Readers respond to Jake Tapper's review of "Boy Genius: Karl Rove, the Brains Behind the Remarkable Political Triumph of George W. Bush" and Allen Barra's review of a new Miles Davis biography.

Published January 24, 2003 8:20PM (EST)

[Read "The Brains Behind Bush."]

I suppose it's pointless to reiterate that glorifying Karl Rove simply because he -- like his evil protégé Atwater -- is willing to lie, cheat, steal, defame and character-assassinate for his own very narrow political gain at the costs of humanity, democracy and fundamental morality is also fundamentally wrong, and as Machiavellian as Rove's own (wrongly applied) "Mayberry" tag.

Why glorify Himmler? And such little to "glorify," too. Only the negatives are worth noting, plentiful that they are. Why can't you simply write it that simply, so that the facts are NOT buried/hidden in some cheap, glossy "hey, he's a Nazi, but that's okay" rhetoric? For MANY of us, that is the picture we have of The Monster.

Rove is an absolute nightmare of power corrupted absolutely. He lives in a demented universe of "at all costs," and fortunately for him (but only to date), such costs have "only" been paid by innocent victims into the thousands re: 9/11, instead of the death of his own political career. But you reap what you sow, and surely the farmer in Rove will not avoid the fall harvest of death and debt he brings to our once vibrant land with his immoral tactics. He should study his party's founder Lincoln and realize you truly can't fool all the people all the time.

A final thought: It takes an excuse for a man like Karl Rove to character-assassinate those who actually have character and have proven it under the worst situations imaginable, such as John McCain. Only an inhumane person would say that a man who was tortured by the enemy is unfit to be president because he lacks the character. That's because it's easy to kill what you don't know and never will.

He's a turd, but I've yet to see any blossom.

-- Dave Coleman

I have an enormous respect for Tapper's opinions and, accordingly, would not read anything that paints Rove as a genius. Why does he hate liberals? Because they would abjectly reject a fraud like him. (inject sarcasm here) What a midterm surprise? Somehow the Dems became the party of incumbency in the South. The number on Max Cleland was nothing short of shameless, certainly not genius.

My heart bleeds for Jean Carnahan. Politics ain't rocket science, but what could have been expected of a elderly widow in a job she never asked for? She served her state admirably, but it was time to move on. I only wish she had lost in 2000; that way Ashcroft could have some sense of temperance. Besides, she voted with Republicans some 80 percent of the time.

I'm as guilty of eulogizing Wellstone as anyone, but the "boy genius" didn't win it. Wellstone alive and Democrats at the "memorial" totally blew it. It was very much in play for Republicans early on.

Where was the "boy genius" in L.A.? I think that Dems blew the midterms by 1) setting expectations too high, 2) not getting ahead of GWB on the war thing in June and 3) cowardice on the part of their leadership who were both sensitive to the president's approval ratings and their eyes firmly cast on their own presidential run.

Karl Rove = Boy Genius ... hah! Next to GWB and Lott and the rest of the entitlement-complexed white-guy crowd, maybe. Politics is 85 percent good fortune, very little brainpower. Rove doesn't even have the good sense to lose the molester-tinted glasses. I can only imagine what some good ol' opposition research would turn up on him (less than marginal high school student, never had a date, subscription to questionable periodicals, misogynist sycophant who somehow knows how to translate GWB's malapropisms into coherent policies for executing a needless war and placating the conservative base. It is time that we see these people for who they are: complete and total embarrassments.

-- Jack Lanahan

What Karl Rove and George Bush and their ilk have against hippies and flower children is that they (Rove and Company) missed the most important event of their generation -- completely missed out, heads buried in the sand, they never got high, never got to shinny up the flagpole and see how the universe works and what love is, never even went to war to see the other side, and now they're mean and bitter and arrogant and power mad and very dangerous and very crazy and very close to a central casting model for the antichrist. Hippies know who they are and aren't afraid of them. They're buffoons, but they've got a lot people fooled or scared and that makes them deadly.

-- Peter Stone

[Read "The Last Word in Cool."]

The review of the new Miles bio is very informative: nice review, and it sounds like a book I'll have to read. As to Allen's question regarding Miles' technique, I am a trumpet player, and thought I might try to explain some. The Cannonball and Dizzy quotes are the most obvious references to Miles' technique on the trumpet. To me, those quotes are saying the same thing: Miles' range on the trumpet was not very well developed during his time coming up with Bird and through the '50s. The first time he really goes beyond a high C (this is the usual cutoff point when referring to "high notes" on the trumpet) was on the "Four and More" and "My Funny Valentine" dates -- where his comfort and strength in the upper register are obvious and forceful.

Listening to Dizzy, from the earliest recordings (see "Bird and Diz"), his register and facility were striking in its day, especially given the complex and highly technical lines he was playing. A good comparison on this would be Roy Eldridge. Cannonball was basically saying the same thing as Diz's "an octave lower" remark, in that Miles didn't have the same high register as Dizzy, Fats Navarro, and Kenny Dorham throughout his earlier years. Also keep in mind that Cannonball had his brother Nat as a reference, who also had good range on his instrument.

So, Miles had to develop a style with the palette available to him: changing his sound to a much darker and whispery one (Gil Evans said he revolutionized the sound of the trumpet, which I agree with), leaving more open space in the solos, and creating long serpentine melodic lines. Add to all that the strength and high register he gained in the '60s, and that, to me, is the Miles I know and love -- all the '60s stuff, "Bitches Brew," "Live/Evil," "Live at the Fillmore," etc.

Hope that explains some of it. Glad to see anyone admit they love jazz.

-- Bud Gordon

By Salon Staff

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