It is sadly ironic that New Times music editor John Floyd chose the weekend of the Miami Bob Marley Festival to expose your readership to a poorly researched, out-of-the-loop article and his negative personal opinion of the state of reggae music ("Lively Up Itself," February 8). Sadder still is the fact that many of Marley's family live here in Miami or will be in town for the festival and will see the article, emblazoned with the picture of Ziggy and the Melody Makers. By declaring reggae music to be dead, Mr. Floyd has shown true reggae fans that he has no idea that reggae is more alive than ever.
I say personal opinion, not professional journalistic opinion, because it is obvious that he never bothered to speak with any of the local reggae DJs or promoters, or on a larger scale to check into the Internet, to see if anyone willing to be quoted agreed with his hypothesis.
From the opening paragraph, it was obvious that the last reggae concert Mr. Floyd attended (Toots and the Maytals) was six years ago. Other than some passing references to current reggae dancehall artists such as Shabba Ranks and Shaggy and some reggae musicians, Mr. Floyd seems unaware of the "conscious reggae" that has become very popular in the past few years. This reggae revival, fueled by uplifting lyrics, beautiful voices and harmonies, and a return to the basic tenets of Rastafarianism, fills the airwaves of local reggae radio shows and is constantly discussed on the Internet.
I have more than twenty reggae home pages bookmarked for frequent visits to the Web sites of fans, reggae artists, and recording companies of the new, positive reggae. The fact that crucial new stars such as Luciano, Israel Vibrations, the late Garnett Silk, Mystic Revealers, Yami Bolo, Mikey Spice, Spanner Banner, and Yvad are getting rave reviews, winning over new converts to reggae, and pleasing the long-term reggae fans was ignored. That is astounding. (By the way, many of those artists have performed, often to standing-room-only crowds, in Miami within the last year at venues such as the AT&T Amphitheater, the Cameo Theatre, and the Reggae Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, which shows that Mr. Floyd didn't bother to pick up on the new trend.)
Some parts of his article rang true -- many reggae fans, such as me, feel that reggae went into the doldrums after Marley's death. And, yes, some dancehall can be some of the worst music on the planet. But it is a long leap to state that reggae is dead, especially when the writer didn't take time to check the pulse, or make the distinction between reggae and dancehall.
Mr. Floyd states that "reggae has for years been adrift on a sea of mediocrity." I think perhaps he is describing himself and his career, because the artists I have cited are vibrant, dynamic, spiritual, and have won over many new reggae fans with fabulous rhythm sections, horns, violins, and incredibly creative lyrics.
Third World, Here We Come!
I want to express my admiration and appreciation for Jim DeFede's article "Flying Blind" (February 1). I read the piece quite by accident and was pleased with the writing style, pertinent facts, and the general intent to be informative. Reality -- virtual and other -- should be the required underpinning in communication today, and Mr. DeFede has got it.
I hope New Times will keep on top of this disaster by the county commission as they lead us ever downward into Third World concepts. We need your zeal (that word left the language, did it not?) in communication. At least we'll go out not with a whimper but with a real hue-and-cry bang.
El Jinetero -- the New Album by Willy Chirina
I read Elise Ackerman's article "But Will It Play in Peoria?" (January 18) in relation to the controversy originated by the video "La Jinetera" by Willy Chirino. The only controversial item I can find with respect to this video is its title. If the title were changed from "La Jinetera" to "El Jinetero," there probably would be no more fuss.
Odio and the American Way
In Robert Andrew Powell's conclusively thorough investigative piece probing the Miami city manager's dubious academic credentials ("The Graduate," January 18), it's apparent, way beyond a reasonable doubt, that the only degree Cesar Odio earned was a major in misrepresentation and a minor in white-out forgery.
Let's say adios to Odio; otherwise we send a clear signal to the newest wave of political refugees: "Hey, it's okay, it's the American way," and "If he can get away with it, so can I."
Miami Beach Cops: The Force Formerly Known as Fair
I refer to the club raids of the last couple of months ("Swelter," January 11). Could someone please explain to me why, when my bike is stolen (twice), my car is broken into, my friend is run over by a hit-and-run driver, and another's house is burgled, the Miami Beach police do nothing but grudgingly fill out a police report (which is then promptly filed away)? But when a few friends and I went to Glam Slam on a Friday night to dance and have a few drinks, we were rudely confronted by masked police and forced out onto the streets like common criminals.
The Miami Beach police seemed to believe that everyone in the club was involved in drug sales. Why then, out of 1600 patrons, were only two arrests made? If they think that this kind of action will gain the respect of the community or end drug sales, they are sadly mistaken on both counts. Everyone I know or have spoken with was insulted by this fascist and bigoted behavior.
If they are so certain drug sales are being made in the clubs, why do they not simply arrest those people involved? Why embarrass and ruin the night for 1600 locals and tourists (who, by the way, are the economic lifeblood of Miami Beach)? Why not suspend the club's license at 6:00 in the evening instead of waiting until 2:30 in the morning, after the club patrons have waited in line and paid the twelve-dollar entrance fee? Obviously they only want to grandstand for the TV cameras, which were conveniently waiting outside to film the surprised patrons.
The Miami Beach police, and Chief Richard Barreto in particular, should realize that they are here to serve the community. That means they should arrest criminals, not perform like chimpanzees for the TV cameras. If they would give the community respect, maybe, just maybe, we might give it back to them. At this point, after the ridiculous display given to locals and tourists alike, that may be impossible.
Rosemary, Have You Applied at Office Depot?
Regarding the English-only issue ("Remember, the Customer Is Always American," December 21), for the last seven years I have been unable to get a job in my chosen field (customer service) in Dade County owing to my not being fully fluent in both English and Spanish. This can be called marketplace economy, majority rule, or whatever you want, but to me it is still blatant discrimination, since in every home there is usually one person who can translate for non-English speakers, and in every office more than a few bilingual people who can translate Spanish-only calls.
To me this practice is just as despicable as large companies sending American jobs south of the border for slave wages.
Kiam Nobe Gurafiji Templai English Only Tararah Goon Diay
English only (nur la angla). Lastatempe politikistoj sin profilas per la postulo je lego kiu helpus la anglan lingvon al pozicio de ekslusiveco. Tio povus sajni stranga, car jam 99,9% de ciuj publikajoj de la usona registaro estas en la amerikana versio de tiu lingvo. Tiel ke speciala lego en tiu senso efikus superflua.
Malantau tiu kasigas plu: sinistrajoj. Similas al nesto plena je ovoj de kiuj A post longa kovado -- glitas venenaj serpentidoj kaj ne kokidoj. Tiu pensaco kasas en si pensojn de "Ni-kontrau-ili" kaj volas homogenigi la landon.
Kelkiuj opinias erorume ke necesas egalecigi ciujn statanojn por regi ilin. Tiu kredo dominas multparte jam kaj kondukas, en la kaso de Usono, al miskonkludo ke nur anglalingvajoj estas "usonaj." Tiu pensamaniero min trafis lastjare.
Kiam mi iris peti mian novan pasporton, la registaranoj ne vokis mian nomon laute kiel tiujn de la aliaj petindoj por venigi nin al la fenestro kie ili distribuis la pretajn produktojn, sed literumus gin. Kiam mi petis kial, la oficistino arogante diris ke me devus prendi usonan nomon. Mia familio estas en Usono jam dum tri generacioj kaj por mi mia nomo estas "usona."
Antau kelkaj jaroj la gepatroj de lernejanoj en Massachusetts plendis pri lernistino kiu havis, diris ili, fremdlandan akcenton.
Kliento mia de Britio devis peti sian novan telefonnumeron de BellSouth de mia skribotablo. Subite li, ruga je furiozo, transdonis la auskultilon al mi. La telefonistino de BellSouth diris al mi: "Diru al tiu eksterlandano ke li devas lerni la anglan lingvon se li estas en Usono!" Mi ne komprenis plu la mondon!
Jen punkto grava: la lingvo de la plejparto de usonanoj estas dialekto de la angla, kiu sin disvolvas ciam pli malproksimen de la pralingvo. Ne sin parolas la angla ci -- tie se la usona.
Sed grave: Kiam ni finfoje havos la novan, brilan, blankblankan legon, kiu vokos la lingvopolicon kaj kiu jugisto decidos se tiu au tiu vorto au frazo estas "angla" kaj kiu akcento estas "usona"?
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Finfine ni havos la fasismon al kiu en ciu socio kelkiuj sopiras, kaj la stato decidos kiel ni rajtas paroli.
Tiel, car mi ne volas perdi miajn rajtojn de memdecidan povon, mi ne plu kompras en Office Depot, nek por mi private nek por la kompanio, kie mi laboras.