A Good Life
As I cannot stop weeping for the horrendous fate of Freddie Gray, I turn to your story (“Guiding Light,” City Folk, April 22) and weep for joy. There is so much pain in our world, and Aneice Vinson is helping to ameliorate that. Brava! Brava! Baltimore is like that—so much to cry about, with pockets of joy and solace.
Leslie Robin Kassal
Great article about the moribund Lexington Market (“The Battles of Lexington,” Feature, April 22). On the title page, a color picture focusing on the market’s neon electric American flag was featured. Interesting story about this flag, which is probably ignored more than studied.
Notice the flag has only 48 stars, which means it was created before 1959. It was made right before World War II and hung above the stage in the Marine Ballroom of Atlantic City’s famous Steel Pier until the early 1960s, when Bob Graziosa of Reisterstown acquired it from George Hamid, the Pier’s owner. Graziosa refurbished it and loaned it to the City of Baltimore for display. It is only one of a handful of relics still around from the original Steel Pier.
The Marine Ballroom, built in 1898 and destroyed in a spectacular fire at the end of 1969, was located about half a mile out over the Atlantic Ocean. The neon was located in the middle of the stage proscenium and looked out at over 5,000 patrons when bands such as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and countless others played. Gene Krupa’s band played its first engagement there, as well as Rosemary Clooney when she sang with the Tony Pastor band.
Miss America was crowned on that stage from 1935 to1939. Ricky Nelson’s first performance anywhere was there, facing the greatest one-day crowd of over 40,000 people the Pier had ever seen. The Supremes, Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong, The Four Seasons, Temptations, Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, Tiny Tim, and countless others performed on those same wooden boards.
That neon flag has seen many historic moments. It will still be seen if Lexington Market is one of them.
Crime and Punishment
William Bond (The Mail, April 22), I have lived in Baltimore all of my life, and yes, I agree that much of the black community is made up of people “who have no respect for the law.” I also agree that Baltimore City juries are much too forgiving of criminals based on misguided notions of racial solidarity. I even remember a case in which an obviously guilty thug was let off by the jury because (in the words of one juror) “we just didn’t want to send another brother to jail.”
But no police brutality? What planet do you live on? I’m guessing you never heard of “blaming the victim,” which you clearly do in the fourth paragraph of your letter. And what do Reverend King, Al Sharpton, and Justice Marshall have to do with the matter at hand, anyway? Freddie Gray was handcuffed and put into the back of a van in OK condition; one-half hour later, he arrived at the police station with a broken back. I guess he did it to himself.
I find William Bond’s letter to be very well written, and that is pleasing, but I sense he is taking too right-wing a view when he states there is “no systemic police violence in Baltimore,” then goes on to blame the victims.
There can be police misconduct, whether “systemic” or not. In Freddie Gray’s case, he was running away with the police, not fighting with them.
From my left point of view, to be transparent, the police are an occupying force in the ghetto, enforcing the wishes of the powers that be. There are no jobs. Why wouldn’t the young males turn to drug slinging? And why wouldn’t they run from the 5-0? Is that a crime?
What the hell does age have to do with sketching tough-ass cartoons (“Why we’re not running ‘Maakies’ anymore,” The News Hole, April 17)? You sound like a hater of old people, for chrissakes!
“As a 40-year-old, I’m not ‘young,’” you write, “but I’m grateful that our masthead is increasing populated by people who are—they really should be the driving force behind ‘alternative’ culture, however we define it these days. If alternative weeklies are still relying on fifty- and sixtysomethings to be their driving force—and many of them are—then something is wrong.”
Well, how do you define “alterative” culture “these days”? How is “alternative” different from established order? If your “alternative” is anything like the Boston Phoenix, then it is really only an established-order “alternative,” just like Rolling Stone magazine. And established-order “alternative,” in case you haven’t realized, is an oxymoron.
Age should have nothing to do with anything! If an old man has a sharp critical eye and the courage to speak rude truth, then you should choose him over a millennial who doesn’t. Period. If a cartoonist like the guy who does “Maakies” or “Doonesbury,” which I’ve never really even looked at, gets published in established-order media like the “New York Times” and the “New Yorker,” then clearly the cartoonist is unthreatening to the established order and is not “alternative.” How can he or she even remotely be perceived as an “alternative” newspaper cartoonist? Crumb is certainly not “alternative.” He’s established order. Look at the lame cartoon he did on the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Finally, you note: “A younger generation is coming of age, calling it like it sees it, and getting rid of shit it doesn’t like.” Well, how does one possibly stereotype an entire generation of humans? Truth is truth. Bullshit is bullshit. That’s what should preoccupy a satirical cartoonist, not punching up or punching down, as Gary Trudeau would have us believe. Trudeau sits as yet another millionaire (another Tony Millionaire?), proclaiming to be champion of the little guy. That is bullshit.
Age has nothing to do with any of this! For the record, I am 66, was permanently trespassed from my neighborhood library two years ago for speaking truth to power, have cartooned all the local pillars, especially the ones who hand out the taxpayer funded grants, invitations, etc., and always send the cartoons to the targets. Never heard of me? Of course, you haven’t! My local newspapers, the Cape Cod Times and Barnstable Patriot, won’t even publish me. Hell, I’ve criticized those editors numerous times! I’m truly “alternative,” as opposed to syndicated established-order “alternative.” There’s a world of difference!
G. Tod Slone
Editor’s Note: Due to the tumultuous events that have unfolded in our city over the past week, the City Paper staff decided to scrap much of its regular format and sections to focus exclusively on the death of Freddie Gray, and the protests and riots that have followed.
This week’s issue was supposed to be our “Fiction and Poetry” issue, in which we announce the winners of our fiction and poetry contest and publish their work. For fiction, first place went to Dan Hunt for “Founders Day,” second place to Tim P. Walker for “That Goddamn Chuck Mangione Song,” and third place to Zoë Zellers for “Meet Me Near the Sign for 2 For $3 Fish Filets.” There was a three-way tie in the poetry contest. The winners are “Train a Hypocrite,” by Julia Showalter, “Growing Discontent,” by Terrel Askew, and “Snowy Remembrances,” by Alan Barysh. We will publish the winners in forthcoming issues.
FROM THE WEB, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER
Change a culture? It takes more than a big plan to change a culture. Nice piece.
—“Gordon Steen,” April 23
Proud of the people of Baltimore for taking to the streets to voice their anger and frustration in a non violent manner. The last thing we need in this city is more violence, and the people need to be able to vent their pain while working towards positive change. The nation is watching us, and I hope the powers that be can prove that we will NOT tolerate police brutality in our city!!
—“Michelle Jenkins,” April 24
Michelle thank you for saying that. I have Facebook friends that are saying that they should just build a wall. That’s BS! We need bridges, not walls!
—“Scott Homebrew,” April 24
These protests are about as productive as Honey Boo Boo’s weight loss program.... These aren’t protests, these are powder keg riots just seconds from igniting.... These people are literally waiting for any direct provocation from the police to start a full out riot in downtown Baltimore. They are unorganized, misguided, and blind. And a big thumbs up to the local media who filmed an on street interview with the guy who was stoned out of his mind.... International news agencies used his interview to personify this “movement”.
—“Wm F Erwin II,” April 25
I’ve know J.M Giordano for over decade now. There are very few people that love Baltimore more than he does. Seeing this happen to him disturbed me to my core. With all of the noise in the media and not knowing who is reporting honestly or for sensationalism -knowing that Giordano and Woods are out there reporting on this has given me an honest view on what is really happening out there on the streets of Baltimore. Thank you City Paper, Giordano, and Woods for loving this city and reporting in a clear, honest, brave and considerate way.
—“Sarah Werner,” April 26
Amazing that a Reuters photographer was allowed inside one of the transport vans - Baltimore Police statement - “...photographs of the van could not be shared with the media because they are currently part of an investigation.” ( How is a photo of the inside of the van going to alter the evidence in ANY conceivable way?) Sure hope he had a camera with him.
—“Butler Bishop,” April 26
tense situation.things happen.cops were having bricks and hunks of concrete thrown at them....lot’s of people suffer for their “art” maybe they were tired and tired of having cameras shoved in their faces.....no story here move on.......
—“malco49,” April 26
Giordano is hardly an opponent of the police. He comes from a cop family.
—“Mark Adams,” April 26
I’ve got a suggestion. Get the hell outta the cops way when people are volatile and throwing stuff at them.
—“Mark Imam,” April 26
Reporters risk their necks to get the words and images we who were not there depend on to even know that something went down last night, so we can sit back, judge and unfortunately in your case Mr. Iman, make jokes about a bad situation. Show some respect.
—“Jake Carlo,” April 26
I respect journalists and the harm they put themselves in to bring us a story, but refusing to move and then writing a story about how you were assaulted seems a little questionable. Cover the story, don’t make yourself the story. Much respect for being there on the front lines, but don’t write about it as if you were a victim of police assault.
—“Kevin Bianca,” April 26