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Letters to the Editor

September 12, 2007

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MAN-ASS AFFAIR

Just the other day, for some unexplainable reason, I was strolling around Manhattan, and I started wondering what ever happened to Rusty DeWees.

It's been a good handful of years since The Logger first chopped his way to the top of the Vermont stage. And, even after milking its success as hard as his well-calloused hands would allow, it would be hard to imagine that the Green Mountains' premier good ol' boy was still drawing any sort of crowd with his axe-swinging, pseudo-woodsman humor.

Golly, was I ever wrong. As it turns out, Rusty is still seen as one sexy redneck by the ladies of Vermont. And who was I to question his continuing level of success? Certainly there is no greater benchmark for fame than appearing nude, chestnuts cupped, on the cover of our beloved alt-weekly [Seven Days, August 1].

It's well known in the halls of 255 S. Champlain that I have no knee-jerk hatred of man ass as cover content. No, my sadness at seeing Rusty so splayed had little to do with not wanting to feast my eyes on his '70s porn-star fur, but more with the fact that the Vermont arts scene has yet to find a suitable replacement for such a cartoonish star. Isn't it time our state's bright minds come up with someone else to love?

Ethan Covey

BROOKLYN, NY

Covey is a former music editor at Seven Days.

WILLIE SPEAK UP?

I'm surprised that the author of the news flash about hemp ["Weed Whacking," August 29] didn't bother to ask the owner of the hemp clothing store Save the Corporations (from themselves) for his opinion!

I'm also curious to know how an industry can possibly hope to thrive when you have an army of war-on-drugs crusaders trying to shut it down at every opportunity. It's like building a sand castle during a hurricane with the tide coming in!

This year, Farm Aid is being held in New York on September 9 on Randall's Island. I also find it interesting that Willie Nelson's new book about biodiesel out on Fulcrum Press makes no mention of hemp anywhere in the text, in effect sanctifying Monsanto GMO corn & soy. Willie is all over YouTube with interviews advocating a return to hemp agriculture for the American farmer. Now, why didn't he also put that in his book?

Remy Chevalier

WESTON, CT

Chevalier owns and operates hempprotein.com, the first online re-seller of certified organic hemp protein powders.

Editor's Note: Seven Days contacted Burlington's hemp clothing store, The Hempest, for this story, but messages were not returned. Save the Corporations is located in Brattleboro.

HEMP WILL BE BACK

I think you should talk to Arthur Hanks of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) before you print such a story ["Weed Whacking," August 29]. You'll find that the truth is quite different.

"Nabi Chaudhary, senior economic analyst for Health Canada, said the drastic drop in production is a direct result of a declining hemp market. '[Farmers] didn't see that the market was there in 2007, so they cut down on their acreage,' he said, explaining that many hemp farmers were stuck with a surplus of crops left over from a 'stagnant' market following the 2006 growing season."

This statement is uneducated at best. The market is (and always will be) there. You will find that, next year, there won't be enough to supply demand.

Rob Robinson

MINOT, ND

Robinson is an agricultural advisor for the Hemp Industries Association.

POWER-HUNGRY POLICE

When I think of the police, I do not feel safe. I feel angry. The other day I was getting my morning coffee when I saw an event that sparked that anger. A car traveling into Winooski from Burlington entered the Winooski traffic circle in the righthand lane. At the same time, a police car in the circle passed the outlet towards Burlington and continued around the circle. If the two cars had been in the same lane, the police car may have had to slow down. If the police car was signaling (I couldn't tell) to change to the right lane, the car entering still did the right thing (when entering a roundabout, keep moving unless you are going to hit another car).

The police car's reaction: Mat the gas and nearly t-bone the other driver. If this is any other driver, he is an asshole with road rage who is unfit to be on the road with other drivers who are aware that they are not the only car on the road. Why should the police be allowed to behave in this way?

The incident I describe is small potatoes compared to Tasering someone for not doing what you say ["Brattleboro Stunned by Police Use of Tasers on Protestors," August 1], but it is an abuse of power nonetheless. Enough is enough.

Les Wetmore

WINOOSKI

MORE THAN A WOMAN

Emily Carr is, hands down, the best artist this side of the Atlantic. Thanks to art critic Marc Awodey for helping to spread the word about this extraordinarily gifted Canadian ["True North," August 15]. His review touched on a couple of important issues. First, Carr was sensitive to Native American culture and was herself tied to a Canadian art milieu actively seeking to define its own identity. Secondly, that Carr can be seen as important to Canadian art as Frida Kahlo is to Latino art and Georgia O'Keeffe is to U.S. art. This analogy . . . is likely to continue to gain strength, but I think only as an artifact of the increase in attention to Carr's work. I'm not enthusiastic about the comparison. It seems to perpetuate the idea that women's work remains a separate category, a division that Carr herself struggled with. Sadly, at the same time that Carr was welcomed into the studios and homes of contemporary art stars - "The Canadian Seven" - she was told that she would be one of them if only she were a man.

Carr's work suffers at the hands of those curators who superimpose history for the sake of narrative. The Montréal show, for all its organization, only incidentally allows for the real authenticity of her work to emerge. The "cult of authenticity" could not have been as precious to Carr as it seems to be today. But if we evaluate her work through that lens, the originality of her later works - paintings and drawings portraying the deep woods and remote coastal regions - hits at a visceral level. As a painter myself, I continue to learn much from her, and this show knocks me out.

Karen Dawson

BURLINGTON

BATTLE BOOZE

While John McCardell, Jr. makes some compelling points ["All Stirred Up," August 22], I am always wary of solutions that add more of the problem to solve the problem. Drinking to excess, clearly an ongoing problem with today's youth in our country, is an issue with many complex underlying causes and many serious negative implications for both individuals and society. So, why allow a whole new margin of even younger people an easy, legal route to alcohol?

I would also note that a great deal of male-centered thinking is apparent in this movement to lower the drinking age. Several people raise the argument: If young men are old enough to die for their country at 18-years old, why aren't they old enough to drink legally? To my mind, a more enlightened question would be: Why are we sending 18-year-old youths, and anyone else for that matter, to die in wars created by men and fought by men?

Perhaps if the young people of America, who are growing up in an increasingly alienating world, did not have the all-pervasive stress of losing their lives or those of loved ones to fruitless wars, there would be less need for blitzing out on alcohol.

Stephanie Calanthe Victoria

BURLINGTON

BAD MEDICINE

Ken Picard's report on the HPV vaccine ["State Health Department Calls HPV Vaccine Watchdog Group a Bunch of Worry Warts," August 22] presented only part of the boondoggle that's coming to light about this product. The Merck campaign for Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, is not designed to wipe out HPV or cervical cancer (which, Picard pointed out, is rare in Vermont); rather, it seems designed to make money for Merck.

A recent financial analyst's report on Merck said that the company is banking on Gardasil to pull it out of the financial hole created by its Vioxx fiasco. The company's own quarterly statements report spending on marketing at nearly twice the level of spending on R&D in order to introduce the vaccine worldwide. The academic research on the efficacy of the vaccine, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, was supported by Merck. According to Corpwatch.org, the company rushed the vaccine through an outsourced, third-world bunch of trials, with little third-party supervision; efficacy of the vaccine beyond three years or so is not known. States are now paying money to Merck for the vaccine - essentially giving the company money to conduct ongoing experiments on young women. The approach is not just sexist - it's wrong.

A colleague who practices in Boston City Hospital and works closely with an epidemiologist said that the major problem with the current promotion of the vaccine is that it ignores half the carriers of HPV: males. The epidemiological equivalent of the current strategy would be to vaccinate for smallpox by going down only one side of the street. Clearly the point is not to eradicate the disease; otherwise, all potential carriers would be vaccinated ...

Katharine M. Hikel, MD

HINESBURG

THANKS FOR THE COVERAGE

I want to thank Ken Picard, and Seven Days for employing him. Week after week, Ken keeps us informed about important political trends in the state - the latest example being his coverage of the disturbing "rights of conscience" bill introduced in the last legislative session ["VT's 'Rights of Conscience' Bill Would Shield Health Care Pros Who Deny Care, Prescriptions," August 29].

There's so much information like this (e.g., his explanation of Burlington's zoning revision) ["Z-Z-Z-Zoned Out?," August 15] that matters to me and is hard or impossible to find elsewhere. It sure ain't in the Free Press - "free" of hard news, I think they mean.

Seven Days could maybe skate by with shallower contents. I really appreciate the fact that, instead, you provide some of the most substantive journalism in the state.

Julia Curry

BURLINGTON

CORRECTION

* A book review ["Kochalka's Latest Aims at Squirrelly Young Readers"] that appeared in last week's paper incorrectly identified the band heard on the rock opera Carrot Boy the Beautiful. The album contains music performed by Paul Jaffe, a.k.a "Pistol Stamen," formerly of the now-defunct Burlington band The Pants.

* A story in last week's issue regarding the Superfund cleanup at the Elizabeth Mine in South Strafford ["Laid to Rust," September 5] incorrectly stated that resident John Freitag suggested "grinding" off the mine site for colleges and universities to study. Freitag wants to "grid" the mine site off for study.

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