I wanted to write to mention how much I love Tom the Dancing Bug, especially the dumber-than-dumb "Fun Pak Comix" we are treated to every so often. I read the City Paper every Wednesday, even though some of the perspective columns are pretty lowbrow. I read them anyway for entertainment. Besides, the word "fuck" in print is always good for a laugh, right?
I get downright irritated every time, though, when I see John Orth's Humble Shine Production. Is it supposed to be funny? Arty? Hip? I don't get it! Am I the only one to have dared question this artist's intent? I'd rather read old Family Circus cartoons!
Wicked Father Wiley
As a regular reader of Urban Rhythms, I was somewhat surprised with Wiley Hall III's Aug. 8 column.
I have heard of racial bigotry and religious bigotry. I guess political bigotry is the next thing. Mr. Hall equates all people who irritate him, particularly while driving, to Republicans. To follow his logic, then, there must be a lot of Afro-Americans who are closet Republicans if my observations of the traffic scene in Baltimore City are a guide. It would not be racial profiling if the police were to tag the hundreds or more motorists who daily ignore traffic lights and stop signs (although he might view it as such).
Putting it another way, he is as much a bigot as a lot of other people. I am a registered Democrat and most of the time (but not always) vote for Democratic candidates. However, to teach your children as Mr. Hall apparently does does not do them a favor.
How the Other Half Lives
I feel impelled to stick up for my "half" of Baltimore (The Mail, Aug. 8). While concentrated poverty in Southwest Baltimore is evident to those who pass through by car, those who actually live here (as my wife and I have for three years) are quite familiar with Patrick's of Pratt Street, Littlepage's Furniture, the B&O Railroad Museum, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, Hollins Market, Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. And many, many solid neighborhoods like mine, Union Square. Rather than writing off half of the city because it's not currently a convenient place to party, many of us are working (and succeeding) at attracting new neighbors who want to build upon the city's strengths.
By highlighting it in response to the "Best of Baltimore," I think letter writer Peggy Hoffman diminishes the real hardship of poor people raising children in the city, who have no choices but bad schools and turf battles over nearby corners. I'm not scratching my head wondering how many adequately funded nonprofits it would take to make the city work.
Ms. Hoffman's "map" should note that 90 percent of Maryland's poor are isolated in the city by virtue of exclusive zoning in the counties, with no access to higher-performing, suburban public schools. Until this barrier is lifted, neighborhoods will depend on the tenacity of individuals like those highlighted in your series on Reservoir Hill, to avoid succumbing to the hopelessness Ms. Hoffman offers. What this half of the city (and region) really needs is many more neighbors with the wherewithal to fix up old houses, the leadership skills to confront crime and mediocre schools, and the chutzpah to attract others. For many of the hard-working, low-income residents Ms. Hoffman mentions, the most "livable" place for them to raise their children may be in another part of the city, or in one of the counties.
Hopefully, as a new community leaders accept the challenge to turn the city around, it will note the previous generation's efforts--without guile--and build upon its successes.
Editor's note: Due to a production error, the second page of Lee Gardner's article about MTV2 was accidentally not included in the print edition of last week's paper. The full text is available here. We apologize for the inconvenience to our readers and assure you that the responsible parties have had their MTV2 taken away for a full week.
Also in last week's paper, Luisa F. Ribeiro's review of the film Lost and Delirious stated that the film would open Aug. 17 at the Charles Theatre. The theater changed its plans and opted not to open the film Aug. 17 after CP had already gone to press.
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