LETTERS  PCR #204      (February 16--22, 2004)

 Will Moriaty on "Black Dog", "Oddservations", and "The Digital Divide"
 Terence Nuzum responds to Andy's "Digital Divide" critique
 Andy Lalino on "The Digital Divide" series, re: the '80s
 Derrek Carriveau on "The Digital Divide" series, re: the '80s




Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

WILL MORIATY ON "BLACK DOG", "ODDSERVATIONS", AND "THE DIGITAL DIVIDE"

THE BLACK DOG BITES BACK
Re: Hate Groups in America, current issue. So far I have enjoyed Joshua Montgomery's columns, but I would like to make my own personal observations on "hatred".

Hatred does not necessarily, and in fact rarely, begin when the "youth of today or tomorrow (or yesterday for that matter --Will) are forced to listen and be cross-culture friendly."

The simple fact is that in most cases hate groups are a symptom and not a cause of a deeper problem. The person involved simply harbors hatred in their heart and tends to revel in it. To use the premise that hatred is created because the "youth of today or tomorrow are forced to listen and be cross-culture friendly" is patently false, untrue and a cop out. A person who nurtures hatred toward others was probably "on-board" before anyone tried cramming the "cross-culture friendly" crapola down their throats. I will concede Joshua that you can not (and should not) be forced to like anyone, but to hate someone on such a premise is, at face value, pretty flimsy. (I'm forced to interject here, that what I was afraid of seems to be happening-- in describing the ills of his generation, Joshua may have come across as endorsing hate groups when actually he was struggling to be objective (and may have rung overly sympathetic). I was there when we were discussing it, and I know what that his basic point is forced compliance is usually counterproductive, especially with teenagers. On a personal note, I will admit there will always be factions, unhappy with their life and prone to hate, who will organize into larger destructive entities. Joshua's observation was that they will then prey on impressionable teenagers, already feeling disenfranchised from society to join their ranks.---N)

Most hatred is borne of fear, ignorance, greed, malice and an inability to use reason, mercy or forgiveness in one's attitude toward others. This sickness transcends all levels from families to neighbors to countries. It is a divisive, devouring and destructive side of humankind that has no life-affirming quality whatsoever.

This equation also cuts both ways. You mention white children as minorities in presumably black areas. I will not disagree with a portion of your argument because I know that reverse discrimination exists also and it's just plain wrong. But be fortunate that you were not born black in the racist South in a fortunately passed era. In my bloodline I had a grandfather who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and ancestors who owned slaves, so please do not cop an argument that atrocities did not occur on "the other side" of this issue. I also had ancestors who helped run an Underground Railroad during America's saddest and most divided time.

How do you stop hatred? It has to start with each of us individuals to constantly examine our thoughts and motives. That can be no more accomplished by a School Board than their inept "politically correct" attempts to force us to love one another.

Just remember the Biblical passage of "Loving thy neighbor as thyself". If you harbor no love or respect for yourself, it is highly unlikely that will for anyone else.

A very thought-provoking article Joshua, short, to the point and you did a great service to bring about an issue of this type to our readership. Thanks.

ODDSERVATIONS
Call it New Wave, Synthpop or whatever, but 80's "New Wave" is my favorite type of music (and admittedly I even like some '80s "Big Hair" or "Glam Rock". "Missing Persons" song "Walking in L.A. is a favorite of mine, therefore your forays into the '80s are met with much enthusiasm by me. Your research is top-notch and your efforts highly appreciated.

My only criticism of your eloquent '80s music contributions was your harsh comment about Kurt Cobain in the Lettercol. It was totally uncalled for. Although I am not a fan of Cobain or the Grunge movement he helped usher in, Cobain did not "slay the '80s". The '80s, like every decade before it and after it, was destined to rise and fall - - a change had to happen, just like how Elvis uncrowned Swing in the '50s, the Beatles uncrowned Elvis in the '60s, and disco ruled the airwaves in '70s AT 40 until the '80s rolled along with their artists of the day. As much as I love the '80s, time and tide wait for no one.

DIGITAL DIVIDE
Terence never fails to amaze me at the superb quality of his work. I consider this to be his best contribution since his series on blues several years ago (and I thought I might have been the only PCR soul who loves the XTC song "No Thugs in Our House"). The fact that this is being done while Andy is working on his music of the '80s series is actually a wonderful compliment for readers of this zine to enjoy these two perspectives.

The diversity of authorship is what continues to make PCR fresh, exciting and at times contentious - - sort of like democracy.

Long live democracy (and PCR).

William Moriaty


TERENCE NUZUM RESPONDS TO ANDY LALINO, RE: "THE DIGITAL DIVIDE"

OK Andy,
First things first. (Re: Andy's letter regarding the current "Digital Divide" series, Part 1.--N) You don't know me and no, I don't know your kind. What is my kind anyway, Andy? The stereotypical hip music reviewer who only picks certain CDs to impress the indy chick at the record store? Nope. During the '80s I listened to no music, period. In junior high, I was into film soundtracks which, in turn, led me to classical music. By the end of junior high, it was ragtime jazz and then, logically, by the beginning of high school I fell deep into what is now my favorite genre of music: the blues (mainly pre-war blues of 1920-to about-1943). Sometime in between junior and high school, I found The Doors and Canned Heat. By 10th grade I was also into Buddy Holly and all the '50s greats. So, it wasn't until after high school that I got into any modern music of the '90s. Seeing that I graduated in 1997, that doesn't exactly make me a product of the era, does it? Though I did go back and find that I was neglecting some great music. Later, after that, I went back and discovered Bowie, Iggy Pop, '70's punk, and delved more into 1960's rock which I had been doing on and off during high school. So, no, I don't think you know me.

As for The Pixies and Sonic Youth ushering in the "awful" '90s, that is a matter of taste. Again you are making no wounds by insulting Kurt Cobain, trust me, I get less and less respect for him as the years go by and I discover more stuff he ripped off. This doesn't suprise me seeing as I never thought Nirvana was that great, and that his music was Pixies' rips.

Now onto "what did they accomplish as a result". Well, I'm sure The Pixies didn't like how their music was destroyed by '90s co-opting and the dumbing down of their great '80s sound. Yes, '80s sound--you heard me right. What was underground in the '80s became stale and a bit dumbed-down in the '90s. Much like the great New Wave bands of the late '70s were destroyed by crappy synthpop. Because whatever music in any era that was popular was simply hand-me-downs from the era before. For example, while Heavy Metal became popular in the early-to-mid-70s, it was already being played in the underground as early as '67/'68 by bands like Blue Cheer and Frijid Pink. So, to me, the bands you are saying have an '80's sound, are simply the stale-chip version of the late '70's sound. Furthermore, I take offense when your type of bands are called New Wave, by you, or any media outlet. Because frankly, it's not New Wave. New Wave was the term applied to, basically, punk rock by the British press as a way to describe it as a new wave of rock. Later it was used to describe bands that didn't quite fit the punk mold like: Joy Division, Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, The Jam, Wire, Buzzcocks, etc.. So, unless I'm incorrect, I don't think that any '80s synthpop band can ever claim to be "New Wave" based on those credentials; for that matter they aren't even in the same league as, say, Joy Division. Oh, and how could Television co-exist with half of those bands? They broke up in 1978.

I completely understand though that it is your taste. That is why I never mentioned you or your column by name. At the same time that's why my columns, The Digital Divide and The Enlightenment exist. To offer the alternative side to what is being written on the PCR. I started the column to write about new bands and music because Nolan didn't really know anything about them and no one else wanted to write about them. I thought the site had become too nostalgic. Yes, pretty much I hated that it had become what you like about it so much.

As for the Weekly Planet comment. I'll have you know I can't stand their music reviewer, or the section, and even offered to write for them and mentioned why it needed improving, such as having a music news section, etc.

Am I in doubt of ah-ha's (yes, I did make a spelling boo boo) credentials? No, trust me, I don't think they are of much value. The question is are you in doubt of real New Wave bands' credentials. Listen to Joy Division's Closer lately? You should, you'll find out where New Order went wrong with "Bizarre Love Triangle".

That's all and goodnight folks.

To Derrek,
(Re: Derrek's letter on the "Digital Divide" series, Part 1.---N) Cool, glad you liked the column. I don't usually get any feedback on the music reviews. Which Cure CD did you buy, by the way?

To Hell With You All,
Terence Nuzum


ANDY LALINO ON "THE DIGITAL DIVIDE"

Nolan,
I couldn't help but figure that Terence Nuzum's "30 Bands That Made the '80s Not Suck" (from issue 203) may be a direct reaction to my hefty "VH1 Bands Reunited" essays. If not, it must have been aloof coincidence.

Firstly, since Terence, - you stickler for details, you - misspelled the great New Wave band "a-ha" (you spelled it Ah Ha; the bands spells it entirely lower-case with a dash). Incidentally, a-ha is still phenomenally popular everywhere outside of the US of A (figures...), and didn't make me cringe (neither did Dead or Alive, TBC - BTW: the band or the movie?, or 1980's "Flash Gordon"). You could have used better examples: "Madonna", "Menudo", "Footloose".

From what I remember of the '80s, synthpop bands got along just fine with bands like Television and Magazine. The last thing I'd like to do here is pit one genre of New Wave against another - we got along fine back then and should now.

I know your breed well, as you know doubt know mine. I remember 1988 vividly when select New Wavers were eager to dump, for example, The Human League for critically lauded bands like R.E.M. Both are cool, but this marked a new "grown up" taste for the Wavers heading into their '20s. In 1988 I made a conscious decision never to abandon early '80s bands, Tears for Fears, Men Without Hats, Re-Flex, Japan, Real Life, in favor of the Camper Van Beethovens and Stone Roses. We could have co-existed peacefully, but ah, college radio goons made sure they buried the Kajagoogoos and Flocks of Seagulls very, very deep. And what did they accomplish as a result?: The (*groan*) '90s.

Truthfully, there are only three bands on your list that I owned albums by: The Cure, Echo, and The Smiths (that is until you name your next 20 bands). I had respect for the others you mentioned (except for Galaxie 500, who I never heard of), but let's be honest; there was a distinct difference between fans of those bands and, for example, Falco fans (of which I was one): one being the highbrow, 'Post-Modern' man (as Devo would call them), circa 1987-1989; the latter being the legitimate New Waver (1980-1986).

Interestingly, the late '80s, Post Modern Man went on to bigger and better things, probably most famous for writing articles for The Weekly Planet ("anything pre-Husker Du be damned!"). Terence, you'd fit right in at the Planet, sipping lattes with guys who still have ponytails wishing Al Gore were Prez. I found they have little or no regard for fun New Wave bands like Missing Persons or ABC. To hell with 'em.

I'm not criticizing the music you like, it's just that the late '80s Post-Moderns weren't careful what they wished for; The Pixies and Sonic Youth helped destroy the '80s forever by influencing Nirvana, Alice in Chains and the slew of Seattle grungers. Maybe that's why Kurt did himself in; its hard to live with the guilt that you played a pivotal role in slaying the '80s.

P.S.: If anyone is in doubt of a-ha's musical integrity, give a listen to 'Scoundrel Days' or 'Memorial Beach'.

Andy [Lalino]


DERREK CARRIVEAU ON "THE DIGITAL DIVIDE"

Nolan,
Wow. I really enjoyed Terence's most recent piece (Again, issue 203 at the time of this writing.--N). It wasn't smug, condescending or self-satisfied. It was just good writing with interesting choices. These were bands I spent the '80s ignoring while I listened to Queensryche and Metallica tapes. While my music taste has grown considerably since then, I haven't always taken the time to go back and see what I missed. And now, good god, I own a Cure CD. I look forward to the rest of the list.

Derrek [Carriveau]

Excellent! Thanks a lot for writing, it means a lot to hear something like this from a fellow webmeister/music reviewer/editor of your repute. Part 2 of Terence's '80s guide is in this issue, I hope you enjoy it, as well. In the meantime, I gotta dig out some old Queensryche albums, you reminded me there are some licks I never quite nailed...---Nolan



To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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