is closely tied to the Rasta religion, which is a form of fundamental Christianity. I am reminded that it was Christian churches that were responsible for the defeat of Proposition 8, and that such hateful sentiments are not confined to reggae music but surround me everyday. Perhaps is it just as Kris Kristofferson says in his song "Jesus Was a Capricorn": "Everybody's got to have somebody to look down on."
The Happiest meal
Regarding "Viscera and Voyeurism" (Nov. 18), I think the people going to these butchering parties are working out something dark in all of our consciousness. They are trying to embrace something we all feel bad about to make it more tolerable on some level. But if we are now clamoring to celebrate our collective guilt about reducing sentient beings to a pile of bloody body parts, doesn't that suggest an even more basic look at the moral underpinnings of our actions?
I've long felt our relationship with animals represents one of humanity's most supreme challenges. It calls us to embrace a much broader definition of "other," to stand up for our values, even if it means giving up a few treasured tastes and smells.
It also presents us with the opportunity to more fully open our hearts, to expand and grow in love and compassion for each other, to be lighter, healthier, more joyous and generous. Three times a day we can put the brakes on world hunger, environmental destruction and the very same acceptance of violence that also paves the way to war. Three times a day we get a chance to simply do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
In the end, the 'happiest meal' is the one that contains no animal products at all.
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