Love/Hate Mail 

Memphis talks back

Memphis talks back

As a fan and regular reader of the Scene—and as the editor of The Memphis Flyer—I couldn’t let Kevin Farmer’s June 7 letter to the editor go unanswered. Farmer wrote that he was getting his education in Memphis—or, as he so cleverly put it, “hell”—and faintly praised your publication before proceeding to criticize its lack of minority coverage. He ended his charming missive by saying “at least you’re not as bad as The Memphis Flyer, which totally ignores the majority of the city of Memphis.” What bullshit.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least seven cover stories in the past six months that were about African Americans, not to mention countless articles about our (black) mayor, councilpeople, power company executives, and public housing residents, plus a whole series on the fortunes of numerous black inmates at our hideous county jail. If Farmer thinks this is “ignoring” the majority of our citizens, he needs to leave “hell” immediately and get his uneducated butt back to Nashville. Or maybe he’s white and thinks we’re ignoring him.

Bruce VanWyngarden (Memphis)

Lost all hope

I have written many kind e-mails to legislators in this state trying to rationally explain why an income tax is the best solution to the state’s budget crisis. After doing significant research and even presenting this research to the joint conference committee on tax reform, I am now convinced that an income tax is the only solution that is fair to the people of this state, who suffer with the worst public services in the country.

Yes, Tennessee ranks 49th in spending on education and equally poorly on other indicators. In fact, the only indicator in which Tennessee is not one of the lowest states is in health and well-being, primarily because of TennCare. Of course, legislators are now going to cut TennCare, so I’m sure we will be returning to the bottom of the bucket. If I were not tied to living here by a unique job opportunity, I would never consider living in a state with such horrible social services and one of the most regressive tax plans in the country!

After reading “Penny-Ante Politics” in the June 14 Nashville Scene, I have lost all hope in this group of legislators and will be sure to actively campaign in the next election to make sure that no one who has put their own political career above the welfare of Tennesseans gets reelected!

Alisa Palmisano


Raising doubts

Bill Carey in his City Limits column “Penny-Ante Politics” (June 14) magnificently illustrates how little intellectual depth can be exhibited in an “in depth” column. He starts off with the assumption that a state income tax will “help the poor” when (with just a little research) he would discover that eight of the 10 states that have passed an income tax over the last decade or so not only reinstituted a sales tax, but in fact four of the eight had it at the same level or higher. Check out Connecticut’s experience, Mr. Carey, for educational purposes. How do more taxes help the poor? No liberal’s ever quite explained that one.

As to his comment about the Democratic Party: “The party of the poor sticks it to the poor.” He is truly delusional. The Democratic Party of today is “the lawless leading the ignorant.” It is not your daddy’s Democratic Party, but one that attacks America, the Boy Scouts, and the Catholic Church with equal vigor, intolerance, and ignorance.

Dave Backs (Hermitage)

Same old song

Michelle Nikolai’s column (“Way Out of Tune,” June 14) about why country radio stations don’t heavily play O Brother, Where Art Thou? raises a question for me. A radio program director described Dan Tyminski’s “Man of Constant Sorrow” as a novelty, comparing the song to Taco’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and therefore the reason why radio stations shouldn’t play it so much.

Since when does a novelty song get less airplay? If something is popular, it gets the hell played out of it. I remember when “Puttin’ on the Ritz” played on the radios, and I couldn’t escape from it. The same goes for “Macarena.”

Radio stations are just afraid to play music from O Brother because it might upset their precious format.

Mark Griffin (Russellville, Ky.)

A different tune

T-Bone Burnett’s O Brother compilation sells well because it features well-known artists’ interpretations of timeless folk/bluegrass songs in modern musical arrangements, which are suburban home/car CD- player-friendly. Its lack of radio airplay raises an interesting point: People no longer get their urge to buy after hearing songs on radio. Buying “seeds” are planted by (gasp) word of mouth! And (double gasp) motion picture soundtracks!

Bret Quinn (Nashville)


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