Your piece about Kepler College ["Learning With the Stars," Aug. 23] was similar in content to adverts for magnetic therapy or other such nonsense—filled with anecdote and testimonial, and dismissive of the question, "how good is the evidence?" One has to read exceedingly carefully to find the nugget that astrology simply has NO evidence demonstrating anything "there" to study, beyond cold reading. There is no plausible mechanism proposed, and a universal understanding of the fraudulent nature of astrology amongst the people (scientists) who make your medicines and your cell phones (things that actually work).
You try to justify the fraudulent nature of the subject by glowingly praising the other pieces of genuine education the students receive. One can have a "flat earth" college and teach some useful subjects peripherally—that hardly excuses the state (in ANY capacity) sanctioning such nonsense. We have a responsibility to teach things that are true in our schools.
You may believe all truth is relative, but we do our country no favors by basing policy on such empty platitudes. We owe it to our future to teach our denizens the facts of the world and, as importantly, the critical thinking and B.S. detection skills that will keep America at the forefront of science, not a self-made backwater reverting to "hunter-gatherer" ideas. Kepler is not only a disgrace to the entire state of Washington, it is sad.
I would just like to say that I enjoyed the article on the First College of Astrology in the U.S. ["Learning With the Stars," Aug. 23]. I think it is great that people are now getting the chance to get a degree in a field of study that has been around as long as it has.
However, I am upset by the narrow-mindedness of John Silber. How can he compare learning about the subject of astrology to witch hunts? Who does he think he is? The last time I checked, I was living in the United States of America where freedom rings. What exactly is so foolish and degrading about Astrology? Has he ever taken the time to study the subject? How much does he know about Astrology? He obviously has a degree in ignorance. People do receive degrees in religion and philosophy. Does he find these subjects foolish or degrading as well?
I am also outraged that state Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney of Seattle, is going to question the integrity of Higher Education programs? That seems oxymoron[ic] to me. That is a waste of taxpayers' money. I would definitely question the integrity of any elected official that is trying to control what subjects Americans can and can not study.
In reference to "Learning With the Stars," Aug. 23: Pushing aside the great historical, mystical, cosmic, and religious overtones of astrology, along with the feeble protests of university bureaucrats and local politicians who are out to protect our "integrity," the question still lingers: Do the stars affect people's lives?
I don't study astrology but, yeah, I suppose they do. But maybe they don't. Is Astrology any different than the "eatmelovemefuckmekillme" system of signs and symbols—via the collective unconscious—used by our sorcerer state to manipulate the masses—the highway billboards, C-Span, Calvin Klein, Hello Kitty, O.J. Simpson, Big Screen Pixar, Speed, algorithms, NYSE, Teenage Manga Nurses, George W. Bush, etc., etc., etc.? Naw, I don't think so. Just a little less dramatic, a little more gentle, a little more introspective.
Besides, astrology is very popular, and people are more interested in themselves than other people, and Astrology Sells. Wouldn't you say that's the most important thing of all?
Thanks to Gavin Borchert and Steve Wiecking for pointing what has become a running joke between me, my family, and friends: the gratuitous standing ovation of the Seattle arts scene [Fall Arts, Aug. 23]. It seems that no matter where you go, no matter what the quality of the performance is, there are at least a few people who feel compelled to jump to their feet, clapping madly, resulting in a lemming-esque situation where many others stand up, shamed onto their feet. What's next: standing ovations at the local multiplex for American Pie 2?
That was a great article ["For Those About to Rock," Aug. 23], and it's nice to see a paper such as yourself take notice of what's going on in the "underground" in Seattle. I am a fan of all kinds of music that don't get covered by the media in Seattle, it seems to always be the same re-tread of "Indie-rock-dirty-sweater" bands that get all the attention, or the latest flavor of the week "punk" band in Seattle. I am glad that Carrie and Joe started Seattle Metal.com, it's made all of the people who are actively involved have a strong resource to turn to. I myself had no idea there were so many bands in so many other towns trying to get out and do shows, only to have no one show up or no one know about it. Unity. A cry so often heard in the punk/hardcore world of the East Coast and in California. It's about time the heavy bands sobered up long enough to get it together!
It's not all about getting fucked up and having a good time. A lot of these bands are doing something for their community (and still being largely ignored and unappreciated for it), in November there's going to be a huge show with about 10 bands, it'll be a food drive and any money earned will go to buy food for the homeless for Thanksgiving. As Ben would say, "come on join our triiiiibe!"
Thanks for the great issue dealing with the always controversial aspects surrounding Cannabis [Aug. 16]. I feel compelled to respond to two letters you received [Aug. 23]: Mr. Scheidman questioned our methods for determining our annual attendance. In the past, we asked the city paramedics what they thought and talked to our hired security folks who work events regularly. But this year we had our hired security at the chutes use—yes—counters. Just for the record, they told us we had about 150,000 this year. Then Mr. Scheidman makes a reference to one of our directors, Dominic Holden, as being on drugs. Wow, how original. That never happens to us.
In another letter, Ms. Thorne chastises the Weekly and Hempfest for the scourge of marijuana use by children. If she had come to hear our message, she would have heard us agree that children should not smoke marijuana. Adults in a free society should have the right to make their own educated and informed choices on what they choose to put into their bodies. Those choices should be based upon truthful and accurate information. That is what Seattle Hempfest is really about. Protect the children. Legalize pot for adults.
Vivian Wm. McPeak
Seattle Hempfest 2001
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