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Our Imperfect Mail

Posted 7/28/2004

I was shocked when I picked up the latest City Paper and found my letter of courtesy sent to J. Bowers published in the Mail section (The Mail, July 14). I did not submit the letter for publication, nor was I asked permission to have it printed. It is common practice for people to send letters of thanks to those who have given them special attention. It is also a practice I have followed on several occasions, with similar letters sent to your advertising staff for the placement of ads submitted for our business (none of which have been published, I should mention).

I had written to express thanks to Bowers for specific comments relating to the work of myself and my partner in Our Perfect World at Maryland Art Place. I had not yet seen the exhibition when I sent the letter and was dismayed by the possibility that, when viewed in the context of the mail, it might appear that I was supporting Bowers’ overall opinion of the show.

I am surprised that CP would place a letter for publication without permission of the writer. It is very unfortunate that someone should be wary of sending a courteous letter of thanks.

Tina Carroll


Editor’s response: It is City Paper’s policy to check with letter writers before publishing a letter in the Mail. However, it does appear that one fell through the cracks in this instance, and we regret the error.

A Matter of Partisan Posturing

Let’s grant, just for the sake of argument, Russ Smith’s contention that President Bush’s refusal to address America’s oldest and most influential civil-rights organization is, as he puts it, “a matter of principle” (Right Field, July 21).

May I ask then, how would Russ Smith describe the Bush campaign sending Don King, the boxing promoter and convicted killer, out to stump for the president’s re-election?

George Cerny


The president of the United States is supposed to be a better person than the people he serves. I don’t disagree with the NAACP’s assertion that Republicans are traditionally racist and only employ blacks as “tokens” to silence that assumption and to serve their purposes. However, President Bush should have spoken at the NAACP conference if only to prove them wrong if he could. He once again alienates the people in his aristocratic fashion. This isn’t the first time he has refused to speak to African-Americans on issues of concern to them.

Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, even while serving as Bush’s spokespersons, acknowledge the racism inherent in the Republican Party; why they choose to be Republicans is probably not as cut and dry as most people believe. That said, it is clear that the president sets a poor example. This is just one more instance in which he encourages hatred, racism, lack of diplomacy, and ignorance in the face of disparaging opinions of him that are widely held. To ignore or try to silence the genuine concerns of people is to invite ruin.

If he is such a good leader, why not address people that feel alienated and angry about his apparent lack of interest in the well-being of all Americans and, if need be, correct their misperceptions (if they are indeed misperceptions)? One can’t cower before every group or individual, but the NAACP is still a major voice of and in the African-American community, regardless of the means employed by self-hating or selfish black conservatives to make it otherwise. Ignoring the NAACP is a surefire way to prove them right, galvanize his opponents, and lose nonracist swing voters. I, for one, hope we don’t have to put up with another four years of these kinds of shenanigans.

Nancy Greene


Nice Reads

Congratulations on two terrific reads this week. I’m sad to say that I wholly agree with Bret McCabe’s review of De-Lovely (Everything Blows Film, July 14). Even given the current intractable trend to cast increasingly older male stars with younger and younger “starlettes,” the casting of Ashley Judd against Kevin Kline as Linda Lee and Cole Porter was jarring, and we simply couldn’t get past it. The film also seemed to want to be a couple different kinds of stories at once, which I suppose was an attempt to add complexity where it was surely lacking in the characterization of Porter’s homosexuality.

Murder Ink is a brilliant take on, and exposition of, this city’s shameful living history. Kudos to Anna Ditkoff and CP for taking a chance on such a gutsy piece full of edgy compassion. I hope it wakes someone up. God knows we need it.

Cynthia Gaver


Hitler’s Pictures

In 1970, I published for the first time anywhere the full frame of the original photograph from the Heinrich Hoffmann Albums in the U.S. National Archives still-photo branch (then in Washington, D.C., now in College Park) upon which this painting is based (Your Art Not Here, Quick and Dirty, July 21).

The date the photo was taken was June 23, 1940, and it marked the only time that Hitler was in Paris. The picture was first published in Towerlight, then as now the informative student newspaper of then-Towson State College, now Towson University. It accompanied my review of that year’s publication of Albert Speer’s memoirs, Inside the Third Reich. He is one of the three men in the picture. The review and the publication of the picture were both considered very controversial by the college’s liberal-minded students, and I was called a Nazi. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I opened your July 21 issue and saw that image once again! Upon reflection, I see that things haven’t changed much, and I do see the points of view of both the artist and Izzy Patoka. As an artist myself, I agree with Mr. Edelson’s viewpoint, but as a former quasi-public, appointed city and county official, I conclude that Mr. Patoka did the right thing in not wanting to offend a larger segment of our area’s population—a sad but dutiful choice nonetheless.

But then, I am now 57 and not 23 as I was in 1970.

Blaine Taylor


Clean up cops

I was mortified and sickened after reading your cover story regarding the death of Dexter Hill at the hands of the Baltimore Police Department’s three-man Organized Crime Division unit, headed by Mark Walrath (A Shot in the Dark,” July 7).

As citizens of this great country, we are required by law to place faith—or at least obey—the people that are sworn to protect us and prevent chaos. The stakes are high for us, as the price we pay for snubbing the system—i.e., gunning down an officer—holds a death sentence, or at the very least a life behind bars. Police officers that violate that trust, as well, must be held to that same standard.

I am happy to have the police force. I believe there are a lot of good officers helping citizens. The “rotten apples” must be dealt with swiftly and sternly. The vision in our collective minds of Mr. Hill’s body slumped over a fence, only to be unceremoniously dragged over it to set up an alternate crime scenario, will not be forgotten. I implore the Baltimore police to take care of things and clean house.

I am a white-collar Caucasian and a Baltimore transplant. I believe with my whole heart that O.J. Simpson is guilty, and I was shocked by my educated African-American friends who bought the whole Mark Furman conspiracy theory. But, if I was an African-American in Baltimore and an officer in a dark alley yelled “Halt!” when I knew I had done nothing unlawful, I’m fairly certain I’d be a runner, too.

Courtney P. Leigh


Corrections: Due to a fact-checking error last week, we left a “t” off the first name of Elliott Cahan, a Republican candidate challenging Baltimore Democrat Rikki Spector for her 5th District seat on the City Council (“From the West Side to the Middle East,” Quick and Dirty, July 21). We also incorrectly printed the address for Cahan’s Web site,

Further, we failed to mention in the piece that there is a Green Party candidate who is challenging Spector in the 5th District. Dr. Terrence Fitzgerald, a physician and the medical director of an addiction-treatment program, will be on the ballot in November.

Address letters to The Mail, City Paper, 812 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201; fax: (410) 523-0138; e-mail. Only letters that address material published in or policies of CP, are no more than 500 words long, and include the writer’s name, address, and daytime phone number will be considered for publication. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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