Letters from the week of 12-21-2006

Backwash, December 7

Fox Trot

Why doesn’t a story about the teaming of the Fox network and highly paid, immature idiots not surprise me? Why should we expect more when talent and brains aren’t prerequisites to holding a job for Fox? WDAF Channel 4’s Don Harmon and Mark Alford displayed machismo that “may have crossed a line”? I should say so.

Evan L. Leonard, Manhattan, Kansas

Hawk One Up
The Star‘s Tom McClanahan says: “I guess the question now is whether we can keep it [Iraq] from becoming a catastrophe.”

I’d say that depends on whether we keep listening to stupid fucks like McClanahan, who have yet to be right about much of anything. Dave Hines, Kansas City, Kansas

KC Strip, December 7

Seldom Scene

Maybe the situation at the Mutual Musicians Foundation is a sign that “the day the music died” is upon us. Obviously, no one is really interested in upholding traditions that generally keep a tourist area alive. Wish I had a quarter for every time I sang “Kansas City, Here I Come” during my many years on the West Coast performing with various bands.

I arrived here in 2004 and visited the Mutual Musicians Foundation after going to the Blue Note earlier that evening. It was very quiet and low-key — no one drunk or out of control. It was a pleasant environment to hang out and jam after hours. So why someone would “drop a dime” on an institution that has drawn folks from miles around and abroad is beyond me.

But, having tried to break into the music scene here for over two years now, I will say that maybe the music scene in general is dying in this town. Local people are just not interested in coming out to the local clubs anymore. A group is lucky if they have a small following of people show up at a gig, and from what I have noted, most of the establishments here are smallish venues.

This probably has a lot to do with the “fear factor” instilled from the media, and the DUI factor from the local police. Responsible adults can no longer go out and have a good time without worrying about random crime or becoming randomly suspected of being drunken drivers.

The Mutual Musicians Foundation is a monument to the speak-easies of old. There is pretty much nothing else going on there. Someone with say-so should care. Cheryl Thompson, Kansas City, Kansas

Flask Forward
I remember when I was a kid in the country, the place they gathered to play and dance only sold the set-ups — Coke, OJ, tonic, etc. — and the customers brought their own liquor in. Could this work at the Mutual Musicians Foundation? Or am I, too, longing for the day when Big Brother worried about crimes with victims instead of stomping out everyone’s good time?

Brenda Deckman, Kansas City, Missouri

Feature: “Life Without Wal-Mart,” December 7

Bob the Builder

So Bob Bernstein got dumped! I wouldn’t mind someone dumping me if I could have made millions working for them. I’d have smiled all the way to the bank all those years and I’d have salted away enough to live well the rest of my life. And it sounds like Mr. Bernstein has done that.

Wal-Mart is getting criticized. So what! Everybody who does anything gets criticized by somebody. Sometimes it’s justified. Sometimes it’s envy or plain old jealousy.

The world is changing, has always been changing, and sometimes we don’t like it. The Indians didn’t know what to do when our forefathers landed on the East Coast, and by the time they figured it out, it was too late for them. The Mexicans are here, and some people don’t like it, but if these people lived in Mexico, they might be crossing that river, too. I would.

Rural America is changing — has always been changing. We can blame the horse, the train and the car. We could even blame booze and drugs. We could blame labor unions — they tend to make jobs pay better in bigger cities, and people go there. We could blame cooperate farming and bigger farm machinery that needs fewer workers.

Maybe we should eliminate all advertising and let goods or business plans stand or fall on their own. Maybe we wouldn’t have a Wal-Mart to criticize.

A $425 jacket — and Bernstein made his money helping sell cheap stuff and he won’t be shopping at Wal-Mart. (Did he ever?) Talk about a hired gun. But the money was good. Charlie Williard, Kansas City, Missouri

Sam’s Town

Excellent story, although I think you let Sam Walton off the hook too easily. I’ve seen stories that clearly show that Sam was the first to pursue Chinese goods over American made products.

I’ve also recently heard the person who dumped Bernstein-Rein has been fired from Wal-Mart. It sure would have been nice to have heard what Bernstein has to say about that. Gene Thomas, Kansas City, Missouri