It's no secret that the Flyer is a left-leaning publication, which is fine and dandy with me. I am a conservative and I still pick up a copy every week -- not to see what's happening on the other side of the political opinion spectrum, but because I love Memphis and care about the music and art scene, and I appreciate a good, free publication. And, though I am a conservative, I must preface the rest of this letter by saying that I am not in George W. Bush's corner.
Still, when I read Chris Herrington's review of Hard Candy (April 27th issue), I almost choked on my pizza slice. So, Dubya is now responsible for a cultural obsession with torture? I really try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the mudslinging that goes on between political parties. One of the mantras repeated by conservatives these days is that liberals will blame Bush for anything. When I hear that, I usually pass it off as sensationalism. However, it is now apparent to me that this observation is 100 percent accurate!
How can anyone blame the president for the "normalization of torture as a cultural subject"? The idea is laughable. The bottom line is that sex and violence sell -- in movies and elsewhere. If there is an increase in torture flicks, I'd say it has to do with the success of Saw. Why not blame Cary Elwes?
The next time I burn the roof of my mouth on my pizza slice, I'm going to blame it on Al Gore. Or maybe I should blame Bush because he's making the earth (and indirectly my pizza) so hot. But true torture is reading misguided movie reviews like this one.
Suggestions for Change
Over the past year, many changes have taken place in Memphis -- some good, some bad. I would like to suggest some ideas that need serious consideration from our leaders and government.
First, this city and county need only one government. We are consistently wasting tax dollars and time. This effort will take new vision from the City Council, the County Commission, and the city and county mayors.
Second, one of the best ideas for the Fairgrounds complex is developing a Mini Olympic Village to host the national high school championships in track, swimming, gymnastics, etc., along with the proposed community center.
Third, let's build on our strengths. Shelby Farms is being considered by the Mid-South Fair. Let's take it a step further and pursue a major theme park, like Six Flags. With the current upgrades to Walnut Grove, this could be a major tourist attraction.
Memphis and Shelby County are deep in debt. I propose that we enact a payroll tax on those who work in the city but live outside the city limits. Also, a toll bridge should be set up on the West Memphis bridge. We should also abolish the wheel tax and lower the sales tax from 9.25 percent to 7 percent.
Last but not least, the citizens of Memphis should be allowed to vote on whether they want a casino in the city. A casino on Mud Island would create 300 to 400 jobs and about $400 to $500 million a year in revenue.
Newspapers and Preachers
In his "Flying High" interview with Three 6 Mafia (Cover story, May 4th issue), Chris Herrington pointed out that "Wendi Thomas ... called the Oscar win [by Three 6 Mafia] history the city should hide from." Then Herrington asked the group how they reacted to a "local minister who implied that you were pawns of the devil."
If asked those questions, I would take the advice of former Senator Hugh D. Scott of Pennsylvania: "Never get into an argument with a newspaper or a preacher; the newspaper always has the last word with its readers and the preacher always calls on heaven as witness he is right."
Arthur H. Prince
So Wendi Thomas has returned without ever writing a column for the Baltimore Sun (The Fly-by, May 4th issue). She says she was homesick and missed her family and boyfriend. All I can say is, I hadn't begun to miss Wendi yet, and now I'll never get the chance, apparently. That old saying about how "absence makes the heart grow fonder" requires actual absence.