Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in a newly created "arts park" in Germantown ("To Be Or Not To Be," March 13th issue)? Why not? Dan McCleary's ambitions are inspiring and a breath of much needed positive energy. We need more people in this town who are willing to think big. If "to be or not to be" is the question, I say the answer is always "be."
It is a long-standing rule of outdoor ethics that you're not supposed to participate in heavy-impact activities (e.g., cycling, horseback riding) on off-road trails when the trails are wet and susceptible to damage. However, on Saturday, March 15th, the Shelby Farms Equestrian Alliance ignored the fact that there were torrential rains on Friday night and went ahead with the City Slickers Endurance Ride, a 50-mile horse race on the Wolf River and Shelby Farms trails.
The trails are now in terrible shape. There are sections that look like they have been butchered with a garden tiller. Potholes eight inches deep litter the trails. Six-foot-wide mudholes are now two and three times wider, due to horse traffic forging new trails around them. For the casual user of Shelby Farms and Wolf River trails, this damage poses many threats. The trails in many sections are impassable for recreational bikers, and hikers and runners risk injury from the uneven terrain.
Why was this event allowed to take place under such conditions? Who is responsible for fixing the damage? This is unfair to other trail users. Flyer coverage would be greatly appreciated, so we can get some answers.
The Zoo Trees
Concerning the destruction of Overton Park forest areas by the Memphis Zoo ("Up a Tree," March 6th issue): Is anyone really surprised? I have been noticing the loss of trees in the park for some time, but no one could ever tell me what was going on. Overton Park is one of the coolest things about this city, but no one with the authority to stop this madness seems to care. After all, years ago, they tried to build a highway through the park.
Memphis is one of the most backward cities in the country when it comes to conservation and ecological thinking. Trees? Who cares? Not to mention all the turtles, snakes, lizards, etc. that were killed when large equipment destroyed their homes in mid-winter.
Once you tear down a forest, you can't just rebuild it. Replacing a real habitat with a fake habitat that represents a real habitat? How insanely stupid. And how typical of Memphis.
I read Bruce VanWyngarden's open call for a leader, a visionary, a bringer of hope, a straight-talker (Editor's note, March 13th issue). Perhaps you — and we — are looking in the wrong direction. Perhaps that kid who sat around writing poetry and smoking pot in San Francisco years ago has learned something. Maybe the writers and editors of widely circulated publications are obligated to report harsh realities, but they can also spotlight the good things and give insight into the lonely, tall anonymous "walker" who is our neighbor. Do we not have the ability to study centuries of leaders in the books in our great public library and borrow from them?
Dr. Martin Luther King didn't cry out for a leader (other than the God he served) to give us a quick fix. He urged even the street sweeper to be the best street sweeper he could be, and maybe the rest will follow — and with it, opportunity. So if not you and me, then who?
When New York lieutenant governor David Paterson is sworn in to replace Eliot Spitzer, it is reported that he will be the first "blind" governor in the U.S.
I always thought it was Arkansas governor Bill Clinton. After all, he hit on Paula Jones.
Editor's note: Bob Levey's name was misspelled in the attributions for his Viewpoint column in the March 6th issue.