Letters to the Editor

From the week of November 28, 2002

News should be, well, newsworthy. Sorry, but it's not news that Jase and Josh got drunk last night at a rave, or that Britanni and Courtni got picked up at a club. If it's important to the story, the youth of the actors should be noted, as when a fourteen-year-old is accepted to Harvard. When a fourteen-year-old actually walks to middle school, it may be stop-the-presses time for her parents, but is it newsworthy?

Roberts's silly-ass notion that news should cater to teens and extended teens is yet another example of why news is not news anymore. Somehow, I can't picture Murrow doing a bubbly report on Britanni and Courtni's Excellent Adventure. If what young people want in their news is stuff like Martino's regular tits-and-ass stories, then they deserve this patronizing crap. And if some teens and extended teens are so self-absorbed that they think the local appearance of a band that'll be a nothing more than a trivia question five years from now should be front page and above the fold, I'm glad those particular youngsters are getting drunk and laid here rather than digging through those caves, where their more mature cohort is doing the kinds of things that turn boys and girls into men and women.

JM Schell
Arvada

Thirty-something:I have to respond to Michael Roberts's column on the cultural anachronism of Denver media. I'm pushing thirty, but at 29, I'm technically part of Robert's "under-thirty" demographic whose interests are supposedly slighted by the local media. According to Roberts, all of the "under-thirty" set -- as if everyone in a certain age range can be classified so homogeneously -- is concerned with in the news are hip-hop concerts, youth "culture" pieces and coverage of other banal goings-on in a "youth-correct" manner.

While I agree that the media focuses too much on gore, negativism and syllogistic appeals to public fears, is pandering to so-called youthful interests instead of middle-aged ones the answer? (By the way, how is hip-hop in its fourth decade -- so, what, it started in the '60s? What planet are you from?) In any event, what are young people today doing that's newsworthy, anyway? For that matter, what have young people in any decade since the advent of radio been doing that's newsworthy, apart from the beginnings of the civil-rights movement in the '50s and into the '60s? Young people go to coffee shops, hang out in bars, smoke pot, go to school, have sex, slack off, argue with their roommates, etc., like they have for decades. The youth haven't yet risen to positions of power in the community because they're, uh, youth. What the fuck is newsworthy about that?

I'd have to agree with the oldsters that modern youth "culture" is devoid of originality. It's hypocritical on their part, however: It so happens that the same old people who run the media also design the clothes we wear and determine the music we listen to, the food we eat and the television we watch. Everything about so-called modern culture is regurgitated and commercialized, including popular dissent. The cultural revolution is over, and the good guys lost. It's in the hands of the marketing execs now. Take the "protests" in Seattle regarding globalization. Ask fellow under-thirty-somethings to explain why they think globalization is evil. I have. They can't; they have no idea. They protest globalization because it's cool to protest globalization. We have hundreds of domestic companies raping labor in foreign countries and slowly sucking all of the life out of our culture, and our government cannibalizes the Constitution, sucks the world of its resources and helps big business screw over the peasantry worldwide to such an extent that they want to drive planes into our skyscrapers while the voting public sleeps in a stupor of vapid entertainment, consumption and meaningless "self-improvement" and the youth are increasingly brainwashed into solipsistic, mindlessly technophilic little bastards with no grasp on history -- and the biggest Darth Vader we can come up with is Starbucks? And the most meaningful coverage relevant to youth you can think up is suitably hip fluff pieces?

Give me a break. Why isn't the media reporting on something really meaningful, like the culture (of which the media is a large part) industry's ongoing subversion of critical thought, rationalism, intellectualism and cultural values that mean something? Or about the fact that our politicians are steering the world into the ground and no one cares as long as their chai latte is sweet enough and they get laid every week? Who gives a fuck about Dent or whether baby-boomers are up to snuff on hip-hop culture? Read some books and get a clue of your own, you ageist, superficial dumbass.

Steve Sedlmayr
Denver

Michael Roberts responds: I may be a superficial dumbass, but I'm pretty good at counting. Hip-hop was born in the early 1970s and continued through the '80s and '90s well into today -- meaning the genre is in its fourth decade. As for what planet I'm from, it's a little place I like to call Earth.

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