Letters to the Editor


The Replacements' Thriller

I can remember it as if it were yesterday. Static Taxi was driving down 26th Street after band practice and stopped at the light on Chicago Avenue. KQ was on the car radio and suddenly the new Replacements single, "I'll Be You," came on. Being good bandmates and proud of playing with Bob, we all ripped on the song.

Bob's response was classic Stinson. He said, "Give 'em a break, you can't blame 'em for trying!" which set the car rocking with laughter. Right, they were totally lost without him! Such colossal, yet completely sweet and innocent ego...somehow there was not an ounce of resentment in there at all. He felt bad for them. In all the years that I knew Bob, he never once said an unkind thing about either Paul Westerberg or Slim Dunlap, and in fact often praised them both. Yep, that's right, folks: Bob Stinson was a class act.

Sarah Askari's excellent review of Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting ("The Shouting's Over, Too," 11/14/2007) points up a central problem with the book: that Walsh "can't get a handle on the band." I have to agree, and for me at least, the reason is obvious: Bob Stinson was the Replacements. Who could ever get a handle on him?

No one can touch Westerberg's genius songs, in particular those about lovable losers with hearts of gold. To me at least, Bob was that "character" personified. But the Replacements' music was more than Westerberg's songs, and the band was always much more than just their music. That's where the Bob factor tips the scales—for me, at least.

Still, it's hard to imagine Bob being anything but kind to Jim Walsh, about whom he would doubtlessly say, "You can't blame him for trying," before proceeding to goose him and then steal his drink. This much I do know for certain: You can't put your arms around a memory, and you can't replace a Replacement. Thanks for giving Bob the last word, Jim.

PS: Sorry, Sarah, but the shouting about the Replacements will never be over.

Chris Corbett, bassist, Static Taxi  Minneapolis

Lobster Tales

I am a regular reader of the Dish column and am fond of Dara's writing style ("Regular Paradise," 11/14/07). I do have to call into question something she did in last week's review of Manny's Steakhouse. She mentions that frozen Australian lobster tails taste like "formaldehyde-soaked cotton." I find it rather unprofessional to make such a damning reference in a restaurant review when you are not speaking directly about something you ate at said restaurant. For all Dara knows, Manny's lobster tail might be the best she ever had, but she can't know that because she did not order it! I have had it on several occasions and I think it is wonderful.

Jeff Starkman  Eagan

Jews for Tutu

My initial reaction to hearing about Desmond Tutu's appearance cancellation at the University of St. Thomas was the exact same response Marv Davidov of the Justice and Peace Studies program had ("Banning Desmond Tutu," 10/3/07). If one criticizes an African sovereignty's treatment of human beings, that does not make one racist, it makes one an activist. The simple fact that Desmond Tutu has an opinion about the treatment of Palestinians in occupied territories is his right—he is, after all, a civil rights activist and Nobel Laureate, and just maybe he has a point. Just as many people around the world are concerned about the treatment of the innocent Iraqi people in our own mess of a war, which does not mean that these people are anti-American, although they maybe are anti-American foreign policy. Most people are compassionate to the civil liberties human beings deserve.

As a member of the Jewish community of Minneapolis, I can understand the fear in some Jewish people when comparing anything to Adolf Hitler, as Tutu was noted as doing, but this comparison was stated as a reflection of the mistreatment of a segment of a population, and of all people, Jews are committed to not having history repeat itself. Being a mistreated population does not give one the right to mistreat others, so we should be making sure that these criticisms are false, not ignoring that the criticisms exist. I echo Mr. Davidov's sentiment in this matter completely, in that we are doing a disservice to Israel and to Jewish people by silencing criticism of Israeli policy. But just as much, we are doing a disservice to the colleagues and students in the Justice and Peace Studies Program at St. Thomas by denying them their experience of learning from a Desmond Tutu appearance. Aren't universities supposed to be the place where those experiences occur, controversial or not, which shape the minds of young adults to make change in our society? Universities of all places should be promoting the discussion of sensitive topics, not running from it.

Adam Ziskin  Minneapolis

Jews Against Tutu

While reasonable people can object to the cancellation of Tutu's speech at the University of St. Thomas, and discuss the factors at play in the university's decision, it is quite pernicious to infer that the Jewish lobby conspires to "...stifle an honest debate about U.S. policy relating to Israel," resulting in the continuing "spiral of violence" in the region.

To the degree that the Jewish community played any role at all in the cancellation, they (much like the rest of the organized Jewish community) didn't threaten, intimidate, or coerce, but rather civilly expressed their concerns about Tutu's past statements—the merits of which the university was free to weigh and ultimately accept or reject.

The Tutu quotes that concern many within the Jewish community are as follows: "Israel is like Hitler and apartheid." He has also said Israel "...reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa..." and, "People are scared in the U.S. to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful."

Quite frankly, many of us within the Jewish community—who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population—are alarmed that the mainstream media has begun to come frighteningly close to advancing the historical canard that Jews exercise a dangerous degree of influence in nations where they reside—a myth that has resulted in discrimination, pogroms, and mass murder for centuries.

Adam Levick  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania