Please don't squeeze the Ace
Yo Rhonda: I have a suggestion for improving your weekly throw away. Try printing it on softer paper-the paper you're using is too scratchy and not absorbant [sic] enough!
A little late from down under
I have just read "Long Bomb" by Rob Bricken in your September 28 2000 edition of ACE [review, Remember the Titans]. I read it as I'd been surfing the net to find more information about the true story (having just seen it here in Australia) and was unfortunate to come across Briken's appalling article. And I feel compelled to write in defence of this magnificent movie.
Bricken seems more interested in trashing Jerry Bruckheimer than he is in looking objectively at the film. His pen fairly oozes poison every time Bruckheimer's name is mentioned and the so called review is nothing more than childish diatribe. It would seem that Bricken's job was to be critic but instead he devotes himself to infantile attacks on anything from the script, the music and its manipulation of the audience, and the nature of the true story itself. All aimed at ridiculing Bruckheimer.
Someone should tell Bricken that a true story cannot be called cliched it is an oxymoron to put them together but judging from the intellectual content of the article that may be beyond his grasp. So is the concept that it is the role of the background music to manipulate the emotions of the audience. If it weren't then every horror movie or suspense movie made would have struggled. I am unfamiliar with your magazine but as an English/Media teacher and a poet I do know the structure and nature of a review. This not a review.
It is unfortunate that Bricken concentrates his article on ridiculing Bruckheimer rather than reviewing the film and it is grossly unfair on your readers as they have been denied an informed review of a fine picture.
I hope for your readers sake that Bricken is not your regular film critic, they deserve better.
Thank you, sir, for your comments. I promise to never again burden my reviews with comments on the script, soundtrack, the subject matter, or the way the film tells its story. I didn't realize how superfluous these things were to an actual review. -RB
Ahhh, the backlash continues
"Amen" to Naomi Netafari's letter (ACE 1/25/01) bemoaning the fact that ACE's writer's guidelines are so damn narrow in scope. Hmmm. So's ACE Weekly.
I would love to see the following appear more often in ACE: (a) the writing of local "unknowns" (b) critical articles on a variety of musical forms (including "real" country - this is Kentucky, for God's sake!) and (c) actual honest-to-God restaurant reviews - instead of endless pages of restaurant advertising (hell, I'll write 'em for ya for free). Oh, and don't be such a big-headed smart aleck about your increase in readership. Hello, your magazine is free. Perhaps its increase in readership is only a product of Lexington's increase in population. I'm a faithful, weekly reader of ACE, but if I had to pay one thin dime for it, I'd knock it off of my reading list in a sonic-speed segundo.
I have a real love/hate relationship with our mail.
Last week, for example, I got a fairly vitriolic - or at least extremely passionate and provocative - letter from a longtime reader.
The gist of his lengthy missive was that we suck, but what came through was his point that we have a lot of work to do as a Weekly. He was very specific. He cited examples of where he thought we were falling short. He's a local small business owner. He even happened to graduate from my beloved alma mater. (He mentions, for example, that he was "smart enough not to be dragged down with the rest of my eventual corporate ass-kissing classmates.")
And I found myself agreeing with almost everything he said.
We DO have a lot of work to do to fulfill our mission in this community. Sometimes, I admit to looking back over the last twelve years and feeling good about what we HAVE accomplished, but I spend a LOT more time looking forward to everything we haven't. At least not yet.
One of his more eloquent paragraphs asserted, "No, I don't expect you to change the world singlehandedly overnight. No, I don't expect each issue to concentrate on corporate power and the effect its having on our children, our education, our health (!), our free time and our relationships. But good God, at least show us that you respect our ability to comprehend complex thought! Surprise us with enlightened information. Do something constructive."
In a word: BEEEEEEEE-Yooooooo-TIFUL!!
This is the kind of reader every Editor dreams of. Oh sure, he called me small-minded. Okkkk, he said he was "embarrassed" for me. And yet, I didn't feel even an ounce of knee-jerk defensiveness.
In fact, I was so impressed with his zeal that I invited him to pitch a story -especially in the areas where he felt we were lacking.
Since I'm not exactly famous for my ability to graciously take criticism, I wasn't surprised when he emailed to ask if I was blowing smoke up his ass.
(The theme to this week's editorial - if you're paying attention- is Ass. A leitmotif, if you will. Every time you hear the word "ass" today, SCREAM REAL LOUD.)
I wrote back that I wasn't, and that his letter suggested to me that he cared about many of the same things Ace does. He just didn't happen to agree with our execution. So, he should go for it. Make it better.
I worried briefly that maybe I was going a little soft in my old age. That maybe I was becoming a kinder, gentler, ass-kissin' editor/ publisher/ owner.
I needn't have worried, once the next day's mail arrived, complete with a letter suggesting we use more unknown writers, offer more diverse music coverage, and attributing our increasing readership to the rise in Lexington's population, along with the suggestion that no one would read us at all if we CHARGED.
Sorry, but them's feudin' words. Not because they're critical. But because they're just plain wrong.
A. We had no idea our writers were all such "knowns." They'll be so pleased to hear of their fame. (In fact, we uncover new, unpublished writers every week -and we nurture them along with Ale-8 and cigarettes.)
B. MORE diversity in music? Let's see. This week, we've got Rage Against the Machine, Indigo Girls, and Pineal Ventana. Oh yeah, I can HARDLY tell 'em apart. And define "real" country. For a mere thin quarter, there are MANY examples of print media who will tell you ALL about "real" country like GARTH BROOKS, Billy Ray Cyrus (he's FROM KENTUCKY!!), and various other hat acts. We'd rather save our precious ink for anyone from Dwight Yoakam to Alejandro Escovedo.
C. We will add restaurant reviews when we find the right food writer. (It took us a year to find Zurch, and he was worth the wait. We don't add content for the sake of adding content.)
And finally, part of the mission of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies is to provide FREE distribution.
Some of you may have heard of another little AAN rag, The Village Voice? It's free, and they won a Pulitzer last year, so let's not be so quick to label newsstand prices the benchmark for excellence. (George cost a lot, and it's still out of business.)
Almost all print media earns a living from advertising (which they sell, based on the demographics they deliver), not newsstand prices. (Do you REALLY think Vogue can afford to send you that behemoth for $12 bucks a year??)
FREE circulation is our JOB.
But while readership is Free, it is not MANDATORY. Ace is not junk mail. We do not force it through your mail slot. We don't leave it on your windshield.
If you don't WANT an issue, please leave it behind for someone who does. We can barely keep our racks stocked as it is (probably it's that HUGE EXPLOSION IN LEXINGTON'S POPULATION!!!! -it would be smart-assed and big-headed to suggest otherwise, of course).
We provide 300 distribution sites in Lexington, Richmond, Frankfort, and Danville to make it easy for those who WANT Ace to find Ace. We offer subscriptions for those who do want it on their doorstep (a list that also grows daily... and they even ... PAY shipping costs!).
We welcome new readers. We welcome (talented) new writers.
Now, do I have to change our slogan from FREE EVERY THURSDAY, to
"TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT OR KISS MY....?"
No. Wait. I'm mellowing.
Plus, that would take up too much room, and we'd have to reprint everything.