Good weed

Letters to the Boston editor, December 25, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  December 23, 2009

Thank you for the article “A Weed Grows in Boston.” As an advocate of marijuana legalization — based on my time in California, where the benefits of medical cannabis can be witnessed firsthand — seeing the cover story on the Boston Phoenix gave me hope. The fact that there are journalists with the courage to cover controversial stories, as well as the fact that news outlets such as the Phoenix will print them, makes me optimistic about the future. I hope that people will be inspired by your article to do research of their own on subjects as critical as personal health. Thank you once again for your journalistic excellence.

Harry Foster
Boston

Believe in God
I shared Peter Keough’s initial incredulous approach to the new film Oh My God before I saw it, and was slightly put off by the obvious lack of experts in the fields of theology or religious studies. There are certainly no shortage of people living in proverbial “Ivory Towers” who would be willing to share their scholarship, and equally (I dare say) no shortage of people willing to acquiesce humbly to their authoritative arguments. However, after seeing the film, it became obvious that it was precisely that sort of disconnected theologizing that director Peter Rodger was trying to avoid. It was, in fact, the popular view that was the focus of the film, and was brilliantly portrayed.

The film dealt with people’s beliefs in a skeptical yet very respectful way. (That same sort of respect was decidedly missing from Bill Maher’s Religulous, a similarly themed yet differently executed film.)

Mr. Keough also seemed to have an issue with the soundtrack, unfairly panning it as “a suffocating wall-to-wall soundtrack that sounds like outtakes from a Pink Floyd album and beatbox music for an aerobics session.” I found Alexander Van Bubenheim’s arrangements and score to be pointed and appropriate accompaniment for the cultural representations in the film.

Finally, Mr. Keough says that the only thing we learn is “[t]hat folks who say theirs is the only God and kill those who don’t agree are not so appealing as the monks.” Having seen the film, I must strongly disagree. We see how the people of various cultures agree and disagree on many issues — and whatever the interpretive belief of the interviewee, there are certain commonalities that can unite, rather than destroy.

Everything that Mr. Keough mentioned in the review could have been written from seeing the trailer alone. There is absolutely nothing in the review that one could point to as a particular critique. Did Mr. Keough even see the film?

 Sean McDaniel
Salem

Peter Keough responds: I did see the film, but I did not see the trailer.

‘Failure’ succeeds
Thanks for publishing cartoonist Karl Stevens’ work. Every Thursday, I look forward to a new strip of “Failure.” It’s my favorite part of your paper. His illustrations are amazing. Keep them coming!

Blue Salvucci
Somerville

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