Unjustly accused: I find it absolutely appalling that years after our loved one was cleared of these allegations, he and his family are still being unjustly accused [Allie Johnson, "Death Man Walking," Oct. 31]. We believe you did not research the facts to the fullest. You are quoted as saying Elzie Havrum had "health problems lingering from his injuries" that he sustained while in the service. There could have been a number of medical problems that contributed to his death [including] poor circulation due to his emphysema that could cause a buildup of codeine in his system. These things you would have known if the proper research was conducted. Our hearts go out to the Havrum family for their loss. To his family and friends, Richard Williams is not the "creepy-looking and dumpy with big shark eyes" man that one doctor portrayed him as being. This would have also been known had you researched Richard's background as a loving and caring husband, brother, son, father, uncle and much, much more.
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Watch out -- some readers may think she's cool: I have had two friends in the past few years who have killed themselves on drug overdoses. Telling your readers to "seduce a stranger, shoot up and rock the fuck out" is pretty inappropriate" [René Spencer Saller, "Radar Station," Oct. 31]. I'm not really sure why you would have an issue with the fact that [St. Louis Magazine] actually informs its readers about the risks of substance use and abuse, but let me guess: You're a middle-aged wannabe Loop-type who has probably never experimented with anything other than pot. Well, maybe you should rethink your comments before you publish them in a newspaper that caters to young readers who probably think you're cool and, perhaps, inspirational.
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Adventures in Paradise
Our Hawaiian eruption: This St. Louis County property-tax-assessment debacle is the same thing that happened on the island of Hawaii in the mid-'70s, when I was a resident there [Ray Hartmann, "There's No Place as Bad as This Home," Nov. 7]. As there was no real basis for most of the assessments, except that the county government wanted the money, we formed a concerned-taxpayers group. Some members even burned their tax bills on the courthouse steps. We also appealed many assessments and won. Our leader ran for the county council and won, defeating a longtime incumbent who was also chairman of the finance committee that made the rules! The assessor was forced out, and the incumbent county mayor was defeated in the next election! The good-ol'-boy fat-cat days were gone! No more big salaries, fat pensions or wasted tax dollars for sports arenas.
Just because a band is popular doesn't mean it sucks: This is a response to Chris Boron's conclusion that René Spencer Saller is an idiot ["Letters," Oct. 24]. As a fan of most of the bands you refer to as having "no talent," I think we all were hoping that you'd tell us the name of your band -- oops! -- I mean the bands that you would like to see covered. I have to warn you, Chris, that just because a band has a following or is successful doesn't mean they suck. It means that they're entertaining to people for some reason. After all, music is for entertainment, and entertaining music is what most music columns cover. I hope the RFT does stumble across the bands you like in the near future. I hope we all find them as entertaining as you do. Don't hold your breath.
Garbage in, garbage out: I found your review of Garbage's beautifulgarbage both closed- and commercial-minded, two things that the band in question is not [Niles Baranowski, "Rotations," Oct. 31]. I felt that the review was entirely subjective, and as such, even though a critic is entitled to his opinion, insulting Butch Vig detracted from Baranowski's intelligence, as well as his credibility. After insulting Vig, no comment was made concerning Shirley Manson's growth as a lyricist and vocalist.
As criticism of any art form is subjective, should critics not then take a view as objective as possible? Sadly, a review so purely negative such as this does nothing for both artists and critics alike, but even more frustrating is that this appears to be a growing trend in articles across the board.
The Post has a purpose: I love your publication. What a refreshing feeling to read something of worth in the greater St. Louis area. Some of your writers have the most outstanding wit and competence in writing, which really comes out in the features. I don't know how the Post-Dispatch can continue to suck. [It's] just not doing the job.
Coming from someone who truly loves St. Louis and all that our great city has to offer, I say, "Great job on the RFT." The day I open another Post-Dispatch is the day I teach my dog to crap.
Correction: An item announcing an appearance by Gary "U.S." Bonds and the Shangri-Las ["Critic's Pick," Nov. 14] supplied the wrong date and venue. We regret the error.