I'm always surprised and impressed when the Flyer comes out with one of its periodical "Endpapers" (Cover Story, December 3rd issue). It's rare that serious attention is paid to books, literature, and reading in mainstream media these days. As usual, I found the Flyer reviews insightful and last week's issue a nice change of pace. Thanks.
Ann Marie Cole
Civility and Consensus
While there is much incivility and some hatred in our national political discourse today (Editor's Note, November 26th issue), these sentiments are a walk in the park compared to the political and social turmoil in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when political differences and opposing social attitudes threatened to rip the country apart. During that eventful time, the media played second fiddle to what was happening in the streets.
Today, politics is all about media manipulation, hype, and entertainment (intentional or not). Bruce VanWyngarden's letter notwithstanding, political discourse is much more sophisticated today, because Americans have access to more information than the three television networks/one daily newspaper media model of 40 years ago.
Politics is a war of words, persuasion, and emotional appeal. While extremists in the political spectrum gather some media attention, most Americans weigh political messages and commentary carefully before committing to a particular viewpoint on an issue. This assiduous consideration is how the divisions of today become the consensuses of tomorrow.
As a fundamentalist for 65 years and board-certified psychiatrist for 55 years, I would like to fulfill editor Bruce VanWyngarden's request (Editor's Note, November 26th issue) for a "respectful and civilized agreement to disagree." Regarding his assertion about fundamentalists' alleged "veiled allusions to assassinating" President Obama: I've known hundreds of fundamentalists, professionally and personally, and know them to be committed to our Lord's commandment to love all men as He loves us, including those who radically differ with us.
But I have known hundreds of liberals who favor and finance the assassination of hundreds of thousands of unborn innocent babies. Does it bother you if I dare you to retract or document your group character assassination in your next editorial? Best wishes and prayers.
David F. Busby
Freedom From Religion
Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, spoke in Memphis on December 3rd about separation of church and state. Memphians should applaud the University of Memphis students of the Campus Freethought Association for bringing and welcoming Barker to Memphis. Barker has been working tirelessly (with both religious and atheist/agnostic organizations) to educate people on and defend the Constitution and separation of church and state.
I am proud of our University of Memphis students for spearheading the efforts that brought in such a prominent speaker. In light of comments from a certain Arlington mayor, I believe that separation of church and state and our Constitution are more important than ever and worth defending.
Jason W. Grosser
Memphis Boys Town
In March 1939, the Rev. Vernon W. Lane, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd located at the corner of Mill Avenue and Fourth Street, was appointed the guardian of two troubled boys by the judge of Juvenile Court, Camille Kelley. From that beginning evolved a home which came to be known as Gailor Hall and eventually Memphis Boys Town.
Due to family circumstances, in 1942 when I was 10, I had to be temporarily placed at Gailor Hall. By 1944, my family situation had improved, and I was able to be reunited with my family. Now at the age of 77, I am wondering how many lads who lived at Gailor Hall and Memphis Boys Town are still around. To facilitate the search for former residents of Gailor Hall and Memphis Boys Town, I have established a website named gailorhall-memphisboystownalumni.org.
I am asking that anyone who was a resident or who may have known residents to log onto the site. There is a guest book to post memories of the times at Gailor Hall and Memphis Boys Town. If enough former residents can be located and interest is shown, a reunion may be planned.