Letters to the Editor
Reprehensible and Outrageous
HOPEFULLY your cover story concerning reggae's hate-filled lyrics directed at the gay community ("One Hate, One Fear," Cover Story, Jan. 6) prompted an outpouring of disgust and indignation from a majority of your readers.
Buju Banton has a right to be incensed by the sexual violence the poor young boys and children endure in his country. Such things unfortunately happen in every country where poverty and misery are commonplace, places such as Brazil, Thailand, and many South American countries. Incredibly and sadly, many heterosexual parents of those children put them in harm's way for monetary gain.
Since heterosexual men as a majority prey on young girls so often it has become a commonplace, and when those young girls are found it is usually not a pretty sight. I now await Banton's call for violence against hetero men. For artists like Banton to single out gay people in this case is reprehensible and outrageous. If ever he steps foot in Santa Cruz I, for one, will be around to let him know he is not welcomed by anyone with any sense of decency and morality.
Joseph Cortez Jr.,
Whims of The Enfranchised
GAY RIGHTS activists have attempted to silence Jamaican dancehall artists who will not desist from their strident criticism of gay lifestyle and practices. The only thing surprising about this controversy is the lack of analysis in the context of individual liberties. Every human being has the right to be precisely who they want to be without the compulsion of the state or any societal institution upon them.
Reggae and dancehall music has always contained a strong and driving element of self-expression and liberty. The music has historically inspired people in expressing their resistance to mainstream culture in western societies in myriad ways. The legacy of racism and segregation in this country was demonstrated by the institutionalization of white power and the systemic disempowerment of black people.
Likewise what we are seeing now with this controversy is the "migrant" work of a black foreign people (Jamaican singers) being stepped upon by the mechanism of white power in this country which says that the whims of enfranchised first class citizens (sexual preferences of gays) trump the basic rights of second or third class citizens (immigrants, etc.) rights to travel, work, speech, etc. Somehow it does not seem surprising because black and brown people have always mattered less in the status quo.
It is the mechanism of the institution which infringes upon true human liberty and not the songs sung and recorded by singers or the music that people choose to listen to. So for the gay lobby to flex the wrath of the institutions which they have access to and influence in as enfranchised first class citizens (white folks), is a form of institutional racism leveraged against a relatively powerless "immigrant" group of people. And when you are a black "immigrant" you are treated even worse, just ask a Haitian. Or I could really say now just ask a Jamaican.
What is much more offensive to me than any explicit lyrics or music is explicit activity in public which seems to be somewhat of an epidemic in the Bay Area. There are parts of Golden Gate Park, Buena Vista Park, and the Berkeley Aquatic Park to name a few that have acknowledged epidemic problems with public male sex, drugs and prostitution. Thankfully authorities have as of late been pushed to begin to clean these public spaces up, so we should expect progress in the cleanup.Golden Gate Park is a jewel treated like a dump.
As far as the gay lobby, people make it sound like they're being water-boarded and forced to attend dancehall and reggae concerts. If you don't like it, don't come around. That is your individual right as a citizen and a consumer. Taking one's claim so far beyond the rational is only an example of woeful political immaturity, a silly political experiment that is extremely anti-liberty and anti-American to boot.
Free up now!
Nate 'Handle' Collins
SOME film is imagination put into visual art and few have put forth more excellence in this film genre than Terry Gilliam in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. This is a director not to be slighted nor a film to be missed. In the tradition of Fellini and Bergman, this work is visual symbolism, a meaningful fantasia. Remembering the scope of knowledge behind Gilliam's work and his hard earned film experience, this work offers thoughtful perspectives. This is a wonderful film with much to teach and affirm about the human spirit, the nature of human evil, dreams that when pursued reveal something other than what we sought to experience, a parent's folly and love and sacrifice, mystical deception that tricks rational people into heights of delusion, the questions that arise when we are in pursuit of eternal youth, and the challenges of aging, death and mortality. There is a displeasing uncomfortable edge to this film as the darker side of life reveals an underlying tenderness and compassion and the all too human nobility associated with innocence, helping humanity, and the spiritual quest revealing an underlying subtext of human weakness and the harshness of selfish motive. Whether Gilliam meets the expectations of his fans, perhaps after several viewings such would hold no concern for the viewer in light of these and other far more interesting questions offered for our pleasure in this extraordinary film.
Mystified Man Misses DeCinzo
FIRST THING I used to do pre-Nutzle was to go directly to page four and brace myself for a mild-to-moderate chuckle. Sure, DeCinzo's cartoons were often cringe-worthy and ruffled the feathers of our local peacocks. But Christ, at least we had something to moan about. Nutzle's work, on the other hand, leaves me feeling ... medicated. His art school drawings should come with a warning: May cause drowsiness. May cause unexplained bouts of Whaa??
But perhaps it's just my unsophisticated palate that makes me hungry for the full-service lampooning that DeCinzo dished up. Nutzle may be suitable for framing, but he's not exactly the Good Humor man. And boy, could I use a laugh.
Send letters to the editor here.