LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to [email protected]. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.
The date is set at Sept. 29, when the Rolling Stones take center stage at Churchill Downs. Of primary interest: The concert quickly sold virtually out, 50,000 seats from a rock band that hit its apex in 1972. So who is going?
The Stones set a standard in hardcore rock with the April 1971 release of Sticky Fingers. The lyrical content of the album was controversial, the motifs explored new avenues: the narcotic blues, slavery, interracial sex, a hint of misogamy and more drugs. Instrumentally, however, the album construed complex, sophisticated and extremely tight arrangements, making for a compelling listen, as evident from one piece, the jazz-from-hell influenced “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” As good as the album was, it would only be eclipsed by Exile on Main Street.
Afterward, it was a gradual step downhill — the records became increasingly market driven, commercially tinged. Rock in general declined, and Mr. Jagger became less of a badman and more of a businessman.
The Stones sustained a brief reprise with Tattoo You in 1981. The ensuing artistic differences between Jagger and Keith Richards, the personnel core of the Stones, were well documented. Critics have maintained that most of their studio work by that time had been compromised.
Fast forward to the impending Downs concert. File the Stones under “classic” and “iconic,” and justify front-row center seats from $300 (Ticketmaster) to a whopping $2,000 (BestSeats.com). Although no longer on the recording cutting edge, or a dominant force on the ever dismal pop horizon, the Stones are still the No. 1 monetary reckoning concert force (followed by, in descending order: U2, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan).
It’s a given that the majority of ticket holders are gray-haired boomers, well into their 50s. The main incentive for attending the show would amount to nostalgia, coupled with the banal bragging rights that you witnessed the Stones live on sacred grounds. An anticipated highlight of the show would be Jagger resurrecting “Dead Flowers,” again announcing: “Well, you’re sitting back in your pink Cadillac making bets on Kentucky Derby Day.” The press and media will have an easy field day for a feature story the following morning.
I saw them in ’89 at the retired Cardinal Stadium, and I’m still good with that one.
Book Fest Bust
I was glad to be able to read your story about the Women’s Book Festival scheduled for Sept. 22 and 23, as I, and many others, will be unable to attend because it has been scheduled for a Friday, when most people have to work, and a Saturday, which is the first day of Rosh Hashanah, a major Jewish religious holy day. In our supposedly diverse “world class city,” the 16th largest in the country, how long will it be before event organizers start to take such things into consideration before scheduling major events?
Dylan and Beer
It appears that Anthony Bowman has hastily aimed and missed his mark in a recent review of the new Bob Dylan album, Modern Times (LEO, Sept. 6). Though mitigated in the next sentence, his assertion that Dylan fans are “not all that concerned with voice” is a bit topical and a bad cliché. I would submit that a music critic who dislikes Dylan’s voice is akin to a food critic who does not like the taste of beer. The songs, including several well-done blues covers, are, of course, a treat for Dylan fans, but his assertion that one should just “go buy Blonde on Blonde or something” is a lazy way to dismiss this album (even if it is indeed perverse not to own Blonde).
Contrary to Bowman’s aspersions, the fact remains that this is probably Dylan’s best work in years, surpassing critically acclaimed recent efforts, and is a cohesive, listenable album. While Dylan will never surpass the cultural significance of his earlier albums, it is arguable that this latter part of his career includes some of his best work. In any event, the work is of an equal or higher quality than many newer artists are producing and should be listened to. Enjoy the taste of beer.
Give ’Em a Break
Regarding Michael Lindenberger’s article (“Cease and Desist,” LEO, Sept. 13): Perhaps we’ve forgotten, far too long ago, that the role police officers take often put them in a position of danger and force them to use themselves as a shield between us citizens and career, or just momentary, criminals. I constantly see citizen complaints (like recently in LEO, the complaints about LMPD’s inaction regarding car thefts) that the police force are not doing their job, and yet there still remains a public outcry to cut them off at the knees by removing the very tools they use to keep us safe.
In the Taser death cases, there are always other factors, like age, possible health problems, drug use (which often weakens the heart), etc., that contribute to tragic deaths. Police do not just walk around tasing or shooting anyone who looks dangerous. The remarks that the victims of police shootings and tasings “would never hurt anyone” are made surely by people who know the subject, but circumstances such as drug use or even mental instability and stress can prod a person into acting out of character.
My husband works at a local hospital and he commonly faces normal, passive people raging and uncontrollable, using language that would make even themselves blush, due to commonly used, legal medicine. So to say that police, who respond to calls to protect the great public, have no right to subdue or take protective measures against people who, no matter how benign normally, are currently in a dangerous state of mind, is to say that they have no right to protect us period. Perhaps instead of constantly berating these people who are real heroes in a tough, dangerous job, we should give them our support and help them help us.
L.K. Schnell’s farcical version of how the police academy should pursue crime in our city (in his Sept. 20 Erosia letter) seems to resemble the kind of fear that led the police officer to shock Mr. Noles, who by many reported accounts was “non-threatening.” Schnell jokingly states, “it is the responsibility of the police officers to ensure that the lowest common denominator be able to roam the streets naked with no fear of personal injury.” Fear of being reprimanded, yes. Injury? Absolutely not. I do not think officers should turn in their Tasers, but the Police Department needs to evaluate the psychological effects of the force possessing a less-threatening weapon. I hold officers far more accountable than citizens in being responsible in these matters, and not being so driven by thoughts of “what if.” In that respect, too, J.K. Schnell can be excused for his/her hubris.
The Whole Truth
According to LEO, only Republicans run nasty campaign ads. I would just like to remind them of the oh-so-classy ad run by the NAACP during the 2000 election comparing George W. Bush to the men who drug James Byrd to his death in Texas. I would also like to remind them of the ads run by George Soros and the nuts at MoveOn.Org comparing our current president to Adolf Hitler. The mudslinging is disgusting on both sides, but reporting the whole picture wouldn’t quite go with LEO’s agenda, now would it?
You’ve seen the negative attacks on TV. This is an election year, after all. I don’t need to mention any names. You already know which candidates are running attack ads.
The politicos say the point of these attacks is to fire up the hard-liners and turn off the non-political folks in the middle of the road, who really hate political cynicism. That amounts to most of us, of course. Basically, these candidates want more of the hard-liners to show up on Election Day and more of the rest to give up and stay home.
So remember this, the next you see a negative attack ad on TV. The candidate who is running this ad is trying to gross you out and scare you off.