A Bad Week
Want to know what a bad week for Memphis looks like? A) New pictures of Dr. King's assassination hit the media; B) John Calipari leaves a slug trail of hair gel pointed toward Lexington;
C) James Hyter dies; d) FedEx lays off 500 people; E) In Cleveland(!), Metallica is inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
My guess is that the earthquake is starting as I type this. But even if it does, Memphis will be here. Yellow fever, Dana Kirk, Sidney Shlenker — none could stop us. What we lost this week was not greatness. We need to keep our own sense of who we are. We are outsiders, not the priggish, insufferable crackers of the ACC, not the self-obsessed shlock-mongers of the music "industry."
Let ESPN and CBS be the soulless abscesses for Disney and sitcoms. They can write off the loss of a hurt city's spirit with a blog headline. We cannot. They want the Soviet-like party narrative of money schools making money wins to go on forever. That bores us.
Memphis is a city where law and religion don't always work so hot. But it's a place where a poor black kid can walk out of a grocery store, cross the street, and define the sound of his generation. Memphis is where a suburban white kid with a video camera can tell the world compelling stories of the black men whose world he shares.
Everybody east of Hardeman County, everybody in college sports media, and every member of Metallica can take an early April swim in the swollen Mississippi for all I care. I will always be a proud Memphian, no matter how long R.C. Johnson keeps his job.
Coach Johnny gave us all an April Fool's Day joke last week. I wonder how difficult it is to make a reservation at Cal's Championship Steakhouse these days?
The Flyer identified Libertyland as one of Memphis' Top 11 eyesores ("Eyesores," April 2nd issue). We agree. However, Michael Finger concluded his piece by saying, "The only thing they are waiting on is the same thing holding up many projects: money." That is not correct. We have arranged for well over $100 million in state and federal financing to turn the old Fairgrounds into Fair Ground. In fact, we are waiting for the city of Memphis to respond to our proposal to deploy that money.
It is wrong to see the sites that are considered "eyesores" to be heralded as such. They are worthy of historic preservation and all that that designation entails. Your coverage, I hope, will encourage the process to make those designations a reality. Even elementary research — through public records, personal interviews, etc. — should provide the powers that be with all that is necessary to make it so and garner designated funds from the Obama administration's stimulus bill to provide dollars for the infrastructure improvement that is so sorely needed in this city.
Brenda Bell Brown
How did you ignore the largest eyesore of all? The old Sears building on North Cleveland? Every time I pass it, I keep looking for gargoyles perched on top, cackling at the city for not razing it with the other blights that are mentioned in the article.
President Obama has sent 21,000 troops to end the unfinished business we have with the Taliban and bin Laden in Afghanistan. As soon as he did, some on the right (and the Republican Party) attempted to give him ownership of the war. To his credit Obama, unlike some, took that responsibility. He is well aware who attacked us on September 11, 2001.
We can expect the same wrong-headed folks to blame him when things turn bad in Iraq. Even now, Sunnis, armed to the teeth with weapons given them during the surge by President Bush, are battling government-backed Shiites. The shining light of democracy that Bush tried to create is not possible. At least, not until Muslims end their 1,200-year difference on who should have succeeded the prophet Mohammed.
Americans must watch closely the events unfolding in Afghanistan. We must not allow this undertaking to once again take our attention from the rest of the world — and our own economic well-being.