By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
OUT WITH THE OUT CROWD
Re: “Kill ‘Em All” [July 13–19]. Greg Burk virtually nailed the apocalyptic vibe of this year’s Ozzfest, yet failed to mention the overall disturbing presence of backwoods-Deliverance-gearhead-white-fucking-trash that dominated the crowd. Back in the early 1990s, metalheads were your basic long-haired, non-fashionable youth in Slayer shirts. The patrons at this year’s Ozzfest ranged from disturbingly inbred youths covered in poorly inked tattoos, to full-on White Power clans with chests and backs plastered with white-pride rhetoric, to a group of teenage boys trying to encourage one of their sisters to show her tits to the crowd, to two guys with no front teeth trying to snort a line of a synthetic drug off a half-burnt plastic cup. This was not a gathering of metal fans. It was like a commercial abortion skull-fucking the “Hot Topic” shopping-mall retail culture and ejaculating infected sperm in the form of “heavy” music all over us music fans’ faces. I refused to swallow the load. No more Ozzfests!
—Justin Grams Los Angeles
This year’s Ozzfest was a joke. Any true metal fan knows that the only real metal band on this year’s bill was Black Sabbath. All the other bands were a bunch of rap-rock, pop-metal, makeup-and-mask-wearing pussies. Is Ozzy letting his daughter pick the lineup? What’s it gonna be next year, ’N Sync? This year’s show was a waste of money, and a lot of people vowed not to return next year, even myself.
As a member of the heavy metal community, I found your story on the current state of heavy metal in concurrence with my own views and experience. Kudos to the writer who used the words empyrean and proles. I’m going to look them up when I’m finished here.
—Steve Highway Boston, Massachusetts
GALLANTER THAN GALANTER
Marc Haefele’s views of the first day of the new City Council [City Limits, July 13–19], when Alex Padilla beat out Ruth Galanter for the council presidency, couldn’t be further from the reality of the scene. While Haefele saw only lobbyists (and there were lobbyists, as there always are in council chambers), there was also a large segment of the audience who were members of the public, wanting to celebrate five new council members’ first real day on the job and to see if this new mix of leadership (due to term limits) would at all portend meaningful citizen input. Also present were members of the public who felt they had a stake in the council president’s election — like several environmental leaders there to witness whether or not our lobbying efforts to seek a more public-friendly atmosphere in council chambers had a chance of prevailing.
When Joel Wachs, Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine cast the final votes for Alex Padilla that put him over the top for the coveted post, we indeed applauded and cheered for minutes. And yes, when the public spoke at this first meeting, we were treated with respect and good manners — two elements missing from the reigns of both Ruth Galanter and John Ferraro.
BEANS OF WRATH
Contrary to what Dean Kuipers wrote in “The Seeds of Wrath” [July 13–19], Starbucks has no partnerships with Monsanto or any other companies related to developing genetically modified coffee and is not engaged in any activities supporting the development of such coffees. Starbucks has clearly established that our core products, coffee and tea, are completely free of GMOs and are not derived from genetically modified sources.
—Sue Mecklenburg Vice President, Business Practices Starbucks Coffee Company
I attended the San Diego BioJustice protest, as well as the Democratic Convention protests last year. Dean Kuipers implies that police were somehow responsible for the smaller-than-expected attendance of 1,000 protesters at the San Diego rally and march. However, he doesn’t provide any proof — the harassing tactics he mentions mostly occurred during or after the march. What is true is that the police presence and anticipatory scare tactics in both cities discouraged curious but uncommitted citizens from checking out the protests, rallies and teach-ins. (L.A. residents may remember the Sunday-afternoon-like dead zone around the Pershing Square events last summer.) Protest events are intended to educate the uncommitted public as well as attract media attention. Unfortunately, because of the police’s (self-serving) warnings of violence, the uncommitted citizens stayed away, and nearly everyone except committed activists ended up learning about the protests only from the mass media.
—Danila Oder Los Angeles
WELCOME TO THE “REAL” WORLD
Celeste Fremon’s interview with Barbara Ehrenreich [“Labor’s Pain,” July 13–19]struck a real chord for me. The memories of slaving at any of many retail jobs while trying to find the time to study for college exams, and later while trying to find a “real” job, are still close at hand. After finding one of those “real” jobs, I realized the only real reason for the pay differential: One class of job makes rich people richer; the other simply supplies them with goods. The general assumption that people are compensated for their intelligence, skill or diligence is incorrect.