As an alum and longtime supporter of University of Memphis football, I was shocked when hearing the news Justin Fuente would be our next head coach (Letter From the Editor, December 15th issue). I said to myself: Who is this guy?
I was able to attend the press conference and meet Fuente beforehand as a member of the Highland Hundred. Coach Fuente wanted to speak to our booster group, and I had the pleasure of talking to him for a few minutes. I can see why the search committee was so impressed with him. He was articulate and quite mature, despite his 35 years. Having been around the program for quite a few years, I've gotten to know many of our head coaches, and I think I've got a pretty good feel for who can win here.
I believe Coach Fuente can take our program to the next level, and what he has done at Texas Christian University, both on and off the field, can be the blueprint for success at the U of M. I implore all Memphians to get behind Coach Fuente and make Memphis Tiger football something we can all be proud to support.
Occupy: The Next Step?
The Occupy Wall Street movement has successfully awakened middle Americans to the issues of wealth disparity and Wall Street greed. It would be a shame if that message were undermined by a noisy minority of show-offs and those who are just mad at the world (Letters to the Editor, December 15th issue).
The images of crowds of people confronting legions of cops protecting the conclaves of the rich and the powerful can only help the movement, but OWS has worn out the patience of many of even their most liberal supporters. Now that their core message has gotten out there, it might be time for the OWS movement to get out of their tents and rethink their goals. In other words, figure out how to take what they've gained and use it to make a real difference in how this country is governed.
Not a Trolley Stop
I hate to disagree with Preservation Memphis, but what they referred to as a "Midtown trolley landmark" (The Fly-by, December 15th issue) I believe is incorrect. I don't believe there ever were trolley tracks on Poplar. I recall that as early as the 1930s the structure in question was, indeed, called "The Turn-Around" because it was the transfer point for the No. 10 Poplar-Peabody bus that went from Main Street to the turn-around and back, where riders transferred to the No. 5 Central-Poplar bus that went from the turn-around to East Galloway, where it looped Goodlett Street and back.
"Remember there was no Palestine as a state," Newt Gingrich says. "It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people."
Gingrich is right in that throughout recorded history, the region known as Palestine has been kicked between empires and its inhabitants have usually been denied anything resembling a national identity. That began to change in the early 20th century. Local Arab leaders, responding to the succeeding waves of Jewish settlers and hoping to cut a new state out of the territory, attempted to counterpose a Palestinian national identity to incipient Israel.
Had those existing Arab regimes succeeded in quashing the new Jewish state, that's likely the last we'd have heard of "Palestinians." Those Arabs would have become Jordanians or Syrians or Egyptians whether they liked it or not, and that would have settled the question.
Israel's victory in the 1948 war allowed a Palestinian national identity to emerge and harden in exile, nurtured by Arab leaders who'd missed their chance to absorb and crush that identity and now found it a useful propaganda instrument.
All collective identities of this sort are invented, not least that of Israel, which its citizens self-assembled in less than half a century.
And remember, Americans were British colonists seeking "the rights of Englishmen" until, in the second year of their revolution, Thomas Paine convinced them to invent themselves differently.
In the wake of The Commercial Appeal's erecting its pay-wall, I began frequenting memphisflyer.com. While not as comprehensive a news site as the CA, I've been impressed with the variety of news, opinion, sports, food news, and entertainment on the Flyer site. And your event listings are the best in town. So, congratulations on that. Now, how about going daily in print? Or at least twice a week?
Which leads me to put on my Dr. Phil face and say what has to be said: It's time for Memphis and Shelby County to start seeing other people. We've tried for years to patch things up, to come to some sort of mutual understanding, but we need to admit that we have irreconcilable differences. We don't even know each other any more ...