I read Shawn Edwards's (Reverberations) column regarding (Jason) Whitlock's Cro-Magnon thoughts on hip-hop ("Fact checkin'," Feb. 17-23) and thought he was right on the money. Usually when attention-seeking blowhards (Pat Buchanan, Jesse Ventura, Fred Phelps, Whitlock...) spout off, my first reaction is to ignore them and not give them the satisfaction of discussing their shit at the water cooler. But Edwards is right. When someone speaks out so publicly about something you feel powerfully about, you must give them the bite in the ass they deserve.
With that column, Edwards has yet again solidified his credibility with people who have the capacity to look beyond what they read and actually use their heads for something other than paperweights. In the end, what else can you do?
Be proud. He got it right.
-- Jamie Raven
Right on for exposing Jason "I'm really a middle-class black guy trying to be a hoodie" Whitlock!
His comments were ignorant, lacked integrity, and, unfortunately, legitimized the skewed (and at times unfounded) concerns of some individuals, and of some people in the media.
The key word here, however, is "some." I was baffled, and that happens a lot when I read his columns, by how he could condemn hip-hop and rap music AND boast that he writes rap music/hip-hop columns for Vibe magazine. I would think that there are only three choices: to condemn, support, or shut the fuck up.
Although I applaud Shawn Edwards' counterpoint, I'm not so sure that I would have used Sean "Puffy" Combs as a role model, given his recent legal troubles. I hope Edwards realizes that he will probably "get blasted" for that one, but it's the thought that counts.
And a final right-on for "blasting" Whitlock for his immaturity at Foxboro Stadium a couple of years ago. I sure hope the "Fred Phelps rap video" didn't influence Jason's actions that day! Does Alan Keyes rap?
-- Darryl A. Stamp
Kansas City, Mo.
I read Shawn Edwards' article on hip-hop and felt that I had to make a comment. Blaming society's ills on music, movies, or TV is the only way certain people can justify the acts of violence that are being committed.
I don't think these people want to believe that anyone is capable of committing acts of violence on their own. After all, how can some "good" white kids go into a school and kill 15 or 20 people? It has to be the music or the movies. There is no other explanation. And if a black person commits a crime, then hip-hop must be to blame. Or, if you are really without a clue, it's because "that's just what those people do."
I've watched all the violent movies and listened to some of the violence-filled music. I was raised watching cartoons that are more violent than some movies and songs of today, yet somehow I don't have the urge to commit a crime.
If you want to commit a crime, you will. To blame it on the music or movies is just a way to shove the real causes into the background so no one will have to deal with it. To deal with the real problems behind the violence, social inequities, mental problems, etc. would be to admit that society has problems. Too many people are afraid to believe that. They want to live in their lily-white worlds shielded from the truth.
Well, I have to go now. I have to drop an anvil on someone's head because I just saw Wyle E. Coyote do it.
Thanks for the good article.
-- Joe Shockey
Kansas City, Mo.
In the swim
Shawn Edwards' recent article, "Doin' the aqua boogie" (Feb. 17-23), was engaging, well-researched, and well-written. It was educational in its portrayal of young athletes with natural skill who are fighting battles and going far beyond hard practice sessions in a school district in unstable times.
In addressing the negative peer pressure focused on the team, Edwards touched briefly but effectively on stereotyping. For example, swimmer Albert Lowe is quoted as saying that other students have called them gay because they have to wear Speedos. Lowe handles it well: "I don't care. It just motivates me to keep my body fit. Plus, the girls like the way we look in them."
The very fact that Edwards addresses the issue but does not dwell on it should help dispel the ignorance that causes such attitudes in the first place. As a non-black, non-young, non-student, non-competitive swimmer, but one who does want to learn and expand my knowledge, the article inspired and taught me. Well done.
-- R.E. Roodebush
Kansas City, Mo.
Thanks for doing the article about swimming at Central. My daughters have been in USS Swimming for 10 years, and we have watched the work of Leonard Horne. In fact, he was one of the area coaches assigned to the Zone Championship Team our daughter trained with seven years ago.
I have always been impressed with Leonard's leadership of his team. Personally, we have been delighted to see Leonard's team develop and grow. Even though he is correct when he says there are few people of color at the meets, his team has developed as the best example of a multiple-race team and is an inspiration.
We have swum many, many meets at Central, and it is indeed still considered the fastest pool in the area. Many championships are held there. It's always been dismaying to hear the comments from suburban and out-of-town swimmers about having to be in that area of town. Our kids attended Lincoln Middle School, so we are well-acquainted with the area and appreciate the facilities available for the community.
I must say I have been disappointed in the rapid defacement and destruction of parts of the facility over the years (a prime example is the bathrooms without paper rolls or doors on the stalls, broken containers, graffiti, etc.). It has seemed that even with these excellent facilities, there has been a lack of respect for this property by the students who have benefited from them most. Be that as it may, the facility is still excellent. As a result of declining funds, the school system has had to dramatically increase the fees it charges for outside groups to rent the facility for swim meets. This has significantly decreased the ability of many teams to rent and host meets there, which is a shame as it is the best facility in the area.
Thank you again for taking on this topic. Swimming is one of the sports that doesn't get much coverage in the area and yet requires an incredible amount of dedication and stamina by the participants. Practices can often be at 5:00 in the morning or late in the evening due to lack of available pool time for swim teams. Advanced swimmers often put in both morning and evening practices, swimming 5,000 to 6,000 yards or more per practice. That's an incredible amount of time spent going back and forth in a pool, and swimmers have to have an incredible amount of discipline and self-motivation to stick with it.
Personally, I would like to see many more articles in the Pitch like this one.
-- Jan Buerge
Coach, Notre Dame de Sion Swim Team
Kansas City, Mo.
Thanks for that wonderful article on swimming and minorities. I have been trying to get my 9-year-old daughter on a swim team or involved in swimming for over a year. Most of the time you're not aware of where to go for lessons or swim teams.
My daughter loves to swim, and thanks to your article, I have established some contacts. She will start on the Storm swim team this week.
-- Sarah Cecil
Kansas City, Mo.
Science City the good
In reading Bruce Rodgers' commentary on Science City (PitchOut, Feb. 24-March 1), I too have heard a lot of negative, or at least not real enthusiastic, comments about the displays. Some are saying they really aren't very challenging for anyone over the 4-to-6 age range. Seems the planners didn't do their homework.
As for Crown Center, it seems no one has connected the fact that the reason retail business or stores won't be allowed in Union Station is that they would compete with Crown Center. One of the reasons the building sat for so long is they wouldn't allow any plans that included shops or shopping proposals in them. They have a hard time keeping tenants anyway because the rent is too high. I can imagine if they took over what they would charge merchants for spots in Union Station. So instead of becoming a booming meeting place and center of attraction for Kansas City, as remodeled stations have in Indianapolis or St. Louis, we will probably be doomed to failure because no one will attack the sacred Hall's cow.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who will inevitably make a profit from Union Station. I think the worst possible scenario would be to have Crown Center manage it. Then it would have bad food and be overpriced and unaffordable for the majority of citizens whose tax dollars helped save it.
It would be nice if they could ask some of the science schools at, say, UMKC to come up with some ideas for projects at Science Center. There might some ingenious ideas for hands-on activities.
The main part of the station most people wanted to have access to was the grand hall, and that should be open to the public, whether attending Science City or not. The people just want to see the beauty of the station as it once was. Spare us a Crown Center clone. It would be a great place to bring back the Friday night concerts; maybe start with some WWII music, since most of the GIs went through there during the war.
-- E. Claus
Kansas City, Mo.
Good for you Bruce Rodgers, take your son to Science City! I have not personally been, but my sister and my mother took my 4-year-old and 7-year-old daughters to Science City for a day of fun. That is exactly what they had!! When they returned home they were worn out and they still couldn't stop talking about everything they did. They spent from around 11 a.m. to 3 or 4 in the afternoon there and loved the entire day!!
Even though my sister said there were a few things that weren't working, it didn't matter; there was still plenty to keep them going.
There will always be people complaining, no matter what you do to please; there are just some people who have to dwell on the negative. Children are not typically in that group, and they are the ones this should mainly be for anyway, so all the grouchy parents and adults should just stay home!
Anything that can keep BOTH my two children entertained at the same time is well worth every penny and every moment. It is a rarity that something appeals to both of them to the same degree, but Science City fits the bill!
-- Bennette Seaman
Face the facts
I've read Patrick Dobson's article, "Group with Scientology connections opens chapter to investigate abuse" (Jan. 27-Feb. 2).
Contrary to his overtly derogatory remarks about the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), this organization is in fact exactly what it seems. Its association with the Church of Scientology is a point of pride. CCHR was jointly founded in 1969 by Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, and the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose abuses of human rights by psychiatrists. Dobson's abusive language toward both CCHR and Scientology is shameful.
If a human rights organization were founded by a Jewish group, or a Catholic group, or a Muslim group, it would hardly be a major point of notice. Yet you make accusations based solely on a presumed religious affiliation. This is hardly an enlightened point of view.
CCHR has been recognized by the United Nations Human Rights Commission as a world authority in mental health reform. CCHR has a formal relationship with the U.S. Department of Justice for the investigation of psychiatric insurance fraud. These are the associations that are major points of notice, and Dobson should be writing about this.
Perhaps Dobson is simply ignorant of the fact that 142 psychiatric facilities have been shut down in the last year alone for massive patient abuse and insurance fraud. More than 500 state and private psychiatric hospitals and mental health centers have been shut down in the last 15 years for massive patient abuse and insurance fraud. This is not a religious case; it is a criminal issue.
The facts speak for themselves, for those who can read and observe for themselves.
-- Moritz Farbstein
Public Relations Officer
Citizens Commission on Human Rights of St. Louis, Inc.
St. Louis, Mo.
Welcoming suburban-style shopping
Just a few months ago the Pitch was bemoaning the lack of large grocery stores in midtown. Now that Costco is moving in, the complaint seems to be the store will be too big or too suburban ("Midtown redevelopment's big boxes already may be a thing of the past," Feb. 17-23). Could we have some consistency?
As far as I'm concerned, the jury is out on Costco, but at least it will be accessible by bus. I am thrilled that there will soon be a Home Depot in the part of town where most of the home rehab is happening. While I hate to see TIF money used for such projects, I have a great deal of difficulty seeing the location of these stores as anything other than offering people in midtown the best of both worlds -- suburban-style shopping without having to go to the suburbs.
-- Larry Roth
Kansas City Mo.
Hearne Christopher was right?
Your new Classifieds section is awful. I hope you don't plan to keep it. It looks like one big run-on sentence. You cannot tell when one subject starts and another one ends (see, for example, the Singles section). I liked your magazine and like going through on the classifieds, up 'til now.
Also, what happened to Dr. Carroll's SexFiles? Savage Love is great, but I would like both. It seems The Star was right.
-- Patrick Neal
Kansas City, Mo.
In Screening Room (Feb. 10-16), Fred "The Hammer" Williamson was incorrectly noted as William "The Hammer" Williamson; and in "Bringing 'deadbeat' dads back to life" (Feb. 24-March 1), Judge Kelley J. Moorhouse's name was incorrectly spelled.