Letters to the Editor

From the issue of June 21, 2001

Humble Reader Offers Manager, Mayor Thoughtful Advice
Respond and repent, you two punks: I am writing in response to Jim DeFede's article "Shadow Dwellers" (June 14). One question: Who the hell do county Manager Steve Shiver and Mayor Alex Penelas think they are? First of all, Mr. Shiver, Katy Sorenson as a private citizen has every right to see documents pertaining to your activities regarding Homestead Air Force Base. Florida has public-record laws on the books. (You should read them sometime.) It's true that some information may be kept from the public, but those exemptions are very narrow -- things like pending litigation or information on an employee's health, for instance.

But Katy Sorenson as a county commissioner has the right to see everything. In fact she has more right than you do, Mr. Shiver. Her neck is on the chopping block along with the rest of the commissioners. Mr. Shiver, if I were you, and if I had left Homestead with its finances in the toilet, I would not be doing anything that might shine a spotlight on me.

Now to the mayor: Mr. Penelas, your memory is quite short, isn't it? You recently won re-election -- barely. You came out of it with your skin, not a mandate. Quit pandering to a powerful few and start legislating for the people, who do not want an airport between two national parks. Last time you escaped; you didn't "win." Maybe next time we'll have a county mayor for the people, by the people, and of the people -- not the powerful.

Andrew H. Williams
Miami

How Is Michael Jackson Like a Cancer Cell?
It's called dedifferentiation, and it's sort of like Howard Hughes: I enjoyed Brett Sokol's "Kulchur" column about Michael Jackson and his new, [locally recorded], album ("Wanna Be Restartin' Somethin'," June 14). I think this quote from the article explains why sales plunged between Thriller and Blood on the Dance Floor: "A source privy to the meeting explains the tension essentially revolves around the impossibility of controlling someone of Jackson's stature: “How do you say no to Michael Jackson? Hello? There are tribes in Africa that worship him as god! Do the words biggest pop sensation ever mean anything to you?'"

That also explains the evolution of his creativity from eccentricity to just plain creepy weirdness. When a person gets to the point of having so many dependent underlings around him that no one provides real feedback without fearing for his job, that person is in danger of turning into something completely unintelligible. (Does the name Howard Hughes mean anything to you?)

I work in molecular biology. Even in that field there's a similar phenomenon. When cells lose their connections with surrounding cells or the extracellular matrix, they become dedifferentiated and can turn cancerous.

Greg Jefford
via Internet

Europeans Absolutely Adore the Gloved One
Here in Italy he very much tops Mrs. Madonna: I was quite surprised by Brett Sokol's article on Mr. Jackson. First of all, there were some mistakes about the number of copies sold of Mr. Jackson's last two albums. The first album, HIStory (not HIStory Lesson, which is a remix), sold approximately 15 million copies worldwide (and being a double album, it should be counted as 30 million copies worldwide). The second one, Blood on the Dance Floor, sold approximately four millions copies worldwide (and we should also say it had no promotion at all). As of today Thriller has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. These data are quite different from those written by Mr. Sokol.

Second, why the surprise at Mr. Jackson cleaning the recording-studio floor? It is a matter of good manners. It's being polite and knowing that if your own son does something he shouldn't, it's your duty to repair what he did and to teach him.

Third, Mr. Jackson's son Prince is four years old, not five, having been born in February 1997.

Fourth, I guess the family-reunion concert at Madison Square Garden in September is in fact long-waited by his fans; another concert date was added for September 10. There has been a great demand for tickets all over the world -- from Italy, where I come from, from Spain, England, U.S.A., Japan, France, Germany, and so on. All over Europe trips have been organized by national fan clubs to attend this concert.

Another thing just came to mind. Right now Mrs. Madonna is in Italy for her three-day tour in Milan. For the three dates she sold more or less 33,900 tickets. Two shows sold out and one did not, despite a big publicity campaign. When Mr. Jackson came to perform in Milan, back in 1997, no great publicity was done, but with just one concert 45,000 tickets were sold. What about that? When Mr. Jackson went to London, back in March 2001, he was greeted by fans coming from all over Europe and from the U.S.A. (I personally met several American fans), and here again trips were organized by national fan clubs to see him.

One last thing: Mr. Jackson's new album is now completed. The title is known as well as the fifteen songs. There's a big difference between an artist whose albums come out every three or four months, with just one or two hits per album, and an artist whose albums come out every four to five years and all the tracks are potential hits.

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