In your May 21 Sizzlin' Summer issue, I believe you omitted a major Baltimore institution in your "Sports" and "Recreation" summer guide sections: rugby! The Chesapeake Women's Rugby Football Club keeps around 30 local athletes on the roster, and the Baltimore-Chesapeake Rugby Football Club keeps at least 50 local athletes on the roster. Saturday is a rugby day, and countless fans join us at Bocek Park in East Baltimore year round to cheer on both the men and women, as well as local high school and college teams that play at the field. We hope the writers, editors, and staff will support us in our mission to build rugby in the Baltimore community.
Sheldon Laskin hit it dead on with his letter debunking Mark Kilbane's arguments for tax breaks for Hollywood studios ("Film Tax Credit II: The Academy Strikes Back," The Mail, May 14). Giving corporate welfare to big film studios does nothing but bring big names to Maryland so the state's two-party elite can hobnob with A-listers and we get little in return.
How about if city and state government became interested in growing our own? As a local independent filmmaker, I see too often Baltimore's art community ignored. The Creative Alliance and the Maryland Lawyers for the Arts are wonderfully supportive, but these two small organizations can only do so much. The Maryland Film Office? They're not going to do anything for you unless you have production insurance, and that takes money. The Maryland Film Office exists to woo Hollywood big guns, as Laskin pointed out, and studios do not bring us enough in the black to justify the tax breaks. And the idea that bringing Hollywood here helps us indie folks? It's a myth.
Money for our creatively rich but financially poor talent pool here will do much more for us than signing tax dollars over to Hollywood studios. Question is, are those in Annapolis more interested in art or meeting celebrities?
The Brave Ones
I am reading a book that was written with ambitious scholarship, Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, by Joshua Wolf Shenk. "The struggle of today, is not altogether for today," Lincoln wrote. "It is for a vast future also."
With this in mind I picked up City Paper and read "Hit and Stay: The Catonsville Nine and Baltimore Four Actions Revisited" by Joe Tropea (Feature, May 14). The article was some of the best reporting by a journalist I have read in any book or magazine to date.
The bravery of the Catonsville Nine and other similar groups had a profound impact on many Americans who could not or would not go against the grain of their personal spiritual conflictions to question our government's foreign policy in Vietnam (living life as liars who were guilty of judging people in Vietnam for being unchristianized communists, or what the U.S. government wanted us to believe about the people of Vietnam were--pathetic and inferior). Today, history is repeating itself in Iraq, but I have hope that a "change" is coming to resolve a horrible situation to save the lives of all the people in Iraq.
I am a coward. Prisons and jails paralyze me with fear. It is the reason that I do not openly challenge this federal government on the war in Iraq or other socioeconomic issues. I need to do something to help the hellish situation in Darfur, and all of Sudan, but I am afraid of being a political prisoner in America and tortured psychologically and physically by other prisoners, government officials, or prison guards.
I want to sincerely thank all the members of the Catonsville Nine and similar groups who spent time in federal prison or jail because they believed their political demonstrations and actions would make a difference in America. It did. Thank you.
Larnell Custis Butler
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201