Your April 17 editorial defending gender discrimination at Augusta National missed the point in several ways. Yes, America has long accepted single-gender institutions, such as Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts. But Augusta doesn’t exist to promote camaraderie between and nurture of men like the Boy Scouts does. It is a status symbol, a signal of being welcomed as one of the high achievers in the business worldand it is this symbol of achievement that women are being denied. They may play on the golf course, but they cannot be an “insider.” Under our constitution, there is no free-standing right to associate with whomever we chooseotherwise, restaurants could refuse service to blacks because they only want to “associate” with whites, and employers could refuse to hire women because they only want to “associate” with men. Sex discrimination continues in this country at these so-called “elite” and famous institutions because people have been slow to put pressure on them to change. I say kudos to Martha Burk for bringing it into the spotlight.
Black and white
Did Phil Ashford realize that his description of Cedric Jennings perfectly illustrates why race should not be considered in admission decisions (The Nation, April 17)? The crux of the description was that Jennings faired poorly in a summer educational program as compared to middle-class minorities. Jennings would still lose out at Michigan, because these middle-class minorities would get the same 20-point boost from the Michigan admissions program as Jennings solely because of their race. Jennings’ story should be just as heartwarming if he was white and pulled himself up from a poor quality, poorly funded, rural Mississippi school system (instead of an inner-city D.C. school) to graduate from an Ivy League school. The point is that his race did not and should not matter. It was his character and determination, regardless of color, that made him a success.
Journalists would benefit from taking artists’ statements at face value, and Joe Heim definitely qualifies as a case in point. According to his review of the recently released World Without Tears CD (“A Home For Sorrow,” April 17), “longtime fans can only roll their eyes” when songwriter and recording artist Lucinda Williams declares “that she views the glass as half full.”
Heim would have us believe that cranky ol’ Lucinda is some sort of deathwish-toting depressive who’s yearning to get “swallowed up in an ocean.” Although Heim implicitly includes himself among Lucinda’s enduring fans, the real fan quickly wonders if he’s actually attended any of her concerts: How could Heim have failed to notice that the glass is almost entirely full then, judging by audience response? When Lucinda sings, “You took my joy, and I want it back,” members of the audience danceespecially women. Apparently, some folks immediately grasp that going to Slidell or West Memphisor even to hell and backto look for one’s joy really does encompass more than an anger problem of gothic proportions. For them, Lucinda’s “alarming” songs primarily represent encouraging lights.
In fact, Williams’ anthems consistently illuminate more unnerving forms of “darkness” comprised of “deeper problems” that Heim is actually far busier perpetuating himself. Posing as a nickel-shrink under the guise of alternative journalism certainly beats Lucinda’s issues hands down.
Futuristically, perhaps Joe Heim’s talents might be better applied to reissues of Carpenters albumsyou know, someplace where weighty questions about the water level would present a truly serious challenge to his brilliantly probing mind.
Ask for your money back
With regard to the “Top of the Morning” article (April 17), I’m disappointed to be going into a workplace where there is apparently a serious lack of focus on actual news. As a senior journalism student at MTSU, I’m appalled that I potentially will be working in a job where petty arguments about the legality of the phrase “A.M.” take precedent over informing the public.
It’s disheartening to know that The Tennessean has so much excess funding that it immediately goes to court over the DNJ’s use of “A.M” in a supplementary advertising section. The Tennessean should focus less on stifling its “competition” and more on investigating what’s really going on in this state. But even more troubling is the fact that Chancellor Lyle actually thinks there will be “irrevocable harm” from the DNJ’s use of the phrase.
I also don’t understand why the Scene deems it necessary to point out the gaffes of The Tennessean on an almost weekly basis. Though I feel it necessary for the public to be knowledgeable about its print media, there’s a line between healthy criticism and spite.
Leslie Carol Boehms
So are we to believe that no matter what The Tennessean does, it’s evil? Maybe we should tell President Bush so he can invade The Tennessean’s newsroom. Matt Pulle showed his bias once again in his sloppy article (“Top of the Morning,” April 17) in which he blatantly took the side of Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal.
The Scene loves to pick on The Tennessean and Gannett because your writers complain that the glory days are gone, but at least they have some glory days. As a former Murfreesboro resident, I can honestly say the DNJ has never been great and is commonly referred to as the “Daily News-less Journal.”
I’ve talked to a few of my friends back in the ’Boro, and they’re all happy The Tennessean is going to dedicate more coverage to Rutherford County. They say the DNJ represents nothing but “good ol’ boy” reporting and that advertisers can buy positive coverage.
One more thing: I couldn’t care less that The Tennessean is owned by a corporation. Several of us, including myself, work for corporations. The Scene is owned by a corporation, and so is the DNJ. It’s the modern world, so get over it. So if Mr. Pulle is going to attempt to be a journalist, he should learn how to be objective.
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