I thought I would let you know about a book called Bobos In Paradise by David Brooks. It discusses the rise of a new class, of liberals, versus the old school white guys who play golf and the women who were debutantes. I like the idea. I like both ideas, that creative people and liberals are rising in society, and that one's place is no longer dictated by one's parents' place. I have enjoyed not having to wear a suit to appear successful. Nowadays, a suit only marks a person as having to work somewhere that they are not their own boss.
These are just my humble opinions. Thank you for your time.
BETTINA BRINKLEY, PROPRIETOR, RETRO ALLEY, DURHAM
While I, too, offer kudos to The Independent's forum concerning Sept. 11, I read with bemusement the letter from Martin Love [Back Talk, Sept. 18]. I was mostly in agreement and feeling the optimism of open minds--until his final point "it is also comforting to realize that there is seriously intelligent life in North Carolina, notwithstanding SUB-CRETINS in Raleigh and elsewhere ... ." It is ironic that, with a name like his, I must point out what someone wise once said--we add as much offense to the world when we take offense as when we offend. Obviously, Mr. Love feels his intelligence is being offended so he offends others. Ya gotta love him.
KATHY BROWN, MORRISVILLE
It was interesting to read Hal Crowther's recollections of his years at Spectator in last week's issue. I was employed there from 1980-1985. My most vivid memory of the period was at a staff meeting in 1985, not long after the Republican landslide in 1984 and not long before I got the old heave-ho.
Hal was complaining about the current administration in Washington, and Bernie narrowed his eyes in anger and pointed a pudgy finger at Crowther, saying "They're making a list, and checking it twice, Hal, and it you're not careful you're going to be on it."
This was said without a trace of irony. He meant every word.
I do feel the need to make two small corrections to Hal's piece. He writes: "Jim Baxter ran a gay newsletter, The Front Page, out of Spectator's production room." The Front Page, published since 1979, has always had its own office. Bernie Reeves would never have allowed any such thing.
And, Hal, its a newsPAPER, not a newsLETTER. And at an average of 40 pages per issue, its as big (and sometimes bigger) than Spectator has been in recent years. Humph.
JIM BAXTER, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, THE FRONT PAGE, RALEIGH
Voyeuristic and vicarious spectacles have multiplied throughout the media in the last several years. Reality shows, news as titillating entertainment, and the corporatization of printed media have all diluted the quality of public discourse. Often images, themes, and info-bites of violence and sex keep viewers and readers in an excited yet unenlightened space, where advertisers can flash their wares to increasingly dissociative consumers.
The Independent's new feature, News of the Weird, exemplifies the worst of this breed of reporting. These blurbs' primary takeaway is the realization that "it's a weird world, after all." This profound revelation comes at the expense of a host of victims paraded in the public square for the stimulation of some of your readers' baser instincts. Consider just eight samples taken from the inaugural (Sept. 25) issue of this feature in your paper. The subjects? A woman attacked by lions; sexual abuse of children; a drunk rabbi performing circumcisions; a staged rape and mutilation of a woman; several sex-related strangulations; a woman writing with her ass; a cadaver's opened chest cavity possibly hiding drugs; and warnings not to throw babies into garbage dumpsters.
How do these "news" snippets further the progressive mission of your paper? With a name of Independent, you ought to lead readers to enlightened spaces, not follow the pattern of so many other media that pander to people's lurid tendencies. Now that you're the only game in town, you should go back to the ethical roots that have earned you the appreciation of longtime readers. And News of the Weird should go back to the beastly ditch from which it sprang, enabling you to use its vacant space for pieces that will inform and stoke readers' better instincts.
DOUG REED, CARY
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