Letters to the Editor
[The cartoon] “Bill the Cockroach” is not funny. It has not been funny since it began appearing in your publication, and I feel it merely detracts from the otherwise awesome spread. Surely there is another artist out there to fill this humorless void.
Tiny Tim’s Biographer Responds
[Re “Uke Power,” November 2]: As the author of the forthcoming authorized biography of Tiny Tim, Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim, and having worked on two Tiny Tim releases, I’ve Never Seen a Straight Banana and Lost and Found Vol. 1, I find [GuitarSam owner Kevin] Crossett’s assertion that Tiny “turned the ukulele backward” and that he had to “wait ’til people outgrew his memory” to be completely ridiculous.
Tiny Tim was a walking encyclopedia of music spanning from the 1800s up to the 1990s. He had a vast array of singing voices and was capable of performing virtually any genre of music. The fact that he was perceived as a novelty act is no fault of his own, and the onus of any stigma that may have become attached to the ukulele is not on him.
Many recent articles about neo-ukers are rife with attempts to disassociate the ukelele from Tiny Tim. I ask these people: Would any other hit record in 1968 have featured a ukulele if not for Tiny Tim? No. Second: If the newfound atmosphere surrounding the ukulele is as lighthearted and fun as described in this article, why then is this silly little instrument taken so seriously? The only thing that’s backward is the evaluation of Tiny’s legacy by the neo-ukers.
Contrary to what this article says, no one has outgrown Tiny’s memory. He still has a strong and dedicated following around the world. Some basic research on the author’s part would have revealed that.
Justin A. Martell
New York, NY
Shot in the Dark
I’d love to see Ken Picard tell the other side of the story [“Health Care Providers Take a Shot at Increasing Childhood Immunizations,” November 2]! Since one-third of all parents voice some concerns about vaccine safety, I am surprised the article ended up so biased and pro-vaccine. He describes the “refuseniks,” or those who choose not to inoculate their children, as “highly educated, well-read parents.” So where are they getting their information? If they are highly educated and well read, then they must be basing their decision on something other than “junk science.” Please don’t tell me that Ken Picard actually believed that the presence of pharma giants Merck and Eli Lilly at this conference was not a conflict of interest. Maybe Ken Picard was sent to just cover the conference, but he uncovered more of a story than he actually reported. I’d expect that from mainstream news outlets, but from Seven Days?
Sticks and Stones
In a recent article [“Barre v. Waterbury: Two Towns Duke It Out for Vermont’s Displaced Workers,” November 23], Andy Bromage wrote about the exciting possibility of a new state office complex in Barre City. Unexpectedly, Bromage also wrote about a popular community art project in this way: “Aside from a few granite sculptures, the parcel is just a patch of grass and gravel.”
Alternatively, an article published by Kevin J. Kelley [“New Sculpture Garden Evokes Barre’s Rock-Solid Past,” September 28] honored the tradition of stone sculpture in Barre and the exciting, contemporary works created by local studio artists that are currently on display in a vacant lot — now a temporary sculpture park.
The two articles seem to be light-years apart. I was startled that an outstanding group of sculptures made by local artists would be described in such an offhand manner by Bromage.
Higby is the director of Barre’s Studio Place Arts. She designed and curated the sculpture park in Depot Park.
Hey, Barre Mayor Lauzon and Gov. Shumlin: I’m one of the displaced state workers [“Barre v. Waterbury: Two Towns Duke It Out for Vermont’s Displaced Workers,” November 23]. I loved working in Waterbury. I loved its beauty and friendliness. I felt like a part of the town, and after the flood I volunteered my time to help there. Not that anybody seems to care much what we displaced state workers think about where we should be located, but let me tell you this: If I get relocated to Barre, your merchants are not getting a cent of my money, if I can help it. I won’t eat in restaurants there. I won’t shop there. I will tell others not to eat or shop there. I’m not for sale. I want to go home. I want to go back to Waterbury.
Whose Natural Resources?
[Re “Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone,” October 19]: There is something far more deadly than the spruce budworm, the emerald ash borer and acid rain that is destroying the forests of our Green Mountains. I am perplexed trying to understand why various state agencies will spend millions of tax dollars to combat worms and beetles, to ensure the health of our deer herd, and to ensure the health of our rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands, and yet, there is hardly anyone who is willing to stop the current culprit.
The governor, his administration and his international corporate chums are rapidly destroying our natural resources in the name of public good for projects that are poorly planned and economically unsound. With minimal regard for our natural resources —resources that our state agencies are empowered to protect on our behalf — they plan to develop additional industrial wind turbine sites across the state.
Stop the further destruction of our finite resources due to corporate greed. Let the people of Vermont — not the governor and the appointed Public Service Board members — decide the fate of our natural resources. Please contact your elected officials and ask them to end this folly!
Mourning the Alchemist
Dear Tropical Storm Irene: Tonight the devastation of your wrath hit home when I read that the best darn bar in Vermont is gone forever [Side Dishes: “The Magic Is Gone: The Alchemist Pub and Brewery Will Not Reopen,” November 23]. In addition to the loss of state offices and all of the business and community that comes with, this town has lost the best gathering place I have found in a state short on “grown-up” establishments. Bless good beer, fine restaurateurs and plans for the future.
New Life for a Library
I just wanted to let you know that I think it’s great that Jake Jacobson and Jennifer Mills are rehabilitating the old Winooski Library into a usable establishment [“From Library to Living Quarters: A Winooski Landmark is Transformed,” November 9]. I like knowing that an empty building is going to be converted into a home and not sitting empty for years while the city pays taxes on it. Awesome job, guys!
Off the Fence
I was somewhat on the fence about wind development until reading your letters section [Feedback, November 2]. The letters in favor of big wind got my attention – and now I’m firmly in the opposition camp.
A VPIRG employee expressed logic I found disturbing. He fled Virginia because of mountaintop removal, moving to Vermont where “mountains still mean something to people,” he said. But, according to him, the blasting, bulldozing and road building is “saving” our mountains, and the 450-foot metal towers “add” to the view. I am outraged by this idiotic statement.
Another letter writer said that the neighbors of the Lowell project should have just taken the money from GMP and left their home of 40 years, that this was the “morally and ethically correct thing to do.” If big-wind advocates find it morally and ethically acceptable for big corporations to run people out of their homes — which happens all the time, all over the world — something is terribly wrong with their moral compasses.
Still somewhat on the fence, I visited the Lowell site. What’s been done there literally made me sick. I’ve since learned that the Shumlin administration fast-tracked the regulatory process and cut short the necessary environmental review, just so GMP could begin construction in time to qualify for millions of dollars in federal subsidies.
Vermont’s energy policies don’t have to be dictated by corporate agendas. The choice doesn’t have to be nuclear or big wind or coal. The real solutions involve conservation efforts by individuals — and more importantly, industry — along with small-scale, publicly owned, locally sourced and operated renewables. We can’t save the planet by destroying it. This is the logic of capitalism, and it is dead wrong.
Judith Levine in “Occupy Wall Street Is Feminist” [Poli Psy, October 26] seems to think the revolution started with feminism. She mistakenly believes that “the closest ancestor of Occupy Wall Street was the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in Berkshire, England.” Greenham was a single-issue protest — hardly a model of the broad critique of capitalism and plutocracy that OWS represents. The Seneca Women’s Encampment might be a better analogy, except that it excluded male supporters and was patronizing of the local community.
She states, “The Occupy Wall Street encampment … is a feminist phenomenon … in its group process, nonviolent ethos, aesthetic feel and emotional tenor.” Levine, apparently, chooses to ignore the long history of anarchist agitation, which was based on free association, mutualism, and spontaneous nonhierarchical order and reciprocity, and the male pioneers of nonviolent action: from Jesus to Tolstoy, Gandhi, King and César Chávez.
Yes, it’s certainly true that “feminism changed the world,” but not entirely for the better. As it evolved from a liberation movement into an ideology, it also both ignored and contributed to the victimization of men in our culture. One need look no further than the seminal book by the only man to be elected three times to the board of NOW: Warren Farrell. In his book, The Myth of Male Power, he states, “Feminism articulated the shadow side of men and the light side of women but neglected the shadow side of women and the light side of men.”
The potential power of OWS is that it transcends easy division of the world into left and right, working class and middle class, feminist and patriarchal. Instead, its message is that we have turned the light of free-market democracy into a nightmare shadow of inequity and injustice and the murder of a hopeful future. We are finally acknowledging that we live not in a patriarchy but in an “umbriarchy” — the rule of the shadow. We are all responsible for letting the light dim and all responsible for turning it back on.