Regarding the cover story "Tag Team" (June 7th issue): I was surprised by Andria Lisle's statement that the Cooper-Young Community Association (CYCA) was against graffiti "in all its forms." That statement is false. The author did not contact anyone from the CYCA to gather evidence to support the assertion made in the article.
If she had contacted the CYCA this is what we would have said: The CYCA treasures the fact that Cooper-Young is a cache for creative energy "in all its forms." In fact, the CYCA is so pro-artist we have several links on our Web site to promote neighborhood artists. We also host a fund-raiser showcasing Cooper-Young artists, and all the proceeds go to support neighborhood beautification.
Recently, there was a mural of graffiti art displayed in Cooper-Young for months that was painted by some of the artists featured in the article.
The CYCA's position against graffiti is and always will be about vandalism. Vandalism in the form of "tagging" — I believe that was the term used in the article — had proliferated in our neighborhood, and we chose to fight against it. Graffiti, no matter how beautiful it may be, is vandalism when it appears on surfaces and buildings where it was not commissioned or permission was not granted. In short, this form of graffiti is illegal.
We want to commend the Flyer for bringing this topic up for discussion and highlighting the other side of the debate.
Cooper-Young Community Association
Finally! I've been seeing all this great work pop up around town and have marveled at some of the fantastic images these "b-boys" produce. I hope everyone has gotten a better idea of what graffiti and b-boy culture is about. It certainly isn't a gang.
I hope to stumble upon more pieces by these fine urban artists and urge all local businesses with a stale blank wall available to step up and offer these great talents a "canvas" to create on. Hell, I have a few bare walls at my house. I'd pay good money for these guys to create a killer piece for me. Thanks again for the great article. And keep exposing the citizens of Memphis to the weird and wonderful.
When Republicans in the House impeached President Clinton in 1998 for lying about sex, they invoked the "sacred rule of law." Indeed, Judiciary chairman Henry Hyde waxed lyrical on the matter, ominously warning that the rule of law constituted the very linchpin of our free democratic society. Any deviation from this absolute principle would surely place the nation on a slippery slope toward total dissolution.
Many conservative spokesmen now call on President Bush to pardon Scooter Libby for lying under oath. He apparently perjured himself to protect his boss, Dick Cheney, as well as Karl Rove. Both of these highly placed Bushies had sought to discredit Joseph Wilson for exposing as an utter fallacy one rationale the president had used to justify the preemptive invasion of Iraq: In fact, Saddam had not procured "yellow cake" uranium from Niger and therefore lacked the means to precipitate a "mushroom cloud."
It appears a new conservative principle has emerged to trump the sacred rule of law: Protecting the administration from its unpatriotic critics can easily accommodate a little perjury.
Immigration and English
When one of the requirements of the new immigration bill calls for immigrants to learn to speak English, one has to wonder why we don't require high school graduates here in Memphis to do the same.
A young lady within two weeks of graduation from a Memphis City Schools institution says on a local news station: "I know I ain't did nothin'." State senator Ophelia Ford says in a state Senate hearing: "You need to get better knowledged about it."
Is it any wonder why companies such as Toyota bypass the Memphis area when looking for a suitable home for their businesses? We are not helping our young citizens by releasing them into the workforce with communications skills we allow to go uncorrected.
Frank M. Boone