It’s with great sadness that I sit down and have to write this letter because of what I have been hearing in recent days in the media; the level of rhetoric has been very disturbing and contemptuous and is nothing short of appalling.
I think the spokespeople for the Republican Party have demonstrated that prejudice in these “United States of America” runs very deep and is still very much with us, whether it is racial prejudice, sexism or homophobia.
The constituents who put the right-wing Republicans in office would rather vote against a policy that will help or benefit their constituents just because it is an Obama Administration policy.
This whole health care outburst, in my opinion, is not about health care but is about the underlying problem of prejudice. Lets look at this: The health care bill is about giving medical coverage to working Americans who could not afford it (not the poor and not the rich); it’s taking away the fear of not having health coverage, especially for people with medical issues and people with children.
It is appalling that this has turned into an environment of hate, hate mail, racial and religious insults and even criminal behavior, and what’s more disturbing is these flames are been fanned by people who claim to be leaders. When our elected officials that we elected to serve us in Congress are racially and religiously insulted and even criminally attacked for doing what their constituents want and what they think is best for the country, this is a very sad commentary on America, especially in this day and age: We are on the world stage and the world is looking at us very closely to see what we make of this opportunity to be a great country.
Eugene Emmanuel, Bronx
I just read your column, “Plugged In,” about excruciatingly loud volume levels at the Immortal concert [“Ear-Plugged In at the Immortal Show,” April 1]. I had to smile because it reminded me of a similar metal show I saw in Portland, Maine a few years ago. The headline act was Strapping Young Lad, with Goat Whore as one of the openers. No exaggeration, I could feel my pants vibrating and waving in the breeze, and I was a good 40 to 50 feet away from the stage by the mixing board. The venue was a seedy underground pool hall and bar, with a low ceiling, poor ventilation, and the summer night reek of beer and sweat wafting from the mosh pit. An unforgettable evening, and no earplugs either… absolute sonic overkill. Mind you, I was like a fish out of water in this place: More than 50 years old, on vacation, not much hair, no tattoos, but a part-time metalhead none the less. Let me get to the point here… you should not have to wear earplugs at any concert, period. Excessive volume is a health hazard, plain and simple, and a destroyer of music regardless of genre. You don’t need a coliseum-sized sound system for a small venue. If your ears ring for days after a show, something’s wrong with that. If you can’t understand a single word that roared from the mouth of the singer, each syllable buried in the muddy avalanche of an over-mic-ed band, something’s wrong with that. Sadly, this has become the status quo as overly powerful sound systems rule the day, even at weddings. I know I sound like a “wuss” here, but as a guitar player who does venture into hard rock and metal myself, gross volume does not equal “better.” A powerful sound can be created at far less than 100 decibels. Whatever happened to balanced sound, clarity, separation, and precise definition of what you hear? I can’t tell you how much I hate hearing bass drums and cymbals break up while being blasted out of an over-cranked PA system, or seeing a perfectly good guitar solo totally lost against bass and amplified drums. This is not limited to metal either. I’ve gone to shows where people like Larry Carlton and Buddy Guy were up too loud, ultimately spoiling tone. When ears ring, it’s not my thing. Among the few places that do it right, in my opinion, are the Boulton Center, Vail-Levitt Hall and Westbury Music Fair (the recent Leslie West show there was real fine). Still, I must confess, the “epiphany concert” for me was also one of the loudest: Yngwie Malmsteen, when one of the picks he always tosses into the crowd landed right in my seat! I remember I started screaming, but you couldn’t hear me over what had to be at least a dozen Marshall cabinets. My ears rang for two days, my own guitar laughed at me for a week, but I had been blessed.
Tommy “Thunder” Tedesco