City of Sex
I would be proud and delighted if Memphis became known as the City of Sex (Fly on the Wall, May 10th issue). It would certainly be preferable to what we are being called these days: City of Crime. City of Corruption. City of Derelict Landmarks. City of Some *%$& Broke into My Car Again ...
And I would very much rather that a sexually oriented business move in at the end of my block than a convenience store or fast-food joint or most any other business where people gather. From the outside, S.O.B.s are almost always clean, quiet, and crime-free. They kind of have to be. And no strip club ever woke me up on a Sunday morning ringing bells.
Michael B. Conway
Three 6 Mafia
I love Memphis. I love reading the Flyer, and I love Memphis In May's Beale Street Music Festival. What I find disturbing is that Memphis is supporting a public festival which features the music of Three 6 Mafia (Viewpoint, May 10th issue). While I appreciate the fact that many people paid their money to see Three 6 Mafia and hear their demeaning, obscene lyrics which exploit young women, many others will also be exposed to these lyrics.
Growing up in Memphis, I listened to a variety of music that my parents found irritating — albums that made them question my morals and perhaps even my virtue. But the lyrics of Three 6 Mafia feature obscene acts performed upon young girls without their consent, and all this is done in a very angry, threatening manner. Young boys are being taught by example how to take what they want from young girls. Young girls are being taught how to behave in order to attract these young men. An entire generation is being taught that anger and a lack of respect is the foundation of a relationship. If you are a supporter of Three 6 Mafia and have a young daughter, tell her what a sweet little girl she is. Tell yourself what a wonderful life you are making for her. Then take a real look at her future and the world you have created for her. I'd be ashamed and worried.
I read Marty Aussenberg's article (Viewpoint, May 3rd issue) with interest because I have come to the opposite conclusion that he came to about carrying a gun. My neighbor was killed while walking his dog at the corner of Whitney and Dumbarton in Scenic Hills. I walk daily past the spot. I have recently qualified for a carry permit.
The question remains: How do you keep weapons out of the hands of criminals without leaving ordinary citizens defenseless?
Aussenberg did the right thing and is alive to write about it. A permit is not a license to kill, but under different circumstances it might have saved my neighbor's life.
Never given to deep reflection or original thought, President Bush fatefully embraced the neoconservative conception of the nation's role in world affairs. The United States, in this view, should use its power to spread freedom around the world and expect that its momentum would at last drive tyranny from the face of the earth.
The preemptive invasion of Iraq in 2003 to overthrow the tyrant Saddam was conceived as the first fruit of the neocons' "freedom agenda," which Bush fully articulated in his second inaugural address.
Unhappily, the realities on the ground belie this grand project of world liberation and uncover the tragic limitations of our power. But the president stubbornly remains in his idealogical bubble and continues to perceive the conflict in Iraq as the "front line in the war on terror." His rationale for vetoing the recent Iraq spending bill rejects out of hand the notion of a civil war between ancient sectarian rivals.
Before it's too late, the president needs to awaken to the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: "The occasion is piled high with difficulty. ... As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
Editor's note: Last week's "In the Bluff" column reported that Memphis was home to 26 percent of subprime mortgages nationwide. It should have read that 26 percent of all home loans in Memphis were subprime mortgages.