MIA in Sarasota

Re: "Florida's Cultural Milquetoast" by Natasha Del Toro (Aug. 7-13)

As a recent members of the Sarasota community, my husband and I greatly appreciate and look forward to Weekly Planet. In choosing my new position as head of the Fine Arts Department at Ringling School of Art and Design, I was pleased that Sarasota offered alternative news and information, particularly articles that can affect and inform my students. The most recent issues were helpful in creating classroom dialogue regarding public space, community and the arts. As my husband and I are artists with interests in community views and opinions, we are grateful the Weekly Planet is available. Thank you. Barbara Bernstein Via e-mail

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Bravo for your recent revealing articles on Sarasota's surprisingly sorry scene. Well, actually, not so surprising to a lot of us; merely depressing to be reminded how much work there is to be done to create and eventually maintain a cohesive, stimulating, nonconformist cultural environment here. It's an uphill battle, and those who leave it for more stimulating pastures should at least provide one-for-one replacements of themselves, for those of us stranded here!

I think the Planet has been doing a terrific job offering a lot of progressive, creative and intellectually entertaining material, providing a much needed and much appreciated alternative voice in a dull, unilateral media desert.

Please keep up the good work!

Pam Marwede

Bite This

Re: Food column by Sara Kennedy

I, like many others, read your newspapers to get the lowdown on dining, movies, theater, etc. and hope for some kind of professionalism. This is never found with Ms. Kennedy's reviews. In reading her review of Mia's, I found the comment that there were some dishes even her dog wouldn't eat to be mean, childish and certainly nonconstructive. Perhaps she has a very picky dog. With regard to Jekyll's, she mentions casual salads, whatever they might be, and suggesting that Mia's use white meat in a dish when dark meat is so much juicier shows a lack of cooking skills. Ms. Kennedy may have a fluent writing style but what she says is irrelevant. Joan Rubenstein
Via e-mail

Who's Pimping What?

Please tell me how you justify publishing a half a dozen suckee-fuckee pages of advertisements and cancel advertisements from a modeling agency that has not been convicted of anything. Is it because "suckee-fuckee pays the bills?" I find it interesting that you rightly reveal wrongdoings but at the same time judge as guilty a business that has not been convicted of a single crime. You can't have it both ways, and this is a negative hit on your journalistic reputation. On the plus side, you had the guts to publish Renford's piece on your major fuck-up.

John Ennis Hudson
Via e-mail

What Defines a Terrorist?

I am writing this letter to pose a question to the readers. Why is there a double standard applied to Muslims in the media? As a Muslim American, I feel like I've been on trial ever since Sept. 11. The media have always expected me to defend myself and my religion as if I had something to prove. I don't have to apologize. Anyone who knows Muslims knows that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and has been demonized by the media. With the exception of a minority of educated people, the public views me as somewhat less of a human being. So, now, when it is Muslims being targeted, plotted against, and the perpetrator is a Jewish man named Goldstein, the media seem lackluster. I don't know if I'm just being paranoid but I do not believe a podiatrist with a plan so detailed, imaginative and hateful could be labeled in the media as "unstable." On the contrary, this man had a small army in his residential home with weapons both licensed and others illegal. Also, he referred to other conspirators in his plans of destruction. Both of these factors have made me very frightened and considering the fact that this man terrified me, I would indeed call him — dare I say it? A Terrorist. This is the first real terrorist threat since Sept. 11 against American citizens. The media have not come out and said this yet, and honestly it confuses me. Is it because they are Muslim Americans? How can they go to great lengths and trouble to print out front page stories of alleged terrorist ties to Muslims in the Tampa Bay, and they don't bother to look in their back yard to profile Goldstein and his associates. For those reading this who believe the media in saying that there is no real threat to our community, be wary. When I look at the little kids on the playground, the fear is real.

Layelle Saad
Via e-mail


Perhaps we were so enchanted by the sheer spectacle and magnificent hair styles of Siegfied and Roy that we overlooked that our critic Lance Goldenberg was not as bowled over by the performing duo's new IMAX flick, The Magic Box. The correct planet rating for last week's review should have been 3 1/2 planets not 4 1/2

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