Controversial beat of heavy-metal music

Your Aug. 16 front-page article, "Rebels yelling again as 'metal' returns," is out of character for the Monitor. The piece seems to validate vulgarism, loudness, anger, and dark antics. It mentions one musical group wearing serial-killer masks. It's ironic that the story appeared just under your masthead objective, "To injure no man, but to bless all mankind." As I see it, heavy-metal music offers significantly more cursing that blessing, which is a shame.

Garrett Stone Peoria, Ill.

I'm glad to see the Monitor covering such an un-"PC" music genre as heavy metal. We produce T-shirts for concerts of all rock genres, and we have seen a huge rise in "metal" merchandise sales in the past three years. Metal fans are what we call "lifestyle fans," and they are a merchandiser's dream, because they buy lots of shirts. Alienated by pure pop, R & B, and rap, they have flocked to heavy metal to create their own heroes and often revive the old ones. As your article insightfully points out, this music is their badge.

Thanks for an excellently written and researched piece.

Wes Bockley Newton, Mass.

Upward Bound lends lifelong lessons

As a 1991 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Veterans' Upward Bound Program, I am overjoyed to read about this wonderful network of programs ("Basic back-to-school training," Aug. 21). The "VUB," as we affectionately call it, has found a place in my life as significant as my years as a sailor.

I still echo the words of three of my former instructors - they are as much a part of my life as waking up at 0430 hours and my long dislike for close-order drilling. Along with sobriety, the VUB changed my life in many ways. My hope is that our nightmarish financial and social miasma will leave VUBs around the nation untouched.

W. Jonathan McCoy Philadelphia

For voting, let fingers do the walking

Your article ("Vote tally in '00: off by millions," Aug. 17) reported that 4 million to 6 million votes were uncounted in 2000. Those losses are staggering! While reading about proposed voting changes, I realized that although the solutions were progressive and thoughtful, they were incomplete, and did not provide a way for me to vote, given my predicaments in two of the last three general elections: On Election Day 1992, my car broke down; on Election Day 1996, a friend needed a ride to the emergency ward. Under those conditions, no voting reforms I've seen would have allowed me a chance to vote.

What reliable communication device could I have used to vote in both circumstances? A public phone. If I could have a toll-free election number and a secure pin code to access the voting menu, I could have voted while waiting at the auto repair shop, the hospital, or anywhere else with a phone.

My fantasy voting device is one that everyone can operate, have access to, and find just about anywhere. As a nation, we promote voting as a pathway for the world to become more democratic. Let's utilize a simple, technologically-adequate device - the telephone - to vastly improve our own voting ability.

Charles Moore Bolton, Mass.

Carter's term doesn't merit revisionism

Positive revisionism of the Carter presidency does not wash with me ("George and Jimmy," Aug. 21, opinion page). While I supported his election, I recall four years of weak leadership. I doubt historians place him in an "average" category. Among 20th-century presidents, he belongs in the same class as Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover.

Will Osuna Oakland, Calif.

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