Readers respond to "Powerpoint Penis"

Flash fight

I'm a Flash developer, I'm a white male, and I don't appreciate Emily Kaiser portraying my profession in one sweeping generalization as "the boys' club that is the Flash community" ("Powerpoint Penis," 6/17/09). I was offended by the presentation that Hoss Gifford gave, and I support Courtney's decision to write an open letter on the subject. Emily has taken one Twitter comment and painted an entire profession as a sexist boys' club. To me, that's just as bad as Hoss's lack of professionalism. Shame on CP for allowing this to be sensationalized this way. What we need is open, honest, and complete dialogue—not half-assed, lazy efforts to "report."

Shawn Sheely

Flashbelt tightening

Regarding last week's Blotter item "Powerpoint Penis," online and in print: I am compelled to point out a few missing elements in what Emily Kaiser "reported" (or copied and pasted from the internet).

I started the Flashbelt Conference and have produced it in the Twin Cities for six years. It is a unique, world-class event. There's nothing like it in any other U.S. city that I know of. It has a long reputation of enhancing the interactive/web/arts community in Minnesota, and inspiring attendees who travel in from places like Europe, New York, L.A., Chicago, Texas, and Hawaii. Of that I am extremely proud. I love this community. I love the event and I stand behind its integrity.

The content presented in Hoss Gifford's session was offensive and I do not condone that. It's not what I intend to present to my attendees. I accept full responsibility for this and openly admit that I am ultimately responsible for this incident. Out of the 180 presentations I have brought to Minnesota over the last six years, I made a mistake with this one presentation. Hot seat deserved; hot seat accepted. I apologize.

However, that does not make it acceptable to misrepresent the facts or make uninformed generalizations about an industry or community as a whole. I utterly protest this line from your story: "While some attendees found the presentation highly offensive, the boys' club that is the Flash community fought back, calling them prudish." It's widely visible online around this entire saga that the majority of men in the Flash community did not respond this way. In fact, they responded to the contrary. I know this community very well, I suspect better than Emily does, and can tell you that this is a gross exaggeration, one-sided and inflammatory. The community you are so easily able to label and defame deserves a public apology from the author and City Pages.

Dave Schroeder, Flashbelt Conference producer

Not her first rodeo

I have never taken the time to actually write a letter to an editor, nor have I truly felt the need least not until reading Rachel Hutton's recent Dish column on Cowboy Slim's, titled "Herd Mentality" (6/8/09). I cannot remember the last time I read a Dish column with such an unprofessional, spiteful, and slanderous tone.

Rachel, just because an establishment doesn't match your preconceived notion of "cool" doesn't give you the right to throw it under the bus like that—I suppose the First Amendment does, but nonetheless, it's not very becoming. Is Cowboy Slim's often filled with obnoxious tools and sorority whores? Probably. Is their menu subpar in relation to that of Minneapolis's many extraordinary dining venues? Most likely. And is Rachel Hutton simply a whiney, pretentious hipster who is upset that she misplaced her purse? Most certainly.

Look, I've never been to Cowboy Slim's, nor do I have any intentions of swingin' on in any time soon; it's not my scene. You see, the difference between you and I is that I simply choose to acknowledge this fact and move on. You, on the other hand, evidently feel this elitist obligation to suffocate the Twin Cities with a thick, snooty cloud of smug. There's a little saying where I come from...actually, maybe it came from Sly Stone? Either way, it goes a little something like this: Different strokes for different folks. Learn about it.

Andrew Nagle

Musical martyrs

I am, in general, not at all impressed with the literary content and quality of most of your music interviews, reviews, and write-ups, especially for local bands who rely heavily on you for publicity. But now it's personal.

The recent write-up for local band the Chickadee Mountain Martyrs (of whom I am a friend and fan) is garbled gibberish, and was written by someone who has barely heard them, and/or knows little about music (Critics' Picks, 5/30/09). It reads like a bad free-form high school writing exercise. If I didn't know this band, I'd be more inclined to get out my red pen after reading this than to attend the show. The long lists of nonsensical adjectives and irrelevant movie references are tiring to read and do not accurately describe their sound. It would have made more sense to compare them to other, more well-known bands, maybe reference a particular song, or even list the instrumentation. Can you either tell this writer to write what she knows, or give me her job?

Oriole H.D.G.
St. Paul

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