No Time for Decorum
Wow, obviously Joe Spitzer (Letters, September 28th issue) didn't contribute to Rhodes College's number-one ranking in history and civics. Here are a few flash cards for him:
The United Nations is not the United States. It's supposed to be an open forum. It's not rude to speak the truth there.
The Bush critics Spitzer alluded to are all democratically elected. To oppose Bush but defend him from foreign criticism shows an understanding of history and civics rivaling that of Bush himself.
Our Constitution is being shredded and degraded. Now is not the time for decorum.
Best of Memphis
Shame on you, Memphis Flyer! I'm sure the number of complaint letters soars exponentially after your "Best of Memphis" issue (September 28th), but I'm going to go ahead and drop mine into the inbox that never gets read. The fact that "big box" retailers and chain stores exist is an inevitability of the age in which we live, but do you really have to encourage it by adding categories like "Best Department Store"? If we're going to go the route of the obvious, then why don't we add the category "Best Gas in the Atmosphere" for next year?
Last week, the new American Apparel store was mentioned in the Flyer as an option for buying "clothing in good conscience." I don't consider supporting a company notorious for sexual discrimination and harassment "guilt-free." At least three female employees have brought sexual-harassment suits against founder and CEO Dov Charney.
For a company that receives so much attention for being progressive and different, American Apparel looks really familiar. The ads are just a repeat of the same tired images of women we see constantly. And despite all of Charney's big talk, American Apparel fought employee efforts to unionize in 2003. I think it's great that American Apparel's workers make much more than the sweatshop standard, but that alone is not enough to suggest this is a "good conscience" purchase for me. I think your readers deserve better than thinly veiled plugs for new advertisers that suggest that shopping at American Apparel is some sort of step toward social justice.
The Do-nothing Congress
The latest news about Congressman Foley is another example of how the GOP has failed the American people. The congressman was a leader of his party in the House and charged with protecting the pages from sexual predators. He used his position instead to satisfy his own sick desires.
While this is an outrage, there are other actions by this Congress that affect our children. Analysts have called this a do-nothing Congress. They could call it the Credit Card Congress. Republicans have run up a debt so large there is nothing in history to compare it to. This debt will affect our children and their children. On top of that, regulations that protect America's kids have either been rolled back or abolished. Many more children now have no health care, and funding for after-school programs has been cut. Oversight of the war is nonexistent. No-bid contracts have enriched those close to the GOP. More Americans are working two jobs to support their families. The list goes on.
Republicans did accomplish something, however: "Pork barrel" projects have increased 400 percent.
Bruce and BOM
Bruce VanWyngarden may not be a genius (Editor's Note, September 28th issue), but he says smart things -- good and brave and necessary things. When the world is too much with me and I need re-imagining, I can read him or Tom Tomorrow or watch Jon Stewart and feel that we haven't gone too far down the dark road.
Also, thanks to the Flyer's Best of Memphis voters for citing my struggling little bookshop: Burke's. Though your staff is mathematically challenged -- Burke's is 131 years old, not 122 -- you have been kind to us and we appreciate it.