Christopher Stahl's "I Ruck Therefore I Am" [the Queer Issue, June 23-29] was excellent. I played rugby as an undergrad at Michigan State. As a gay man, I have read probably about a half-dozen rugby articles in the gay rags. This one is easily the best. Stahl got the tone and the feel of rugby right, and he wrote in a way that non-ruggers can begin to understand what rugby is all about.

Greg Young
Kalamazoo, Michigan

November Spawns a Monster

Re Sydney H. Schanberg's "Bush's 9-11 Problem" [June 23-29]:

Schanberg states that the voters will determine the fate of the duplicitous Bush presidency in November. The question is how many will bother to actually exercise their democratic right to cast a ballot. Those most readily dismissed by the Bush crowd are, unfortunately, the least likely to vote. Let us trust that those who do bother to vote have the wisdom to see through the mendacity and ruthlessness of this most atrocious administration.

Joe Martin
Seattle, Washington

Rockefeller Flaws

Re Jennifer Gonnerman's "A Question of Justice" [June 30-July 6]:

The Rockefeller laws are undoubtedly unjust, extreme, brutal, and in need of big-time tweaking. It is perhaps unfair that the two Caucasians were given relatively light sentences. However, Ashley O'Donoghue is no martyr or victim. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

Nathan F. Weiner
Morris Heights, Bronx

Check Your Head

Re Jon Caramanica's "Stupid White Men" [June 30-July 6]:

You obviously don't get the Beastie Boys and probably never have. If they are so bad, how come they are one of the most enduring, inspiring bands of our time? It is because they don't care about what narrow-minded critics say, and because they stick with what they like, not what you like. Sorry it isn't bling-bling ghetto rap. That music is as uncreative and shallow as the artists who make it. Perhaps your article indicates precisely who the stupid white man is.

Kyle Trottier
Detroit, Michigan

Grossed Out

Re Jason Gross's "Three Out of Five Kickers of Ancient Jams Back in the U.S.A." [June 23-29]:

By what criteria does Jason Gross make the assessment that Rob Tyner was "a fair singer"? More puzzling, how does he conclude that Evan Dando was among the rotating cast onstage with the MC5 that "didn't have much trouble filling in" for such a powerful, soulful vocalist? Does Gross know anything about music? Did he notice Evan Dando's voice cracking, numerous missed notes, lack of time, and forgotten lyrics? Did he notice the steady stream of jeering from the audience at the Bowery every time Dando took the stage to mangle yet another song? It should have been patently obvious to even those only vaguely familiar with the music of the MC5, or even music in general, that Dando was perhaps the most unqualified "performer" to fill the very formidable shoes of the late and truly great Tyner.

True, Mark Arm performed well, and Handsome Dick did steal the show (too bad he only sang two songs). But not noting the egregious performance of Evan Dando makes one wonder if Jason Gross attended the show at all.

Joe Vincent

Jason Gross replies: I know enough about music to say again that Tyner was not a great singer. He was a great frontman, but that's not necessarily the same thing as being a superior vocalist. If Joe had bothered to read the rest of my article, he would have known that I said that Dando only sounded like he belonged there when he sang a ballad. And yes, I was there—I helped up Arm when he collapsed on the floor with three dancing partners right in front of me and figured that it wouldn't compromise my journalistic integrity.

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