Love/Hate Mail 

More than a gesture

More than a gesture

Your article on the Davidson Group (“Food For Thought,” Dec. 4) was enlightening, but a much truer test of the participants’ commitment to diversity is whether their children attend public schools. My son does and is receiving an excellent education as well as exposure to kids from different backgrounds.

Bill Sizer

Nashville (

God and Johnny Cash

I commend you on your editorial “JDNWITHTW” (Dec. 4). In the frantic rush to find just the right Christmas gift, it’s easy to forget that the best gift of all is the gift that God gave us in the birth of his son. And the one gift that communicates the true meaning of Christmas, the one gift that would warm Jesus’ heart for his people to give is the gift of his word. An especially powerful communication of his word is Johnny Cash’s 19-hour recording of the entire New Testament, scheduled to be released mid-December on CD. Johnny Cash was a Bible scholar and a great Bible teacher. Many people have said that if they were to imagine what the voice of God would sound like, they would imagine it sounded just like Johnny Cash’s. How extraordinary to be able to give the gift of God’s word, read by this great man of God.

Dyann S. Rivkin (Nashville)

A little heady, but not a bad point

Your clarion call to pray ourselves out of the spiritual bankruptcy and commercial deluge that Christmas has become (“JDNWITHTW,” Dec. 4) was sharp, albeit glossy, commentary. It might have carried far greater weight, though, if it didn’t appear in the same issue as a 24-page Holiday Gift Guide. It is only slightly hypocritical to implicate your readership as “a frenetic, anxious, spiritually bankrupt band of consumers” in 11 paragraphs and then dole out 24 pages that treat us as just that.

Likewise, Christians hardly deserve to be the fall guys for the commercialization of Christmas, yet you call them out by name. The implication here—that Christians are solely responsible for nullifying the meaning of Christmas, and presumably the only ones who should be addressing it as a spiritual issue—is cheap and demeaning to Christians and non-Christians alike. Jesus may not have wanted it this way, but please don’t feel the need to speak for him to suit your own conclusions.

Ben Vore (Nashville)

The truth is gray

Vice chancellor Mike Schoenfeld’s defense of Vanderbilt University, as reported by Bruce Dobie (“Facts Get in the Way,” Dec. 4), is as one-sided as New York Times writer Alex Abramovich’s misdiagnosis of the campus. While Abramovich’s assessment was certainly unfair, Schoenfeld’s claim that “there are no Confederate flags hanging from dormitory windows” is equally inaccurate. As a Vanderbilt senior and student of color, I find Schoenfeld’s statement to be offensive because it attempts to shove certain unfavorable realities under the table, all in the name of preserving Vanderbilt’s reputation. Sadly, part of my Vanderbilt experience has included everything from having to walk by Confederate flags flying from windows to hearing about an African American student who had to live with a roommate who saw nothing offensive about using the flag as dorm décor. Such experiences are somewhat atypical, but undeniably part of our experience. Like Schoenfeld, I’m annoyed that Abramovich ignores Vanderbilt’s diversity in favor of promoting stereotypes about Southerners. But as someone who works to recruit more students of color to campus, I feel that denying the existence of the flag and the sentiments that it represents on campus does a disservice to students who come to college to learn how to live and learn with all types of people.

Julie Park (Nashville)

Taking delight

Don’t you just love it when the leftists get screwed by one of their own (“Facts Get in the Way,” Dec. 4)?

Sam Propes (Deer Park, Texas)

Respect for Rockwell

I suggest that Julie Roberts’ view that Rockwell’s work is somehow “authoritarian,” in that he is dictating what the values should be, is the result of a generational gap (“A Man of Virtue,” Dec. 4). At age 8, in 1938 and 1939, I was selling The Saturday Evening Post and Liberty Magazine door to door. It’s my opinion that Rockwell’s art was a statement of how it was. Rather than forming value judgments, he merely reflected the way the country thought about itself. It was the Age of Innocence, before World War II, a still isolationist mind-set. We weren’t as perfect as we thought, but compared to today we were by any comparison more civilized.

Ray L. Walker (Brentwood)

Theater as catharsis

Does Nashville even need theater? That was letter writer Todd Olson’s question last week. But it would be more accurate to ask if Nashville wants theater. Either way, to ask that question is to slam every theater that ever continued against financial adversity in our long history: LORT, community or otherwise. Reviews everywhere grouse about how theater isn’t holding up the last few years, from New York to Tennessee. It’s far too easy to slither out of theater’s financial woes by blaming “post 9/11 trends,” or saying it isn’t culturally supported. The whole idea of theater (aside from entertainment) is to present people with culture, to spread new ideas or address vital issues in a new, unconventional way. Perhaps the problem is that, since 9/11, theater has shied away from the issues that are now truly relevant to our population.

Successful theater must do two things: provide catharsis, and be affordable to the common person. Effective catharsis has to have some guts, not just cheap laughs and a cute song. Why see a play for $20 at a coffee shop or for $50 at a large theater when you can see a movie for $8? Is there a way to reduce ticket prices? Hopefully. But the theater community also needs to remind Nashvillians that they’re getting more for their money. Something special exists in that live situation—a rapport between artists and audience that will never exist in a movie theater. Yes, there are problems to be dealt with. But to answer Mr. Olson’s question, yes, Nashville needs theater. Now more than ever.

Paul Hull (Nashville)

More for the masses

Steve Greil’s got plenty to worry about, what with declining ticket sales at TPAC, the Rep’s personnel problems and a decline in arts spending nationwide (“Rough Times at the Rep,” Dec. 4). The solution: Book something that will put butts in the seats. Either book “A Christmas Tuna,” “Red White & Tuna” or turn Jackson Hall into a big meand-three. Maybe Tom Morales is going to start booking some Broadway shows into the Loveless Café. Breakfast and a show...sounds like Branson to me.

Robert L. Young (Nashville)

Love all around

I thought Jim Ridley’s story about the tribulations and triumphs of Beverly Faulkner and her canine colleague Diva was vivid, compassionate and very nicely written (“Saint Beverly,” Nov. 27). It’s fun to see several different issues addressed in the form of a personality profile.

I also applaud Joe Sweat’s thoughtful article about the Muslim community in Nashville (“True Believers,” Nov. 20). In our fear-driven era, we need more such celebrations of the diversity in this town and nation. In every aspect of life, diversity is the key to health: ecology, diet, exercise, education and community.

These two stories remind me of why this town seems to be getting more interesting.

Michael Sims (Nashville)


In last week’s Holiday Gift Guide, we omitted descriptions of several items on sale at Ten Thousand Villages and Paper Place. We apologize. To find the copy we left out, please see the advertisement on p. 32 of this week’s issue.

Also, in our Nov. 27 cover story, “Saint Beverly,” we misstated Beverly Faulkner’s motto, which is, “I live sighted, I don’t live blind; I have a disability, but I’m not disabled.” We apologize.


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