Sure, we get our fair share of complimentary missives, but it’s the stinging criticism that we remember most. Here are some excerpts from our favorite mean letters from our first 10 years. As for the 10 that followed... you all need to get more creative in your invective. Please?
“In legitimate music publications, it’s common procedure to have listened to an artist’s record before rendering a critique. I guess I expect too much. Perhaps Metro Pulse should limit its coverage to what it does best: interviews with members who have quit bands and tedious retrospectives on bands that no longer exist.”
—Jeff Heiskell, Feb. 26, 1993
“Congratulations on a most diverting guide to Knoxville’s array of pleasures. Unfortunately, though, I find the viewpoint of the articles depressingly univocal. Your writers (Mr. Neely excepted) all appear to come from twentysomeodd (unexamined) Rousseauean Utopianists. In their Village Voice-derived stentorian tones, we can glean the populist cant: that hierarchy is repressive (rather than liberating); that folksy eclecticism can substitute for thought (as if Euro-dos and oil resistant soles betoken moral integrity instead of craven careerism); and that the private genius assuredly behind all the shining faces would erupt without end if there were only enough subgenres of rock music. If only we could all wank in the sun without anyone to bother us!”
—Christopher Coulter, June 4, 1993
“Except for the hyper-yet-flaccid prose style (and Lee Gardner is not the only offender—just the main one), your advertising vehicle would not be half as irritating as it sometimes is if you didn’t so ceaselessly proclaim your own hipness, your alternativeness, your difference. Why can’t you simply let your own publication be—let it be whatever it might be, perhaps a multiplicity of human voices and ideas? Why all the anxious posing?”
—J. Oliver, Knoxville, Dec. 17, 1993
“Contrary to your opinion, not all East Tennessee seasoned rednecks, including lower middle- and middle-class career people, are involved in the anti-abortion movement.
“I found your reference to the followers of Joe Scheidler offensive since 99.9 percent of us East Tennessee rednecks, low and mid class career people, were not included in his audience.
“Be careful not to judge people of this area without getting to know us.”
—Bea Rose Mullenix, March 11, 1994
“So, the Mentors are ‘Quite possibly the most repulsive band around,’ eh? Well I beg to differ. The Mentors may be repulsive to a bunch of politically correct pantywaists and burgeoning lesbian activists, but the real MEN around here still know what they want. Smashmouth rock ‘n’ roll and nothing else!”
—Mark Shetterly (aka, Fat Bastard), Oct. 7, 1994
“It seems to me like you could put in a crossword puzzle on some Metro Pulse page instead of stuff on those evil punk communist musicians who smell funny and let drummers bang away all the damn time or even quit running stories on old, old people who smell funny and can’t even get out of the way in crosswalks or anywhere else for that matter and it would make me so mad I would cancel my subscription if I had one so put in a damn crossword for godsakes!”
—Jim Dykes, Jun 29, 1995
“Your Nov. 22 issue’s Ear to the Ground column [“Alas, Poor UVA”] was bilge, schlock, and lack of brains.
“In my opinion anyone who would print or write such drivel is related to those people observed in the various restaurants around town that eat with their hat on. Their Momma just never taught them any better!”
—George Scarborough, Dec. 7, 1995
“The statements attributed to me in your last issue are totally and completely false. Not only are they false, but they are ridiculous almost to the point of being absurd. If someone told your reporter I made these statements, that person lied.
“In addition, I have a daughter the same age as Chelsea Clinton, and I have never criticized Chelsea, publicly or privately. My daughter has used backpacks for several years, and I do not have any objection whatsoever to anyone, young or old, male or female, using a backpack. I find it hard to believe that I am bothering to deny something so unbelievable in the first place.”
—Rep. John. J. Duncan Jr., Sept. 12, 1996
“One of the most exciting attractions of Knoxville is UT Football pride! UT Football rules. If you don’t like it, you are welcome to go back where you came from.”
—John Fisher, Oct. 10, 1996
“Zak Weisfeld’s gratuitous criticism of William Shatner in his review of Star Trek: First Contact is noted.
“Since Weisfeld presumes to asses Mr. Shatner’s age, physical condition, and mental health, I respectfully request that you publish full-length, head-on, and profile photographs (including close-up mug shots) of Weisfeld so that readers might likewise assess your magnanimous critic’s age and physical condition.
“One already has an inkling of his mental health and sunny perspective on life from reading the review.”
—Phillip M. Ogle, Feb. 24, 1996
“Lord Jesse: So it’s cool for chicks to muff dive and dudes to take a blue-veined hummer up the kazoo? Right on! That’s what you’re preaching to us ignorant redneck bohunks out here in Dumbass Land. Indigo Girls unite! ... People like me just shake our heads in disbelief when you promote homosexuality to our sex-obsessed teenagers. ... P.S. Why not print my opinion? Shouldn’t we Conservatives have an equal voice in Metro Pulse? We buy your advertising...”
—Larry Henry, May 21, 1998