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Fanfic to the Rescue

Re "Giving Fan Fiction Its Head" by Noah Berlatsky, October 2

I think there's a link between shows of dubious quality and shows with a thriving fanfic community—the more inconsistencies and poor characterization in the series, the more room there is for fixing these things in fanfic. Torchwood is pretty much the perfect storm of interesting characters and imperfect story lines. —Karen K

Faith and Fanaticism

Re "Fishes and Loaves in a Barrel" by J.R. Jones, October 2

J.R., I love your work but I think you're missing the point on this one. Maher didn't make this film to have a discussion on "why we are here and how it all came to be." The simple purpose of the film is to point out how ridiculous practicing religion is. To Maher, there is no use for serious discussion about something that includes no logic or reason. It would be like making a "serious documentary" about the existence of the Easter Bunny. Quite Frankly, I agree with Bill. —KDT

KDT: I love you right back for such kind words, but I must disagree with your characterization of the movie—Maher clearly expects it to be taken very seriously indeed. And he doesn't present religion as something harmlessly silly; he presents it as something evil and dangerous, and as proof he hunts down and showcases a lot of fanatics. Well, fanatics can be dangerous regardless of what they're fanatical about. Why not take the debate to people who are more perceptive and intelligent—say, Andrew Sullivan, who usually gives Maher a pretty good run for his money when the topic of religion comes up on Real Time. I'd rather watch an hour and a half of those two going at it any day. —J.R. Jones

Andrew Sullivan? I find it tragic that someone would defend so adamantly a belief that has excluded him from "God's" definition of a deserving salvation. Sullivan can't reconcile his identity with his faith and that sort of tortured relationship is on display for all of us to see. I actually like the guy and I think he is progressive and intelligent. That being said, I don't feel his kind of intelligence and approach is evenly distributed among the earth's population of believers. —jc

Win or Lose, It's How You Watch the Game

Re "Bummed Out" by Ted Cox, at chicagoreader.com

This article makes me sick, do us all a favor and never come to Wrigley again. And please don't go to Des Moines, we don't need your trash. —R. McCoy

He has a point. Although I would argue that you could easily find the same type of fans at many other ballparks. What he is describing is the "casual fan" who might say they like baseball but would be hard-pressed to name any players on the field without seeing the name on their back. I would posit also that Wrigley over the years has become almost bigger than the team itself. It has gained rock-star status. It is a Chicago landmark. It is a tourist attraction. Therefore, many people in the stands might be there just to say they have been there. It is also the "world's biggest beer garden." I live in the area and I can attest that it is heavily populated by kids in their 20s who like to go there and party. I did it too and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Summer in Chicago is a blast and Wrigley is a great place to meet people. I have made many good friends there over the years. I go to the game now, keep a box score and drink a couple Old Styles. I do not begrudge the casual fan, the tourist, the partyers or even the corporate suits that were rewarded by their boss with a premium seat worth thousands (OK, that one irks me a little to be honest). It is a personal thing how you enjoy the ball game. As long as you are not obstructing my view, spilling beer on me, puking on me or my wife, or talking incessantly on your cell phone, I say enjoy the game and the atmosphere. —R. Santo

I'm unabashedly a White Sox fan, but I like to think I can be relatively objective about this. U.S. Cellular has more negatives than positives, but the fans there are into the game. I've said before that if you can magically press a pause button midgame at Wrigley and give everyone there a basic quiz (score, inning, pitcher, etc), the percent of correct scores would be the lowest of any pro sports facility in the country. There are real fans there, no question—I know many of them. But they're in the minority at games. This summer I sat behind a guy in an Aramis Ramirez jersey; after a Ramirez homer, after he rounded the bases, and as the next batter was hitting, the guy turned around to me after celebrating the homer and asked me who hit it. This is Wrigley Field. I sometimes think bleacher fans would rather have an opponent hit a home run than strike out so they can celebrate throwing the ball back. One thing that does bother me is the knee-jerk reaction Cubs fans (and many others) have about Sox games being full of scary criminals, like the father-son team that attacked the Royals' first-base coach. What's odd is all the things like that that happen at Wrigley that people don't seem to pay attention to—fans trashing the field when things go terribly wrong, nearly causing a riot by taking the hat from a Dodgers' catcher in the bullpen, and twice—twice!—charging the mound when a Cubs pitcher is on it. And all the booing this week. And yes, even a supposed "real" fan like Bartman doesn't know better than to get out of the way. I was at a (at the time, meaningless) Sox game early in the season when a first-row fan let Pierzynski catch a pop-up instead of trying to get it himself—but only at Wrigley would someone go for the ball when the Cubbies were that close to clinching a World Series spot. —ds

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