Sunday, August 17, 2003

It has occurred to me that some of you may want to know what I said in my last letter to the editor (the one they published last summer) since I do mention it in the most recent letter. Without further ado, here's that letter:

Sir: Enough!

In a word, this expresses my frustration with the barrage of letters regarding Mike Murphy’s recent concert reviews.

What I have found lacking in each of these letters is the understanding that a review is written to express the opinion of its author(s) alone. For this reason, Katherine Schultiess’ suggestion that Murphy “ask the people who attended the concert for their feedback” would, if implemented, defeat the purpose of having a journalist write a review. Let journalists do their jobs: surveys are best left to Angus-Reid and Statistics Canada.

More troubling, though, is that all of these letters’ authors–admittedly fans of the band(s) reviewed–assume that all concert goers (Murphy excluded, of course!) agree with their own “expert” opinion. These letters are testimony to the fact that opinions
do differ. That said, allow Murphy to have his opinion; he has not berated other concert goers or infringed upon their right to formulate their own ideas.

I’m sure all of the musicians reviewed have been in their line of work long enough to understand that not everyone who hears their music enjoys it (except for maybe Nickelback who is known for not taking criticism well; just ask Matthew Good of Matthew Good Band fame and Shirley Manson of Garbage). Why should only Murphy’s opinion, as Jake Clark put it, “convince the band not to return to Sarnia”? Why would a band risk alienating all those who do buy their music to punish
one man who may not?

In closing, perhaps I can clarify something further. Mr Clark found Murphy’s opinions “laughable and incompetent.” People are incompetent; opinions are not. Perhaps the word Mr Clark was searching for is “ignorant,” which both opinions–and indeed people–can be.

I can still see myself, gleefully pounding at the keyboard. Yes, I gleefully wrote that letter. People in my hometown can be such red-necked, sticks-in-the-mud. It felt good to illustrate how silly they were being (though I know I really shouldn't poke fun at others' short-comings) and support my friend Murph at the same time.

Speaking of Murph, he's coming to town this week! Hopefully, we'll be able to get a visit or two in. Tuesday's out. I have to go out of town to collect that bursary right after my early morning optometrist's appointment. But that still leaves the rest of the week.

I don't know when I'll find time to work on my play and do more of my reading....

As for reading, why is it that whenever you hear of/come across a book you really want to read, you never have time to do so? I finally saw All the President's Men the other day and it inspired me to read Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's book by the same name. Also on my list of books-I-want-to-read-right-now-but-can't-because-I-have-school-related-reading-to-do is a book I saw featured on Hot Type with Evan Solomon. That book--"A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power--explores the issue of foreign crisis intervention on moral grounds. As a journalist who covered the Balkan wars, Power saw first hand the kind of intervention the West likes to make in cases where human rights--and lives--are threatened. Here she explores the failure to stop genocide.

Nice light reading I've picked for myself, eh?

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