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Letter from the Editor

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While Flyer editor Bruce VanWyngarden is taking a much-deserved vacation in Peru, I skipped town myself last weekend and headed for the less exotic Hot Springs, Arkansas. As I was making my way west late Friday morning, a news report came on the radio announcing that a truck had spilled its load along I-40 near Conway, a mishap that would eventually cause a 20-mile backup. About an hour later, I heard another report on the wreck that included one small detail: pig entrails.

According to a story in Saturday's Arkansas Democrat Gazette, an unidentified pedestrian had stepped onto the interstate to retrieve a bag. The driver of the pig-entrails-bearing tractor trailer stepped on the brakes and rear-ended a car. The truck jackknifed and then spilled its guts along 100 feet of highway that was nice and hot on this 90-degree-plus day.

Initially, I thought the part about the entrails was a hoax. Too fantastic. Perhaps, I thought, it was a wiseguy deejay having fun on a Friday.

I'm an avid listener of the radio, particularly AM talk radio, but I often find myself wondering if what's being said is even true. Is there really a project afoot by the Chinese to build a non-government-regulated highway through the middle of the United States?

There've been some rumblings — and a lot of outraged squeaking from conservative talk-show hosts and bloggers — that the Democrats want to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine, a long-defunct FCC regulation that would require balance when presenting controversial views. Last week, the House of Representatives voted to bar the FCC from using federal funds to impose the regulation. I see this less as a victory for freedom of expression and more as much ado about nothing. It's hard to believe that the FCC is powerful enough to put a muzzle on someone like Rush Limbaugh while contending with the companies that make a ton of money from his show. And heaven forbid if the Fairness Doctrine were effective. Do we really want to make Limbaugh a free-speech martyr?

So back to those entrails — a true story and also fantastic. A backhoe was used to pick up the bigger pig parts and a chemical was used to make the blood congeal for easier scooping.

Susan Ellis

ellis@memphisflyer.com

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