Best of Both Worlds
My fantasy is a pied-à-terre in downtown Memphis and easy access to the best ribs in the world, so I was pleased that the Memphis Flyer conflated those essential elements of Memphis grace in its May 14th issue by providing a ranking of notable rib joints ("The Quest for Fire") and the news that "Tommy the Terrible" Volinchak (City Beat) has left the premises (granted, only for the suburban sameness of East Memphis but at least away from the region's heartbeat).
The rib report, by the way, had some pretty fancy writin', with one of the best ledes I've read since they buried Lydel Sims' Underwood typewriter. As for Volinchak, who favors gangland combativeness over civility and concrete over cobblestones, there should be a designated place — the industrial wasteland that is his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, comes immediately to mind as a possibility — to sequester members of his tribe.
Traverse City, Michigan
Secrets of the City
We enjoyed seeing my mother Georgianna Awsumb Ensminger in the May 7th cover story of the Memphis Flyer ("Pssst ... Secrets of the City"). I thought you might like an update. She posed for that sculpture in 1927, while a third-grader at that new county school, Snowden Elementary.
Today Georgianna is 91.
Carrie Prejean, ETC.
In response to Tim Sampson's Rant (May 14th issue): He claims that Carrie Prejean is "less than an intellectual giant" because of her definition of marriage. It would then seem that a majority of Americans are also less than intellectual giants, because most polls differ from what Sampson claims as the proper view.
This begs the question as to what standard determines "intelligent" in regards to the definition of marriage. Do Sampson and his "ilk," as he likes to say, have the absolute standard? Does his worldview justify absolutes in regards to this institution of marriage? Mere appeal to majorities via opinion polls is a fallacy of mob rule for truth. Sampson also says Prejean should pursue outlawing divorce. This is a category mistake, as the institutional definition of marriage and divorce are two separate concepts, though related. A marriage can have any definition, yet terms of marriage oaths can be violated, thus offering grounds for divorce. Prejean's point was to protect the historical, established definition of marriage, not the prevention of divorces.
Re Tim Sampon's Rant (April 30th issue): Sometimes when you want to cry, it's better to have a good laugh. I'm so disgusted with what has happened over the last eight years. Politics, by definition, is manipulation, but to stand arrogantly as a moral authority and simultaneously commit multiple heinous acts against humanity, such as torture, on such a scale is so reprehensible it makes me nauseous.
Those in our former government, including George Bush, who claim to be "good Christians" make me wonder what a gentle prophet such as Jesus might have said about such acts. Do they want to take down his good name with them, too? What ever happened to "love thy neighbor" or "turn the other cheek"? Maybe they think Jesus was just kiddin' around.
Our own government has damaged the integrity of the modern Christian believer. These days, the Christian movement scares me almost as much as Islam — over-zealous, fearful, angry, almost freakishly extreme. Sampson's column helped me release in laughter some deep sadness and anger over the absurdly stupid brutality that we've allowed to go on as "bread and circuses" have kept us all busy.
I think we have some remedial work to do. Why don't we work on being human to each other first? Let's rebuild our integrity as a nation, so we can truly earn the respect of the world, rather than trying to cram it down their throats.