Letters from the week of January 6, 2005

 N-Word Uproar

We ain't all bad: So I was getting ready to write a letter bashing your use of the N-word. I mean, I can't believe you racist motherfuckers used that term in a headline, even if it was a quote from some low-life, half-white hip-hop artist and the term's all over the radio ("'Nigga,' Please," Joe Watson, December 23)! But then I read your "Do or Die" story (Robert Nelson, December 23) and I realized you playas ain't all bad. At least Robert Nelson told it like it was about why Mexicans come to Arizona.

What Nelson wrote should go without saying, but the rednecks in Arizona need to hear it over and over. Things are so terrible in Mexico that any decent person is going to come north to save his family from starvation. The anti-immigrationists who scream that Mexicans should stay in their own damn country should try actually thinking for a change. If they were in the shoes of the average Mexican and had a decent bone in their bodies (which they don't, in my opinion), they'd be paying coyotes to bring them here, too.

Sometimes I wonder why you guys choose to put certain stories your covers. The "Do or Die" article should have been on the front, and the story about the hip-hop factions fighting [titled "Soul Drain" on the cover] should have been buried. Except for some racist crew member using the word "nigga," why would anybody care?! And I'm saying that as a hip-hop devotee.
Tony Leandro, Phoenix

A poor representation: New Times has always been a favorite paper of mine. The ["'Nigga,' Please"] article is a poor representation of everyone involved. It misquoted so many things. I think it was a waste of a cover and two pages. It served absolutely no purpose for any of our communities. Shame on you, New Times and Joe Watson!

My advice for up-and-coming stories (especially hip-hop-related ones) is: Use New Times music columnist Brendan Joel Kelley, or this third-grader I know. They have more hip-hop knowledge than Watson; they understand how important hip-hop is to our society. I hope the story got Joe a promotion, or something, so it was worth his time. It surely wasn't worth mine.

Peace and respect to those with passion and integrity in their work.
House1, Furious Styles Crew, Glendale

Ignorance is not bliss: By misspelling the actual word and using "nigga," you further lower the black ignorance level. It's bad enough that ignorance among blacks has gotten worse with the popularity of disco, R&B and flap (or whatever you want to call it). But do you have to glorify this problem with a phony story that tries to portray [hip-hop] as some mainstream culture event?

The ignorant, racist black-trash culture has enough problems without the God- and America-hating liberal-left media striving to make it appear that the behavior [of hip-hop types] is not destructive and antisocial. Cop a clue, retards!
Bill Terror, Phoenix

Eminem Bashing

Gay or straight?: As one self-proclaimed liberal to another, I was surprised by Brendan Joel Kelley's "Rainbow Eminem" column (Revolver, December 2). Saying that Eminem is "finally talking about [his] homosexuality" on the new CD is somewhat sophomoric on your part.

Hey, if Madonna and Britney can fondle and kiss onstage, why can't Eminem rap about finding football erotic? Does that necessarily mean he must be gay? Personally, I'd put him at a 4 on the gay-straight continuum (0 totally straight and 10 totally gay). Being an avid reader of the Revolver column, I've noticed Kelley's self-references that he has "immense fondness for bitches" and is a "breeder."

Why do we have to label everyone as either gay or straight? Did the lyrics Kelley quoted come to him when he was trying to think of a column to write, or did they jump out at him when he first heard them?

Maybe, through his music, Eminem is exploring and sharing his bisexuality. Or maybe he's saying something about sexuality being fluid and flexible. Or maybe he's playing a profile to boost sales (maybe Brendan, too?).

Despite these questions, I'm a big fan. Keep up the great work!
Name withheld by request

Not his best work: I wanted to comment on your December 2 issue. I am new to the area, so this was my first experience with your magazine. Unfortunately, I found the "Rainbow Eminem" music column lacking in literary style.

I want to encourage Brendan Joel Kelley to write above the characters he is commenting on. Yes, perhaps Encore isn't his favorite album, but surely his writing doesn't need to come down to the level of the album's creator.

Anybody can use crude words, but the difference between a writer and someone who merely writes words is the ability to effect change that benefits the audience. I know the column was quoting lyrics, and that would explain some of the crudeness, but a good writer has the ability to use discretion to protect his audience.

Brendan Kelley has an opportunity to showcase his best work to the Valley, and I don't think he's taking advantage of it.
Nichole Wise, Mesa

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