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Word Processor

Letters from the week of May 13, 2004

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Rotten meat: In response to Tony Ortega's KC Strip article " Precious Moments" (May 6), I am appalled and shocked that the Pitch would allow the printing of Alonzo Washington's cartoon without a disclaimer, or at least render the inflammatory word as "n-----" instead of printing the entire word twice.

This is 2004 -- what intelligent journalist or editor would not have sensitivity toward readers in this regard? If your intent was to educate, it was sorely off the mark. This was a situation in which you had a responsibility to reduce the amount of ammunition given to racism supporters while simultaneously maintaining integrity of the diverse readers you have, and emphasize your message.

Both Mr. Ortega and Mr. Janovy have greatly offended this black male, and I have lost respect for what I thought was an insightful, diversity-friendly newspaper. Did you really think that no one would care that you printed the full word? If so, that would be much worse than admitting "it just didn't occur to us."

Bruce W. Harvey
Kansas City, Missouri

Editor's note: In both uses of the word to which Mr. Harvey objects, the Pitch was quoting directly from a publication put out by an African-American comic artist who was making a specific political point by using it. Also, because Mr. Harvey complains about the Pitch's insensitivity to diversity, we feel obligated to point out that he might need some diversity training, too. C.J. Janovy is a woman.

Wild Card
Poop deck: Regarding Tony Ortega's Kansas City Strip of April 15 (" Deck for Brains"): Brian Cooper wasn't kicked out for being too good. He was kicked out for exploding at other players when they followed the rules, cooperated and beat him. Seemed like a good strategy to me.

Cooper used profanity, interrupted other games and caused a ruckus. I understand losing. I hate it, too, but he was pretty immature about the way he lost. So since he was an older Christian and setting examples for younger players, he was kicked out of the game. Similarly, he has come pretty close to getting kicked out of Lord of the Rings as well for the same reactions to losing, which he does as frequently as any other player.

Name Withheld Upon Request

Faith Off
Leader board: Among the many irresponsible mischaracterizations and factual errors in Allie Johnson's recent article about the Rime Buddhist Center (" Trouble in Shangri-La," April 22) is one I am duty-bound to specify: While Al Brooks is a great man and inspiring leader, he has never served on the Kansas City Interfaith Council.

Further, Lama Chuck Stanford has served on the council with distinction for many years and is a religious leader whose advice, perspective and hard work have proved of great value to our entire area.

Vern Barnet, convener
Kansas City Interfaith Council

Kansas City, Missouri

Chuck roast: I was pleased to read Allie Johnson's article about the Rime Center and its "spiritual leader," Lama Chuck. I've only had one short series of interactions with him, and they were so remarkably unpleasant that I am unwilling to participate in any further activities at the center.

I attended the 2001 World Peace Ceremony at the Rime with my husband, Bob Eagleman Prue, who is Lakota. The ceremony consisted partly of representatives from world religions praying for world peace. My husband was disturbed by the center's choice to have a non-Native American stand up and pray (poorly) in Lakota, who was not in any way known or sanctioned by the Native American community. My husband wrote to Lama Chuck to express his concern about the center's lack of respect for native religions by choosing a non-Indian who went to sweat lodges and burned sage. This would be like asking just anybody who liked to pray in Latin to get up and publicly represent the Catholic community as a priest. Lama Chuck was immediately belligerent and accused my husband of having personal problems and needing professional help. His response was so bizarre, I assumed there must be some misunderstanding, so I wrote and asked him to clarify his position. He turned the same accusatory tone to me and questioned my personal boundaries for getting involved.

Thanks for shining the light on a very dim bulb! I am not surprised to find out that Mr. Chuck's "Lamahood" has not been earned through traditional channels. It distresses me that he is so poorly representing one of the world's oldest and most venerable religions here in Kansas City. It's too bad that people are so hungry for a spiritual teacher that they will justify putting up with his arrogance and self-importance. In my opinion, there's more spiritual awareness available at the local Sun Fresh checkout counters.

Good Job!

Dr. L. Diane Cobb
Kansas City, Missouri

Get Set
Tom tom club: Regarding Theresa Bembnister's " He's Innocent" (April 29): While I'm not one for opera, or musicals for that matter, I found myself sitting through one tonight at the Folly. I was there supporting my friend and artist, Tom Sciacca, who designed the gorgeous sets for the production of The Mikado.

I have enjoyed Tom's art for some time now and have had the pleasure of making friends with him. Besides being an excellent artist, he is also a great person. I rarely find people more compassionate than Tom -- such as his donating to the Carlie Brucia fund. He's helped me through difficult times and has always been there for me. I just wanted to let the Pitch readers know that Tom is much like his work: kind, light and deep.

And by the way, The Mikado kicked ass.

Chuck Weismiller
Kansas City, Missouri

Whoa, Nelly!
Washington post: In response to the doubly appearing Alonzo Washington in your May 6 issue, I must make a comment. In the music section ( Prairie Dogg), Alonzo takes up the cause of attacking Nelly and using 50 Cent as an example with his quote on page 49: "50 Cent is a superstar, and his whole premise is that he's been shot nine times, he's been to jail and he wears a bulletproof vest ..." That complaint was meaningful and thought-provoking the first time I heard it ... when it came from Spike Lee.

I attended the Spike Lee lecture on the UMKC campus, and I am only to assume that Mr. Washington was the gentleman who approached the microphones and cleverly persuaded Mr. Lee to take some of his comics by talking about the important image they portray about "strong black superheroes." Now, I make no pretenses to be an activist of any kind, and I am about 110 percent sure that Alonzo Washington has done more for this community than I have, but it also makes me angry when people cannot even be creative enough to take up their own unique cause and when they have to use verbatim comments from others to state their case. I guess since Spike has already started the 50 Cent train, Mr. Washington waited around for the next song to take up, and it came in the form of Nelly.

It is obvious that Mr. Washington is an artistically creative, talented and driven person, but I just wish that someone like him would use those attributes to get to the point -- promoting his work instead of picking up a bunch of unrelated causes to get his name in the paper and on television.

And no, I am not the obese, bald gentleman featured on page 9 of the same issue in Alonzo's comic panel, but yes, I was one of the "pretentious" fans at the Strokes concert.

Dallas Buchanan
Kansas City, Missouri

Star Dust
Bowie knifed: Regarding Annie Zaleski's " Reality Check" (May 6): Whoopie. Another story on another old rocker. I know it's hard to resist the chance to interview these wash-ups, but as an "alternative" weekly, maybe you could cover music that's a little more, you know, alternative?

Leave the Bowie/Costello/Krall/DiFranco interviews (YAWN!) to the Star. There're hundreds of young, fresh bands coming through town (Lawrence/Overland Park/ Westport) you could give exposure to and make your readers' lives better by giving them an alternative to buy rather than the new, overpriced POS Bowie CD with Audi mashups or whatever.

SIGH.

David Day
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

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