Letters to the editor

Liberty and Napster for all? Plus: Gore's duplicity on the environment; Tony Rice tops Jerry Garcia on "The Pizza Tapes."

By Salon Staff
Published April 28, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)


Our Salon Technology article "After the Fall" originally contained an inaccurate description of the status of Healthshop.com. The company has shut down the e-commerce part of its operation but remains in business. The story has been corrected to reflect this.

Napster will sponsor free summer tour for Limp Bizkit



I find it somehow hilarious that Dr. Dre is suing Napster. Here's a guy who, as far as I know, cannot play a musical instrument but has made millions from sampling the music of real musicians. Now he's suddenly on the bandwagon for intellectual property rights. Hey Dre, sample this!

-- Clyde Flowers

Undoubtedly now that one megastar act is taking a very public (and equally unpopular) stance, others will follow in Limp Bizkit's footsteps in siding with Napster. The battle lines will become ever more clearly drawn, as Boehlert points out, but whatever the eventual outcome there is certain to be some "collateral damage," to borrow the Gulf War's well-worn phrase. In other words, the shit will hit the fans.

-- Ken Ashdown

Hail, Metallica!

Despite Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich's self-proclaimed concern about the purity of his art, it's clear to most informed observers (including John Perry) that Metallica's suit against Napster is really about economics. But Ulrich would do well to learn a smidgen about the subject before announcing that it is "sickening to know that our art is being traded like a commodity." Uh, Lars? If you're so worried about people trading your "art," perhaps you should give it away, instead of selling it like every other commodity in existence.

-- Jay Macke

Napster is not ripping musicians off, it is merely forcing them to change to the new business world. No longer do you make money from production, but from services. It's not money that is at stake here, but merely the business method used in obtaining it.

Those who resist change tend to be like the dinosaurs and will eventually become extinct. The chameleon is still around.

-- Lee Templeton

Nobody slams Microsoft for trying to prevent piracy of their software. Microsoft and their lawyers shut down piracy sites all the time and nobody mocks them for trying to make a buck. Why be so hard on Metallica for trying to prevent Napster from helping to pirate the fruits of their labors? I see no difference in Microsoft or some other software company spending months or even years to produce a product and bands spending months to write and record their music. The double standard is amazing.

-- Scot Penrod

The town that haunts Al Gore



Gore's flip-flop in support of the WTI incinerator located 1,100 feet from an Ohio elementary school is astonishing for a candidate who claims that protecting the environment is his priority.

His apparent excuse for this reversal is to claim that his hands were tied by decisions made by the outgoing Bush administration. If this is true, why didn't the Clinton-Gore administration make available to Salon any documents, letters or memos that they should have sent to the Bush EPA asking them to postpone their approval of WTI's license? If Gore is telling the truth, his transition team should have formally contacted the Bush EPA at the time of Gore's post-election, Dec. 7, 1992, press release opposing the WTI incinerator.

But the inconsistencies don't end there. Many authorities, including the General Accounting Office, Ohio and West Virginia attorneys general and the current EPA have all said that the EPA does have the authority to revoke WTI's license.

By blaming the old Bush administration, the community continues to get burned along with Gore's credibility, making an undeserving new Bush administration more likely.

-- Rick Hind

Thank you for bringing this glaring hole in Al Gore's environmental record to light. He truly failed East Liverpool and the rest of the upper Ohio Valley on the WTI issue. It doesn't much matter whether his failure was due to incompetence, White House politics, or being swayed by corporate campaign contributions (a familiar Gore bugaboo). All that the people in this area know is that he broke his promises to fight against yet another corporate polluter that's taking advantage of an economically depressed community.

Sadly, WTI probably won't hurt his chances of becoming president as much as it should because of Bush's horrible environmental record. A lot of environmentalists are likely to hold their noses and vote for Gore out of fear that a Bush presidency would be worse.

-- Nancy Ott

I grew up in Weirton, the town across from East Liverpool where Waste Technologies Incorporated built its plant and where both Clinton and Gore both spoke during their first campaign.

I do not agree with shutting down a plant just because it is a hazardous waste plant. The Ohio Valley, where East Liverpool and Weirton are located, has an economy based mainly on producing steel -- not exactly the cleanest industry to have around. What I object to is having a poorly functioning hazardous waste plant in the area my family lives.

The truth is that this is another example of campaign lies by Clinton and Gore. They lied about caring about the environment of the Ohio Valley. They also lied when they said they would protect the steel industry that the valley's economy depends on. When the bottom fell out of the Asian market, the steel makers' complaints about illegal steel dumping fell on deaf ears. The only thing that Clinton and Gore care about are our votes.

This is another example of Gore saying anything to get elected. Thank you Salon for reporting it.

-- Brian Ellenberger

Heart is pounding too heavily for me to read the article. Great picture of a great looking guy!

Hint: If you want to dis Al Gore, do not include a picture of his face. People in this country will forgive a person for anything if he looks good enough.

-- McCamy Taylor

"The Pizza Tapes"

I was pleased to see Salon's review of "The Pizza Tapes" (David Grisman, Tony Rice and Jerry Garcia) and have only a minor quibble with the review. While Seth Mnookin did go out of his way to note Tony Rice's amazing work on this album, he, like a lot of reviewers, couldn't help but frame the review around the playing of Jerry Garcia. The fact is, on the "Pizza Tapes," Tony Rice unrelentingly schools Garcia. Jerry Garcia was an amazing personality and wit, and he was a creative and distinct electric guitarist. But when it comes to the acoustic guitar, in a bluegrass and old-time context no less, Garcia's playing is not even remotely comparable to Rice's. (Garcia seems to agree -- on the album he frequently cackles in awe of Rice and at one point even implores Rice, "Control yourself!")

I hope "The Pizza Tapes" will inspire others to check out Tony Rice's music -- his albums with Norman Blake ("Blake & Rice" I and II) and solo albums like "Cold on the Shoulder," "Manzanita" and "Church Street Blues" are all incredible and, certainly outside of bluegrass circles, underappreciated. I realize it's hard to resist reviewing each posthumous release of Garcia's music without focusing on him, but in the case of "The Pizza Tapes," Rice is the star. And he's still around to cash royalty checks.

-- Warren St. John

Grudge match

Though I'm sure the vast majority of Americans would not understand the subtle differences between the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling, to those of us wrestling fans, it is extremely obvious why the WWF is winning the wrestling war. WCW had a few good years on top after raiding the WWF of many of their most recognizable stars. The ultimate result: It forced the WWF to aggressively create new stars out of younger, faster, hungrier, more talented performers, while WCW was filled with older, slower, outdated talent living on past reputations. Up-and-coming wrestlers quickly realized that in the WWF they had the chance to become superstars, while in WCW they would have to play second fiddle to WWF stars of the 1980s. In fact, a co-worker of mine, who used to watch wrestling a lot when he was a kid, asks me now and again about what happened to some of his favorite wrestlers from 10-15 years ago. No kidding, about 75 percent of the time the answer is, "They work for WCW."

-- Sam Nord

Life and life only

Here, only four months into the new millennium, I was about ready to give up on it. And then Charles Taylor, in his lucid review of "The Human Stain," hits me with a bracing dose of hope. Maybe there is an end to cultural hypocrisy parading as sanctimony.

-- Douglas Milburn

Salon Staff

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