Love-Hate Mail 

'Precious' memories
Very well-written article ("In Livid Color," Nov. 19). I hadn't read about the bucket-of-chicken episode in Precious but have read of the pigs-feet-cooking contrasted with her abuse in the film on-screen. It's a tough call with Precious. On the one hand, I think Tyler Perry's coming on as an executive producer scares people who think of his occasional burlesque minstrel fetish. Then there's Oprah's heart-on-sleeve earnestness. Mo'Nique hasn't always done work that's great (Soul Plane, anyone?). I almost wonder, based on its own merits, if Precious is this generation's The Color Purple? Weren't these some of the same arguments back in 1985 when that film was released, except it was set in the recent rural past?

As for The Blind Side—many things distract: Tim McGraw's wig and the fact that this is definitely being marketed as a Sandra Bullock Oscar-nomination performance. The story is true but how has Hollywood padded/shaped it? I'm curious to see how Blind Side will do. Precious has already made its money back and Gabourey [was] on Oprah's show Friday. Thanks for such an incisive article.

Karl Omar
Los Angeles

Fight poverty with knowledge
Just read Tracy Moore's "Poor for One Hour" in City Limits (Nov. 19). Excellent article!  Reminded me of a conversation I had not long ago with an 8-year-old private school student who assured me at least half the kids in the United states had swimming pools at home. (If you counted indoor and outdoor together.) I told him I didn't think there were quite that many. 

Every school in Nashville, public or private, should incorporate this role-playing exercise in their classes. Upper- and middle-class students would benefit by finding out things they're protected from finding out about at home, and poorer public school students might be encouraged to think a little more about the importance of high school graduation and continuing education, be it college or a trade school, in today's world.

Will Richardson
Nashville

Caring is the best surveillance
The web has done wonders for helping us technologically monitor anyone we want to, but the permanence that is afforded by sites such as MySpace and Facebook isn't always a measure of a kid's personality or responsibility ("The Spy Who Loves You," Nov. 19).

For example, say a kid made a few bad choices about two years ago. He fell in with the wrong crowd, and those kids posted some incriminating pictures on Facebook or MySpace.

Now he has done a total turnaround and realized that drugs/drinking/whatever else was not a good idea. That's not who he is anymore, but the fact that Facebook and MySpace still keep those pictures essentially searchable for people makes it appear that he is still participating in those behaviors.

Also, friend lists aren't really an accurate measure of whom a kid really knows and interacts with on a daily basis. It's more about number of friends now than actually knowing someone. I've seen people friend their entire classes online just because they want their friend count to be high. That could be the case with any kid you're looking at in regards to your stepdaughters.

I wasn't a teenager so long ago, and I can remember the desperate need for my parents not to know every detail of my life, but I did understand that they wanted to protect me. They met my friends in person. They talked with my friends' parents if it was going to be an overnight situation. I told them stories about my friends so they could get to know them, if even vicariously. To this day, my mom will still tell me she saw so-and-so and gave him/her a big hug and asked about things going on in their lives now.

Sure, kids can be really, really crafty when there's something they don't want a parent to know. It's much more complicated than hiding the diary. (Peeking in that, I think, is inexcusable for a parent. There are limits to the whole need-to-know.) If your kid's going to hide something, she's going to hide something. I think that kind of makes the "If I looked at her diary, I would've known she was cutting" thing kind of moot, because sometimes a kid who does that kind of thing won't even write about it for fear of a parent finding out. Nothing can replace getting to know and actually talking to your kid and your kid's friends. No amount of snooping or cyber-sleuthing is going to make up for that.

Michelle Sherman
Ill.

Fly that freak flag
I've met a handful of TV and radio journalists who had a drama background ("Revenge of the (Drama) Nerds," Nov. 5). Do you think it helped you early in your career? I was a bona-fide drama nerd, and as a prim little Christian girl in high school the "drama freaks" that I hung out with blew my mind! Looking back, it's one of the best things I ever did—definitely better than band. Now, as an adult, I have no fear of crowds, or being silly, or being corny. I've done it all. Thanks for reminding me about this important life experience!

Kathy Newman
Pittsburgh

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