Wednesday, December 06, 2000


This was going to be an article about chads, or Chad, or St. Chad. An analysis of the virtues of Presidential candidates and the economic impact of a Bush Presidency. Then I yawned, and remembered this line from American history: "All men are created equal."

It's a nice thought. When each of us is created, or when each man is created, we are all equal to one another. Unfortunately, when you are spitting up on yourself and feeling your own shit squish against your thighs under a diaper, it doesn't really matter that you are equal to the infant in the next house!

In the scheme of our families, equality is a very serious matter. If we were fortunate enough to be the eldest child, we enjoyed excitement and privilege that our younger siblings never knew. We are the first-born, and depending on your family's heritage that could be a blessing beyond belief. If we were the youngest sibling we enjoyed different privileges and excitement. Those of us trapped in the middle have tasted, ever so briefly, the joy of being the youngest; but, it was short-lived. As soon as another sibling came along that magical place in life was usurped.

Most of us are trapped in the middle. We are too endowed to sink further down the chain and not endowed enough to rise any further. We are not the child of a President or grandchild of a Senator, and our mediocrity will not take us to the White House.

Childhood is rife with the confusion of finding our place in the pecking order. When we move to the playground as toddlers, before the magic imprisonment of pre-school, everyone is pretty much equal. When we enter the kingdom of school the pecking order is established. Those with the better toys, the better bikes, the better sports equipment are usually held in a higher regard that those with less. Many of our fears become rooted in our personal security as it relates to other peoples' perceptions of us.

High school and college present more complicated challenges of our status in life: sex and style. For most of us at this stage of life it is more accurately described as (1) the perception our friends have of our sexual activity and (2) what we try pass off as fashion. Our displays of sexual prowess or chastity, depending on our values, and the clothes we wear, begin to outwardly define who we are socially and where we are in the pecking order of young America.

Then there is our later social life in bars, clubs, and restaurants. Here, sex and fashion continue to define the insidiousness of status. Some of us relish our spot at the top, while those of us at the bottom usually find solace and garner attention as freaks, clowns and perverts. Most of us, however, live in the middle. We are of middling intelligence, we have a middle-management position, we live a middle-class lifestyle, all of which is funded with a middle-income paycheck. Our status is somewhere in the middle.

We live in a culture that is fetishistic about status. As adults, our address, our employer, our car, our vacation spot, and our clothing speak to our station in life, our place in the pecking order. This is unfortunate; but, that's the way it is. We pander to our greatest fears when we indulge in displays of status. And we never stop our pursuit of a higher station in life, of more status.

A small percentage of the population is in possession of the status most of us desire. Some of them have earned that status through hard work and many successes; some have been born into their status; some have gotten status as personalities with a modicum of talent. But they have status. The more stylish of those who hold status are those who appear to maintain and display their status effortlessly.

In the first half of the Twentieth Century, American fashion was very simple: men wore suits, women wore dresses, and everybody wore hats and gloves. When looking at pictures of urban social gatherings of pre-war America, it is usually impossible to determine the class and/or status of those portrayed, as the clothing of the time did not belie the participants' station in life. Everybody owned a suit or a dress, and when it was time to be seen at an event, you wore it.

The advent of hip-ness and the invasion of self-serving European clothing designers turned Americans into caricatures of famous people in Fellini films! America's obsession with status now had an outward manifestation: attire. One could pretend to be a member of a different socio-economic group by dressing in clothes that supposedly represented a higher or lower station in life, depending on one's goals. Those with no status began to trade dignity and self-respect to display the appearance of status. Some dreadful trends have made their way through our culture. One in particular seems to be here permanently and needs to be addressed.

The most pedestrian attempt to display status is the designer logo. An immature and unimaginative trend, if ever there was one.

Levi Strauss & Co. has been putting a tag on the outside of its products for over 100 years; but, Levi products have never been a status symbol. In the 1970s, Calvin Klein brought us his little white tag on the back of denim jeans, then he put his name on the waistband of our briefs. Young men began wearing IZOD's Alligator and Ralph Lauren's Polo shirts with the silly little emblems on the chest. Today, it's Tommy Hilfiger's faux-patriotic red, white and blue flag emblem; and Skechers and Fubu have splashed their ugly post-industrial logos on our shoes and other gear. Even the Caterpillar machine manufacturer sells clothing and footwear emblazoned with their CAT logo. Personally, I find the entire trend rather tedious, and not very stylish at all.

So who wears designer logos? Rarely, if ever, will you see a person possessive of actual status wearing clothing that displays a designer logo. A person who has been blessed with status and style does not need to wear clothing that is made to appear like quality clothing with the stitching-on of a designer's name or logo.

Think about it, it's really rather simplistic: labels should be on the inside of clothing, not the outside! Is this a surprise or mystery?

People with no status often purchase expensive clothing with designer logos in hopes of showing some fashion sense. This is a failure. When I see someone wearing a designer logo, two things come to mind: the person has no sense of fashion and no status or dignity. The lower the status, the bigger or more prevalent the logos. There is nothing more distasteful than who live in the middle-income tax bracket wearing over-priced, low-quality clothing with a Tommy Hilfiger, Fubu, Gucci, CK, or other logo. The worst offense is a t-shirt emblazoned with a huge Gucci logo, worn as a "dressy" top.

Status is not external, it is private. Your economic status is defined by your bank account and financial holdings, which you do not share with strangers. Your social status is defined by the circles in which you travel, and those people already know who you are. Your professional status is defined by your job, and rarely do you appear in groups of strangers wearing a uniform that announces your position. Your spiritual status is defined by your behaviour in social settings, and displays of spiritual bankruptcy are frowned upon even in the least savory environs. Your true status is never really known by strangers. What makes a person think that clothes emblazoned with a logo will somehow convince others that they have more or less status than is already obvious?

Maybe you will say that you do not wear designer logos to display status. Be careful how vociferously you announce this! Because if you do wear designer logos and you are not wearing them as status-symbols, that means you think they are fashionable, stylish and appealing. This is even less impressive!

All men may be created equal, but shortly after creation, the societal food chain starts having an impact on the quality of your life. How do you want to be perceived?

Be smart and stylish! If you want the world to know that you have no status, and no style, then wear clothing splashed with designer logos. If you want to be seen as sophisticated, make a deal with yourself to stop purchasing these tedious articles of clothing. There is only one way to eradicate the designer logo, and only you can help.

Shop til you drop!

Friday, October 06, 2000

The Elemental Magazine Controversy

This rather long piece is a collection of articles and email correspondence about an article published by Elemental Magazine. I have reprinted the original article in its entirety without the permission of the author or publisher. If they want it taken down, I will remove it; but, unless I hear from them, I will leave this piece as is. I think the problem of homophobia is an important issue.

Elemental Magazine, a journal of hip-hop, recently published a dreadfully homophobic article. It is amazingly shallow, hateful, and, I believe, reflective of a dangerous trend with today's youth. I think this points to a real anti-gay backlash that is reaching proportions so epidemic that it has already passed into daily reality instead of an abomination, and there has been no pause at outrage.

I wrote a letter (email) to the publisher protesting the article, and he sent back a form-letter (email). Of course, just like any man put on the spot for hateful and destructive behaviour, the publisher is cloaking himself in the 'freedom of speech' argument. (How progressive, huh?)

I have responded to his form letter and await a response.

What follows is:

(1) The original article that appeared in the magazine;
(2) My letter to the author, publisher, and editor;
(3) The form letter I received from the publisher in return;
(4) My reply to the publisher's form letter; and

Please consider writing to the magazine and telling them what you think. If you agree with the
magazine's position, I'm certain they would like to hear about it.

(1) The original article that appeared in the Elemental Magazine:

ELEMENTAL MAGAZINE "underground culture" issue 22

by jamarhl crawford

Recently, there has been an increased advancement of homosexual ideals contrasting the family values rhetoric pushed by the moral majority establishment. in a short time, society shifted from no gay representation to oversaturation and inundation. blame it on that damn ellen, one of the more recent blonde-haired blue-eyed white girls to come cause confusion.

the gay movement has been thrust into the forefront and even frequently compared to the black power movement and the civil/equal rights struggle. homosexual people have equated themselves to black people in this country and seek to establish their status as a separate group. judging from the legislation being pushed for affirmative action, adoption, marriage, HMO sex change coverage, they seem to have the financial and grassroots support to pull it off. ultimately, the enviable term "minority" would be even-handedly applied to encompass black, latino, asian, indian and gay. isn't america great?

the trickle down theory dictates that eventually the duplication and assimilation that comes with homosexual integration into the mainstream would trickle down to permeate all aspects of society, and it has. we see it in TV and film, where he flamboyant or funny "gay" character is prevalent or when comedians & actors don drag for a cheap laugh, a cheap thrill and a cheap price. even for our youth, cartoonish lavender & green dinosaurs skip gleefully in homoerotic psychedelic fantasias with pink teletubbies sporting full triangular symbology. in music, we can't help but notice sisqo the flaming dragon, platinum blonde in shiny sequenced outfits, breathe fire while declaring his faux machismo with a hard, sexy and tough DMX like twan and blain in a men on hip-hop skit. hated it.

"wait a minute! they crossed the line now! you mean to tell me DMX is doing songs with sisqo!?! until recently, hip-hop had been safe, at least from all outward displays of frilliness. although there has been speculation as to the inclinations of LL, Dre, Meth & Red, DMX, Puffy & Mase, Latifah, Lyte, Queen Pen, Deadly Venoms, Brat, Q-Tip, Wyclef and countless others i'm sure, no one has "come out" so to speak. hip-hop seems to bite the government rap "don't ask, don't tell" although intelligent people know that homosexuality is behind the scenes in every genre of the entertainment industry. right now lesbian imagery is chic for all the videos and the powers that be are
well aware of the trends-- they should be, they set them and pass them to the entertainment industry who then pass them on to us.

homosexuality has been a part of their power structure as far back as it goes and today is no different. caesar could've been a label owner, king james a distributor, shakespeare a magazine editor and caligula could've been uncle luke and invented true bootie music with hip-hop flesh fests resembling roman orgies. hip-hop fashion is fixated on a homosexual dominated industry where Versace symbolizes the epitome of jigginess. in places like atlanta and NY i have seen gays in all the hip-hop gear, baggy FUBU jeans, Timberland boots, complete with frost bit limp wrists. i assume every extreme present in out culture is present in theirs. sellouts, militants, gangsters, etc. enter homo thugs adn homo homeboys.

i understand that every special interest group is clamoring to get a piece of hip-hop pie (now that it's popular) but can we draw a line somewhere in hip-hop or is it just comap come along now? the floodgates of racial integration in hip-hop have already been opened, but are we ready for the closet doors to fling open like "see me, love me"? can hip-hop handle a sexual revolution, especially a homosexual one? while surfing the net i came across Rainbo Flava, a gay hip-hop crew out of san fran who include white and black gays and lesbians. with aliases like Superdyke 2000 and allegiances to crews like the deep dickollective i think we are in for some shit, no pun intended.

somehow i don't think MC RuPaul would go over too big and i think the leap from backpackers to fudgepackers might be extreme. gay hip hop sounds as crazy as gay reggae ... it ain't happening. thankfully, hip-hop shares much in common with reggae and the urban environments of jamaica and america have bred Rudeboys and Homeboys who are very protective of their manhood. the boom bap aint' too far from the boom bye bye and for that reason i believe that hip-hop and reggae
will be the toughest battlegrounds from homosexual integrationists.

sources:>Sodom & Gommorrah

(2) My letter to the author, publisher, and editor:

Dear Matt Wright, Chris Hall, and jamarhl crawford:


I write to you after reading the amazing article "WILL YOU STAND UP FOR HIP-HOP OR BEND OVER?" from ELEMENTAL MAGAZINE "underground culture" issue 22, by jamarhl crawford.

Wow! It has been many years since I read an article that so denegrated so many people! Not since the era when people with brown or black skin were lumped together with syphilitics, rapists, thieves, gamblers, and drunks have I heard such narrow-mindedness espoused by someone in an allegedly alternative lifestyle (like hip-hop).

Maybe hip-hop, as I've always suspected, is just a very successful method of the white man to keep today's urban youths in check by convincing them that simple hatred, vulgarity and violence is an expression of their true selves!

I remember in the early sixties, when records of African-American artists were released with antiseptic pictures of young white couples, or sytlized text listing the tracks on the release, or, worse the Miracles record with the cartoon of a monkey; but certainly NEVER a depiction of the handsome African-American man or beautiful African-American woman singing the songs about to be purchased. During this time, it was impossible to know that there were men and women of color who were doctors or lawyers, or that there were remarkable historical figures who did not have white skin.

I have been a fan of American music for about 35 years. I grew-up on Motown and moved to the 70s glam scene (man, Labelle was a killer act), then the punk scene, then the rap scene of the early 80s (when it was vital, before it became such a sell-out genre), and today I struggle to listen to anything that rebels against the mediocrity of today's music industry (especially the crap being passed off as hip-hop).

I was raised in the Mission Hill Housing Projects in downtown Boston during the time when the projects changed from being predominantly Irish to almost-completely Southern Black. I never knew there were "white" neighborhoods, and I was spared the torture of having to listen to Beatles records, because all the guys in my neighborhood listened to James Brown, The Temps, The Impressions, Mary Wells, Aretha, The Supremes, et al.; and we all had those great 45s of The Esquires and The Capitols and Archie Bell. I guess the "whitest" music we listened to was Dionne Warwick.

The great thing about being a white kid in the black projects in the 60s was that I learned to live with many different kinds of people. Not all the black guys were the same! Imagine my surprise! I was fortunate enough to live through the remarkable violence and betrayal of housing project reality and to come out of it with an open-mind. I believe it was my deprivation and life outside of the mainstream that taught me that open-mindedness.

I am baffled! Why would a person who is proclaiming to be a member of a progressive/alternative community (hip-hop) espouse such intolerance and hatred?

The painfully obvious, simplest, and most often accurate, answer is "jamarhl crawford's" lack of confidence in his own masculinity. But, maybe "jamarhl crawford" is not a real person, just a pen-name for some anti-progressive dilitante passing himself off as a member of the hip-hop community. Or maybe Jamarhl Crawford is a real person who is an anti-progressive dilitante passing himself off as a member of the hip-hop community. It would make me happy if no "jamarhl crawfords," the purveyors of hate and intolerance, really existed.

Certainly, no one with any real sense of justice and duty who considers themselves an upstanding member of any community would lump together blacks, syphilitics, rapists, thieves, gamblers, and drunks, and never should such a person dismiss an entire segment of the population with remarks meant only to hurt and inflame.

How quickly history is forgotten. Unfortunately, we are doomed to repeat it.

The publication of "jamarhl crawford's" diatribe is a pitiful thing.

Good luck in your hateful little world.

Dick Mac (alive!)

(3) The form letter I received from the publisher in return:

Recently one of Elemental Magazine's opinion columnists presented us with a column that can be described as nothing less than offensive. We know now that we should have reconsidered printing the column in the magazine.

But, for the record, here's how it happened:

As huge supporters of free speech, the staff and leadership of Elemental have always tried to make the magazine a forum for radical thought. Hip-hop is a genre that has seen more than its share of censorship, and we aimed to avoid censoring thought at all corners. The author of the offensive column has been submitting opinions to Elemental for almost a year. His columns are often pretty radical, addressing issues of race, sexuality and government. He has never been paid for any of his submissions. While there have been readers who have been offended by his writing in the past, we felt it important to leave his columns unaltered, even though many on our staff have been personally offended by his thoughts as well.

Which brings us to his latest piece.

Elemental made an error in judgment when we decided to run a column which was so filled with anti-gay rhetoric and inflammatory ideas. In our effort to support free speech, we forgot that there is a line. Unfortunately, we crossed that line with our decision to take his words to print. We forgot that, although we label the page "opinions", the words are appearing in our magazine, and to separate the words from the pages is impossible. The feedback has been extensive, the criticism ranging from exacting to exacerbated.

In short, our young staff learned a big lesson. There is no anti-gay sentiment amongst our staff, and we truly regret having offended so many so swiftly. A little discretion is in order for the future.

Thanks, all of you, for letting us know how you feel about this issue. I hope you will accept our explanation and apologies, and continue to support this non-corporate, independent, grass roots publication.

For real,
Matt Wright, publisher

(4) My reply to the publisher's form letter:

Dear Mr. Wright:

Thank you for responding to my recent message to Elemental Magazine.

I wish that this sanitized, form-letter response to my concerns about Jamarhl Crawford's recent article in your magazine had done more than grasp at the straws of "Free Speech." This is an explanation (defense) most often employed by right-wing reactionaries, not progressives!

Everyone in America knows about Freedom of Speech. Using it in a discussion of hate and intolerance is like saying we must accept bigotry because the ocean is deep and the sky is blue. It is not a progressive or sophisticated response or explanation.

Mr. Wright, there is no editor that prints an article without reading it. Your editor knew exactly what he was publishing. It is also unlikely that you knew nothing of this piece. You are the publisher of this journal -- you know what is being printed. Ignorance is a lame, lame explanation. I believe that your staff knew exactly what they were doing.

If you were really concerned with Free Speech and the difficult dynamics inherent in our social structure that are raised by this type of freedom, you would have planned publication of Jamarhl Crawford's article in a forum which allowed for differing viewpoints. THAT is responsible exercise of Freedom of Speech. To limp away from this situation licking your wounds with a tongue that screams "he was expressing his opinion" is irresponsible, at best! Is there no staff member present capable of writing a sane couterpoint to his hatred?

You say that there is no anti-gay sentiment on your young staff. Well, that is wholly insufficent for a progressive oraganization that wishes to wear the badge of "underground." If you are "underground" your mission statement would include a progressive position about the rights and human dignity of all people and there would never be any questions about publishing the kind of filth that Crawford wrote; the culture surrounding your organization would not fester, invite or even welcome this type of bigotry.

What is the underground? You use the word "underground" freely, and this word usually implies thinking, action, and analysis outside of the mainstream, unless you are talking about the importation of sex-slaves and narcotics which is a different kind of underground.

Your response, this canned "Freedom of Speech" excuse which fails to actually express an opinion of forward-thinking and contradiction of Crawford's hate, is not representative of "underground" thinking or analysis. In fact, it is more in line with the demi-monde of crimes against humanity, such as trading in human flesh, than it is with any kind of progressive movement at any time in the history of humanity.

You refer to yourselves as non-corporate. Well, you obviosuly mean only that you are too cheap to spend the money to become a legally incorporated organization, because what you have published in your magazine and distributed in a canned form-letter response to the ensuing protest are more "corporate" than some of the biggest corporations in America!

Nothing in your response to my concerns even begins to address the problem. You are confirming a stereotype of your community as a virulently homophobic, mysogynyst subculture. Yours is a community that screams that it should be heard, that it is somehow outside of the mainstream, that its art is a more realistic expression of contemporary culture than that passed off by the media, and that it is a community of forward thinking progressives.

I am insulted that you think my reply to Crawford's dangerous article merits only a canned form-letter that couches your own inadequacies in a Constitutional Right to Free Speech. Unless you publish responses to Crawford's article and condemn his bigotry in the pages of your journal, I will speak out against Elemental in every forum I can reach, starting with Borders Books and Tower Records who distribute your magazine.

You must do more!

Dick Mac (alive!)

I had a passing dialogue with Mr. Wright. He asked that I give them a break and not work to undermine their distribution. I called Tower and Borders anyway. I told them I was surprised they carried such crap, but they didn't care, and I did not ask them to take it off the shelves. In 2003, I saw the magazine in a Virgin Megastore. I still don't know what is worse: that they carry the rag, or that I was in Virgin Megastore!


Friday, September 08, 2000

Watery Beer

When I was growing up, I was constantly told to take care of my things. My baseball cards, my records, my hip/trendy clothing, my posters; you know the things. These things were generally inexpensive items that seemed to be my most important possession at the time of purchase. I couldn't possibly live without them. As time went by, they gave way to other important possessions.

Inevitably, when the baseball cards and records were mixed in with dirty laundry and poorly-hidden empty beer cans my Mother disposed of them. And as weekend house parties, underage visits to nightclubs, and drug-addled concerts replaced more wholesome activities, the clothing vanished or was destroyed. Today, the advent of eBay and the ferocious pace of retroactivity have made many of those lost items incredibly valuable. But, that's what happens when you don't take care of your stuff -- you lose it.

Each time I asked my Mother for another item that I could not afford, I was reminded of all the items I had to have in the past that eventually made their way to the junk heap. Some items I got, some I didn't. That's the way it goes.

Owning things is a responsibility that most young people never appreciate. It is rare to meet a child who truly understands the value of his or her possessions. Rarely does a young person know that the PeeWee Herman talking doll will be worth a fortune if it remains in its box and is kept in pristine condition for 15 years. Or that the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr. card which cost them seven cents will be worth $100 in a few short years. Of course, the kid will place the card in a plastic holder right away, but eventually the protected piece of cardboard will end up under a can of Coke which will spill and the card will be valueless. The doll will be taken out of the box and returned to the box with great care, but a few years later a couple of joints will be smoked, a couple of lines will be sniffed, a couple of shots will be drunk and the doll will become the victim of a party prank and end up in the trash.

Is this one of the lessons we learn growing up? That by taking care of our stuff, we will be rewarded with great profit and years of joy?

I grew-up less than a mile from Boston's Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. As a kid, I spent uncountable Summer Saturdays sneaking into the park. As a teenager, I became a vendor selling grossly over-priced Coke and ice cream and hotdogs to fans. As an adult, I remain a loyal fan and continue to attend games as often as possible.

Fenway Park is one of those gems that makes 20th Century Americana what it is. It is a throwback to a simpler, if dreadfully oppressive and uninteresting, time. There is nothing comfortable about Fenway Park. It is small and cramped. There is insufficient space for services, facilities, and concessions. There are enough obstructed views to give even the sloppiest architect nightmares. It's a mess. It needs to be replaced. I hate the thought of it being destroyed, but it is simply reality.

Old things are hard to maintain -- it's simply a matter of the aging process. The older something gets, the harder it is to keep it in good condition. But the manner in which we maintain our stuff is reflective of our character and what we value. If our apartment is a filthy mess, we cannot invite acquaintances in to share our lives; nor can we find the things we need. If our clothes are not laundered and cared for they fall apart and we look shabby. If our roof is leaking and we fail to fix it, the house and its contents can be destroyed. If we do not oil our leather jackets and boots, they crack and look like junk. If we don't change the fluids in our automobile, the engine will seize and be very expensive to replace. It's a maintenance issue.

Fenway Park is a nice thing to have. In the scheme of owning things, it would be nice to own Fenway Park. Sure, it must be frustrating to own it and continue to compete in today's baseball market. But, I'd love to own it. I think I'd take are of it.

The current owners of Fenway Park have been pleading their case for years. It goes something like this: "The Boston Red Sox is an invaluable institution in the fair City of Boston. Boston is a world-class city, with a world-class baseball team in a second-rate facility. If the Red Sox can't build a new Fenway, they might have to move to a different city." You've heard some version of the song and dance.

I happen to agree with the owners of the Red Sox! Fenway does need to be replaced. One trip to Baltimore's Camden Yards will convince the most diehard pro-Fenway fan (which I once was) that the Sox deserve better.

The owners of Fenway Park are asking the City and Commonwealth to fork over a fortune in taxpayer dollars. It is common for the government to give a sports team financial assistance, but the Red Sox are really pushing the envelope. The amounts they are seeking are astronomical! Much of the needed money is for the purchase of the land which makes up the new site.

This land has a colorful history. Over the years the value of this land has been destroyed because it is next to Fenway Park and the Red Sox are bad neighbors. I owned a condominium on Boylston Street for a number of years and the Red Sox never made any real efforts to minimize the impact they had on the surrounding area. The Red Sox are very, very bad neighbors.

Non-sports businesses have had an impossible time remaining in the area and as they abandoned the neighborhood the land was bought up and turned into parking lots. The deeds of the land show that it is owned by various trusts and corporations. Who are these owners? Not surprisingly, they are trusts and corporations owned by and benefitting various people affiliated with the current owners of the Red Sox or by their regional nemesis who also owns souvenir and food service businesses supported almost exclusively by Red Sox fans. So we have a bunch of rich guys asking the taxpayers to buy this land at inflated "market" prices then give it back to them for free so that they can build a ballpark!

If you owned Fenway Park, what are the things that would need to be taken care of? The walls, roofs, floors, seats, plumbing, electrical, field, locker rooms, dugouts, lights, audiovisual systems, scoreboards, security, media facilities, offices, parking lots, staff, and FANS! All of these things need to be taken care of, but without the fans there is nobody in the seats!

Now, let's put this situation into the paradigm of a child, The Red Sox, requesting yet another valuable item from its parents, YOU, the taxpayer.

Have you been to Fenway Park recently? (And I'm not talking about the 600 Club here.) It's a mess! Not because of its age, either! It's a mess because the children are not taking care of their things. It is grossly understaffed, it's filthy, it needs painting, ceilings are falling, the food being sold is atrocious and overpriced, the underpaid workers are surly and unhelpful, and most infuriating: the beer is watery and served in tiny cups at high prices!

A cup of beer is one of those items that is so interwoven in the day at the ballpark' experience as to make sobriety at Fenway seem almost absurd. A hot dog and a cup of beer are a part of the baseball experience! A cup of beer at Fenway is an embarrassment! Forget the fact that they do not deliver beer to your seat, that's another issue altogether!

I remember drinking Metbrew, a near-beer, as a young teenager, and my memories of that are of a full-bodied stout when compared to the crap poured in the friendly confines. In Minneapolis, I was once served 3.2 beer, a reduced-alcohol concoction which is closely related in flavor to whatever fluid is being passed-off as beer at Fenway.

If you owned a ballpark, would you serve bad beer? If you decided to sell bad beer, would you make it the only beer available at the tap? No! Of course not! When the owners of Fenway Park select beer as a beverage, do you think they consume the swill they serve at the ballpark? No! Of course not! Well, then why are we being sold this beer for five bucks a cup when we watch the Red Sox? Because the children are not taking care of their things.

If you let your baseball stadium fall into gross disrepair and you treated your guests poorly, would your parents buy you a new one? No!

Should there be a new Fenway Park? Yes! Should we taxpayers, as parents, give the Red Sox, our children, a new ballpark? No! They have not taken care of their things and they should not be given new things! Let them smash their giant piggy-bank and build one themselves.