Hearing the hatred
in white-power music
I usually like Geoff Edgers’s writing, but I’m disappointed that he seems to give the hardcore guys a pass in “The words and music of hatecore” (Arts, Aug. 12). I’m Jewish, too, and my mother’s family were refugees from Hitler’s Germany, so the hardcore issue is one that concerns me. When I read the Intelligence Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, I am always alarmed at the size and scope of hate groups in our country, and this publication gives, in my view, a more accurate view of the place of hardcore in the white supremacist movement as well as its danger. To me, Edgers makes it seem as though there’s really not much to worry about. Josh is just a skinny, somewhat nerdy guy who just wants an audience. And well, if “Mein Kampf” is on his bookshelf, not to worry. He’s just a kid with a band who wants to be heard.
Now, I’m not exactly apoplectic, but I really think this kind of sympathetic whitewashing (sorry) does a grave injustice to what is an integral part of the many-tentacled constellation of racism and anti-Semitism in this country. Josh may be a kind of nebbish, but what about his audience members and the way his desire to connect with them may nurture and grow hatred toward others, disguised (or maybe not) as a hip response to rad tunes. Any one of them could be the next Wade Michael Page (who if truth be told wasn’t really in the band and so maybe the music isn’t so harmful after all). And, if there are “only” 140 hate-metal bands in the US, that means there are at least 500 Pages in waiting, as well as hundreds or thousands of sympathizers. BTW, how many of those bands do you think are rehearsing new songs based on Page’s depravity?
In my view, hate-metal is an important recruiting tool for hate groups, and it nurtures and reinforces the kind of mentality that leads to the wide variety of hate crimes reported across the US by the ADL. I wish Edgers’s article had conveyed a stronger condemnation of this phenomenon than I received.
Professor of English (retired)
North Shore Community College
A closer look at street art
Great review (as always) of Os Gemeos (“The writing’s on the wall,” g, Aug. 10, Sebastian Smee). Regarding the giant person boxed into the building on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, not sure why Smee states it’s a “boy.” I think it’s a self-portrait, thus the covered face, of both artists since they are twins. Even if they were not both males, it could serve since it’s androgenous.
Most traditional art critics, when writing about graffiti and street art, have little clue as to what they are writing about. Smee’s recent article was intelligent, insightful, and understanding of the complexities of the art form as young street artists mature. I think Boston Globe readers will be better informed in the future as they are confronted by the art in the streets and will be more appreciative.
Traveling in Sao Paulo in 1990, I photographed two murals up on the hill near the museum. One was entitled “BOM DIA” and the other “OSONIO.” It wasn’t until some years later when I met the twins that I learned that these were two of their very earliest works.
Coauthor, “Spraycan Art”
(Thames and Hudson)
After the Revolving Museum
Re: “Closing the doors on a colorful past” (Arts, Aug. 12, Geoff Edgers): This was a very bittersweet read for me, as I’ve worked with Jerry Beck since 2005 at the Revolving Museum and was involved for much of the good time as well as the unfortunate fall from grace. I continue to work with him in his current capacity at the Fitchburg Art Museum.
I know firsthand how shaken Jerry was when the wheels began to fall off at the Revolving Museum, and he felt betrayed by museum colleagues and others in Lowell. A part of him died when he parted ways with the organization, but he’s up to his old tricks in Fitchburg, where he’s breathed new life into that accomplished but historically low-profile institution in less than a year. Edgers and other pegged him right, as the “P.T. Barnum of the art world.” He’s also turned his home in Fitchburg into his own museum gallery, with wall art and sculptures (much of it of his own doing) covering virtually every available space.
To me, Jerry’s a person of such vision, talent, and passion that you just want to see his dreams come true. I hope you’ll think about catching up with him and the Fitchburg Art Museum in the next several months.
Regardless, thanks for such a solid story on the Revolving Museum.
Tweaking a TV critic’s song list
Re: “Tuning in, tuning out” (g, Aug. 7): Matthew Gilbert MUST listen to “Vicarious” by Tool. One of my (many) recurring fantasies is to somehow overdub it randomly on the daily death beat known as the Local News.
Even the lyrics alone are worth it.
I would have included John Fogerty’s “I Saw It on TV” from “Centerfield.”
GREGORY A. PETSKO
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