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

Reviewing the Reviewer

He's not a Radio-head: Michael Alan Goldberg once again shows his inability to perform any research or at least pull his head out of his ass long enough to write a review. Instead, he relies on an Amazon.com description of Radiohead (Live Wire, December 9).

Muse sounds nothing like Radiohead, and even though the band claims a strong Radiohead influence, the two bands truly sound nothing alike. Well, I guess they are alike in the sense that they are both bands, which have singers. Ah, now I see where MAG was coming from.

I don't know many "buzz bands" with four albums who repeatedly sell out in Europe.

Michael, please stop writing music reviews. You obviously do not enjoy doing it, and you refuse to put any effort into your work. You disgrace New Times with your thoughtless drivel. Perhaps you should consider a career in used-car sales -- or at least something where your fabrication skills are appreciated.
George Turpin, Phoenix

Lawless Lawman

Loyalty from fear: I don't get it! What could our self-absorbed sheriff possibly be hiding? He doesn't have to uphold the law, and apparently neither do his obedient servants ("The Devil's in the Details," John Dougherty, December 23).

Let's be honest here: The loyalty of his people results purely from fear. They wouldn't give a shit otherwise.

Joe Arpaio has made people's lives a living hell for going against his ways. He has done this even to people who haven't gone against him. His loyal subjects don't realize that when he throws them a bone, he's eager to give them the bone.

Please don't stop the articles about this fat-head -- they are working toward changing opinion.
Beverly A. Karr, Mesa

Giant Stones

One vote for governor: And what giant coconut balls they must be! Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley went after perverted Catholic priests, is pro-choice, doesn't like Joe Arpaio, is a real war hero (not somebody who jumps in front of any camera to show off his medals for having the shiniest boots and the brownest nose) and raised not one but two sons without knees ("Balls in the Air," Paul Rubin, December 16)?

If only he were a Democrat! What the hell, he's got my vote. Romley for governor!!
Frank Schtelle, via the Internet

A change of opinion: I read your article on the career of Rick Romley, and I must admit that I am quite surprised at the change I sense in my opinion of the man himself.

Previously, I had little respect for the county attorney and even less for his office and staff. Let's just say that my lifestyle, my circle of friends, and some of my "hobbies" don't foster goodwill toward the law enforcement crowd. Being chief county prosecutor made Romley the icon of my disdain.

Upon finishing the article, however, I find that I almost kinda like the guy.

I never knew he was a 'Nam vet, nor did I know that he had lost his legs serving his country in a war many of my friends' fathers never came home from (I mention this because when I think of Vietnam, I remember my classmates getting called out of class to find out dad wasn't coming home ever.) Romley scores big points with me because he never used his veteran's status in his campaigns.

I also forgot that he spoke out against two pompous-ass sheriffs who were/are quite out of control. I didn't realize how much he wanted to go after Scott Norberg's murderers and their accomplice, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Finally, while I think the article was a bit one-sided because [among other things] you failed to mention the Bob Crane case, I still have a radically changed opinion of the man and his character. Could there be a silver lining on the horizon for Arizona government?
Michael L. McAuliffe, Phoenix

Plenty of opportunities: I thought Paul Rubin's piece on Rick Romley was a one-sided piece of shit. He failed to mention a very important point in bringing up Romley's supposed hatred of Joe Arpaio, and that is that Romley had plenty of opportunities besides the Scott Norberg case to go after this tyrant.

Try any of the multitude of jail deaths resulting from guards not doing their duty. These all happened because Arpaio believes it is good law enforcement for people to die in the jails. He stupidly claims this slashes the crime rate, when it does nothing for the crime rate.

Anyhow, I don't need to elaborate on the many times there have been jail atrocities that Romley could have gotten a conviction for. If he wasn't able to pin the problems on Arpaio directly, he should have pinned them on Arpaio's employees, thus making the sheriff look like the cretin he is. Maybe if enough of this had been done, Arpaio would have gone down at the polls as he deserved.
Name withheld by request


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