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I am sick to death of all the umbrage-taking with regard to Jason Cherkis.
According to Alec Bourgeois (The Mail, 10/6), Cherkis should stop writing articles that reveal his point of view or else write an opinion column. Would Bourgeois want the same for Ta-Nehisi Coates? Elissa Silverman? I wouldn’t. Um, isn’t tendentious writing that draws from the writer’s experience a big part of what the Washington City Paper has always been about?
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As far as I can tell, Cherkis’ point of view is particularly offensive and worthy of censorship because he’s sometimes disappointed in the local music scene’s sacred cows. In his piece on the Napster panel (Artifacts, “Napping on Napster,” 9/29), Cherkis essentially said that he thought Jennifer Toomeyin light of her punk rock, DIY backgroundappeared too acquiescent to the copyright lawyers. That Bourgeois concluded from this that Cherkis is incompetent and incapable of seeing his “heroes” (is Toomey really his hero?) as more than cartoons is overreactive.
Bourgeois and others have charged that Cherkis uses the City Paper as a diary and is not a “reliable source” of information on “artists.” Well, they’re right. Cherkis often uses music and fictionalized figures from his personal life to write great, irreverent social commentary. I loved the infamous Lilith Fair piece in which he fashioned his ex-girlfriend into an archetype of pseudo-lesbian treachery (“Girly Town,” 8/8/97). And I had enough sense not to read it as a “music review.”
In any case, I am especially uninclined to find fault with Cherkis when otherwise respectable musicians such as Bourgeois come off like Catholic cardinals defending their pope in letters to the City Paper.
Chevy Chase, D.C.