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Jae-Ha Kim Lashes Back



To the editors:

For the past four years, the Reader's rock music critic Bill Wyman has used his column as a forum to vent his personal obsession towards me. I never bothered to reply because I assumed his fixation with me would pass.

Obviously, it hasn't. Wyman has incorrectly misread my silence as permission to continue defaming me in a public forum. If Wyman is going to talk the talk, he had better be prepared to walk the walk, because his mean-spirited columns no longer are just irritating. They're libelous.

Wyman has taken it upon himself to critique my writing on a regular basis. He could have kept his left of center, PC image intact if he had done a thorough job and included the works of all the music journalists in town. Instead, he has singled me out for his smug, arrogant treatment. He must not realize that he comes across not only as petty, but as sexist and racist.

He is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. I'm sure the irony won't be lost on many that while his condescending diatribes against me are meant to weaken my credibility, he continuously makes laughable errors. Perhaps he's not familiar enough with the members of Pavement to care about spelling their names correctly, but he still hasn't grasped the fact that Eddie Vedder doesn't spell his name with a "t." Then there are the times he misspelled my name in the same sentences he was denouncing me.

Apparently he is suffering from selective memory loss since he overlooks the mistakes of his cronies. Because this is between Wyman and me, I find it unnecessary to identify the other journalist who mistakenly referred to U2's hit song "Numb" as "Dumb." Ditto for the critic who inaccurately reported that Joan Jett played a duet with a bass player who wasn't touring with her at the time.

More perverse, though, is Wyman's habit of trying to pass off fiction as fact. After I reviewed a Jesus Jones concert, Wyman took it upon himself to regurgitate my piece. Citing my story, Wyman wrote, "When [Jesus Jones] played here . . . Kim wrote, "Some of the sampling . . . sounded inspired by George Harrison's sitar playing on "Tomorrow Never Knows."' He continued, "The sample is not "inspired by' the sound: it is the sound." Not according to Jesus Jones songwriter Mike Edwards, who personally told me, "[Wyman] was daft to say something like that in print. We never sampled "Tomorrow Never Knows' for any of our songs. "

In any case, Wyman's motives are transparent. He is a vindictive, shrill harpy who would do anything to have my job. I have seen him at the Sun-Times on several occasions rallying for a staff position. The fact that he's still at the Reader speaks for itself. The fact also remains that he was caught simultaneously freelancing for both Chicago dailies and now writes for neither.

Since my writing apparently offends Wyman so much, here's my suggestion to him: Stop reading my stories. Then he can go back to doing what he does best, which is kissing Liz Phair's butt.

Jae-Ha Kim

Chicago Sun-Times

Bill Wyman replies:

For the record, the mistakes Kim charges me with making came from articles published three years ago and one year ago, respectively; corrections and apologies were made at the time.

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