Erosia: Letters to the Editor

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to [email protected]. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.

A recent LEO story (Feb. 8) about self-publishing, “Putting yourself on the shelf,” implied that local author David Domine self-published his book, “Ghosts of Old Louisville.” The book was published by McClanahan Publishing House. LEO regrets the error.

Mixed Message
I’ve taken all I can stand, and I can stand no more! Although I’ve tried, I can no longer ignore the elephant (or in this case, jackass) in the room. Your Message to the People columnist Ricky Jones has been unchallenged in expounding his theories of nothingness in the pages of Leo for far too long. I have gone out of my way to simply skip past all of his incoherent opinionated blather, which adds little if any positive value to societal discussion in terms of race, class or sex. But his latest diatribe concerning his hatred for independent black women (Feb. 8 issue) caught my eye, so I relinquished, took the bait and allowed myself to be temporarily drawn into his vortex of subliminal racial self-loathing.
In regards to the negative article regarding the “everyday” variety of strong black women, my question to professor Jones is, “Are you angry because you got cut off of the ‘teat’ too soon?” Or maybe at a pivotal time in your formative years, a confident black woman you encountered (who by the way, shot down your advances) saw what I see — a dilettante who wraps his bad-ass Black-Panther-’60s-styled-nationalist wannabe militant-self in an extensive vocabulary while all the while shouting loud and saying nothing.
Now, before Dr. Jones stops reading and gets his rocks off by thinking he has upset his intended target — the “gaggle” of eye rolling, neck snapping black women — let me reveal myself. I am an African-American man who is a father, a son and a husband of the very black women he defames. I am a proponent of not only strong African-American women but all those people who persevere and positively support, give and nourish without reservation.
I was taught (by my strong black mother) to tolerate but sift out those like Jones: those who have obviously benefited by societal progress but who refuse to recognize gain of any sort; those poseurs who disguise themselves as victims but are nothing more than professional fear-mongers who for their own self-aggrandizement, leach off of the real victimization of those truly in need; those who are walking anachronisms, who hate “the system” but are glad to take their weekly paycheck from those institutions they claim are undermining their version of civilization; and those who claim to be “of the people” but who are in truth social-climbing academic elitists who simply “use the people” to form the artificial smoke-and-mirrors power base for their own selfish bully pulpits.
Those like Jones are professional bitchers and moaners. They have opinions about everything but solutions for nothing. Their usefulness as ethnic and sexist pit bulls has long ago been spent, and no matter how hard they wish, the radical separatist ‘60s ain’t coming back.
As a faithful reader, I am asking that you free-spirited folks at Leo liberate your minds by seeking balance and light by not thinking you are doing society a favor by having a “token” columnist. African-American people are as diverse in every way as any other people, and it would be nice if it were reflected more often in articles and other subject matter. Jones’ Message to the People shouldn’t be code for “Black People.” In today’s society, liberal white guilt is no longer cool and it can be as harmful as one might think it is helpful. It is disingenuous at best and can be the worst form of societal pandering and deceit. Overall inclusion is the key — not segregating Ricky Jones to his own columnistic ghetto. Don’t be afraid to solicit opposing articles that openly challenge the views of those like Jones, and I promise no one will dare take away your “honorary soul brother” card.
Anthony Mapp 

Correction for Droogs
It would diminish the awesome legacy of the late Mark Besten not one iota if I were to clarify a bit of history recounted by Richard Johnston in his letter last week. The Anthony Burgess Literary Society at Seneca High School was, in truth, founded by Anthony Abner (now of Harvard University) in the fall of 1972, which would have been a few years before Mark’s arrival on the Kubrickian scene. I know this to be true as I proudly served as its first president, and, unlike many others about whom you read these days who possess resumes more impressive than reality actually allows, I can prove this lofty boast with a highly-prized letter I received from Mr. Burgess himself not long after my droogs and I staged “a bit of the old surprise visit” at the University of Louisville in May 1973 to meet him when he spoke there during a lecture series.
Until reading Johnston’s letter, I had been unaware for 33 years that ABLS history extended beyond our graduation from Seneca that same month, and Your Humble Narrator profoundly regrets never meeting Mark, but, based upon the amazing things I’ve read about him since his unfortunate passing, I can say that our beloved organization could not have been left in better hands. To his memory, I’ll raise a glass of moloko-plus and quote the final sentence of the late Mr. Burgess’ letter to the ABLS (Mark certainly included) when he signed-off, “And may Bog bless you all.”
James “Barley” Bevarly

Orchestra Matters
SIZE MATTERS! That is what we are being told by being the 16th largest city in the U.S., the prospect of a big arena, and our first skyscraper being built. Yet the board and management of the Louisville Orchestra can only think small.
The Cultural Blueprint for the Arts just last year concluded that the orchestra should remain full-size and full-time. An orchestra of the new century should be able to reinvent itself by changing its marketing plan, in this orchestra’s case, actually getting a marketing plan.
Besides the fact that the orchestra performs all styles of music, classical music needs to be made exciting again. The orchestra really missed the boat with the conductor search; it could have been “American Idol in Louisville” or “Survivor: Louisville” — see who gets voted off the podium first. The Sunday classical series is much more interactive with the audience and performers; this needs to be done at all orchestra concerts.
The orchestra used to have a 46-week season, but that has been cut down in order to cut the musicians’ pay. So why not think big for once and keep our orchestra and our arts community growing?
Rebecca Burkart

Arena Ego
With some amusement I have followed the circus concerning the new arena. I’ve wondered why it should be built downtown — how many parking places will be within three blocks of the arena? How many “beautiful” people will walk the blocks to Fourth Street on a cold February night? I have a degree of agreement with Mr. Billy Reed — just who stands to benefit from the downtown locations? Or, is it what I call “the tradition” — everybody afraid somebody else is going to make a few dollars?
I would make a suggestion: Whether it is built to seat 25,000 or 30,000 people, be certain it can be expanded. For a good reason, suppose after the mayor officially declares it “open” — just suppose a week later Lexington announces plans to build UK an arena seating 25,034 to 30,062 — what then? We must be able to expand to 25,055 or 30,097, or some figures, otherwise why build it at all? Are egos really that big?
A.B. Woosley
Note: The Arena Authority plan currently calls for 22,000 seats.