Letters to the Editor

A Spade of Dirt?

To the Editor:

Proof of post-storm summer doldrums was made manifest by that murky, gossipy yarn about a tenure case at Rhodes College ("God and Women at Rhodes," August 7th issue). Especially following as it did the much more noble "Aftermath" of a storm the previous week.

By negative example it has brought home how little positive journalistic attention is given to notable academic labors and laborers hereabouts: to a course, say, at LeMoyne-Owen, an engineering marvel at CBU, a multilingual program at Rhodes. Your story comes to the public as a sudden spade of dirt to blot the formerly immaculate escutcheon. The article explains things lamely, leaving much that is inconclusive. A partly submerged message is that the rough road to tenure is booby-trapped. Another is that a devotional spirit may be hard to find in "religious studies."

R.C. Wood


Death and Dishonor

To the Editor:

The only thing Jimmy Breslin got right in his piece "An American Hero" (August 7th issue) was that Pfc. Raheen Tyson Heighter is indeed a hero. The fact that Heighter is a dead hero and unable to defend his good name only made Breslin's article more upsetting.

Breslin's statement that Raheen made some "dark bargain" is an insult to the memory of this fine young man and everyone who has served our country. Having spent three years in the U.S. Army, I can assure you I never met another soldier who joined solely for the college benifits. People devoid of a sense of duty and patriotism typically don't join the military. They find other ways to pay for college.

To characterize Heighter as a dupe lured to his death solely for college money is a dishonor to him and all the members of our military.

Bob Chastain


Thanks, Sam

To the Editor:

Aside from his greatness as a music producer and talent scout, Sam Phillips was a wonderful, sweet man (Viewpoint, August 7th issue). I was blessed to know him as more than an icon. Sam and his sons, Knox and Jerry, lived across the street from some of my cousins on Mendenhall Road. Sometimes, some of the Sun Cats would come over. It made for an enriched childhood. I have an early memory of being terrorized by Sam the Sham.

Sam Phillips was a visionary who recognized the greatness in many kinds of music. He found a way to perform selective genetics on blues, country, and jazz, and create rock-and-roll. He was above racism and stereotyping. Sam recognized talent, and he told people when they had it and when they did not.

Sam Phillips codified the rock-and-roll musical vocabulary. Its origins extend back to Louis Armstrong, passing through Fletcher Henderson, Chick Webb, and Louis Jordan. These men laid the foundation for what became rhythm & blues. Phillips' selective musical genetics took the greatness from that strain and wedded it to country music and gospel. And rock-and-roll was born.

The social impact of rock-and-roll continues to evolve. Among other things, it helped break down racial barriers and create harmony in our world and society.

God bless you, Sam Phillips. Thank you for your immense contributions to our music, culture, and happiness. You are missed.

H. Scott Prosterman

San Rafael, California

One a Day

To the Editor:

Thanks go to Bruce VanWyngarden for "One a Day" (Viewpoint, July 31st issue). He asked: "What are their lives worth?"

I could never begin to tell you. But I am reminded of something we should always keep in mind: Their true worth does not reside in the chemicals constituting the body but in the contents of the head, heart, soul, and spirit. They were precious children of God. And all people are sensitive beings whose emotions and feelings give meaning to life.

Arthur Prince


Correction: In the "Rave On" article in the July 31st issue, NRGLove Promotions was incorrectly characterized as a nonprofit organization.

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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