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Week of November 15, 2000

Music coverage should be as wide-ranging as musical tastes: I happy-handedly, wholeheartedly high-five Randall Roberts for his column on Synchronia ["Radar Station," RFT, Nov. 8]. As a regular reader and a music aficionado, I often wonder why there is not more coverage outside the realm of guitar- or synthesizer-oriented music. I adore rock, country and everything else with guitar, and I make serious attempts to appreciate hip-hop and electronica (some of which I thoroughly enjoy). And I must add that I enjoy the left-of-center offerings of all of your music writers.

So, bully for the RFT and their coverage of those realms of aural pleasure. But there's a lot more out there than pop music (even the blues and some jazz are somewhat "pop" in nature) and, honestly, the range of expression to be found in these other, seemingly alien genres relegates pop and its siblings to nursery-rhyme pastures. A lot of people like classical, contemporary classical, modernist, minimalist, avant-garde and ethnic music -- stuff with strings, horns and drums made from goat bladders. I would imagine that a lot of these people also read the RFT and would like to see more of this music written about.

St. Louis is a region of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and I don't see why we're not reading more about the music coming from these pockets of the community.
John Goddard
St. Louis

Net Gain
The RFT scores: We would like to tell you that D.J. Wilson did a great job on the story on our team and Jennifer Silverberg did a outstanding job on the pictures ["Beautiful Losers," RFT, Nov. 8]. Job well done!
Fenton Hawks
via the Internet

Guts and Glory
Not all liberals are social wimps: I don't agree with your politics, but you broke my view of liberals as a bunch of social wimps trying to give everything away to satisfy every person whoever thought he was socially wronged.

"Pipe Schemes" [Peter Downs, RFT, Oct. 11] showed real guts. You impressed the hell out of me. I will take the time from here on out to read your views, no matter how I scoff at the headline.
Gary Keithline
via the Internet

Control Group
We're happy, not crazy: I have been in the charismatic movement for 30 years. I have visited Life Christian Center in St. Louis, and I knew Chris Hummel [Jeannette Batz, "Playing with Fire," RFT, Oct. 18]. For both reasons, I feel I have to speak.

Your article claims [church members are] "giving up control as they enter altered states of consciousness." Hogwash. In the 30 years that I have been a Christian, I have never, including at Life Center, known anyone who gave up control of themselves to anything! They may feel joy, sing, shout, dance and clap, but give up control to enter an "altered state" is totally inaccurate. To say that people at Life Center "give up control" borders on slander. It is just not true.
Name withheld on request

The Times Are A-Changin'
I'm using it for puppy training: When I ponder the recent loss of "News of the Weird" and "Life in Hell," I am reminded of the scene in the movie Shane where Shane rides off as the boy cries, "Shane? SHANE! Come back, Shane!" Well, in this case, it is more like ""News'? "NEWS OF THE WEIRD'! Come back, "News'!"

I hate to see it go. Bring it back. One of the little joys in my weekly routine is to pick up your paper and read "News of the Weird," "Street Talk," "The City," "This Modern World" and, finally, "Life in Hell." I then set it aside. If I find a few minutes of spare time, I will see who or what Ray Hartmann is after this week. Why don't you get rid of "The City" and Ray Hartmann? Then your paper would be totally worthless. On second thought, keep it coming -- I have finally trained my puppy to go on papers. You have removed two of my five favorite items in the paper. Please bring them back!
Randal Wolfe
Granite City, Ill.

I'm not even using it for birdcage liner: I have been an avid reader of yours for many years, so I cannot understand your recent changes. Why change what's been working? If it's not broken, don't fix it. Your taking out "News of the Weird" and the Mike Peters cartoon is akin to Culpeppers deciding to stop selling wings or O.T. Hodge deciding to stop selling chili. Apparently your readers are not what's important to you -- your advertising certainly is, because your publication consists of about 80 to 90 percent of it, including your moronic sex ads that benefit no one but you. I always had believed the RFT was independent, innovative and creative, but that was then and this is now. I would still continue to use the RFT for the bottom of a birdcage, but I won't even be picking it up now.
Jeff Barsky

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