By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
MORELLO: THE TRIUMPH OF THE KILL
After reading reactions you published regarding the Andrew Morello case ("Letters," April 22) and listening to talk-radio reaction, I am appalled at the number of people who think it's quite all right to kill someone for stealing a car ("Justice Undone," April 15).
These are sick people, products of the same sick system that creates the people who think it's okay to steal your car. I know many people can't wait for someone to break into their house so they can have the "pleasure" of murdering the scumbag who wants to trade their VCR for chemicals to feed his addiction.
My question is, who's the bigger scumbag? Pot calls kettle black! Film at eleven!
MORELLO: BETTER METAL BARS THAN A PINE BOX
Jim DeFede's "Justice Undone" was a piece of art. There were no politics here; DeFede told it like it was. I also read "Justice Undone: Part 2" (April 22) and hope all this work is not in vain and some justice comes out of it. DeFede also saved the sanity of Andrew Morello's family and friends. For a while there we looked like obsessed, crazy people. As Andrew's cousin, I thank DeFede with all my heart.
Some of the letters you printed in response to "Justice Undone" were written by ignorant idiots who obviously do not have children. The mentality of those people is the danger to society. No one ever disputed the fact that Andrew and his friends were doing wrong, but I would give anything to visit him in jail instead of the cemetery.
The inquests today are an improvement since 1982, but are far from perfect. I only hope State Attorney Janet Reno is big enough to admit an injustice was done March 30 and will do something to correct it.
There definitely needs to be a clean-up instead of cover-up regarding police actions. This is ruining the 98 percent of great cops trying to do a good job. Police and communities need to work together. Actions like this only tend to have people lose respect for authority.
MORELLO: HE PAID WITH HIS LIFE
I am not related to Andrew Morello in any way, but Andrew was a part of my family's life, just as my son was and is a part of his family's life. The two boys were close friends. Andrew was not a bad boy, just a normal teen-ager. He was a good boy and always a welcome sight in my home. He always had a smile on his face and love in his heart.
I was always pleased when my son was with Andrew. I had hoped some of his politeness would rub off on my son. My son was welcomed into Andrew's home as well, and I never worried while he was there. I knew that when he was in the Morellos' home he was in good hands. He received as much love in their home as their own children received. Their hearts and home were always open.
Andrew, my son's friend, is gone now, and two of his other friends are being charged with felony murder. This is becuase of the kids' doing something stupid and a police officer's panicking and not thinking before acting.
Andrew is gone but will never be forgotten by me, my son, my family, and the many, many people who loved him. He made a mistake and paid with his life. Officer Laura Russell is alive and she won't be forgotten either, by me, my son, my family, and also the many people who loved Andrew.
The two people made mistakes. One paid with his life. How will the other person pay?
MORELLO: NEVER HAD A CHANCE
I'm always disturbed and fascinated by the letters I read every week in this column. This time, however, I must speak up. No one questions the guilt of Andrew Morello and friends. No one questions the fact that these guys need to be held responsible for their criminal actions. But for letter writers Gambits, Lent, and like-minded shitheads to actually say that Morello's murder at the hands of an overzealous cop was justified sets me on edge!
We have something in this country called due process, whereby even the bad guys (for better or worse) have rights. At the least they're entitled to a fair trial. Morello never even had a chance. Martin A. Quinones asked in his letter what we would like officers like William Lozano and Laura Russell to do - offer lollipops to fleeing criminals? No, you idiot, we would like all officers to do what they're training indicates: uphold the law and bring those who break it to justice.
What also pisses me off is that those running the system can get away with their own injustices. Gary Rosenberg shows little regard for hard evidence and questionable testimony. Judge Perry is a useless puppet who couldn't or wouldn't open his eyes to the bullshit around him.
There are a lot of things I love about my hometown, but I fear for its future when simple-minded voters forget how to be humane, and high-powered players can manipulate laws to suit their needs.
MORELLO: COMMIT A CRIME, RUN THE RISK
Why do honest, law-abiding citizens and those who have the task of protecting us from those who aren't have to be put through hell when lethal force is used? My parents and my religion have taught me what's mine is mine and what isn't mine isn't. Black or white, no gray area. Yes, I am saddened that this young man, Andrew Morello, lost his life. An off-duty police officer or a property owner is irrelevant. If this young man and his friends had not been committing a crime, they would not have been at risk. Period. The end.
MORELLO: TELL LAURA I LOVE HER...
Throughout your April 15 cover story and its April 22 follow-up, the choice of words left me disturbed. The title was "Justice Undone," a tale of "one dead teen-ager," his three "companions," "one free cop," and peripatetic crime opportunist Jeffrey Weiner, "attorney."
Apologist Jim DeFede points his accusatory finger in the wrong direction - into a fed-up society's face. The constant criminals are bandied about in the permissive media, the blood-sucking lawyers love such chaos, endorse it, propogate it, and get rich from it, while the real victims shed real tears as another debased-Miami sorry episode is again misportrayed.
And it's all Laura Russell's fault. That's right. Just ask DeFede. Andrew owes it all to Laura. His scumbag "companions" light candles behind a crucifix! They wear T-shirts with the song title, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye." Ha! It's so easy to say good riddance!
Hey, Anthony, Bjorn, and Ralph, take this musical message from "Andrew and the Worms": an' a-one, an' a-two, hit it boys: "Tell Laura, I love her, tell Laura, I care...."
Name withheld by request
SHOOTING FROM THE HIP-HOP
Tom Austin's recent close-up on dance music and the Winter Music Conference ("Stayin' Alive," April 22) is just another case of how Eurocentric thinking diminishes and exploits the creativeness of the African in the Americas. Regardless of Mr. Austin's ethnicity (I've never met or seen him), his article smacks of racism in writing about dance music and not even once mentioning the most influential factor and very important subject of hip-hop. Everywhere you turn - media, "Madison Avenue," fashion, cinema, and even language - hip-hop's presence is there.
Although he uses the word "rap," the parent hip-hop is not even placed in the glossary, despite recent mega-hits by hip-hoppers who have made feet move on dance floors around the globe. Mr. Austin's remark that rap is "generally dominated by blacks, but riffs are taken from white rock" not only is biased but a complete falsehood. Rap/hip-hop is black despite nonblack assimilators entering the field. Rock, like jazz, blues, gospel, and R&B before it, is a black dance-music category.
I'm not obligating anyone to appreciate, listen to, or even like hip-hop, but you cannot deny its place as the most influential culture on the music scene today. Years from now Eurocentric thinkers will be searching out the pioneers of hip-hop, documenting it, maybe even claiming it as their own as with jazz, blues, or rock, while some of us will be on to something brand-new without subjecting ourselves to hernias.
The Rhythm Rocker, host
Saturday Nite Funk Box
DO THE WHITE THING
Soon after reading Todd Anthony's article "Black Men Can't Swim" (April 8), I began to realize just how far whites would go to prove that blacks bitch too much about racism. Though that was not the overall theme of the article, it was there in black and white (pun not intended).
Anthony said the title of the recent box-office hit White Men Can't Jump is racist and that if there was a film entitled Black Men Can't Swim, the black community would be in an uproar. Over the years, African-Americans have been beaten, spit on, harassed, laughed at, and yes, they've even been killed. They came to this country involuntarily so that they could be bought, sold, and traded like baseball cards. To this day the KKK is still around, there is the neo-Nazi party, skinheads, the White Aryan Resistance, and other hateful motherfuckers who are racist. Yes, racism exists, so if the black community wants to be in an uproar because they suspect racism, then they are doing the right thing.
The title White Men Can't Jump may raise an eyebrow, but keep in mind that a white man titled it. Also keep in mind that Billy Hoyle does dunk it in the end. Also keep in mind that this is probably the first time a movie showed white people as a group unable to do something. A while ago, blacks in movies were unintelligent maids, butlers, and others who served the whites. Today they're hoodlums, gang members, and criminals.
I noticed Anthony's feeble attempt at support of the black community by mentioning that the title, White Men Can't Jump, is trying to say that blacks are born with the gift of a good vertical jump, so blacks don't have to try as hard to succeed. The kicker: If he were Michael Jordan, he'd be pretty pissed. Needless to say, he's not Michael Jordan. He's closer to David Duke.
MOOR THAN YOU KNOW
It was Rafael Navarro's critique of Welles's Othello ("All's Well that Ends Welles," April 15) that prompted me to see the movie. It was enjoyable and, for that, I am grateful to Mr. Navarro. However, there are a number of oversights in the article that need to be addressed.
Orson Welles, along with John Houseman, was a founder of the Phoenix Theatre Group, and both men were later involved with the Federal Theater Project. Whether or not the association between Houseman and Welles should be placed historically and aesthetically above "the galvanizing Group Theatre," I cannot decide. This is Mr. Navarro's subjective view. But he goes on to say that the Group Theatre was "the closest this country ever got to owning a national theater." This is entirely untrue. The Federal Theater Project was underwritten by Roosevelt's New Deal administration, intended for theater people who were out of work during the Depression. It was a project of national proportion, and thus it was the closest we ever got to owning a national theater. The Group Theatre was a moderately large company of actors and directors headed by Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, and Cheryl Crawford. This theater company was stationed in New York and was occasionally invited to West End in London. It never entertained any aims to nationalize. Harold Clurman's The Fervent Years and Hallie Flannagan's Arena are the two basic works to consult about the Group Theatre and the Federal Theater Project, respectively.
I agree with Mr. Navarro that the image of Olivier's impromptu kiss (as Iago) to Richardson (as Othello) during a peformance is pathetically funny. My only qualm is that it didn't occur quite like that. Olivier kissed Richardson in rehearsal for this 1934 production at the Old Vic. The story, as it stands, would be unfair to the memory of such a fine actor and producer. (Trying something like that during a peformance would jeopardize the whole presentation.) Should Mr. Navarro wish to review this anecdote, he will find it in Olivier's candid book, On Acting.
This is regarding a letter in the April 15 from a Cheryl Correa, who "doesn't get" Lynda Barry's Ernie Pook's Comeek. Lynda Barry is great and so are the messages that you get from her strip.
If Ms. Correa and her friends don't understand Lynda Barry, then they are really missing out on something good. The last thing Lynda Barry needs is "an injection of humor." On the contrary, I think Cheryl Correa may profit from one.
BARRY, BARRY GOOD
Regarding the letter, which infuriated and bewildered me (and my friends), as to the "waste of good space" by Lynda J. Barry's Ernie Pook's Comeek: Since probably 1989 I have been reading Ernie Pook religiously, anxious to find out Maybonne's new teen angst trauma, to learn from Marlys's clever and philosophical advice, and to experience their life secrets, thoughts, and dilemmas.
Ernie Pook's Comeek is far more than a weekly comic spot in a hip, cultural newspaper - it is thought and feeling, humor and life. Perhaps the problem that Cheryl Correa has with it is that it delves too deeply into the human psyche for her to grapple with.
I firmly belive that Lynda J. Barry needs no "injection of humor" - her own form of humor, subtle and innovative, takes life's little corners and brings them out to be seen by all and appreciated by those who deserve it.
BARRY, BARRY, BARRY GOOD
I just wanted to drop a line about Lynda Barry's Ernie Pook's Comeek. I get it and I like it very much. Although I preferred the school reports done by Marlys, I also enjoy the continuing saga of the two sisters. Please keep printing Ms. Barry's work in your fine paper.
BARRY, BARRY, BARRY, BARRY GOOD
Too often things disappear for lack of stated appreciation. Many of the cartoons I loved reading in the Herald bit the dust a few years ago. I just read a letter panning Lynda J. Barry's strip, and since it is one of the two first things I read (also Julius Knipl) in each New Times, I thought I'd better write and say so!
Not all cartoons are "funny," and both of these strips are incredibly evocative of things from my childhood - big-city roots, peculiar and rare and sometimes weird. I think they are great!