Letters to the Editor

Mangled Souvenirs

To the Editor:

My daughter traveled to New York City in March 2003 to participate in the National Model United Nations. At the end of her trip, she carefully packed all of her treasured souvenirs, only to arrive home and find a taped-up, mangled mess of a suitcase. She was in tears over the loss of her mementos. In the suitcase was the same form note from the Transportation Security Administration that Chris Davis received (Fly on the Wall, September 2nd issue).

We dutifully sent in the claim form filled out with all of the required information for reimbursement. Since another trip to NYC is not in the offing, it was really hard to put a true value on the worth of the destroyed souvenirs -- broken frames, scratched pictures, trinkets in pieces. We received a note back from the TSA acknowledging receipt of the claim form and that was it! Seventeen months later, we still have nothing to show for the loss. My daughter certainly felt victimized by the TSA and La Guardia Airport.

Elizabeth Cawein


Republican Flip-flops

To the Editor:

At the Republican National Convention, Senator Zell Miller and Vice President Dick Cheney attacked Senator John Kerry on his record, saying he flip-flops on issues. (It seems to me that the nature of politics requires politicians to compromise and see both sides of issues.) But the flip-flopping hasn't been one-sided: In March 2001, Miller called Kerry "one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best and greatest leaders."

In September 2002, President Bush said, "You can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." A year later, he said, "We've found no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in September 11th." Flip-flop. Bush has also flip-flopped on free trade, WMD, campaign finance, gay marriage, abortion, and the 9/11 Commission.

Americans need to educate themselves on Bush's record. Talk to an educator about No Child Left Behind. Talk to an environmentalist about how the Clean Air Act allows companies to release more pollutants or how the Healthy Forest Initiative allows more logging in our national forests. Next time you're at McDonald's, ask the person at the counter if they think the economy is "strong and getting stronger." Next time you see a recent college graduate, ask them about the job market in their respective field. Talk to low-income seniors about their medical and prescription drug bills. Talk to any of the millions of Americans who have lost their manufacturing jobs to other countries. Educate yourself about Bush's failed policies and his tendency to lie to the American people.

Zack Lawrence


Will Wonders Ever Cease?

To the Editor:

Robert Torchia wrote to the Flyer (August 26th issue) giving his views of the current Wonders exhibition, "Masters of Florence: Glory and Genius at the Court of the Medici." Everyone is entitled to his opinion, however, Professor Torchia's acid comments were misleading at best.

Torchia represents a minority of the feedback from historians, curators, and museum directors in Memphis and around the world. Wonders, like most cultural institutions, is a not-for-profit organization with oversight by a board of directors. It is not the "entrepreneurial" enterprise that Torchia suggests. The comprehensive exhibitions that Wonders is known for combine history, culture, science, and art to weave a storyline which is presented in a thoughtful, beautiful, and entertaining manner.

Although there was input from the Wonders staff in the development of the exhibition, "Masters of Florence" was curated by Annamaria Giusti and Cristina Acidini, published and respected art historians. The quality and weight of the exhibition drew 240 works from 64 collections in Italy and France, which illustrate the story of the Medici family. The exhibition contains works by artists supported by the Medici, including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Ghirlandaio, Giotto, Daddi, Donatello, and many others.

The three reproductions that Torchia mentions include casts which were commissioned by Wonders from the oldest extant molds of two panels from Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise" and a 19th-century reproduction of Galileo's telescope, all clearly labeled as reproductions. The power of a three-dimensional representation of the "Gates of Paradise" to portray the magnificence of the works is far better than any photograph. The original panels have just finished a 30-year restoration project and could not be lent.

"Masters of Florence" is being shown exclusively in Memphis through October 3rd. Come and see the exhibition and make your own decision.

Steve Masler, Chief Curator

Wonders: The Memphis

International Cultural Series

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