Letters for June 26, 2003

U.S. on the losing side
America has mutated from the mother hen of the world to the loose cannon of the world. American troops destroyed Iraq on the pretense of making the world a safer place, while innocent civilians continue to be shot and killed by U.S. soldiers.

What was the point of the war? Bush Jr.'s song and dance about the axis of evil? The non-existent weapons of mass destruction? Oil profits? Bush’s personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein?

I’ve never seen such mindless patriotism or such a complete disregard for dissenting opinions. One of the sad things was seeing most Americans blindly supporting the war while the world’s people opposed America’s unilateral—and illegal—invasion of Iraq.

Did I support the troops? No, and I wouldn’t have supported Hitler’s troops either. If Hitler’s soldiers had the courage and moral strength to refuse to kill innocent people in World War II, millions would not have been murdered. Why didn’t American soldiers have the courage to refuse to kill innocent people in an illegal war? Were they no different than Hitler’s soldiers?

Now, Bush’s and Cheney’s companies and contributors are making hundreds of millions from the confiscation of Iraq’s oil, while world opinion of Americans is at an all time low. Bush and his cronies may have won the war, but the American people lost the war.

David Friedman
via e-mail

Race is as race does
Re “Asking for race study” [RN&R, News, June 5]:

When 40 percent of the people arrested are of color in a city where 40 percent of the population is of color, that is not racial profiling—it is the law of probability. I don’t think being a minority makes you the victim of anything except numbers. Despite what the ACLU and the leftist faction of the Democratic Party tell us, we have a right to be intolerant.

We have the right to be intolerant toward those who flaunt the law, who skirt the real issue of refusing responsibility for poor choices, toward those who give license to entitlement-pandering based not on responsibility but on race-baiting.

I’m not politically correct.

Eddie Anderson

Reno arts are improving
Re “Bad art” [RN&R, Arts & culture, June 12]:

I have experienced Paul [Mellender’s] work, to the point of complimenting him on his drawings as he sketched away while working at the Sundance Bookstore. He definitely has talent. While his work is technically proficient, he is unfortunately positioned in a fantasy world of content with little relevance to the world of contemporary art.

Mellender is perfect evidence of the general failure of arts education in the Reno community. He was undoubtedly never faced with an art teacher until reaching high school, as there are no full-time arts educators in our elementary schools. It is no wonder he rebelled. It would be like being faced with an algebra lesson without any previous schooling in mathematics.

On the plus side, Mellender is evidence of the diversity of practice and beliefs in the visual arts. There exists today a plurality of practice in the visual arts, from video to photography, performance art to digital media, sculpture to installation art, and yes, even painting.

This brings up the subject of Michael Sarich, [who] is a friend and a colleague. I think his work is brilliant. His works have been featured at numerous galleries and museums around the world, including locally at the Stremmel [Gallery], the Nevada Museum of Art, not to mention Chicago, New York and Germany.

In regards to the Sheep projects: Yeah, it was kind of silly. Criticizing this event as bad art is, excuse the pun, like shooting sheep in a barrel. As part of a collaborative team, d3ms, we were invited to create a sheep project. After rolling our eyes a few times, we eagerly dived into the project to create a work that may or may not be great art—but has served to further the development of the Reno arts community. The event both raised the profile of the arts and money for very deserving arts organizations. Our sheep, the “Rubberband Powered Landspeed Record Sheep” sits on display at the National Automobile Museum, where, we were told, attendance went up 10 percent last summer after our project went on display.

While Mellender and your focus on his letters and the recent article, may raise some interesting dialogue regarding the nature of art, I question your continued fixation on this individual. Is it impossible to find other stories in the community to cover during such a unique period of growth in the visual arts? This May featured both the opening of the Nevada Museum of Art and the remodeled Stremmel Gallery. These two openings represent a quantum leap in terms of the availability and the quality of art in our community.

Joseph DeLappe