Dear Cliff Doerksen,
Why the bitter diatribe [March 14] on Lou Reed’s present man-of-letters persona? Maybe you just had a bad week? Wanted to stir the pot a little for provocation’s sake? Or how about you really are the philistine that your review of Reed’s latest work, so affectionately titled “Birdbrained,” makes you out to be? Dismissing the longtime music innovator and cultural icon because of his literary pretensions alone is so wrong. No one goes to a musician looking for Joyce or Shakespeare (that is true). But it is also true that Reed gives his listeners what they pay for and a little something extra with each new album–even when this extra does not meet the bland tastes of the market. He experiments–you seem to have a problem with that. Most who have listened to Reed’s music over the years, I am sure, realize that your review of The Raven does nothing to say how the album actually is for listening. Your review is so loaded with personal prejudice and narrow-minded assumptions about Reed, and much of American literature as well, as to prove more than a disappointment–let’s try downright offensive and, well, appallingly “ignorant”? I know the Reader is free, but come on! Your opinions on Poe’s place in literature are even worse than the biased commentary concerning Reed’s status as a musician. Don’t you know that the French since Baudelaire and Latin American writers as prestigious as Carlos Fuentes and Garcia Marquez draw much inspiration from Poe? Yes, people can go to his work for a whole lot more than “shits and giggles,” as you so vulgarly put it. In fact, Poe is serious and can be taken as such without apology, just as Reed’s body of work speaks volumes to your juvenile opinions of (perhaps) not his best album–regardless, I am on my way to buy it. Just because you didn’t get your payola for this review and thought you would trash it when no one was watching does not mean you should be able to dissuade your readers from what deserves their attention and their interest. Get serious!