Letters from the week of June 15, 2000

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Letters from the week of June 15, 2000

The Boog synthesizer
You have invoked the name of the all-powerful BOOG ("The REAL Deal," June 8-14)! Do your corporate owners have any idea what you've done? The waters are turned to blood and the locusts are massing for the swarm!

I had the honor of attending KU Student Senate meetings that were chaired by president Dennis "Boog" Highberger. I was always impressed with the clear thinking behind his ideas that initially sounded unrealistic. It's thrilling to know that he's still at it.

Please keep on this story. It's a fascinating idea, and I'm anxious to see if it they can pull it off. The questions I'd like to see introduced into the next article are: "How does this currency initially enter into the market?" and "Are the 'Boog is God' signs still up in the Art and Design Building?"-- Philip Thornton

Kansas City, Mo.

His eminence?
Regarding Andrew Miller's article on Eminem (Reverberations, June 1-7): His article's evenhandedness almost felt like contrition for daring to question those in the know (read: those with the dough). No argument: Freedom of speech is one of the most important protections we have as artists and citizens, but when a little rhyming poseur's pursuit of happiness interferes with my own, I guess I'm looking more for justice than for temperance.

Isn't it enough that I have to stomach strangers in power voting on how much I deserve to be treated like everyone else, debating how many of their rights I get to share? Do I have to be bombarded by this year's Vanilla Ice and his insights into how to deal with me as well? The fact that he keeps making money on this "controversy" (read: press agent's spin on promoting antigay attacks) is sick, and reading about its pros and cons only deepens the wound.

Let me use my freedom of speech to call him a lame-ass with a drum machine. I'm a fan of hip-hop, and if he didn't have his moneyed buddies behind him to overproduce the hell out of him, he'd just be another self-impressed bigot.-- David Clement

New York, N.Y.

Excellent article on the new Eminem release. (In the case of The Marshall Mathers LP, "release" is something of a pun, isn't it? An LP of venting and spouting, with little in the way of lyrical creativity, imagination, or reach.) Thank you for writing it. It got posted on the Outvoice listserve, and I'm forwarding it to another listserve, Channel Q. (Both are nonprofit, information-only lists.)

I get the sense that Andrew Miller is a fan of Eminem's music. Fair enough. Clearly I'm not, but I definitely appreciate his well-written examination of some of the issues brought up by the lyrics and attitudes on the album.

I co-host a queer-community radio show, Generation Q, on the Rutgers University noncommercial station, WRSU 88.7, New Brunswick, N.J. (Tuesday, 2-5 p.m.). I plan to read excerpts from Miller's article on-air as a springboard for conversation.-- Bill Stella

Highland Park, N.J.

Lovely Rita Jesus maid
When I first saw the article about the dispute between Rita Cline and Mary Lou Schmidt in which Schmidt involved the ACLU over the "In God We Trust" poster placed by Cline in the county courthouse ("Christian and Pagan, God or Goddess," June 1-7), I, being a Christian, originally sided with Ms. Cline. However, after reading the article, I changed my stance and sided with Ms. Schmidt and the ACLU, at least in principle.

Cline went too far with her comments to Schmidt. The citizens of the U.S. should not tolerate government officials, at any level, imposing their religious beliefs upon us. Being a loyal American citizen means living in harmony with those who do not share your beliefs. It also means that you do not need to feel compelled to change your beliefs to avoid persecution by the government. On the other hand, separation of church and state does not mean exclusion of church from state. If Cline were to place the poster in her personal office rather than the main office area, then she would be freely expressing her beliefs without the implication that the entire government office falls under this belief.

As for Cline's assertion that the motto should be revered because it is "the nation's motto": I do not believe that the fact that it is placed on our currency gives it any patriotic credence. Her motive goes beyond patriotism and respect for the nation. I believe she has a bias against non-Christian citizens. I feel Cline owes Schmidt an apology for degrading her character based solely upon Schmidt's chosen belief -- the right of any American.-- Dennis Schank

Harrisonville, Mo.

I am disappointed but not surprised that Shawnee County Treasurer Rita Cline is once again pushing her personal religious beliefs on the public she serves. Several years ago The Topeka Capital-Journal published a letter of mine where I criticized Ms. Cline for stating that she would not allow the treasurer's office to do business with companies that gave health benefits to gay employees.

Ms. Cline responded to my letter by sending me mail on official county stationery reflecting her personal religious beliefs and stating that as a public servant she would obey "God's law" above the laws of man and the state. Along with her missive came a mimeographed paper on "Why you should believe the Bible."

There is a line between practicing one's religion and using one's public office to force one's faith on others. Rita Cline has stepped over this line many times. Hopefully the citizens of Shawnee County will relieve Ms. Cline of her position the next election and replace her with someone who appreciates the full diversity of Kansans' religious beliefs.-- Mike Silverman

Lawrence, Kan.

After reading the June 1-7 article I have to first applaud loudly and with much enthusiasm that FINALLY someone in the media has gotten paganism right! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mary Spiro Levin, for being so right on track!

Secondly, I wasn't too surprised at Rita Cline's stupidity at using her office to further her religious cause to inflict her views upon the people of Shawnee County, as I once had the misfortune to live there for quite a while. I do wonder who ended up paying for those posters and the beautiful frames -- if I were still paying taxes in Shawnee County I would be VERY interested to know. As far as her comments to Mary Lou Schmidt, I am not too surprised, although I am a bit overwhelmed at the extreme stupidity of someone in a public office to be that moronic to not only preach her religion at someone on official letterhead but to also make allusions to her going to hell. Give me a break! Of course, I do find that rather hysterical, as pagans do not believe in the concept of hell or the devil anyway. To be quite frank, the "burning times" are still a reality in the Topeka area with Ms. Cline and her buddy Fred Phelps, dancing arm in arm and patting each other on the back for being so "Christian."

As a "card-carrying" pagan and an American, I hope that the ACLU will not only give Ms. Cline the smack-down that she so rightly deserves for her horrible comments but also force her to take a few intense classes on the Constitution on the division of church and state and why it's a GOOD thing!

Go get her, Mary Lou; we are behind you 100 percent and WE ARE EVERYWHERE!

Bright blessings!-- Name withheld on request

Overland Park, Kan.

.Surrender, Lawrence!
As a former city planner for the City of New Orleans, let me say I have never heard of a city as badly raped overnight as Lawrence recently, unless it was this same city by Quantrill's raid.

Clearly, our city fathers have sold out to PitchWeekly, granting special privileges for their stale blood-red and vomit-yellow newspaper dispensers. Removed from the clusters of other newspaper dispensers, these new ones block pedestrian right-of-ways (at 10th and at 8th), are too close to fire hydrants in some cases, and take up all four corners at some intersections. All are much closer to the street than the others, which means that when one looks up Massachusetts Street, the beauty of the old street, which has survived flood, fire, and tornadoes, is now destroyed, with these garish new monsters screaming out at each corner. The whole street is now nothing but one long advertisement for PitchWeekly, which, by the way, is the most boring magazine in Kansas, consisting of nothing but advertisements to lure Lawrence's entertainment dollars to Kansas City.

The appreciation for some of our most beautiful buildings, such as Teller's, the Eldridge Hotel, and Liberty Hall, is now blocked by these red and yellow atrocities, the locations apparently chosen by someone on LSD.

The city manager, the mayor, the city council, and the planning commission must have all been taking their afternoon naps at the same time this happened. Or it was done, by agreement, in the dead of night, a mission accomplished by the time the citizens awoke in the morning.

Two weeks ago, our city by the river was voted one of the top 10 most beautiful small cities in America. Overnight, she plunged to probably 84th place, a victim of city leaders with no taste and a very cunning move by the Wicked Witch of the East.

Recommendation: Repaint the boxes a reasonable blue or green, and force them to rejoin the others. Either that or pitch them all into the Kaw.-- Leonard Magruder

Lawrence, Kan.

Editor's note: Most of the boxes have already been removed.

CORRECTIONS:
In the May 11-17 issue, it was reported in The Note that keyboardist Joe Terry of the Joey Skidmore Band had died. That was incorrect, and PitchWeekly regrets the error. Terry Bush, also a keyboardist for the band, recently passed on. In the May 18-24 issue, The Note reported that Boot Hill won the Battle of the Bands competition. The band did not win the competition; The SuperNauts took the honors.

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