The world has one less right-wing homophobic bigot. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, is dead (Editorial, May 17th issue).
While it is not polite to speak ill of the dead, in this case I will make an exception. While I sympathize with his family for their personal loss, we cannot ignore the evil of Falwell's political legacy. Indeed, Falwell came to symbolize all that is wrong with conservatism in the United States. Let's not forget that Falwell condemned the civil rights movement as well as Dr. Martin Luther King. Like President Reagan, whom Falwell helped elect in order to gain political power, he supported apartheid in South Africa. In the name of "Christianity," Falwell supported very un-Christian economic and social policies that hurt the poor and rewarded the rich. Like Osama bin Laden and Islamic terrorists, he called 9/11 God's judgment upon secularism, feminism, and homosexuality. He vilified gays and lesbians for political gain. He attacked the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state and advocated a theocractic government, which the founders of this secular democracy adamantly opposed.
It would be tempting to find some comfort in the death of a person who has brought so much harm to our democracy and to gays and lesbians, but the truth is that bigotry and homophobia did not die with him. He has left behind an army of holy warriors who will no doubt continue his assault on equality, freedom, and social justice. I find no cause for rejoicing or celebration in what our future may hold.Jim Maynard
Three 6 Mafia — The Remix
For crying out loud, enough with the Three 6 Mafia hate already (Letters, May 17th issue). We all know that their lyrical content is misogynistic and profane. This isn't news to anyone. So is most gangsta rap. Singling Three 6 Mafia out in this lyrical witch hunt isn't going to make them change their style. It's also not going to stop anyone from listening to them. In the world of entertainment, any publicity is good publicity. Just ask Lindsay Lohan.
The attack on Triple 6's lyrics is incredibly hypocritical if it comes from any fan of Memphis music. If you want everyone to stop supporting these local musicians, you'd better start burning all of your old Sun Records too. "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Malcolm Yelvington condones drinking alcohol. Guess that's gotta go. And then there's "Ubangi Stomp" by Warren Smith. That sounds a little racist — better not let anyone listen to that either. And I know that Bill Justis' "Raunchy" is an instrumental piece, but it might encourage the young'uns to, you know, fornicate. Just like that Jerry Lee Lewis with his "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." I'm pretty sure that song has nothing to do with the New Madrid splitting open.
Then there's Memphis' golden boy, Elvis Presley. The King of Rock-and-Roll? More like King of Violent Lyrics! The lyrics to "Baby Let's Play House" include "I'd rather see you dead, little girl/Than to be with another man." Is that a threat?
This soapboxing against music has to stop. I'm a twentysomething woman, and I have enough sense to change the radio station if a song offends me. A whole lot of Memphians should learn to do the same.
Barack on Iraq
If readers have doubts about Barack Obama's grasp of foreign policy, they should be aware of his statement in Chicago about the pending invasion of Iraq, as he was preparing to enter the race for the Senate.
"After witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. ... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. ... A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics."
He continued, "I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda."