Letters From the Issue of Thursday, September 7, 2006

Grime Is the Word

Times, they are a-changin': New Times, you really know how to ruin my day! First I read longtime investigative reporter John Dougherty's piece about how he will no longer be turning over rocks and looking under them in Phoenix ("Vaya Con Dios," August 31), and then I turn to your cover story and it's about a militant anti-American rapper ("Rappin' Radical," Brendan Joel Kelley, August 31).

Well, Dougherty and veteran writer Paul Rubin were about the only reasons I was reading New Times, and now John has left to smell the roses. Most of the great New Times writers — Dewey Webb, Terry Greene Sterling, David Holthouse — are no longer there.

Then you insult us with that awful story on that radical rapper. His name, Grime, pretty much sums him up. This young man should be taken to the woodshed, because he has no understanding of how lucky he is to be in this country. Only in the land of the free would he be allowed to stand up at a microphone and spout his anti-American lyrics.

And for New Times to print such an article as the five-year anniversary of September 11 comes up is also criminal. What is your once-fine paper coming to when you air the views of a pampered little kid who's acting like a member of Osama bin Laden's tribe? Rap music has always been bad enough, but now this kid has really taken it deep into the gutter.

It's amazing to me that he's allowed to do what he does, and it's unbelievable that you would honor him by putting him on the cover of your newspaper at a time when our nation is memorializing those who lost their lives to terrorists. My, how times have changed!
Martha Ridenour, via the Internet

Gangsta pap: The thing that gets lost about Grime in all the shit about his radical lyrics and philosophy is that he's a hell of a rhymer and a hell of a performer. Remember when Ice-T and the old gangsta rappers were out there with all the "Fuck the Police" lyrics, and so forth? Well, Grime has that kind of spirit in his time.

So all you people who are scared shitless by him shouldn't worry. If he someday gets famous, he'll probably turn out like Ice-T and play a cop on some dumb TV show. Or, in his case, maybe a government agent like on 24.

'Cause it's hard to stay angry when you've got lots of money.
Tim Clary, via the Internet

On a mission: Hell yeah! Great story, y'all, on Grime. He definitely is a hard worker, and he's definitely on a mission. I'm glad to know this kid because he's going to be one of the cats that puts Arizona hip-hop on the map.
Dumperfoo, Tempe

Signing Off

Cult figure: What a time for John Dougherty to say goodbye to New Times, when polygamist Prophet Warren Jeffs has just been arrested! I'm wondering if he can stand the pain of watching Utah courts try to hold Jeffs responsible for crimes he's committed in polygamy.

I consider myself one of the lost daughters of Mormonism — not polygamy, but modern-day Mormonism. My crime was to criticize the doctrines that introduced polygamy into the church, which gave rise back then to the same sort of crimes that Jeffs is responsible for. These early Mormon prophets are still so revered in the mainstream church. Yet modern-day Mormons will protest that they are not the same as polygamists.

Many crimes have been committed by churches through the ages. It's the toughest thing in the world to criticize church policy. But I would characterize a church as a cult that doesn't recognize crimes that occur in the carrying out of its beliefs. By this definition, the LDS is a giant cult.

Mormonism is so powerful in Utah that I no longer felt at home in my own home state. I will never forget that John Dougherty respected my feelings of persecution for speaking the truth. He wanted to know more. And he was ready to fight on my side. He's a great journalist!
Geraldine King Hitt, Phoenix

A big self-pat on the back: John Dougherty's New Times articles were always the first things I read. Issues were addressed months to years before they percolated into the mainstream media. I am really going to miss his work, and I sincerely wish him well.

That said, his ("Vaya Con Dios" column stinks on ice. As I read it, I couldn't help but remember Norman Mailer's Advertisements for Myself. Both of these pieces are nauseating, self-congratulatory ego massages. The irony is that Dougherty's professional chronology is totally unnecessary — he did good work, and those of us who read know it. We are aware of his valuable contributions without having him enumerate them for us.

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