To the Editor:
Peter Margasak’s column [July 25] was a ridiculous little rant about the job switch of a more successful colleague at the Chicago Sun-Times. With no facts to back up his claims and the testimony of the proverbial unnamed “source” at the Sun-Times, Margasak sought to smear the name of Jae-Ha Kim with his feverish writing.
Not having any sources at the Sun-Times–or the Reader for that matter–I don’t know what exactly went down. Nor do I particularly care. But what I do know is that reporters switch beats all the time–some even of their own choosing. It has happened everywhere, even at the Reader. Since Frank Youngwerth no longer is subjecting readers to his pedestrian writing in Spot Check, is it fair for us to assume that he has been demoted? Probably not. Again I say, who cares? But that’s the level Margasak has sunk to.
Judging by the play the Sun-Times has given Kim’s stories, it appears she is being touted more than ever at the paper. The Sun-Times seems interested not only in keeping her at the paper but in keeping her happy. They recently flew her out to New York to cover the Big Blue Hearts at the Intel Music Festival and gave her piece on Beck a full page. (With no disrespect to Greg Kot, I believe that was a scoop over the Tribune.)
Also, in trying to prove Kim to be a poor reporter, Margasak showed his own limited resources. He cut and pasted various tidbits from the Eye Candy section of her column, which I always assumed meant to be exactly that–eye candy. I found her enthusiastic take on pop culture–and not just pop music–to be a breath of fresh air, especially in the jaded world of rock criticism where writers tend to like to read their own words more than they enjoy listening to the music of artists they’re supposed to be writing about. But with obvious bias, he failed to include her many insightful stories, including her views on the shabby way women are treated at concerts and the gender roles that are still at issue today in rock ‘n’ roll.
As for his nasty dig about her supposedly losing her all access backstage pass because of the change of her job title at work, I have two words for him: get real. I’ve heard Kim on Q101, I’ve heard the on-air staff at WXRT praise her work, I’ve seen her byline in Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, and I’ve seen her book in Barnes & Noble. Plus, she’s a hottie. I’d bet any band would rather rub elbows with her than a dork like Margasak.