DON'T WASTE TEARDROPS
If your relative's a monster, are monsters relative?
I just read Paul Bounds' letter [September 26] in regard to "The Killing Fields" and must admit I felt relieved that I'm not the only one who saw one of these "innocents" for the monster he was.
I'm referring to the late Devin Webb, only we didn't call him Devin. We knew him as "Tear Drop," as he dealt crack on West 80th Street. Even after his near-death experience — when he was shot in the knee — Tear Drop continued to deal while hobbling around on crutches. I'm not really one to kick a man when he's down, but I'm reminded of that old saying: "Keep doin' what you've always done . . . you'll keep gettin' what you always got."
D.R. Slaughter Jr.
NO GOODY TWO-SHOES
Mother's little helper? Manolo Blahnik!
This story made my blood curdle. I happened upon it while I was researching kleptomaniacs.
My brother was married to a woman who nobody could ever figure out. There was always something wrong. When their first baby was born, I babysat and noticed in the baby's room there were 40 boxes of brand-new shoes in her closet. I joked that the kid had more shoes than Imelda Marcos. Little did I know what was going on.
The kids were always absent from school. The marriage ended, and the bills racked up for my brother. One day, a credit card showing purchases of nearly $25,000 would appear, and the next day, the amount would be credited. She could have had a full-time job for the time she was spending.
When I got to the diluted-perfume part of your story, however, this made my hair stand on end. One department store actually banned her for life because she would buy expensive perfume, then return it the next day (diluted, of course). How she never got arrested is beyond me.
Providence, Rhode Island
Tony won't sign with this Jersey boy:
Wow. I just read this article, and you beat me to it. I had been working on this exact same story about Tony Brummel and Victory. I was wondering about one thing — did you talk to Tony?
I know it says he declined an interview, but that doesn't mean he didn't talk to you off the record. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with him, but he wouldn't let me record the conversation or use any of it for an article. From the little time I did spend with him, I will conclude the dude is truly paranoid and pretty much a complete asshole. He threatened to sue me if I wrote anything bad about him or his label. As much as I don't want to admit he beat me, the threat of a lawsuit against a staff writer at a small punk-rock website with no money for a defense is kind of scary. I also don't think my wife would have been happy if I got served with papers.
Either way, it was an interesting article.
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Editor's note: Brummel refused to be interviewed for our story.
We're ferklempt if we offended:
Where did Lisa Rab get the fact that Brush High School's yearbook ever looked like a "Jewish News photo spread"? There has never been a time when Brush was predominantly Jewish. The height of the Jewish population in the 1970s might have reached 20 percent. To imply that the "white flight to Solon and Twinsburg" was a result of mass Jewish exodus is wrong and anti-Semitic.
If anything, try looking at the Italian and Catholic populations in South Euclid and Lyndhurst — then you will see major mass exodus. Why weren't they mentioned? Why didn't Lisa mention suburbs like Highland Heights and Gates Mills as destinations for white Italians and Catholics escaping the "swelling" black population?
To say that the Brush yearbook looked like a "Jewish News photo spread" is just as prejudiced and discriminating as saying the Brush yearbook looked like "a Mafia hit list" or "a Who's Who in the Catholic community." Any time you generalize, you offend. And if you're going to generalize, at least get your facts straight.
Lately, Jewish people seem to be getting more than their share of blame for the world's problems. I like what the article said about MAC scholars and the young black males at Brush. It is true that many of our black students work very hard to inspire other students. Achievement gaps exist among other sectors of our population as well as the black male population.
The reasons we are all together at Brush are inconsequential. The fact is that we are here, we respect one another, we enjoy being together, and we try to make our time together as productive as possible. Pointing fingers and blaming based upon poor research is petty and prejudicial and beneath Scene.
Department of Mathematics
Brush High School
VENTURE TO DIFFER
We've got a minivan full of apologies:
Love ya to death, but your crack about most readers thinking that the Ventures are a "discontinued Chevy minivan" is about as accurate as your description of the Ventures as "'50s crooners." The Ventures were an early sixties instrumental group. But then again, who cares?