EDITOR: After seeing Seattle Rep's production of Doubt, I too left the theater feeling like the production wasn't murky enough. It seemed to me that artistic choices were made to make me lean heavily in one direction concerning the charges against Father Flynn.
But then I read Brendan Kiley's review of the show ["In Dubious Battle," Oct 5] and found his similar diagnosis—"Doubt isn't uncertain enough"—to be completely antithetical to mine. Where he assumed guilt, I assumed innocence. I felt that Corey Brill had decided that his character, Father Flynn, was innocent and played that line too hard to leave me any room for suspicion.
There were other very different conclusions I made from watching the same play: Where Mr. Kiley saw a nervous, uncertain actress, I saw a nervous and uncertain character. Where he saw a sympathetic Sister Aloysius, I saw a battle-ax on a warpath.
In fact, the ultimate judgment of the play comes down too hard on Aloysius, as if the director was saying, "You crazy old bitch, LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" This goes to show that the experience of art is most often purely subjective and I find it unfortunate that Kiley would dismiss a solid play and a solid production as "better read than seen." I have to say I have seen a play at Seattle Rep that was embarrassing and felt robbed by buying a ticket to the production—but this play was different. It was well chosen and, for the most part, well played. A play that champions doubt in a polarized world of Republicans and Democrats—or people in general—driving their agendas into the ground at the expense of thoughtfulness and integrity is well worth a second opinion. I have seen a rare exception recently, but mostly I find the theatrical reviews in The Stranger and particularly those by Brendan Kiley, to be routinely negative and borderline abusive. Is theater in Seattle really THAT bad? Maybe "doubt" is the lesson here: Before we slander legitimate productions and scare everyone away from the theater, take a pause. Take a moment to doubt whether your motive is true. Or could it be that you, along with Sister Aloysius, are on the warpath? It's okay to be "pro-art" sometimes.
S. G. Patton
EDITOR: I've never read The Stranger; I live in Washington, D.C., and found this controversy ["A Note to Our Readers," Oct 19] on the web. Jen Graves's description of the hypocrisy in your paper is telling. Her excuses are total moose balls. Total moose balls, dude. Sounds like this Ms. Martin never did a single instance of wrongdoing. Sure, it was ethically bad. But then it sounds like your paper doesn't have much in the way of ethics anyhow. What a bunch of moose balls.
SEGAL IS MISSED
HELLO STRANGER: Dave Segal's work in your pages was vital and original; his writing seemed to genuinely be about the music itself, and the diversity and attention that he brought to less commercial music (spanning many genres) gave a genuine sense of passion and investment on his part, and a desire to be generous in that with the local music community.
It was Dave's further involvement that brought me back to reading The Stranger after deciding in the mid-90's that it lacked scope and diversity and was too caught up in its own "local scene and hipster melodrama" rut to connect the international music community/culture to Seattle. Segal did this by focusing on quality music in all its forms, be them post-rock, punk, indie, noise, jazz/improv, experimental, electronic, hiphop and dub/reggae—genres that would never have gotten that scope of press without Segal's promotion to music editor. Regardless of the particulars of the situation, and the business ethics involved, Segal no longer contributing to The Stranger is a loss, in no small way, to local culture as a whole—and seemingly one that could potentially have been averted by something as simple as a professional statement of apology on his part.
CHRISTOPHER: I just HAD to respond after reading the letter to the editor from the editors at Cranky [Letters, Oct 5]: I would take Cranky (and others of its ilk) a lot more seriously if they didn't represent everything that's wrong with the "po biz" these days. By which I mean, there is one core group of four or five "poets" who do nothing but endlessly circle each other. Each editor of each magazine does nothing but publish editors of the other magazine; each poetry "happening" seems to revolve around the same group of people, over and over and over and over and over again. How original is that? I thought before I read their letter that they were nothing but a bunch of drama geeks from high school who are enjoying their own pretense at power; their sad letter only confirmed it. Google any of their names, and you'll see the same group of names pop up at every event, reading, or journal.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Last week's endorsement for King County Proposition 2 stated that of five new bus-rapid-transit routes, only one will be in Seattle. In fact, three will be in Seattle. The Stranger regrets the error.