The proper use of the N-word: Great article on the hip-hop war in town ("'Nigga,' Please," Joe Watson, December 23), but let me make a considerable point or two. Isn't it funny when scumballs from that world collide? I used to be into the whole culture and its music back in the gangsta rap days, but now I find all of it disgusting. And, nigga please, only black folks are allowed to use the N-word to each other! Everybody with half a brain knows that.
It's one thing for House of Furious Styles Crew to mouth the N-word lyric [while listening to hip-hop music], or in the songs he [dances to], but it's another for him to argue that he, as a non-African-American, has the right to use it otherwise. Darryl Khalid should have kicked his Latino ass.
The racist slang "nigger" is probably the most racially charged word there is. There is no worse racial slur around; what could you possibly say to a white person that has the same sting? I was even offended when I saw the term "nigga" on the inside of New Times. I notice that you had the good sense not to use it on the front of your magazine.
Kelly Richardson, Phoenix
It's been done to death: Who is this guy Darryl Khalid trying to fool? Is he some naive idiot, or what? From the earliest days of rap music, you can't listen to a song without hearing the word "nigga" used repeatedly. Every kid singing along is saying the word in unison to the lyrics, and hip-hop fans aren't all black, don't ya know?!
Khalid must be a fucking moron to insist that House has somehow violated some racial manifesto. I might agree with him if the word were "nigger" and a white person were using it derisively in any way. But the charge has been taken out of the word "nigga" by all the hip-hop artists using it to death in their music.
Daryl Duncan, Phoenix
Mixed signals: Concerning the article about the supposed "rivalry" between House of Furious Styles Crew and Darryl Khalid of FootKlan: First, let's get the race issue out of the way. According to FootKlan, "nigga" is an offensive word that its members "know how to use . . . behind closed doors." Why, then, do they choose to perform in front of all ages and races to Jay-Z and other "street hop" songs with countless "nigga" references in the lyrics?
This article isn't about the N-word; it's not even about hip-hop. This is the story of [Khalid], who crisscrosses the Valley trying to coerce respect that will never come.
If House is a leader, it's because he has vision, plus a love of the hip-hop culture, and that's what people follow. I don't know him very well, and I don't presume to speak for him, but I think it's safe to say he doesn't care what you, me, or Darryl think of him. He's not concerned with being a leader.
He does, I'm sure, care what twisted impression of hip-hop a casual reader might come away with after having read this article.
Name withheld by request
Looking for enrichment: It's kind of disappointing that on the eve of Christmas Eve, New Times does a cover story about the personal drama [between two hip-hop crews]. I thought you might print a story about something positive or enriching.
Lindsay Shaw, Phoenix
A series of unfortunate events: Hey, you guys . . . what's up?! First you run a cafe review saying that the food at the Bada Boom restaurant in Scottsdale is terrible ("Bada Bomb," Stephen Lemons, December 16), and then I see an ad a week or two later saying that the place is great. Which is it? Never mind, I already know.
I had seen the full-page ad, with the quote from Stephen Lemons' review, only the ad spelled the name of your cafe guy as Stephen Lemon (pun intended?), and then I went to the restaurant. Hey, I thought it was pretty clever to use the same name as the bar in The Sopranos for a restaurant name. I figured it would be a fun place to take a date. And it was fun -- until I tasted the food. It was purely out-of-the-bottle. I could have bought a jar of pasta sauce, poured it over some noodles at home and had almost the same dining experience.
As I said, I thought the interior of the restaurant and the music playing were cool, so the night wasn't a bust.
Anyway, I have a question: Does the right hand at New Times know what the left hand is doing? How can you advertise that the place is great an issue or two after your critic levels the cuisine of said place?
Here's one of many negative comments that Lemons -- or Lemon -- wrote in the review: "'Pathetic' and 'embarrassing' are two of the adjectives that best describe Bada Boom's Caprese salad." Here's what it said in the ad on page 55 of your [December 30 edition]: "I preferred the Shrimp Scampi wrapped in Pancetta . . . It's only $10 for a nice-size portion, and the Calamari were of far better quality than I've had lately."
I looked back, and these comments were definitely in the article, but they were overwhelmed by your reviewer's bashing the food. When I think of it now, the comments in the ad aren't even glowing. In addition, Lemons didn't even like the theme of the place as much as I did. He said it was the worst kind of tourist trap.
Guys, walk down the hallway at New Times and talk to each other; that way, maybe you can spell your own guy's name right, at least.
David R. D'Antoni, via the Internet
Taken out of context: I'm a little pissed off right now. First, I see a full-page ad about this Scottsdale pasta place Bada Boom with what seems to be encouraging words from your food critic. Then I notice in an earlier review online that [cafe critic Stephen Lemons] had reamed the place a new a-hole. The words the Bada Boom ad quoted were the only ones where Lemons wasn't insulting the restaurant.
What gives? Are you intentionally trying to confuse readers? I can see where the owner of Bada Boom would want to take Lemons' words out of context in a full-page ad hoping that everyone who hadn't read the original review (like me) would think [Bada Boom's] the cat's pajamas. But why would New Times run such an ad? I don't know what a full-page ad costs, but wouldn't the money be better spent improving the food at the place?
Kenny Miller, Phoenix
Couldn't Care Less
We're very concerned . . . about certain things: Great piece on Joe Arpaio, but I'd like to add my two cents. Trying to gain points with readers by beating up Joe over how prisoners are treated in the jails is a losing proposition ("The Devil's in the Details," John Dougherty, December 23).
Most Arizonans love the idea of keeping criminals in jail (whether they're convicted or not).
In future articles, I would skip writing about the unfortunate souls in overcrowded tents. It's unfortunate they are there awaiting trial, but most of us don't care.
We do, however, care about Joe's real estate holdings. We care about his moral problems. We care about his inability to attract detention officers. We just don't really care if someone is sweating or missing a meal or two while in jail -- or what Amnesty International has to say.
Bob Hisserich, Mesa
Common sense: In response to a letter to the editor from Carol Kelley of Surprise ("In the Doghouse," December 23), there is a valid reason animal control wants to know if you live in an apartment and if your complex will allow pets.
The reason is, many animals are returned to the pound or dumped on the street when people realize they cannot have pets in their apartment.
For you to not pay a pet deposit when you indeed have a pet is probably violating your lease agreement. A property owner may let you remedy the situation by paying the deposit and additional fees, but some landlords may take steps to evict you.
Before you write to New Times or, for that matter, adopt a pet, do a little research and use some common sense.
Amy Brown, Phoenix
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A Lot of (Red) Bull
Stick tease: It's outrageous that New Times put a bisexual's quest for sex on the front of the magazine [in a cover tease]. And to call the intended victim of this sexual predator a "stick man" both in the Inferno story and on the front makes the situation worse ("Red Bull Run," Stephen Lemons, January 6). Have some decency!
Molly Thornton, Sun City
Red Bull and exercise don't mix: In the Inferno article titled "Red Bull Run," the writer refers to drinking Red Bull and alcohol as "a little like smokin' trees sprinkled with nose candy." However, following the death of an Irish student who had drunk three cans of Red Bull before strenuous exercise, as well as the deaths of three people in Sweden who drank it combined with alcohol and/or exercise in 2001, the product has come under scrutiny.
A report from the Irish Food Safety Protection Board was commissioned following a recommendation from an inquest jury after the death of the 18-year-old Limerick student who had drunk three cans of Red Bull before a basketball tournament. The inquest jury found no evidence that Red Bull was responsible for his death, but the board advised that stimulant drinks should carry a warning label that they should not be consumed with alcohol.
Jim Peirce, Carefree