Willie and (the) Race
Thanks to the Flyer and Jackson Baker for so clearly previewing the race for mayor ("Four More Years?," July 26th issue) between Willie Herenton and his three primary challengers. What seems obvious at this point is that Herenton is going to remain "above the fray" by refusing to debate or interact in any way with his opponents. This strategy is in keeping with his imperial attitude toward his office and his constituents.
King Willie will take the "high road" and let his challengers battle for the 70 percent of the electorate that wants him out. But the math is on his side. His 30 percent of hard-core supporters is likely going to be just enough to keep him in office for "four more years." Sadly.
Fox and the Flyer
Joe Spitzer was right about one thing (Letters, July 19th issue): The Memphis Flyer is left-leaning and liberal. (But that does not seem to affect the way the Flyer reports the news — only its editorials and Viewpoints.)
Spitzer, on the other hand, uses a tactic employed by socialists in the early part of the 20th century to attack Fox News. If you attack the messenger, the messenger loses his ability to debate the message. So he tells a "screw in a lightbulb" joke about Fox News hosts to avoid honest debate. I watch Fox News, and I don't remember seeing or hearing anything about [administration critics] being called "Bush haters, Godless heretics, or terrorist supporters."
Spitzer is reading that message into the Fox programs so he won't have to consider that his thoughts about the subjects discussed could be wrong. To quote a local state senator: Joe, you need to get "better knowledged" about it.
Frank M. Boone
Jim Dandy and Black Oak
The foundation of rock-and-roll is built on originality and energetic performances. No other rock act was as original and energetic (or toured as much) as Black Oak Arkansas. And Jim Dandy Mangrum was the achetype for rock singers, with his long blond hair and spandex outfits. Andrew Earles' wonderful profile of the band and his interview with Dandy ("Back to Black," July 12th issue) brings us up to date with the new-found attention the band is receiving.
Over the years, the band's career has become legendary. Black Oak stole the show from Three Dog Night at the Liberty Bowl's first rock concert in 1972. And Black Oak was one of the headliners at the massive California Jam festival in 1974.
No one who ever attended a Black Oak concert could forget the over-the-top spectacle of Jim Dandy strutting across the stage, abusing his microphone, and singing in his trademark growl while the band cut loose with that raw, gutbucket sound.
True talent and commitment are the hallmarks of a truly dedicated performer. That's why Jim Dandy and Black Oak Arkansas have stood the test of time.
Vick and the Dogs
Our national media have had a field day reporting on allegations that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick ran a brutal dog-fighting operation and personally slaughtered eight dogs. Yet, no one ever reports on the brutal slaughter every hour of every day of every year of a million cows, pigs, and other innocent, sentient animals who are just as deserving of our respect and compassion as Vick's dogs.
There is no life before death for these animals. In today's factory farms, calves are torn from their mothers at birth and chained by the neck for 16 weeks in tiny wood crates to produce veal. Breeding sows are impregnated artificially and confined in similarly tight metal cages. As many as seven laying hens are stuffed for months in a metal cage the size of a folded newspaper.
Following this unconscionable abuse, the animals are trucked for hours without food or water and exposed to extreme cold or heat. Many never make it. At the slaughterhouse, they are frequently dismembered, skinned, scalded, or drowned while fully conscious.
Every dollar we spend for meat or dairy products at the checkout counter is our direct subsidy for animal cruelty. Let's remember our own responsibility whenever we get upset over the latest report on Vick's cruel treatment of his dogs.