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The Peter Problem

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Dear Reader:

I know that you're the #1 Chicago arts weekly so you probably think all is well, but is Peter Margasak the best you can do? If he's going to do a local music roundup [April 28], why spend 80 percent of the space telling me about bands he thinks suck? I'm not saying that critics should subscribe to the mother's creed that if you don't have something nice to say you should say nothing at all. But when you're writing about bands that aren't on the radio and probably haven't come across most readers' radar, what's the point in savaging them other than to show how well you can write about how poorly they make music? What's really a drag to ME is that even if Margasak picked bands he really likes, it wouldn't do ME any good because he seems to take pride in liking bands that no one with any kind of pop sensibility (i.e., songs with melody, catchy hooks, interesting lyrics) would like. Gee, Peter, aren't your ears sophisticated that they're hip to all that crap you listen to and I'm just a simpleton who likes to hum the music I like after I listen to it. But now I'm just getting hostile. I really don't have a right to impugn Peter's taste as less valid than my own, but as a loyal Reader reader, I stand by my assertion that his acerbic reviews, especially of unknown bands, are of service to very few.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Sternberg

Old Town

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