Bill Levine’s cover story “Where’s all that Jazz?” (Jan. 15) laments the lack of a jazz scene in Nashville. I’m no expert, but from what I’ve seen, there really aren’t many cities with much of a jazz scene anywhere, here or abroad. Why is this? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it has a great deal to do with the presentation and perception. Jazz music seems to have originated in the bars and bordellos of New Orleans, and was the background music to the activities of the participants involved.
I don’t think anyone foresaw the day when jazz would be relegated to the rarefied realm of museums and academia where it exists today. Perhaps if Gaylord or Disney would open a series of theme parks dedicated to jazzcomplete with gambling, dope dens, etc.more people would become beatnik-lookin,’ finger-snappin,’ Kerouac-reading beret-wearing jazzbos. Wouldn’t you?
Sometimes a crowd
Last Sunday, there was a large and happy crowd of jazz fans listening to excellent jazz music at the Nashville Jazz Workshop concert honoring the Nashville bassist and vocalist Charles Dungee. In talking about Nashville jazz, it seemed quite oblivious for the Scene cover story, “Where’s All That Jazz” (Jan. 15), not to pay credit to our first Nashville jazz school. No need to travel! This cold Sunday afternoon at the NJW in historic Germantown, at the old Neuhoff meat packing plant at the end of Monroe, had a taste of New York, Amsterdam or wherever jazz is for you. Was it the warm red-and-black atmosphere, the unusual art work or the shared pleasure of listening to jazz magicians such as Beegie Adair, Jeff Coffin, Chris Brown, Jim Ferguson, Denis Solee, Bruce and Sandra Dudley, and NJW co-founders Lori Mechem and Roger Spencer?
Bruce is a good guyreally!
The article by Bruce Dobie, “Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean” (Jan. 15), insults the intelligence of the people of Nashville. When did you start employing bitter 10-year-old boys at your paper? This imbecile comments on how Howard Dean has no care for humans in general. I think the people of Nashville of all places, one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever lived in, should know that Howard Dean is campaigning for equality among all people, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. George Bush is the one who sent innocent boys to Iraq to be killed so he could get some cheaper oil prices. Let’s talk about care for humanity there.
Dobie comments on how Howard Dean has no personality. Anyone who votes for a candidate based on their charisma, humor or their smile shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place. Whatever happened to voting for a candidate because of what they stand for and the change they will make in our country? I don’t know about you, but if I had a choice between someone who had no charisma and was extremely intelligent, or someone who has more charisma and the IQ of a brick wall (oh, let’s say, George W. Bush), then I think I would go with the intelligent man (Howard Dean). Also, the reason someone gets into politics doesn’t affect the way they will run our country. The fact of the matter is that Howard Dean is trying to fix the problem George W. Bush has created.
Either case, if I have to suffer through more of Mr. Dobie’s immature rants and incessant whining, I think I may have to stop reading your paper.
Get well soon
Anyone who can call George Bush “honest” has a serious problem with discerning reality and should seek professional help (“Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean,” Jan. 15). I shall pray for you, and don’t worry, after Howard Dean is elected, you, like all Americans, will have access to affordable health care. Good luck and get some rest.
Wow, you hit the nail on the head (“Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean,” Jan. 15). I was debating who I liked best as a candidate for the Democratic nomination and started with Dean and Clark. After reading Clark’s résumé, I was extremely impressed and went in that direction. After spending hours reading his “blog” about people who had met him or seen him talk, I was enthused. They describe Clark in the exact opposite terms that you describe Dean. I liked Dean’s message, but couldn’t put my finger on what I didn’t like him. You are absolutely right. Body language says it all. I lived in Arkansas for 23 years and met Bill Clinton a couple of times before he ran for president. He truly loved people and has devoted his life to public serviceHillary too, contrary to what critics say. I believe Wesley Clark fills that same mold as Bill Clinton. Wesley Clark is the real deal and is attracting supporters from all over the political spectrum. His appeal transcends party lines because he represents the values of all Americans.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Sigelbach, Germany)
An affirmation of anger
Many (including his supporters) will agree that Howard Dean comes off as angry and self-righteous and is prone to stereotype groups of people (“Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean,” Jan. 15). But so does Bruce Dobie, who uses his editorial powers for a one-page hate fest and calls the people of Vermont “just old hippies harvesting syrup and weaving blankets.” What’s the point in arguing who has more right to be self-righteous, anyway? Those who find Bush endearing for coming up with cute nicknames for people will never understand those of us who suffer his smug grin and who have to turn off the radio every time a sound bite threatens to come on.
Helia S. Rethmann
Bruce falls a few cool points
Bruce Dobie writes: “Yet, I can’t bring myself to hate George Bush. In fact, Bush seems like a pretty relaxed hombre to me, a regular old boy who’s always got a good one-liner, a guy who’s comfortable in his own skin. Thus farand people can argue this, but I’ll stand my groundhe’s been honest” (“Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean,” Jan. 15). The last line of that paragraph knocked me off of my chair. Bruce, I have admired your work and your newspaper for the past decade, but you must not be serious regarding Mr. Bush’s integrity.
Just a few points: The tax cuts that benefit the lower class. The shifting pretexts for the Iraqi war and WMD debacle. The campaign promises regarding the environment. And these three issues are just the tip of the iceberg. This administration has bent, distorted and manipulated the truth beyond anything seen previously on the political landscape.
Please publish something, anything, to clear up the record on your faux pas.
Paul Samuel Dolman
What’s wrong with Inside Politics?
In the first two paragraphs of his piece last week, Bruce Dobie questions how people’s feelings about Bush can rise to the level of hatred (“Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean,” Jan. 15). He then goes on to smear Howard Dean with nothing more than his petty preferences of how he thinks a political candidate should smile, talk and feel. It is not OK with Dobie that a candidate for president shows anger. He obviously wants his candidate to be a relaxed, disaffected white boy from the South who has a good one-liner, somebody that is comfortable in his own skin even though he has caused millions to suffer and done irreparable damage to our environment with the dismantling of the EPA. If Dobie thinks George Bush has been honest with the American people, then he’s just deluded. I don’t know how charming you are, Mr. Dobie, or how you hold your mouth when you smile or what you know about the Bible, but I can no longer take seriously a Scene editor who gets his worldview from watching CNN’s Inside Politics all afternoon. What we learned about you was far more credible than what you told us about Howard Dean.
Letter from a Deaniac
The Howard Dean described in Bruce Dobie’s opinion piece last week was so far from reality that I couldn’t even recognize him. Thoughlike DobieI’ve never met Dean, I am excited by his candidacy enough to volunteer for a candidate for office for the first time ever. I’ve been to 150 Nashville houses for Dean so far (taking time off to watch the Titans) and plan to visit more before the Tennessee Democratic primary Feb. 10.
Dean isn’t the smoothest candidate; he says what he thinks and isn’t afraid to say when he was wrong. But compared to the current occupant of the White House, Dean’s candid nature is refreshing. Hundreds of thousands of people have given their time and money to Dean because they are energized by his candidacy. We’re excited as much by his record of balancing budgets and making Vermont the top state for giving health insurance to children (Texas is last, by the way) as we are by the way Dean has shown he’s willing to stand and fight for what he believes.
If you want reporters to have nicknames, Dean’s not your guy. But if you care about our country, take a look at the governor/doctor from Vermont.
Bad Bush, good Dean
I would like to respond to Bruce Dobie’s article about his dislike of Howard Dean. Mr. Dobie starts with praise for Bush’s honesty and warmth. Honesty is not lying about the threat to the U.S. by Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, weapons of mass destruction and ties to 9-11 that lead us to an unnecessary chaotic war. Warmth is not running off to another $1,000-a-plate fundraiser every day and ignoring the bodies and the families at Dover Air Force Base. Bush has fought to win money, subsidies and favorable positions for his rich cronies in oil and other big business. And he has taken us backward on human rights, the environment and our constitutional liberties. Mr. Dobie, I’m not looking for someone who can joke with the reporters. I’ll gladly take Howard Dean, and leave “The blind man in a room full of deaf people” for you.
“The arrogance amazes”
Everywhere I go, I hear people saying things about the news media that frighten me. It could very well be the company I keepaverage people, most committed to their communities, some successful professionally, some not, some with families, some not, some from the South, some not. Their observations are not the good old-fashioned fury at the newspaper’s editorial position that always used to generate a good argument in the coffee group, or even the standard complaints about sloppy coverage that yielded appalling inaccuracies.
What they say is nothing. What they say instead are embarrassed references about their newspaper going straight from the front sidewalk to the recycling bin. Most frightening of all was this memorable conversation over lunch with an intelligent, well-educated individual, successful in his profession, devoted to his family, well-known as a supporter of good causes. When I inquired his opinion of an item in the morning’s news, he delivered this chilling response: “Didn’t see it. The news is so useless I can’t even make myself (read it/listen to it/watch it/take your pick) any more.” And then, “So, who’s left on Survivor?”
To find an example of media coverage that has birthed this terrifying apathynever more frightening than in a presidential election yearlook no further than Bruce Dobie’s bombastic diatribe “Why I Can’t Stand Howard Dean” (Jan. 15). Spare us the excuses that the commentary is cloaked as “first person” and includes the admission that “all personal logic flies out the window.” Here we are subjected to an entire page of sage observations about how Dean holds his arm when he walks through crowds, how his smile is crooked and, most laughable of all, how he relates to reporters. Most laughable of all is the observation, delivered from the Scene, that Dean knows nothing about how average folks are feeling, that he’s not talking to “the people of the South,” that he’s “an obsequious, arrogant Yankee.”
I’m not even a Dean supporter, but something bothers me deeply here. This will be one of the most important presidential elections in our lifetime. Come on, Scene. Give us something relevant to care about. Dobie’s own words describe his piece best: “The arrogance amazes.”
A woman, Bruce and the woodshed out back
Mr. Dobie’s hatred of Howard Dean isn’t based on Dean’s positions, his record, his commonsense message that our government has been hijacked by corporate interests, but by his dislike of Dean’s perceived “personality.” I think if Mr. Dobie cared to look at the issues in this country, his anger would be directed not at Howard Dean, but at the monied special interests, including the media, that most likely own his “alternative newspaper.”
Dean has attracted hundreds of thousands of mainstream Americans who know that decisions about our lives are being made by large corporate contributors to Bush’s campaign and to a lesser extent the Democratic Party. I would think that Mr. Dobie would have some empathy for the three million people who have lost their jobs due to corporate downsizing and the movement of blue-collar and now white-collar jobs to China, India and Mexico. This pattern began with Bill Clinton, a Democrat who raised as much money from corporate interests as the Republicans.
I would also hope that Mr. Dobie had empathy for the 43 million people in our country who have no health insurance. Despite the situation growing worse and worse, the special interests have “bought off” Congress for too long, resulting in the U.S. being the only industrialized country without health insurance. In Vermont, Dean provided health insurance to all children and 90 percent of adults who had no coverage. He wants to do the same for every American.
Dean is shaking up the system, drawing his financial support from average Americans who have contributed a total of $40 million to his campaignwith the average contribution being $100. I think Mr. Dobie would like us to believe that he is a “tried and true” Democrat. In reality, I suspect Mr. Dobie’s disdain for Howard Dean reflects the editorial policy of his “alternative newspaper” to push a corporate agendaone that doesn’t give a damn about him or his Southern readers in Tennessee.
753 Harlech Dr., Newark, Ohio
Piss on you, Karl.
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