March 9-15, 2006
feedbackLetters to the Editor
We always hear about guys who risk it all and make it big, from the Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs [Cover, "Driven," Brian Howard, March 9, 2006]. For everyone who makes it big, there are thousands who don't make it at all. Steve Christini may be one of those, but the article captures his spirit, determination, hope, frustration and maybe even regret. Good job.
Indeed, Amiri Baraka has a history of challenging established views [Slant, "Here's a Radical Idea," Christopher Paslay, Feb. 23, 2006]. Last I checked, this was a healthy thing for writers. Yes, a brown-skinned man dominates golf, and hip-hop culture is unavoidable (largely due to a "Marketing Revolution," not a creative one), yet the need remains for a Baraka, or for that matter a Bob Marley, to speak to disenfranchised blacks. Eminem's hostile rants pale in comparison to Baraka's passionate, hard-boiled verse. Here's a radical idea: Perhaps the folks at the Inquirer and Daily News intended to showcase writers with vision and balls, not writers whose works and importance could be tidily handled with latex gloves in a high school English class.
Daniel A. Shurley
I don't agree with many of Baraka's views and I have sat across the table from him and have told him so directly. However, Paslay presents a negative view on why we African-Americans, including Baraka, have changed our names to be either Arabic or African. It is because we want to identify with our historical roots, to connect with our culture and to liberate our minds from the chains of oppression we have suffered after centuries of racial oppression. It is to show pride in who we are, and to honor our ancestors. Paslay says we should be out celebrating and not confronting the enemies of my nationality. I think the vast majority of blacks would strongly disagree that we live in a color-blind society.
What this shows is how correct it is for the Philadelphia School District to make African-American history mandatory for the entire student body.
[Loose Canon, "The Man With the Plan," Bruce Schimmel, Feb. 16, 2006] served as an intelligent and informed take on what Jaime Lerner presented. I'd always dreamed of working as a nurse in Philadelphia but am leaving after graduation because everything Lerner says needs to be done in this city, hasn't. The city is unhealthy on many levels. I bike to and from work, choking on SEPTA smoke the UPenn buses are even worse and have had a few near-death experiences on Walnut Street with drivers who are unwilling to share the narrow street. I'm a "big sister" to a little girl whose family was driven by new development from their safe neighborhood to a place they can afford but can't let their children out at night. Perhaps what Lerner presented will hit the right chord with some of the right people and changes will be made.
You did what you thought you had to do in order to spiff up the paper. It wasn't broken, but now the reason I had to even bother picking up the paper is gone! WHERE THE HELL IS LYNDA BARRY??? You've done a grave disservice to her reading public.
The editor responds: Sorry to disappoint you, Lynne. I wanted to open up the comics section to fresh voices. You can still get your Barry fix at www.marlysmagazine.com.
I'm pleased to read that Mark Cofta now considers Freddie Mercury to be "a poet in [his] mind" [Arts, "They Are the Champions," Feb. 23, 2006]. Too bad the song he chose to quote at the end of his review wasn't written by Mercury. "Radio Ga-Ga" is by Queen's drummer, Roger Taylor.
Craig J. Clark