I'd like to make a few comments on your feature comparing meat-eating and vegetarian issues [March 21].
1. I didn't read much about the animal cruelty issues surrounding meat eating. Knowledge of the way animals are treated can be a powerful force in helping one make the decision. Compassion always veers toward vegetarianism.
2. I didn't read much about the geo-political issues surrounding meat eating.
3. I didn't read much about the significance of organic fruit, veggies and groceries. Last time I looked, there were at least 10 reasons to eat organic, not the least of which are nutritional value and taste. What two factors could be more important in deciding to go vegetarian?
4. There was no mention of the issue of genetically engineered foods. Up to 80 percent of grocery store foods contain genetically engineered ingredients. Their effect on human health and the environment (and on future generations) is unknown. The only way to avoid them is to eat organic foods.
5. Lastly, I didn't read much about self-sufficiency. There are so many edible foods we can grow in our own yards, either in a garden patch or in containers. And most of them are surprisingly easy to grow organically. Fresh, wholesome, accessible organic foods, are available for only pennies.
--RHEA WORRELL, CHAPEL HILL
I am appreciative and excited to be the author of an Honorable Mention poem ("Excerpt, Correctional Officers' Training Manual") in this year's Independent Poetry Contest [March 28]. In a region so rich in literary talent, it is especially wonderful to have my creative efforts noticed by others.
To be entirely truthful, however, I also feel extremely frustrated that the poems designated as honorable of mention did not, in fact, receive any mention. Had I not seen the last line of the poetry section, I would not have known an Honorable Mention category existed. Had a co-worker not told me he saw my poem on the Web, I would not have known it was chosen. At the least, given that the poems were chosen out of over 700 entries, a listing of their titles and authors seems deserved. Was it a matter of space? If so, in the four pages devoted to the poetry contest, why did collages rather than poems take up so much space?
In a society where poetry gets such short shrift, it is more than encouraging that you hold the annual contest. But how nice--and honorable--a mention would have been.
--MARIAN READ PLACE, DURHAM
Editors' note: The Independent will print each of the Poetry Contest's Honorable Mention winners separately within the Independent Reader section that appears the last week of every month.
The thing is, Zach Hanner was right on the money about our demo tape [Home Brew, Brown CD review, March 28]. That's what bothers me the most. I mean everything in that damn review was right! It's like "Jesus! Is that guy clairvoyant or something?" I've always counted on The Independent when it comes to forming my opinions, but I never dreamed they'd get me to hate my own music.
I did go back and listen to the Brown demo after reading Zach's review, and Christ! He's right! How could I have been so stupid? I knew C.O.C. chords; I knew C.O.C. song structures; hell I even knew a few of C.O.C.'s "secret" drop tunings they use. And I blew it. I could have been in a band that sounds just like C.O.C.! I mean just like 'em! There's even a guy in Brown who was in C.O.C. and I know he could have told us how to sound like C.O.C., but he didn't and I'll have to take that up with him later.
But before anyone even thinks about busting on Zach for panning the Brown demos, I think we should completely throw out the entire notion that local rock critics are just bitter closet musicians whose musical careers consist of lip-syncing to indie label CDs at home. We must forever banish the notion that they are journalism majors with huge CD collections who have to take guitar lessons so they can play Guided By Voices songs for their pet cats. And they're certainly not the kind of people who suck up to rock bands for backstage passes and sloppy-seconds notoriety. No. Local rock critics matter! They form us, mold us into better listeners. They check our artistic math, as it were.
I just hope the third time The Independent reviews the Brown demo tape, Zach reviews it again because by then, we'll probably sound exactly like C.O.C.--or perhaps with luck, a cross between C.O.C. and Krokus.
--JOHN CUSTER, BROWN, RALEIGH
Having read Thomas Schur's review of Bridget Jones's Diary, "When Harry Met Ally" [April 18], I have finally reached the exploding point. Mr. Schur writes, "Zellweger was already known for being overripe on screen." He later refers to her "Rubenesque fleshiness." Mr. Schur needs to get online or go to the Chapel Hill Public Library and find some examples of the actual works of Rubens from whence the adjective "Rubenesque" springs. I think he will be shocked to find that there is a vast difference between the beauties that Rubens painted and Renee Zellweger.
I went to this movie and I kept waiting for the scene where she appears fat. There is no such scene. True, she's not pencil thin, but if you met her on the street your first thought would not be "my, she really needs to shed a few pounds."
It's been said again and again that Hollywood is creating an impossible template of the ideal woman, a vision that is deeply and seriously affecting the mental health of both men and women (especially teenage women) in this country. It's our most prominent mental disorder, tailor made to continue the objectification and disempowerment of women. We can embrace the excellent and very sexy diversity of human body types, we really can.
--SANDRA STRINGER, CARRBORO
It's not surprising that Godfrey Cheshire dedicated his April 25 piece to promote the appearance of acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami at this year's DoubleTake Film Festival. It is, however, disingenuous that Cheshire failed to mention that he is the curator of this special program at DoubleTake.
In his article, Cheshire described the Kiarostami films slated for the festival as representing the director's "most accessible and enthralling work." Was he celebrating Kiarostami's accomplishments or his own wisdom in selecting them?
Anyone who's suffered through Cheshire's essays knows that it's probably a little of both. Regardless, a disclosure about the critic's relationship to the festival would have been appreciated.
--FRANK DILLER, CHAPEL HILL
A story in the April 18 Earth Day issue about proposed "clean smokestacks" legislation gave an incorrect first name for state Sen. Stephen Metcalf (D-Buncombe), one of the bill's primary sponsors.