Letters


Wiggy Pop

George Smith's review of the Stooges' Complete Funhouse Sessions ["I Need Less," February 29] is an insult to music fans everywhere. Like the pop marketing machine, Smith treats the Stooges as merely a cultural phenomenon, while failing to comment on the formal aspects of their music. Worse, his cultural criticism is shallow and misplaced. Smith buys (or even embellishes) the Stooge mythology hook, line, and sinker when he accepts that their audience was made of "motorcycle gangsters, their floozies, and lovers of skank weed and roller derby." Thus, since this box set is marketed to "obsessed Netizens," some mystifying transformation is presumed to have taken place. If the former were true, would the latter have occurred?

Though mainstream critics derided the Stooges in their day, such luminaries as John Cale, Lester Bangs, and David Bowie championed them. Though many of their fans may have been biker-stoner-burner types, they also had a following among the Ann Arbor-Detroit intelligentsia. Though they practiced a very basic heavy rock, it was the most sophisticated of its day, and sprang from the era's milieu of post-bop and free jazz, the Rolling Stones, and garage punk. Though the Asheton brothers were perhaps go-nowhere suburbanites, frontman Jim Osterberg was a high school valedictorian.

I suggest that the Stooges' place in our culture is analogous to that of bluesmen discovered by bohemian white audiences in the early '60s rather than the Star Trek juggernaut referenced by Smith. In reality, the Stooges are a band of Midwesterners of some intelligence who created powerful music that expressed equally powerful sexual and aggressive urges.

Smith not only fails to assess the music, but his hipper-than-thou tone seems singularly designed to discredit anyone who might care about it.

Eric Barry
Manhattan


Games People Play

As a board member of OATH (Olympic Advocates Together Honourably), I would like to thank you for Jay Weiner's article "Athletes in Action" [February 29]. Spectators need to know how ripped off they are, and athletes who are retiring because they can't keep up with drug cheats must maintain their passion.

I have had the honor of representing my country at four Olympic games. While I never won a medal, I enjoyed the opportunity to share with thousands of people their culture and the experience and joy of the Olympics.

Over the last decade I have become more aware of political corruption in the Olympic movement that has betrayed the promise of sports to our youth, to the competitors, and to the spectators. It must be recognized that the International Olympic Committee has achieved great reforms. But reform must be seen as an ongoing process of review and revitalization. The lack of democratic institutions within sports appalls me. Sports for sports people, not administrators!

Simon Baker
Mt. Waverley, Australia


Gay Blades

Great article by Paula Hunt on gay ice hockey ["They Don't Skate Straight," February 29]. I was surprised, however, that the Los Angeles Blades Ice Hockey Club was not mentioned.

We were the first "out" gay ice hockey team to compete in the world! Our first season was in 1988. We're in our 13th season now.

We also sent teams to compete in the Gay Games in 1990, 1994, and 1998.

David Knepprath
Los Angeles, California


Thin Ice

Regarding "They Don't Skate Straight" by Paula Hunt: If you think that being a gay hockey player is so unique, try being a late-thirties black American who wants to get other black Americans of his generation to play hockey. It is impossible!

To even ask a black American of my generation if he plays hockey is worse than telling one's family and peers that he is gay. Black males in this country interpret the question "Do you play hockey?" to be an insult. I went to one of the best hockey schools in the country, the University of Maine. In college, I fell in love with the sport.

Although I do not favor gays separating themselves from straights in mainstream hockey, I can identify with their not being wanted in the sport.

Too bad that black Americans cannot take part in the magnificent sport known as ice hockey, which should be for everyone. Unfortunately, there is not one hockey association for adult black people today.

William Jones
Syracuse, New York


Right to Death

Thank you for the column by Nat Hentoff entitled "Doctor Death: A Newborn Is Not a Person" [March 7].

I have been saying since 1974 that some day we will be actively killing elderly women because there is no one to care for them, and that the reason is abortion. When the right to life is undermined for one group of people, it is inevitable that it will be eventually undermined for all. It is the road to the destruction of a society in which people can thrive.

Pat Goltz
Cofounder
Feminists for Life
Tucson, Arizona


Medscool

Although I generally enjoyed the two articles by Erik Baard on Dr. Randell Mills ["Quantum Leap," December 28, 1999; "Dr. Molecool," February 1], I was surprised to read in the second article that "Mills has another project in the works at Harvard." I wish to inform you that this is incorrect, and that at present there isno project "in the works" at Harvard for themedical-imaging technology that Mr. Baard describes. In addition, there has not been anything "in the works" for the past two years.

I have been personally interested in Dr. Mills's medical-imaging technology, known as magnetic-susceptibility imaging (MSI), and have discussed this technology with Dr. Mills numerous times. Mr. Baard does quote me correctly regarding this technology, which is of great interest to me.

Samuel Patz
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

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