Opinion » The Rant

The Rant

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Well, I might let you touch me. But then again, I might not. On the sleeve, that is. I was going to stay far, far, far away from politics for a while (other than to publicly congratulate my youngest nephew who recently announced that he is starting an underground movement within his sixth grade class to have George W. Bush impeached -- and with no prompting from his proud uncle), but then I got the e-mail. Yes, I got an e-mail from Barack Obama. He was letting me know his insightful thoughts about World AIDS Day and suggesting a number of organizations to which I might want to contribute money to help stop the pandemic. He was very friendly and personable in his message, and I was thrilled to know that he was thinking about me. Of course, you also can get an e-mail from Obama if you just sign up for news updates on his official Web site. I, however, am going to choose to believe that he sent it to me personally. I think that electing Barack Obama as the next president of the United States in 2008 is the one, the only, the single chance the U.S. government has of redeeming itself around the world after what it has done for the past six years. In Europe, the pastime of the day now is bashing the United States. Not bashing the average U.S. citizen, but bashing the government and those who support it without reservation. I have heard from many people in Europe that electing Obama is our only chance. Not Hillary Clinton. Certainly not the ever-whining Joe Lieberman. Nope, only Barack Obama. Hopefully, that will put my nephew's mind to rest. But that's it about politics. I've had it with it. But I continue to torture myself with other worries -- one of those now being the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. I hate to piggyback on another columnist's news and comments, but I have to say that when I got back from Chicago this past weekend (already having been sick from a train ride during which a baby kept staring at me and then throwing up and then laughing at me, which in turn made me very ill and rendered me in the fetal position in my hotel room just hours before having to get up on a stage and talk in front of some 200 people, the anticipation of which also made me kind of sick), I came down with the stomachache again when I opened last Sunday's Commercial Appeal. When I saw the photograph of the orchestra's associate conductor Vincent Danner -- with a big smile and his arms outstretched in front of the musicians and his hair in really cool short braids -- I thought to myself, what an incredibly handsome man he is and how happy he looks. I was excited to read about him. And then I read Wendi Thomas' column about the white symphony orchestra members who had admitted referring to him as "Buckwheat" and making other stupid remarks about him. Notice I did not refer to them as "ignorant" remarks. "Ignorant" would imply that these people did not know better. And I would venture to say that if anyone has the ability to play in a symphony orchestra and has at least been around some form of art and culture and is living in the 21st century, they do know better. Of course, Thomas, as she always does, took this on in a thoughtful manner and wrote some very wise words. I, on the other hand, am not as patient. I say, screw 'em. There was mention of some kind of investigation that has just been finalized (why it took from September until now is anyone's guess), and the people who made the remarks apparently apologized after being called on the carpet. But there was no mention in Thomas' column of them being fired from the symphony. Please, do not tell me that they are still employed and are still performing. Their names were not mentioned in Thomas' column either, and I think that they should be spread across the front page in headline type. Why try to hide who these people are? They said the things about Danner, and they admitted to it. Maybe they will all decide to do the Hollywood thing and go into rehab or visit psychiatrists to find out what made them make the remarks. But I doubt it. My guess is they already know.

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