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Weekend Feedback

Friday, September 13, 2002

Even more tangled up in Dylan's hair

Post-Gazette reporter Tony Norman falsely asserted in his Aug. 13 column ("Tangled up in Dylan's hair") that following Bob Dylan's recent concert at the Newport Jazz Festival, the media "dwelled" on Dylan's hair to the exclusion of his music, "as if speculation about his scraggly 'new' beard and whether it was real, trumped every other consideration."

Leaving no doubt that he felt such coverage was widespread, Mr. Norman described the various articles, collectively, as "an orgy of style over substance." He also claimed that critics were "complaining about ... how [Dylan] looks now."

It so happens that I read all of the articles to which Mr. Norman presumably referred, thanks to the Web site www.expectingrain.com, which provides links on a daily basis to virtually every story published about Bob Dylan anywhere in the world. Some of them made NO MENTION AT ALL of Dylan's hair. The ones that did mention it devoted no more than ONE SENTENCE to what appeared to be a wig and fake beard that Dylan had worn, and no critic wrote anything that could accurately be characterized as "complaining" about it. As such, there was no "dwelling," no "orgy," and no obsession with hair over "every other consideration." Unless you believe that the reporting of a pertinent fact in one measly sentence somehow qualifies as "dwelling" or "complaining," it must be concluded that Mr. Norman intentionally disseminated a lie on Aug. 13. (To be fair, the Boston Globe did publish a small article that focused on Dylan's wig and fake beard, but this was IN ADDITION to other Globe stories that were all about the music and Dylan's history at Newport.)

I e-mailed Mr. Norman and asked him to identify the various articles that he thinks "dwelled" on hair to the exclusion of music. Mr. Norman refused to do so, and instead called me, in two raging e-mails, a "moron" and "one of those demented Dylan stalkers," among other things.

Mr. Norman's litany of insults shares something in common with his Aug. 13 column: a lack of substantiation. This is a horrible flaw for a journalist to have. Although Bob Dylan's hair is not an important issue, readers should not be subjected to ANY "reportage" that is deliberately based on a false premise. Since Mr. Norman spewed misinformation so recklessly about this topic, it is only natural to suspect that he does it with other stories, too.

It is most unfortunate that Mr. Norman has such little regard for truth and accuracy. The people of Pittsburgh deserve better.

JEFF NORMAN (no relation to Tony)
Los Angeles

'Goldmember' stinks

I know that there is war and crime in the world. And I know that entertainment today is filled with sex and violence. I have even heard that there is pornography out there. But I didn't know that movies like "Austin Powers in Goldmember" were being made.

Bathroom humor used to be an expression for a smarmy joke. But in this movie, it is used literally. It is hard to imagine a professional studio spending millions of dollars to make a film that includes endless references to bodily functions and human excrement. It is even harder to imagine people paying to see it. A person could almost have the same experience by going to the theater's restroom for two hours after buying his ticket.

It might not be in Dolby stereo, but the sights and sounds would be about the same.


Feedback on Feedback

My, I do love to read what the crazies have to say in the Feedback section. Some examples from the Sept. 6 page:

"Jerry Lewis' condition is no laughing matter": Good God, we can't even laugh at Jerry Lewis anymore? Sure, it's a given that Merkel and Dixon aren't funny, but I will never give up my right to laugh at Jerry Lewis, no matter how big his head gets. Of course, if you're only laughing because he's fat, just go outside. There are fat people everywhere. Also, why are fat people always called "heavy," but skinny people are never called "light"?

"Keep the kids at home": This Janice Manuel is paying $18 to go to a movie? I guess out in Ross you can name your price. It's either movies or cow tipping, and toppling livestock can get old after a while.

"JT sounds good to me": One and a half is more than one. I think this may be a signal. Public school reform now!

"MTV, Eminem and Moby": "Fuel for the fodder?" Wait, "It's not nice to make fun of stupid people." Oops. I guess I'd better move on to the only letter that makes sense:

"Setting a dirty table": Could it be a coincidence that this is the only letter from the city? The nonsensical rants come from nowhere towns with comical names like "Moon" or "Lower Burrell." Does stupidity cause people to move to these places, or is it a result of contaminated ground water and SUV fumes? These are the hard questions that we need to ask ourselves before it's too late. Can we build a wall to keep these people out of our precious, unspoiled urban landscape? Probably not. The outsiders do, after all, have most of the guns.

Finally, because no Feedback letter would be complete without it, You're moovy revewer iz stoopid! I thot that moovy wuz gud butt he sed nut gud. Me angury!


Blow up what?

A better title for Marylynn Uricchio's column of Sept. 9 would have been OB-Seen. "When I get up in the morning, every morning, I think, man, what am I going to blow up today?" quipped Joe Hardy. "Life is wonderful, really wonderful."

Way to go, Joe -- and Marylynn!

Upper St. Clair

Who's at fault for day-old tennis?

KDKA-TV's response to the question "Why?" was: "The network makes us do it."

The spokesperson was referring to the U.S. Open Men's Tennis replacing "The Price Is Right" on Friday morning Sept. 6.

It's like the Swallows leaving Capistrano -- it happens every fall. Now I grant you "The Price Is Right" is not your most intellectual show but it is entertaining at the pre-lunch hour.

And Pittsburghers love it. Put on a men's tennis match that was played the day before (and covered in full in the newspapers) in its place is like watching a string of double faults.

I'd like to see the numbers comparison between day-old men's tennis and "The Price" -- I'll just bet Pittsburghers would give Bob Barker and his beauties a resounding center court smash. What's next? Those network geniuses planning to present a Tampa Bay-Milwaukee week-old baseball game during World Series week? Let's make sure we tape that one, CBS.


We Want Your Feedback

Send letters, along with your real name, neighborhood and daytime phone number to Feedback:

E-mail: letters@post-gazette.com

Fax: 412-263-1313.

Mail: Feedback, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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