Although I wasn’t surprised, it was still distressing to read that Nashville’s gay newspaper (a phrase that probably deserves quotes) Out & About, has endorsed Mayor Bill Purcell and Vice Mayor Howard Gentry for the upcoming election (Political Notes, July 10). I’m not familiar with Charles French, but evidently this former anti-gay politician also warrants a thumbs-up from editor Brent Meredith for changes in attitude that sound just the teeniest bit marginal. Mr. Meredith’s explanation for his choices (“We just wanted everybody to stop and thinkwho’s in office, what are they doing, what are the issues?”) is disingenuous at best and, at worst, smacks of the Southern-style theory of enacting social change through making nice and not hurting anyone’s feelingsespecially if the one in question has some power. Couldn’t Mr. Meredith have addressed the “issues” with something bolder, something more attention-grabbing, like a non-endorsement?
I know that this might be a staggering concept to some of the deeply closeted gays of Nashville, but Purcell and Gentry are not our buddies and hopping on their bandwagon, however tentatively, sadly devalues the real and difficult struggle for civil and societal parity that a few Nashville gays are committed to.
I can further assure Mr. Meredith that as a lesbian and native Nashvillian (albeit one who gave herself a 17-year break in San Francisco before moving back to Nashville three years ago) I don’t need to stop and think about the issuesor who’ll get my votes in the upcoming election. In the clear light of Mr. Purcell’s silence and Mr. Gentry’s decisive “no” vote in Nashville’s “gay rights” legislation debacle of this year, the answer was a foregone great-big-duh-no.
What’s your point?
You guys got picked up by The Wall Street Journal’s Opinionjournal.com in its “Best of the Web” section on July 3, which means...congratulations! You’ve made the big time. Of course, the Journal only pointed you out to display for the whole country how simplistic and sophomoric your writing style is, but you gotta take you’re fame where you can get it, right?
In your editorial, “Conservatives Seethe,” You call Bill Frist a “pig” and his supporters “bozos.” You take a cheap shot at a dead man (Strom Thurmond) while he’s still warm in the grave. You call Republicans “crude” people who are doing “great harm to the country.” And then you end the article by calling for “inclusiveness.” How typical. How predictable. Another shining example of the morally superior left wing media. Pardon me while I stifle a yawn.
A right cross
I don’t usually respond to commentaries that have no merit, but since facts are involved, I will shoot a couple of lines of clarification to the Florida-based Todd Olson, who took the liberty of making an absentee challenge to comments I made concerning the state of African American actors in local theater (Love/Hate Mail, July 3).
When I used the word “feature,” I meant to feature a predominately black cast. The productions Mr. Olson listed as support for his “argument” obviously utilized the major regional theatre definition of “feature” (translation: “token appearance to give the illusion of diversity”), save Having Our Say, a wonderfully convenient, two-person show featuring black actresses from out of town.
Olson also claimed that it’s difficult to find black actors in Nashville. I have a file right now for Amun Ra Theatre that has 48 actors and actresses of color in it, with information and experience sheets filled out. That’s after one informational meeting at a coffeehouse in North Nashville.
“It is true, though, that The Rep never employed Mr. carr,” Olson said in a feeble, ad hominem attempt at an artistic jab. If he’d actually read the past production programs, or had someone read them to him if needed, he would’ve seen my name as an actor in Home for the Holidays, Tapestry, To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as several other activities involving The Rep/TPAC.
I’ll leave Olson with three pieces of advice: First, no one wants to audition for a company that has nothing on the artistic fare that speaks to, or is centered on, their experiences. Secondly, if you’re so “chagrined” by my “lament,” do the kind of work that will attract diverse actors and audiences. Finally, the next time you step into the editorial ring for a literary and/or intellectual bout, I suggest you get to know your opposition. Your punch was misdirected, and that right cross you just took is what happens when you get hit with the bare facts.
jeff obafemi carr
artistic director, Amun Ra Theatre
Warming the cockles of our hearts
What th’? No News of the Weird, no comics, no crossword puzzle? I guess next week I’ll check the contents page before I lug this mullet wrapper all the way home. You don’t think I pick it up for the articles, do you? Oh well. You get what you pay for.
John’ll get his fix
I’m writing this on behalf of my colleague, John Keenan, who is terribly distraught (so distraught he was unable to write this himself) because there was no News of the Weird in last week’s Scene. His lifelong goal is to one day appear in News of the Weird, so you can understand why this would be so troublesome for him. This may have been the only chance for him to see his name in print. I hope it returns next week because I’m not sure how John will take it otherwise.
We failed to give credit to last week’s cover image, “Gates of Nashville,” a 1983 design by Kem Hinton. Our apologies.
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