Your review of our new album was disappointing and, for your sake, embarrassing [Music Review: Elephants of Scotland, Execute and Breathe, May 21]. Reviewer Benjamin Welton starts off the piece by dismissing an entire genre of rock music and then horribly stereotyping its fans. Our fans. The job of a music reviewer is to rate the music within the context of its genre. The job of Dan Bolles as the music editor is to weed out petty snobbery and personal agendas. Both failed unquestionably on those marks.
Welton writes, "Don't deceive yourself into thinking about ... critical acceptance." It was clear from this first paragraph that the writer was intent on hating the album. It was also clear, given a few factual errors, the writer didn't really listen to the album before debasing it. Our lyricist did not "play" on the album, kid.
To be clear, we are not upset about the criticism of our album because, frankly, the journalism was just so puerile. That name-calling and over-simplified level of discourse has its place on cable news and anonymous website comments — not in Seven Days. This same newspaper gave our other album an intelligent and even-handed review just one year ago.
We didn't expect effusive praise — nor would we find any real value in that, either. But bashing progressive rock is hackneyed, and it's lazy writing. The review says more about you and your writing staff than about what we actually recorded. We're not out of line to expect a respectful and reasoned consideration. We know you can do better; your readers demand better; and the Vermont music scene deserves better.
Sorry to be so formal with a letter to the editor and all, but I've gotta take a public stand for a much-maligned musical genre that has yet again taken a beating — this time in the pages of my favorite paper! Just read the review of Elephants of Scotland's latest, and it took me aback [Music Review: Elephants of Scotland, Execute and Breathe, May 21]. Any review that begins with a sweeping, judgmental dismissal of an entire musical genre and its fans is not going to go well for a band from that genre. Seems unfair for someone with a displayed — and contradictory — apathetic loathing for progressive rock to review a new CD from a progressive rock band.
Worse, your writer's "opinion" is really a regurgitation of the mainstream, Jann Wenner-and-Rolling Stone-bolstered negative stereotype they've been flogging since the genre's inception. Adding error to injury, the review is factually incorrect in its assessment of the success of progressive rock bands, with the false assumption that none has attained "riches, fame or even critical acceptance outside of a few diehards."
Any cogent points made later are lost in the post-fusillade smoke after your writer's ignorant and misinformed opening salvo at progressive rock fans and bands. As he manages to also savage gamers and LARPs, it's actually a broadside against geek culture in general. The guy's got some issues. I know it's not always easy, but please try to better match your reviewers with the releases they review. Thanks!
Objectification Is Subjective
Unlike many who have recently written on American Apparel [Feedback: "Enough American Apparel," June 4], I do not consider images of a woman's naked body "offensive" or "insulting." I understand where they are coming from, and I agree that women of all stripes ought to be empowered and see their agency affirmed. However, as a model, I always take umbrage at the notion that my racier photos are evidence of my objectification and exploitation: If the choice is mine to make, then I am subject rather than object. It's insulting, and implies I need saving from myself to say otherwise. If the women who pose for American Apparel are treated well and compensated fairly, I see no issue with their images. Don't forget that there are human beings behind these photos. Don't diminish their agency. That seems an awful lot like — dare I say it — objectification. My feminism affirms all women's choices about their bodies, whether or not others approve.
Too Much Wark
It seems surprising, given the enormous list of pipeline supporters in his letter to the editor, that Vermont Gas System's paid spokesman Steve Wark wasted time writing a letter himself [Feedback: "Missing Voices," May 28]. Given the tremendous support, he had to know that the Seven Days office would be flooded with mail in favor of the project. No doubt the thousands of Vermonters who wrote in to praise the pipeline must be disappointed to see his letter printed instead of theirs.
Keep It Clean
Beth Garbitelli's article on the current conflict over Berlin Pond was well-written and well-researched ["Should Recreation Be Banned on Berlin Pond?" June 4]. But there's more behind the scenes. Politically driven motives are putting Montpelier's sole source of pure drinking water at an unacceptable risk. Berlin is complicit in this, as is the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife — and, to name names: Commissioner David Mears and Laura Woods of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, ANR Commissioner Deb Markowitz and Gov. Peter Shumlin. They are stonewalling us. They refuse to share information crucial to the decision-making process. One thing we know: Shumlin wants the "sportsman" vote. Right here in the capital city of Vermont, corrupt politics are trumping the need for pure drinking water for 8,000 to 20,000 people.
There are 34 lakes and ponds within a 30-mile radius of Berlin Pond, all of which are completely open to recreation: swimming, boating, fishing and ice shanties with their petroleum-driven drills. Why is this embarrassment of riches not enough? There is not one good reason sportsmen need to "recreate" on the only small, shallow pond dedicated to pure drinking water that is anything but self-centered and absurd.
A June 4 story, "Still on a Roll: A Cyclist at Heart, Spencer Tackles Parking and Potholes," incorrectly stated city councilor Max Tracy's ward. He represents Ward 2.