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LETTERS: August 31st Issue

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RE: Our Music Editor

There is a LOT of music he isn’t fond of and likes to describe in rude comments, which is why I don’t bother to read his columns. Rather than “Music Editor” perhaps he should be retitled “Only Specific Kinds of Music Editor.”

Maureen Soar

 

RE.: The Mentors

I recently learned that Johnny B’s Rockin’ Diner in Medford is scheduled to have The Mentors play on Thursday, September 7 (although they will have hopefully cancelled this show by the time you read this). The Mentors are a long-running shock band who have used the disgusting title of “Rape Rock” to describe their music. The flyer for their current tour has three masked executioners (and a little too similar looking to KKK boneheads) with guitars on their back and a gun to the head of a naked woman bent over in front of them. Their tour is titled the “Anti-Antifa Tour.” For those unfamiliar with Antifa, it is an anti-racist and anti-fascist group fighting against the rising repulsive neo-Nazi white supremacist movement and any simple double-negative understanding of “anti-anti-fascist” would clearly make The Mentors pro-fascist, or that is at least the implication they seem to want to portray. This doesn’t even begin to reveal The Mentors questionable history, offensive body of work, and messed-up agenda….which we are continually assured by their apologists to be all just a decades-running big joke. Having a bit of trouble laughing? Me too, and I got a pretty twisted sense of humor. Well, the other night I found myself in Medford, so I stopped by Johnny B’s to get their story on the situation, since there was nothing posted on Johnny B’s website about the show and news of the band coming seemed uncertain, mostly decimated word-of-mouth, through specific social media, and on the band’s website….only Mentors fans and their critics seemed to be in the know. I walked in to find an empty bar with four men sitting at a booth, one I recognized as Johnny, another a respected local musician (who was mostly quiet and later sincerely apologized and denounced The Mentors), another I have seen doing the door there (who only briefly chimed in to support Johnny with a grunt or two), and one I have never seen before (I’ll call him “dude”). I went up to the group and asked if there was music tonight. They said the bar was open and they would be practicing for an upcoming show opening for George Thorogood at the Britt. I politely asked Johnny if it was true that The Mentors were playing there next month. At that point, Johnny and dude got extremely hostile with me. I tried to assure them that I was their friend and supported this place, but was concerned that the upcoming event might be a disaster for a venue that I greatly appreciated and that now, more then ever, we might not need The Mentors adding their particularly provoking fuel to the highly flammable tinderbox of our valley. I was told that I didn’t understand The Mentors. Which I agreed. I was also accused of being part of Antifa, which I assured them I was not, and that while I do greatly appreciate Antifa’s steadfast attempts to expose and confront white supremacists and neo-Nazis, I thought their general politics were limited and sometimes bordered on there own flavor of authoritarianism (another story)…..Anyway, over the next fifteen minutes, I dealt with a barrage of assumptions, insults, and verbal assaults by Johnny and dude, all for wanting to know the story and suggesting that maybe they reconsider hosting the show for the sake of the venue and the hostilities that it might spark in our community. I made it clear to Johnny that I am for freedom and that I do not want cops or laws involved with our lives, but instead seek unmediated authentic relationships based on real dynamics, instead of rhetoric and politics. I also made it absolutely clear that I am not PC, I am skeptical of the progressive agenda (again, we’ll talk about that later), I am not into censorship, and I am no friend of Tipper Gore, but, that I did find the band pretty messed-up and gross and that they were sure to bring out the local neo-Nazi scum, as well as inciting an anti-fascist response, and therefore, probably a dangerous disaster in the making. I tried over and over to express these points, yet all I got was hostility and their misrepresentation of me, lumping everyone into the same category (“Leftist sheep”), dismissing any concerns, and “dude” repeating soundbites he no doubt learned from years of listening to the Rush Limbaugh Show. Johnny dramatically fluctuated between mockingly apologizing and open hostility, complaining that nobody came to his venue anyway, that “this valley and town sucks, and fuck them all”. He assured me that he is working with the cops to protect his venue, to allow the band to play, and to bust the Antifa people, and that he and the venue “are gonna go out in a bang”.  He absurdly suggested that if I really cared about this venue, I’d be there to defend it the night of the show. Well Johnny, you made this mess, it’ll be yours to clean up, I just hope its just a mess, and nothing worse. Realizing that their minds were already made up about the show, the band, and anyone who would have a problem with it, along with their ignorant need to put me in a box, I found myself getting more and more angry, until I finally left before things escalated. It is absolutely clear to me that Johnny B’s is no longer a venue which should be supported by our community, and that Johnny is on a kamikaze mission to go down in flames. OK, fine. Hope he can handle the heat that he’s bringing on himself. I am contacting any bands I know (local and touring) that might consider playing Johnny B’s to explain the situation. Again, I am not uptight, easily offended, or into censorship (but, I also don’t accept convoluted ideas like “free speech”, because that concept and laws surrounding it are granted by an authority I reject, known as government…I believe people should say and do as they please and deal with the consequences which arise, including community backlash). And, even if people are wrong about The Mentors (which I seriously doubt), it is obvious to me that Johnny B’s, at this point, is a safe space for scumbags (neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists, misogynists, etc.) and that controversy and desperation are major motivations for Johnny. Do your own research, make up your own mind about The Mentors, but this is more than just one band with some messed-up songs (there’s plenty of those), it is the larger context that is concerning here, one Johnny seems fine exploiting. If you feel motivated by this, let Johnny B’s know what you think of The Mentors and their support of this atrocious band and the scumbags it will bring out of the woodwork and create a safe space for.

Goodbye Johnny B’s.

Nazel Pickens

 

RE.: A Non-Fact Checked Accusation

Evidently Jackson County’s Board of Commissioners has agreed to pay Medford Chamber of Commerce (MCC) $1,000 for a reserved table to receive a “Spirit of Enterprise Award” during MCC’s September 14th event at The Commons. 

“They award this award to governments who (sic.) function like business,” said Administrator Danny Jordan whose taxpayer-funded “CEO” compensation has now exceeded $432K per year, slightly higher than last fiscal year’s $411K-plus compensation package.

Anyone who’s taken an economics class knows that Business is in business to, first and foremost, make a profit, yet our elected commissioners favor sucking up to the local Chamber, using our taxpayer money–but why? For a trophy-reminder of the Budget Committee’s ‘profitable’ subsidies for local businesses that would not otherwise be viable? In a true Capitalist economy, this comingling makes no sense.

Coming from Administrative staff, the recommended expense to continue supporting public-private partnerships does not square up with a true economy (one that excludes forced taxation)…so how long can our ailing private sector economy survive when comingled funds exist? 

If you reside in Jackson County and think you’ve never lived under a fascistic dictatorship, you’re actually soaking in it, thanks to each of your elected commissioners.

Kevin Goodrich, Central Point

 

RE.: EPA

Should the EPA become the Environmental Pollution Agency or remain the Environmental Protection Agency? Do we really care about human and environmental health, or not?

This is a question our federal representatives face. The Trump Administration and Republicans in DC are promoting the pro-Pollution alternative. 

Trumps’ 2018 budget proposes cutting EPA funding by 30% and staff by 20%. It also proposes compromising the air we breathe and the water we drink by cutting 50 programs that protect these essential resources.  

Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled Congress plans to adjust EPA policy such that regulations become the cheapest for corporations rather than the best for protecting public and environmental health. They also plan to instruct agencies to prioritize the interests of industry (meaning profits and greed) over protection of consumers and workers.

Amazingly, even now Trump and the Congressional cabal of integrity-challenged and self-esteem lacking representatives are dedicated to the destruction of human and environmental health and the promotion of short-term profits and greed.

It’s not clear what Trump and Congressional representatives think they and their families will breath or drink in the future.  Paradoxically, or is that merely ‘insanely,’ they seem intent on poisoning their own families – all for short-term profits.

Trisha Vigil, Medford

 

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