Letters to the Editor

Limp Bizkit's rants would be acceptable if they were black; getting it right on Goth; are you sheltering your children or setting them up?


Letters to the Editor
August 12, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Sharps & Flats: "Significant Other"

REVIEWED BY JON DOLAN

(08/05/99)

I find Jon Dolan's interpretation of Limp Bizkit fascinating -- it looks like
the rap road has curved back home and, surprise, people don't like what they see. Suddenly the misogynist, violent
and homophobic ranting, so popular with rap luminaries like Tupac or Biggie,
doesn't sit well when the voice that mouths this trash is from the trailer
park instead of the ghetto --what's the matter, Jon, you can finally
understand the lyrics? I've never heard Big Poppa, ODB or any black rapper
referred to as an "idiot" -- no matter how vile or violent the subject matter. When Jay-Z
shouts out, "Can I get a fuck you to all these bitches," no one called him "A
rapacious little hunk of jackal spawn with the cold-eyed ambition of a
corporate raider and the soul of a gnat." A Yahoo search yields nothing by Dolan decrying rap's nasty underbelly,
but in the Voice's Pazz and Jop Poll for '98, Jon chooses Outkast as his
fourth favorite of the year -- with, of course, the old woman-hating theme
popping back up: "Now playin' these bitches is my favorite sport." What's the
matter: Dre can bitch-slap but Fred Durst can't? I'm shocked.

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-- Jeffrey Abelson

New York

What exactly is it about Limp Bizkit's message
that one might deem conservative? Are Limp
Bizkit outspoken proponents of across-the-board
tax cuts? Do the lyrics on their latest album
make reference to reducing the role of the
federal government? Or are they simply advocates
of a return to old-school family values?

More likely, it seems, their conservative
credentials stem from their misogynistic lyrics,
mean attitude, and from the conclusion the author
has drawn that Limp Bizkit "goaded" fans into the
"gang rape of a crowd-surfing woman." Quite a
serious accusation; if true, it ensures their
place in the pantheon of conservative political
thought.

One clue in the article is the appearance of the code phrase "Young white male," which makes it all
too clear that whatever Limp Bizkit has to say is irrelevant, probably bigoted, and certainly
oppressive. Perhaps in the future Salon readers would be better served if author Jon
Dolan stuck to his subject matter and refrained from using this
forum to take a cheap, unfair and gratuitous swipe at a political ideology with which he doesn't agree.

-- Douglas Smith

Arlington, Va.

About the line, "goaded a mosh pit to acts of violence that included the gang rape of a
crowd-surfing woman": First, it's still an alleged rape. Secondly, I'd like
you to watch their performance on the Woodstock videos and tell me how
they "goaded" those individuals into raping someone. I'm not a fan of their music, but I'm sure a fan of truthful journalism.

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-- Clark Maxwell


Wild children

BY CHARLES TAYLOR
(08/05/99)

I am a "Goth," and was picked on, slammed into lockers, spit upon and harassed in school. I didn't snap, didn't
kill people, never seriously considered it. But I can understand how that
would happen and sympathize with the hurt these kids felt.

Of all my subculture friends, the Goths are the calmest and the brightest, and are further along in
achieving their life goals than any of my other friends. We prize individuality and a calm, nonviolent, progressive
breaking of the status quo.

Thank you very much for an article that didn't brand us evil, an anathema,
or disturbed deranged killers who are racist crazies. Thank you for a voice
that was willing to accept the differences and see what we do in our scene.
Thank you for not jumping to the conclusion that because I wear black, have a
trench coat, and have piercings I must be a gun-toting fanatic just waiting to
cleanse the world.

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-- Liz "Spider" Wingate


A cold-blooded killing in the neighborhood

BY HEATHER DONOVAN
(08/05/99)

Heather Donovan's article is both touching and alarming. I fear that by sheltering her children so
much from the harsh realities of the world, she will cause them to grow up naive -- and that this naivete may
cast them in the role of victim someday. Donovan mentions the feeling that she would have detected reasons for
concern if confronted with the Yosemite killer. But someone raised on the notion
that all people are good might not possess that kind of self-preservation skill.

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Kudos to Donovan for struggling to raise her children to be good and
loving members of society -- but I would warn her that being good
and loving does not necessitate obliviousness and naivete.

-- Todd J. Sanders

There is too much stock placed on raising our children in the
"real world," with the unspoken understanding that the real world consists only of the world's
dark, brutal truths. I hope there are many more parents out there with the strength and conviction to raise
their children in an ecology of hope. After all, we cannot expect to
cultivate a better generation of adults if we extinguish their dreams as children.

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-- Howard Kistler

This article was about my nephew Shayne
Worcester's murder. I was once again sobbing with the sadness of his
death and touched again by the heartfelt sympathy of the people of San Francisco.
There were hundreds of people at the celebration
of Shayne's life, people from all over the world who came to grieve the loss
of Shayne, rejoice in his accomplishments for a life taken before it's
time and laugh as we shared the escapades of this most wondrous human
being. The outpouring of sympathy and remembrance has touched us
deeply.

-- Joyce Haugen Worcester

It is quite possible that Donovan's children already know what happened, and are protecting her from this event. If
they already know and they have noticed that she have not said anything, they
might think it is some sort of "forbidden" topic of conversation.

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When there was a traumatic situation in our neighborhood several years back, I knew some parents who took the same
tack as you and came to assume that their children had passed through the incident unaware.
However, as they were finally told by other families, their children were
well aware of what had transpired and had discussed it with the other
neighborhood children. It eventually became clear that all the neighborhood children
knew that there had been a traumatic neighborhood event. Some parents tried
to hide it from their children to "spare" them and some children thought they
were hiding it from there parent for the same reason.

-- Cynthia Connors


Sisters of seizure

BY MICHAEL ALVEAR
(08/04/99)

Though an interesting and compelling telling of one man's experience with a
mental disorder, there is more to say. I wouldn't want anyone
reading this article to shun drugs or therapy. I had more than 10 years of
therapy, including cognitive therapy, before I made the very big decision to
take an SSRI. Therapy made it possible to understand the pain,
confusion and self-alienation of my life, but "joy" and "peace" were still
only concepts. Only after I began taking Paxil
(and later Celexa) did all the pieces come together -- and without any side
effects. Experts agree that medication and therapy combined is always the
preferable course of treatment.

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-- Debra Barnhardt

Richfield, Minn.


Fanatics of the far right

BY JAKE TAPPER
(08/05/99)

Jake Tapper ties legitimate issues of debate (gun control, abortion, taxes, the United Nations and national defense) to a single "hate group" and subtly labels such positions as extremist.
News flash: Twice as many Americans identify themselves as "conservative" than do "liberal." I'm no militia member, nor a member of the USTP, but let's talk about extremist for a moment. Among some of the "mainstream" positions taken by the Southern Poverty Law Center is a strong opposition to the death penalty (despite more than 80 percent of the nation favoring it) and a plethora of public spending programs that the vast majority of taxpayers are against.

I'm not too thrilled with the rise of these modern "hate groups," but I think any real threat of violence is overblown by leftist groups trying to create a bogeyman to justify their "watchdog" existence and garner press attention. Such groups are always on the fringe of American politics, and shouldn't be taken seriously. After all, most Americans are conservative or moderate, not extremist.

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-- Jim Downs

Hardcore Bible thumpers have a long history of affiliation with the GOP,
particularly with its more conservative block. In my view, Democrats command the high ground when it comes to opening society, and GOPers command the
high ground when it comes to moderating society's aberrations and
excesses. For the most part this "disparity" has moderated each party's
political extremes and prevented either anarchy or totalitarianism from getting a foothold. However,
whenever there's a burp in the public mood that gives rise to either
party's more extreme elements, the tension in Congress rises and
moderation gets butchered for party loyalty. When this happens, the
controlling congressional party usually has its way and succeeds in
undermining public confidence through enactment of its worst notions.

Presently, the GOP's right wing holds most of the trump
cards. That means anyone with a scintilla of disaffection for an open
society takes refuge there. Fundamentalism's
presence, religious or otherwise, is palpable and acutely attended.
This too shall pass. Meanwhile, I find it quite ironic that Sen. Smith is leaving the party that has given fundamentalism/ultra conservativism its biggest voice in years.

-- Tom DeLuca

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If you read the true writings of the Founding
Fathers instead of the revisionist version, you would have to say we are not extremists but true
Americans who love our God, our family and our country. I submit that it is the hate-mongers on the left who are the extremists.

-- Bob Waldron

"Magnificent Corpses"
REVIEWED BY FRANK BROWNING

(08/05/99)

Frank Browning bandies around words like "pagan" and "grotesque" to describe
the cult of the relics of the saint. By doing so, he betrays a fundamental
misunderstanding of the nature of Catholic (or Orthodox) Christianity.
Christianity, at its core, is not a "spiritualist" religion that bifurcates
the soul from matter. It is, rather an incarnational religion, in which
God's grace is mediated through matter, whether it be through the forms of
bread and wine, water, incense, oil, fire or, most especially,
human beings When Catholics recite the final clause of the Apostle's Creed,
"I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting," they
actually mean that after the consummation of all things, man will see God and
participate in his energies not as a disembodied spirit, but in the
wholeness of a glorified body and soul together. In no religion that I am
aware of is the body held in such esteem as it is among Catholics and
Orthodox. These considerations explain the manifestation of the veneration
of the relics of the saints. They also explain the experience that some
saints have had in experiencing God in the concrete bodily ways that
Browning describes with some horror. A person who truly believes that God
gives grace through the material world could not possibly find the once-mangled
body of St. John Southworth to be grotesque or bizarre. Not for nothing did
St. Athanasius say that God became Man so that man could become God.

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-- Patrick Rothwell


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