October 17, 2007
HAVE SOME BOLLES
I remember [Seven Days music editor] Dan Bolles as “one of those kids” from “one of those bands” in the mid-to-late ’90s, when a then-too-old-to-be-hip guy like me recorded so many high-school hipster projects that even I felt the occasional pang of “hip.” And it wasn’t sciatica then.
I recall he was both a super-nice guy and a really good musician. I assume he still is. None of this background information is pertinent to the point of this letter, which I tried to write like one of Dan’s columns: Start with some self-reflection, and then bikini-wax nostalgic with some inside nods and “nudge-winks,” before getting to the point.
My point is this: I want to know about the music happening in Vermont. I don’t need a diapers-to-drinking-age background to prop up an opinion. I especially don’t like the two paragraphs of self-deprecating “I guess I just don’t get this band . . . ” before he tells me he doesn’t like the band. Or the, “If you like this kind of thing, you might like this thing” kind of thing.
Dan, have some Bolles. I know you haven’t had this column long, but stick to journalism protocol for the newsier stuff, and trust that we trust you to make observations and give opinions about the artistic merits. We don’t have to agree with them, but you shouldn’t worry about that. You can’t. You’re a columnist now, dammit!
Egan is the owner of Egan Media Productions.
SYMPATHY FOR THE ‘DEVIL’?
I am saddened that the all-day workshop I did for the Vermont Psychological Association was attacked by people who did not attend, and for things I do not say [“Vermont Psychological Association Under Fire for Misogynist Speaker,” October 10] . To clarify: incest is not a topic of any of my writings. Second, my books are all based on meticulous research. Third, I would never say women don’t work hard. They do. Finally, I would never compare the average feminist to the average Nazi: Nazis killed; feminists don’t. I am the only man to have been elected three times to the board of the National Organization for Women in New York City. I continue to praise feminism for expanding women’s opportunities and self-esteem. But the moment I confronted feminists with too often demonizing men and undervaluing the family, I went from angel to devil.
Why am I asked to train psychologists? In part, because my recent books, like Why Men Are the Way They Are and Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, helped many psychologists understand men (e.g., why men die sooner and commit suicide more) and prevent domestic violence. Others, like The Myth of Male Power, questioned our cognitive dissonance of theoretically supporting equality while in reality supporting male-only draft registration and judges giving moms preference for children after divorce. Others, like Father and Child Reunion, create an understanding of why dads are crucial. And still others, like Why Men Earn More, empower women to know how they can earn more. Greater depth is available at Warrenfarrell.com.
Dr. Warren Farrell
MILL VALLEY, CA
Farrell recently gave an all-day presentation to the Vermont Psychological Association.
Thank you, Judith Levine, for finally saying what should have been said years ago about “supporting our troops” [“Poli Psy,” October 10] . U.S. soldiers in Iraq are ordered to terrify families through the worst kind of door-to-door rousting, in which many people are sent to prisons by mistake. The soldiers know it. They don’t like it. They see the terrorized faces of children while they’re doing it, and they keep on doing it all the same. “Supporting the troops” dooms these bottom-of-the-hierarchy people to behavior akin to the Gestapo’s, and that’s the (well, one of them) story we should be investigating.
Hey! This is to the so-called liberals in Vermont. I’m really getting sick of you rednecks trying to pass yourselves off as non-racists. Stop following me around asking me if I need assistance in your stores. I can fucking read. I go shopping to get what I want, not to browse. Oh, yeah, and fucking Merchants Bank. I go in weekly to deposit or withdraw money and after being a customer for over a year and a half, I’ve got to show ID? Fuck you. You might not wear sheets in Vermont, but there is definitely racism here. So don’t kid yourselves. You are going to run into me when I’m having a bad day and I’m going to really, really embarrass you. I guarantee you will be in tears.
I agree with Walter F. Wouk’s letter [“Letters,” October 3] regarding the hoopla surrounding the MoveOn.org ad. What seems to have received little press attention here in Vermont is the fact that two-thirds of our congressional delegates have voted to condemn that ad. Given the amount of time they are spending capitulating to the White House and enabling Bush’s continued thwarting of the law, Congress and American ideals, you would think that Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch wouldn’t have the time to attack the free speech of private citizens. After all, one of the reasons Welch rejected the impeachment option is that he didn’t want the distraction from doing real lawmaking. But it is nice to know that Welch is willing to go the extra mile to rein in out-of-control left-wingers exercising their Constitutional rights.
I was very disappointed in your coverage of the Intervale compost facility fiasco [“Waste Not,” October 3]  by Mike Ives. This type of biased reporting is not something I am used to from Seven Days. Yes, the Intervale composting facility is in its conception an eco-friendly way to recycle waste, but something has gone terribly wrong.
The Winooski flows into Lake Champlain — our water source — and the Intervale has become a breadbasket of sorts. Spreading E. coli contaminants and heavy metals on its fields and gardens is not what I would call being “good stewards of the land.” What Mr. Ives did not mention in the article was the high E. coli and heavy metals count in the leech ponds. Where are these known carcinogens coming from, and how dare they and E. coli be spread on the surrounding farms and gardens? Composting can be a problematic business that needs to be regulated.
The discussion of whether Judy Dow is an Abenaki Indian or not is outrageous. Are we not all — regardless of our heritage — stewards of the Earth, and do I have to prove Indian heritage to criticize the Intervale Compost Facility’s practices? We should be thankful that Judy was willing to go to the authorities and the Intervale compost facilities with her observations for both health and historical reasons.
Act 250 is in place to protect us, and the land. And, yes, even ecologically friendly businesses need to be kept in check.
FARMS ARE SACRED
I read with interest the issues plaguing the Intervale Compost facility [“Waste Not,” October 3] . I see it as another useless endeavor of a power-hungry individual looking to make her mark. However, the bigger issue — as always — has been overlooked.
There is a line in the article that highlights the inability of this state to get its agricultural crisis under control. The Intervale needs to decide if it’s a business or a farm. In the eyes of the powers that be, it can’t be both. Keeping farmers at the edge of collapse on a daily basis is the best way for the rest of society to continue getting cheap food. Intervale is a farm business that supplies much-needed services to area agriculture. Let’s find a way to make it evil. If more farms were run as businesses, not rights bought by lineage, farmers would be better off in this state. Ask UVM if marketing or business management is in the curriculum for the agriculture Master’s program? Uh, no. If a shoe store owner doesn’t know how to operate within margin, the state doesn’t give two flying cow plops. I am pushing my word limit here, and this is actually a whole other article.
Here’s a simple solution for the Intervale: Erect some fencing with Natural Resource Conservation Service dollars and throw 10 black-and-white heifers out there. The state will trip over itself to bail you out of this mess.
I just want to clarify something about the summer camp program held at Barnes Elementary [“Class Dismissed?” September 26] . I did not run this camp alone. “Barnes Summer World Academy” was created through a collaboration of the Sara Holbrook Community Center, Burlington Parks and Recreation and the Burlington School District. Leisa Pollander from SHCC, Maggie Leugers and Dan Cahill from Parks and Rec and myself realized that many children in the Barnes neighborhood did not have anywhere or anything to do during the summer due to a lack of affordable spaces in summer programs. We also learned that working parents did not enroll their children in the half-day summer school program because there was no safe place to go afterwards.
With the help of the Mayor’s Office, the State of Vermont, the Vermont Children’s Trust Fund and many others, we were able to build on the SHCC summer camp program, led by Linda Hamlin for more than 40 years. Restricted by space at SHCC, the program typically maxed out at 36 children. By moving the program to Barnes, we were able to enroll 60 children. We also kept the same SHCC fees: $25 for two weeks of a fun, educational and safe alternative. The “Shelburne Farms Sustainable Schools Program” also trained the summer staff to empower children by learning how to make desired changes in their environment.
Parents, children and staff still rave about what a blast camp was! We were out and about every day! Campers were treated to sailing lessons by the Community Sailing Center, swim lessons by the YMCA at North Beach, ECHO passes, UVM tours, which included lunch at the dining hall, a gift from Dean Fayneese Miller, and much more. We look forward to being able to offer this much-needed camp at Barnes for years to come.
Sara Martinez de Osaba
Martinez de Osaba is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School and a Barnes parent.