To the Editor:
I found it irritating that the review of the live Pearl Jam album Memphis 8-15-00 ("Shortcuts," April 12th issue) was written by a person with such disdain for the group. To call the live albums the band released from every stop on their past tour "virtually indistinguishable," an "affront to discretionary income," and "one of the most horrifying acts of consumer fraud I've ever encountered" is merely the opinion of a writer who clearly hates the band. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think calling the band's decision to give their fans what they want a horrible thing is a bit unfair. I have bought four different concert recordings and have enjoyed them immensely.
Dan Kurina, Memphis
To the Editor:
With due respect to Commissioner Buck Wellford, the fact that $7 million of taxpayers' money was paid out to settle lawsuits against the county over the last five years is, in his own words, "irresponsible" ("Letters," April 12th issue). It is not $40 million, but it is an amount that taxpayers should be up in arms about. He states that any settlement over $50,000 must be approved by the county commission. As a county commissioner he has approved the wasting of taxpayer dollars on lawsuits that should be paid by the guilty party. Our illustrious sheriff has had two sexual harassment lawsuits settled. Why should the citizens of Shelby County pay for the affairs of our sheriff? Numerous other lawsuits have cost the taxpayers, as Mr. Wellford's figures indicate, millions of dollars. Why not demand that no money be paid out? If you did that, we would not have articles written about waste in our city or county government.
I also wonder if the raise that Mayor Herenton wanted for Herman Morris was justified? It seems as if Morris does not know how to run a public utility ("The Perfect Storm," April 12th issue). It is obvious that our leaders at MLGW were not on top of things.
Keep up the good work, Flyer. You are a voice for those who have none.
Fred Sheron, Memphis
To the Editor:
I have been a longtime weekly reader of the Flyer and I find your perspective refreshing and pretty humorous. However, in the April 12th issue, I was deeply disturbed by Susan Harrell's restaurant review ("Wealthy Tastes"). I found her use of the term "Oriental" offensive and appalling. Using Oriental to describe anything aside from a rug is not just politically incorrect but ignorant.
Oriental comes from the Latin "orient," meaning "east of." "The Orient" was so named because it was east of Europe and at the time Europe arrogantly considered itself the center of the world for trade and culture. Today, many people, including Asians, find this concept ridiculous. Scientists and scholars have discovered that China and Africa have been around thousands of years longer than Europe. Therefore, the Orient really is not "east of" anything, and thus is no longer appropriate
Referring to a type of food, person, music, or art as Oriental needs to stop.
Nora Boone, Memphis
To the Editor:
While we appreciate Chris Davis' coverage of the UrbanArt Commission's Diversity Forum ("City Reporter," April 5th issue), the very nature of the event made it difficult to cover with the detail and sensitivity that it warranted. The event itself was conceived as an informal discussion where people could express their ideas and concerns about our programs. Taken out of context, many of the ideas expressed seem extreme and perhaps controversial, when, in fact, the discussion often led to a better understanding of the issues and the facts by the audience as well as the panelists.
The Diversity Forum was the first step in what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue to address issues of diversity within the UrbanArt Commission's programs. Prior to the forum, we noticed that we had not received as many submissions from the local arts community as expected. This was particularly true of minority artists. To our best estimate only 20 percent of the applications received to date have been from minority artists. While 20 percent of the artists selected for projects have been minority artists (suggesting that the selection process reflects the diversity of the pool of applicants), it is clear that a large number of artists, minority and otherwise, are not applying. We wanted an open dialogue to find out why.
While many different opinions were expressed at the forum, I believe almost everyone left with a better understanding of who we are, and we left with the clear message that we need to do a better job of communicating to the local arts community, not only about the type of opportunities we offer, but also about our commitment to diversity. Our success depends on the diversity of our projects -- diversity not only in the race, color, creed, national origin, sex, and age of the selected artists but also in the style, subject, and medium of their work.
Carissa Hussong, Executive Director, UrbanArt Commission
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