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See Durango music scene for what it is

Dearest Telegraph,

While I am a true fan of your very excellent paper, your last issue has finally compelled me to voice a severe criticism.

Last week, Mike Sheahan, in his otherwise strong and amusing column “The Goods,” coupled with one Bryant Liggett to list the top 10 albums of 2002. I was certainly not surprised to find the list compiled nearly entirely of generic pop/rock. (Mr. Sheahan has previously described the three-chord shriekings of the Lawn Chair Kings as the “the best live music deal around.”) What I finally object to is that the Telegraph, which is clearly trying to fill the role of the “alternative” voice in the community, has so thoroughly ignored the jam band music community. If this community weren’t actually present here in Durango, that would be understandable. However, that is obviously not the case when the Summit packs to capacity so regularly, and the Abbey sells out so fast for Garcia/Grisman’s “Grateful Dawg” and Widespread Panic’s “The Earth Will Swallow You.” Even Mr. Sheahan acknowledged this in last week’s column when whining about no one supporting live music in Durango “ - if you’re not a hippie jam band or the grandson of someone wildly famous, then your shows are sure to tank.” I would surmise that, as happens elsewhere, the sheer numbers of jam banders antagonize those with less developed musical tastes, resulting in the backlash that has affected your paper.

While there is no accounting for taste, I feel that it is an injustice and a poor representation of the town to allow your paper’s musical voice to be represented solely by Sheahan and features on The Thirteens and Sacred Sun. Face it: This town is plump with those who prefer musicianship and improvisational power over music with catchy, trite melodies, hard core punk, and heavy metal.

The Durango Telegraph will never truly be the voice of this community until it opens its ears and acknowledges the Durango music scene for what it is: hippies (and cowboys). Pop is dead. Long live the jam.

– Tad Winslow,
Durango, via e-mail

P.S. I would suggest to Sheahan and Liggett that they check out the 2002 releases of Medeski, Martin and Wood’s “Uninvisible,” Keller Williams’s “Laugh,” Gov’t Mule’s “The Deep End Vol. 1,” and the self-titled debut from The Word. That’s assuming they possess an obstinate bias that would prevent them from enjoying the new Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio and Phish.

Stop building environmental idols

Dear Editor:

The environmental movement, working hard to control our land, public and private, needs to get science right first. Sound science dispels most of the eco-movement’s fundamental notions. Serious science takes environmental problems seriously, but only real problems found from sound evidence and logic.

Environmentalism must stop speaking in empty slogans and phrases. Facts and logic are not yet requisite tools for the eco-movement. Rather they tend to exploit people’s fears, using images of total destruction to frighten us. These manufactured fears are causing otherwise reasonable citizens to support extreme proposals, such as the Wildlands Project, being implemented to exclude humans from approximately 33 percent of our country.

Environmentalism must also stop promoting nature worship that masquerades as science. Unexamined environmental dogma does nothing to enhance stewardship of the planet, nor does it generate and maintain human virtue. Surely the dilution of virtue is in large measure part of the cause of environmental destruction. The resulting relativism, along with its abandonment of right and wrong, fosters a belief that what humans should do is what they can do, regardless of the outcome.

The reason our country’s responded to environmental concerns better than most of the rest of the world is because our philosophy of individualism, restrained by right and wrong, essentially works better than the mystical attitudes toward mankind and nature found elsewhere.

Environmental care doesn’t fit with Zen Buddhist-like beliefs. Let’s stop repeating the ancient practice of constructing idols to the wilderness. Nature doesn’t know best!

– Kim Rogalin
Durango, via e-mail





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