More Library Flap

To the Editor:

The flap over the "Workers of the world, unite" slogan at the new library ("F. 451, Episode I: The Red Menace," November 29th issue) demonstrates the intellectual, moral, and ethical flexibility of the liberals. If there had been a swastika, a Confederate battle flag, a KKK emblem, or certain quotes from Mark Twain's works, we wouldn't be debating free expression. The offensive symbol or quote would have been quickly removed because it might have offended some. Were any of these politically incorrect symbols or slogans present, we also wouldn't have heard silliness such as: These ideologies "[are] part of history [and] knowledge of history is part of education."

But in the Marxist/liberal ideal of absolute equality (as Orwell pointed out), some are indeed more equal -- and more easily offended -- than others. The Flyer did a story earlier this year about symbols of Christianity being driven from a Mississippi public school because one parent objected. Her idea of tolerance was to use the court system to have the other 100-plus families at that school conform to her religious (or more properly, non-religious) view.

According to recent reports, Russian scholars and historians now estimate the government of the U.S.S.R., under the banner of "Workers of the world, unite," murdered at least 66 million human beings. The only thing worse than forgetting these victims is to trivialize or ignore them, as our artists have done at the library.

Herbert E. Kook Jr., Germantown

To the Editor:

Chris Davis' commentary on the controversy regarding the new library was on target. But what can our community do to stop those commies in their tracks before all of our children start flying around on broomsticks with little hammer-and-sickle logos on the handle?

Words on the sidewalk are bad enough, but the real problem is the printed page. Books are dangerous -- they contain ideas and challenge people to think. Sometimes the authors actually say things that you or I might not agree with! Clearly, this is unacceptable. Anyway, who needs a book when you can get your information from talk radio?

I suggest we team up Tommy Hart, Marilyn Loeffel, and Brent Taylor with local right-wing radio motor-mouth Mike Fleming to form the Memphis Truth Squad (MTS). The MTS could remove offensive materials from inside (and outside) the new library. (Hint: Most books written since 1900 are dangerous, with the obvious exception of The Collected Works of Rush Limbaugh.) Then the MTS can move on to our bookstores, our schools, and finally our homes. (MTS motto: We won't rest while Harry Potter is still at large.)

Marx argued that "History always repeats itself. The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." I guess we can be thankful that this episode is a farce.

B. Keith English, Memphis


To the Editor:

Should I-69 go directly through Memphis proper or circle the city to the east? There are pros and cons to both options. The area desperately needs a Memphis/Millington expressway, yet we need an outer beltway just as badly. There is no question that downtown Memphis is relatively inaccessible. People coming from northwest Mississippi shouldn't have to drive all the way into Memphis on U.S. 78 just to get to an expressway connection.

My solution is simple. It includes both routes. Highway I-69 should run straight through the heart of Memphis; I-269 should be an outer beltway. All non-local traffic -- especially trucks -- would be encouraged to take the I-269 bypass, while local traffic would be encouraged to take I-69.

This is what you see when traveling to Atlanta on I-75 and I-85. Huge overhead signs instruct trucks and non-local traffic to take I-285. My solution gives Memphis exactly what it needs: two additional expressways. I hope this solution doesn't make too much sense, because, if it does, politicians will surely disregard it.

James W. Smith Jr., North Mississippi


To the Editor:

Your Buzz Polls are funny but have no accuracy and exaggerate. For instance, I don't think there ought to be any porn shops in Cordova (Buzz Poll, December 6th issue) or anywhere for that matter, but I didn't vote No in your poll because my reasoning had nothing to do with the fact that "Cordova is an upstanding neighborhood."

Of course everybody is going to vote for the "Don't they have sex in Cordova?" line. It's funny. But you should either come up with better voting options or just admit that your Buzz Polls are for entertainment only. Because they really don't mean anything. Thanks.

Willard Thompson, Memphis

Editor's note: Our Buzz Polls are for entertainment only. They really don't mean anything.

Gee, Thanks

To the Editor:

You know, I have never told you how much I appreciate the Flyer. I've been reading it for years and I still can hardly wait for Wednesday. I know that if I want to really know what is going on I have to read it. I like a lot of your columnists but I am really glad Molly Ivins is being carried in your paper. I think she is the greatest! Thanks.

Joyce Pannell, Memphis

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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