Letters for June 12, 2003

Creative differences
Last year, Artown dissenters fitted the Counting Sheep figures with “manifestos” arguing the detriment of Reno arts. Few read the essays before Artown officials removed them, but the points made in the awkward, plastic-sheathed papers dented the ego of Reno arts nevertheless.

At the center is the issue of culture. [C]ulture is at the front of every interest pushing Nevada arts into the public sphere. Somehow, the arts so vehemently supported lend credence to Reno’s cultural validity, which seems truly beneficial to all. This issue itself goes unchallenged still. Rather, the dissenters’ questions were inspired by motive. Culture seems to attest to the values, sophistication, humanistic, creative and spiritual nature and endeavors of a society. We should ask: Should a society’s culture refer explicitly and exclusively to the things which it produces? Or should the crafts it has produced express the values and humanism—the culture—which characterize it, make it stronger, mark its intellectual strengths and thoughtful development? In other words, where is culture? Within the value system and intellectual discourse of a society? Or within the things it makes to justify the word? What does a fake sheep donned in Harrah’s green say about our spirit as a community? What, or whom, do our arts serve? Is Reno’s culture nothing more than a product advertised to us, which we buy each year in July? At least, it’s worth a second look.

Andrew Dicus

And justice for all?
Far-right Republicans used to declare: No special treatment for gays or lesbians! But under the Bush administration their real attitude toward homosexuals is unmistakably clear: No rights for you guys at all! The latest example comes from the John Ashcroft-[headed] Department of Justice, where (according to the Associated Press) an association of gay and lesbian employees has just been forbidden to use the department’s meeting facility for their annual meeting—even though other employee groups are allowed to use the same hall, and the DoJ Pride group has received permission to use it for the past several years. This discriminatory change in policy is consistent with the fact that President George W. Bush has never designated a month to commemorate gay pride even though Bush designates hundreds of other special weeks and months in honor of other groups. The gay community does not ask for special treatment, but it does expect relief from prejudice and discrimination. Department of Justice, indeed!

Richard Brown

Don’t bite the hand
Re “Question war-mongers” [RN&R, Letters, May 29]:

As a middle-of-the-road Democrat who voted for Al Gore, I usually enjoy reading the letters from readers that question our policies and take political jabs at our government. However, a letter in the May 29 issue a letter really pushed my passion buttons.

Dan Argabright, letter author, placed a sign in his yard with the question, “Thousands Dead, Billions Spent, America Hated. For what?” The answer is simple. The events of Sept. 11, 2000 changed all the rules. The thousands dead were the enemies of this country [who] backed a true “war monger” who has never lived in peace with his neighboring Arab countries. Billions spent. We’d spend a billion more to ensure the safety of our citizens. America Hated. Guess what? They already hated us, spending enormous resources proving it.

Iraq was a real threat to our country. Expressed intent to harm is a threat whether you are capable or not. I’m not a fanatical President Bush/Israel supporter who has been used like a sheep by its lonely shepherd as the author implies. I’m a realist. The reality is America buys more oil from the Arab countries than any other nation. Their countries are built on our need for their product. To attack us is biting the hand that feeds them and (like a good trainer) we will strike back when bitten with a ferocity that should deter any future biting incidents.

Who feeds you?

John Ward

Rules and de-regulation
Have you ever come down Donner Summit and looked in your mirror to see an 18-wheeler two feet off your back bumper?

Ever wonder when the trucker last had his brakes checked? The last time the truck was serviced? How many hours the driver has been behind the wheel? Overloaded?

There should be rules.

A Republican White House deregulated the trucking industry. Executives made money and the rest of the population paid. Now a Republican-led committee is making it possible for one person to own multiple news outlets in a community.

How free is a free press if the media can be swayed or controlled by political influences?

Dewey Quong