Left of the Dial
The recent purchase of WENZ-FM/107.9 by Radio One has Cleveland's "alternative" audience by the balls. Those not under a rock know that Radio One is urban-friendly and will probably change the station's format--leaving the Rock Capital with no commercial alternative rock radio station.
Sure, we could sit through fifty Van Halen tunes to hear one good one by Tool, and, as we all know and won't admit, WENZ was starting to suck anyway. This may not be a great loss, but it will be enough to sting rock fans just a bit. Great bands like Garbage, Primus, Soul Coughing, and our own locals will have zero commercial support.
Now, before you modern-rock lovers take to the nearest of Cleveland's numerous high bridges, get a look at the bottom of the radio spectrum.
Way up there is your solution. Many people sing the praises of college radio as an alternative to the "alternative." Doesn't it make sense that that should be the case, anyway? All mainstream alternative listeners will have nowhere else to go but college radio. This is the golden opportunity they've been looking for. Imagine what our nonprofits could become if the attention from WENZ's audience shifted onto them. They already have so much to offer.
Start at WCPN-FM/90.3 and find out what's going on in the world for real. Then you may bang yo' head and shake yo' thing wherever else your radio dial takes you. If your frequency reads over 92, you've gone too far.
Reader Spares Scene from Hell
I am a regular reader of your magazine, and I appreciate the new format. You are giving the other alternative some competition, which is good. However, I find the "Jesus of the Week" cartoon to be particularly offensive. Since I am not a Christian, I won't sentence your magazine to the opposite of heaven, but I will badmouth it quite vocally until you stop. Targeting a religion for this sort of public humor does not contribute to the public good. Pick on someone your own size.
Christianity's Other Contributions
Paul T. Kraker and Darren Harnegie [Letters, March 18] are all in a snit. They're appalled by jokes about Jesus. Enter a little history: For approximately seventeen centuries (Council of Nicea, 325 A.D.), Christianity has clearly been the "official" religion for a major segment of humanity. What isn't clear is whether humanity has been the better for it. For the past forty years, the movement for peace and justice has been strongly supported and often led by religious and church groups. These contributions exemplify the best of Christian doctrine. And even the deeper past is not devoid of praiseworthy acts--we owe a great debt of gratitude for the learning preserved and carried forward in monasteries scattered throughout Europe during the Dark Ages.
But those forty years are but a fraction of the seventeen centuries, and the saving of old text was the work of a minuscule handful of academic monks. Meanwhile, Christian officialdom was imparting a deadening and deadly legacy of racism, sexism, superstition, and intolerance. We have had the slaughter of Jews during the Christian Crusades, the centuries-long murder of heretics by the Christian inquisition, the destruction of the entire Cathar culture by the Christian Albigensian crusade, the vigorous support of slavery in Christian Europe and the Christian colonization of the Americas, the equally vigorous support of Indian peonage and the destruction of native Latin American cultures during the Christian conquista, the subjugation and degradation of women, the anathematizing of homosexuals, and the relentless inculcation of guilt as a way of life. This also is the "2000 years of faithful Christianity" evoked by Harnegie and Kraker.
Is it therefore surprising that some opposition to this legacy emerges, if only as the tepid humor called "Jesus of the Week"? But even this little is too much: Listen to them whine and squeal, the Harnegies and the Krakers! The Christian martyrs of imperial Rome were made of sterner stuff. Undoubtedly it hurts; ancient arrogance punctured is not pleasant, and the unexamined life provides little comfort when force-viewed through the eyes of others. But you will survive. And be grateful; thank whatever you hold holy that what is being poked at you is fun, and not the merciless sword of righteousness--the Christian response of choice since time immemorial.