Unreal's Dogs, Brie's derrière and Dan's raw milk: First, I'm a bit miffed by your supposedly amusing reference to African Americans and dogs in Petrosexuals [Unreal, January 5]. Are you even aware that blacks (still) read the Riverfront Times anymore?
Secondly, thank you for your readers' responses about Brie Johnson [Letters, January 19]. I was dubious about her and her antics when she was mentioned in the St. Louis American as a tryout contestant for Nelly's Apple Bottoms jeans. And even in that piece she is using the fact that she has a "big ass" and that her last name is "Johnson so I might be black" as a way to amuse her audience. I don't know if that worked for anyone else (black, white or otherwise) but it doesn't work for me. She reminds me of one of those whites who feel they can't fit into, or were rejected from, the mainstream (read: white and for whatever reason) so then try to latch onto any aspects of the black culture that they think they share or emulate because they find us more accepting of the supposed flaws in some way.
Like additional weight in the derrière just to name one. I remember when white girls used to cry at the mention of having a fat (phat) ass. And they still do. But now they chalk it up and say something like, "Well, I have an ass like J. Lo" or "Well, black and other men of color like it, so what?"
I'm not saying white comics can't be funny or can't joke about racial issues; I've seen a few that do quite well. But comedy, and racial comedy in particular, doesn't work for everyone, and some whites are rather cold and disassociated from the subject (which may or may not be any fault of their own).
I can see why Brie Johnson was compared to Sarah Silverman. I'm assuming that like Silverman she also uses a lot of self-deprecating deadpan humor to make her point or punch line. But Silverman has this morbid way of producing and reducing herself to a pile of physical and psychological misery; part of the amusement is feeling sorry for her (or empathy as you realize you went through the same thing). Silverman is not my particular brand of comedy, but I guess she and Johnson have a place in it, somewhere.
Third, thank you for your story on raw milk [Randall Roberts, "Udderly Creamed," January 19]. I've never had raw milk, but after reading about in Kevin Trudeau's Natural Cures book, I am interested in trying it as well as other organic foods. I'm sorry the government is trying to limit the sale of raw milk, and I think it has a lot to do with the commercial milk industry itself. They are making a killing on the sale of milk and milk products and do not want small-time farmers infringing on their commercial revenue. I think Dan and Ken West (as well as other independent farmers) should be able to sell their produce and products to their individual customers, and I hope to be one of their future customers.
LaWanda Wallace, St. Louis
Film, December 7, 2005
The view from Millstadt: I would like to thank Luke Y. Thompson for emphasizing the words "this is a fantasy" in his review of the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. If he hadn't done that, I think us Bible-thumping, hayseed Midwesterners would have mistook the film for a documentary.
This brings me to my next topic: Regardless of whether I am reading the RFT or the Post-Dispatch, I and countless others have grown weary of the sleight-of-hand insults dished out at middle American and St. Louis culture. These insults always weave their way into the editorial page or the restaurant and movie reviews. Is it possible to review a movie without referring to the red state/blue state demographic or insulting the faith of over 1 billion people?
Why don't the Post or the RFT have the decency to hire restaurant reviewers that don't feel the need to constantly bitch about toasted ravs, Provel cheese and thin-crust pizza? Can Joe Bonwich and Rose Martelli pace their reviews of the same restaurants a little farther apart to at least give the impression they don't dine out together?
The short answer is no. That is because the aforementioned, along with Eric Mink, Joe Williams, etc., have probably all tried and failed to make it at the East and West Coast newspapers so they settled here. And that's what really sucks about living in St. Louis.
Anthony C. McMillan, Millstadt, Illinois
B-Sides, December 21, 2005
Dissing Buffett was bad enough...: To quote Martin Niemöller: "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist."
Then you came for Jimmy Buffett, and I did not speak out even though I was a Parrot Head. Then you came for Mike Love, and I cannot remain silent [Christian Schaeffer, "Rockin' Around the Turntable"] .
Brian was the fragile leader, but Mike was the cool of girls and beach and cars that any teenage boy could love. And I did. When the Jimmy Buffett concert was panned, I figured you just didn't get it. When Mike Love was trashed as a backhand compliment to Brian Wilson, you went too far.
Some of the greatest VP Fair shows were the Beach Boys. And Brian couldn't quite tour with them. Although the saddest was Brian at Riverport and Mike and Al and Bruce at the VP Fair on the same weekend. And Smile too was wonderful. And the great tragedy is that while Mike may be a little arthritic, poor Brian is a little arthritic and not quite able to navigate a stage by himself. Too many drugs and too much family.
Bruce Levine, St. Louis
News Real, November 30, 2005
Lonnie and the long haul: I would like to thank Kristen Hinman for exposing Lonnie Snelling ["Suit Monger"]. I am the grandmother of the quadriplegic mentioned in the article. My case started in 2001 and is still ongoing with constant appeals.
Mr. Snelling states that he "attracts" fools to him. There is a saying that game recognizes game. Would that be an indication of fools recognizing fools?
Again, thank you so much for your exposure of my nightmare monster.
Bernice Evans, St. Louis