I have a degree in ethnic studies from Humboldt State University. I believe that the mock article on Buju Banton is nothing more than slander ("One Hate, One Fear," Dec. 2). He is an individual and his music is religious. Why not be critical of those who belong to a Christian church and speak out against homosexuality? I am not homophobic myself, but I respect that not everybody shares my beliefs. I love reggae music. Why not highlight the conscious, God-loving music that Buju writes? There is a lot of good that could have been written about, but the author chose to label it hate. Only one paragraph talks about the religion of Rastafarianism. This article targeted uneducated readers, and I think it's racist.
Rastafarianism arose from Judaism and Christianity, as Buju himself could probably confirm were he not currently locked up in Florida on suspicion of purchasing massive amounts of cocaine from a DEA officer.
Oh, wheel of karma—turn and turn!
A well-done if sad story about the decline of a music that was long about human rights, spirituality and positivity. For nearly two decades, I was privileged to be a journalist, volunteer and then staff member backstage at Reggae on the River in Humboldt County. It was a warm, exciting place to be. But when "dancehall" artists began to show up, the entire vibration changed for the worse. Beyond the homophobia your piece explores, there was rampant sexism, hard drug use and general thuggery. Perhaps most ironic was the racist disdain "singers" such as Capleton and Bounty Killer would express towards their own (white) fans; it was clear that, should such fans ever venture into the Jamaican strongholds of dancehall "culture," they'd likely regret it.
Thus, like many longtime lovers of true roots reggae, I lament the downfall of the music in general—but, it must be added, the Boonville Sierra Nevada Music Festival does keep the faith each June with mostly wonderful lineups of positive music.
BEAT Magazine, San Francisco
Such Handy Tips!
Rather then commiserate about the difficulty of opening clamshell packaging or trying to engage legislators to solve another of life's little problems, why not use the occasion to adapt and enjoy life in a creative way? ("Shell Shock," Dec. 9.) If these difficult-to-open packages are a challenge to common household tools and common dexterity, why not purchase a good set of heavy-duty scissors or maybe a rotary Dremel tool equipped with a saw blade? Then one can hone one's manual abilities by performing the opening operation without damage to oneself or the items inside. The more of a test this may be, the more it becomes a rewarding learning experience. Personally, I find using a propane torch with pinpoint accuracy to burn through the packaging extremely gratifying. Be sure to do this outdoors, the fumes may be noxious, and be fire safe, which adds another degree of difficulty and some more challenging enjoyment.
T. Alan Kraus
Dept. of Bass-Ackwards
This is how bad things happen to good people: A "yes" on Proposition 8 meant "No Gay Marriage." A "no" on Prop. 8 meant "Please Marry Early and Often!" Lots of non-Mormon voters had trouble figuring it out. We memorized it—for a while. And so it was that we were busily editing reader Joe Arcangelini's Dec. 9 letter ("Murder Music") and felt assured that a no on Prop. 8 meant "You're Second-Class Citizens!" and so used the word "defeat." Mr. Arcangelini rushes to correct. A week or so later, so do we.
And furthermore . . . Richard von Busack actually reads this paper, laden as it is with his film reviews. He stoutly retorts that The Imaginairum of Dr. Parnassus support-site staffer Theresa Shell is wrong about him being wrong (Letters, Dec. 2). He writes: "The novel's title is The Circus of Dr. Lao, and I hardly suggested Heath Ledger starred in that 1960-whatever-it-was movie. Heckola!"
stuck between Yes and no on words ending in 'ola'