I found your piece on Jimmy Dimora ["Boss From the 'Burbs," May 20] to be informative, seemingly objective, and well-written, for the most part. However, having an Italian heritage myself, I have to object to your use of the term "godfather"--a term that almost always is used to describe only Italian Americans and one which will forever be associated with organized criminal activity, thanks to a triad of movies of the same name. I find it socially irresponsible of the media to continue to offend a large segment of the population through the use of stereotypical language such as "godfather" and "mafia," which unjustly maligns the vast majority of people of Italian descent who have no knowledge of or connection to criminal activity.
Rather than use such pejorative terms when describing Italian Americans, why not focus on some of our more positive cultural attributes. I, like most Italian Americans, am proud of my heritage and tired of the constant reinforcement of criminal stereotypes. Perhaps you, Mr. Tobin, could begin the process of setting an example for your colleagues to follow by apologizing to the Italian American community with as much fanfare as your front-page cover story carried.
via the Internet
It's All Hollywood's Fault
Jimmy Dimora is the epitome of the "American Dream." The cover story on our commissioner is well-written and to the point. One concern that must be brought to your attention is the title "Godfather."
You credit Jimmy's Italian heritage as why others view him as the "Godfather." Please, being of Italian heritage does not automatically associate one with organized crime. Is ethnic stereotyping in vogue at the Scene, or just for Italian Americans? Would you use the term "Godfather" to describe Bishop Pilla or Justice Scalia? If you did a cover story on the mayor, would "Godfather" be boldly printed on the face of the publication?
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Spreading the Word on FGM
Thank you for the wonderful story about the family who has been saved from Female Genital Mutilation ["Women's War," May 20]. I am an immigration attorney in York, Pennsylvania. I have represented many people seeking political or religious asylum. Our judges here have been courageous in granting asylum to clients of mine on the basis of fear of FGM if they return. The world has to know what these women go through in order to stop the practice.
Jacqueline Marino needs to keep writing. This is the only way we can change our misconceptions about immigrants, which are all too common today in our xenophobic society.
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Exchange Point Misses the Mark
The beauty of harm reduction is that it goes far beyond HIV education and prevention. Because many injection drug users are marginalized by society, the presence of a harm- reduction program in the community gives the clients an opportunity to gain access to mainstream social and medical services of which they were previously unaware or to which access had not been available.
Unfortunately, in Cleveland, after four years, the groundwork has still not been done. Our community has still not been educated. The Exchange Point had an opportunity to "do the right thing" for its injecting clients, for the neighborhoods in which it worked, for the city of Cleveland. It failed. The degree to which any program or organization is identified by one person's name is the degree to which it has failed to be a part of the community. The Exchange Point, from the beginning, was one man's idea--obsession might be a better choice of words. It was an exchange service, not a harm-reduction program.
M. Wartella's comic strip "Trailer Trash" in the May 20 issue allegedly satirizes soap operas and the all-American love of violence. In actuality, the strip spews out the same old classist bigotry by depicting lower-class rural whites as dumb, ugly, gullible, bloodthirsty, inbred losers worthy of liberal hipster ridicule. I doubt you would ever print a strip called "Ghetto Trash" or "Barrio Trash," much less one called "Corporate Trash."
David V. Matthews
Editor's note: M. Wartella's strip is called "Nuts," though we like your submissions better.
Reader Feasts on Local Bone
I can't believe it! I opened my Scene last week and there was a full review section for local music. Better yet, there wasn't one or two, but ten reviews of local artists.
I knew of the Pieces of Blue Sky release by Vince Menti from seeing him perform with Custard Pie. At least now other Clevelanders will know this stuff exists. I may not agree 100 percent with the reviews, but at least these bands are getting some press in their hometown. Thanks, David Martin and Scene.
I Was a Teenage Pagan
As a high school student it's seriously difficult for me to find any information on the whereabouts of clubs allowing "teens" in. I would really appreciate it if you could include something about that in your next issue. I would also like to say that the article about Paganism was wonderful.
Editor's Note: The Scene Club Listings note several venues which cater to teen audiences or host teen nights. And there's always Chuck E. Cheese's.