Major kudos to V.C. Rogers for the hilarious, spot-on Campus Map (Annual Manual, Aug. 19). I haven't laughed so much since Carol Burnett retired—the better-to-laugh-than-cry kind.
After watching campuses from outside and in all my life, I share Rogers' "peripheral vision" of what's happening to higher education. His map legend includes a "Redundant Program Reduction Center." Indeed: Public or private, big or small, elite or struggling, a university's sub-institutions (all with names for sale to the highest donor) seem to proliferate in inverse proportion to the actual imparting of knowledge and wisdom happening inside. As in other American endeavors, we keep spending more to produce, too often, less—gauged, in this case, by what the product's skull appears to contain after Commencement Day.
My late husband handled public information for a Triangle campus in a time when informing the public meant something more than trumpeting the latest big gift and playing hard-to-get with bad news. He'd have loved Rogers' map legend, as I do. (It leaves out only the Insertname Fatcat Alumni Chateau and Welcome Center.) I wish I had a version more enduring than newsprint, but I may frame it anyhow.
Ann T. Berry
I'm not much for the sort of competitive absolutism that leads to phrases like "this decade's best and most important compilation of area bands" (Music Reviews, Hear Here: The Triangle, Aug. 26), but I find it particularly hard to take coming from a music editor who couldn't even be bothered to find the time or space to review (or even mention in passing) the excellent third installment in Pox World Empire's long-running Compulation series, which was released in May.
I assume that it was some small sliver of self-consciousness about this omission that led Grayson Currin to refer obliquely in his review to "so many local compilations before," rather than calling out the Compulation series by name (because, while there were other local comps this decade, none were as sweeping or as back-to-front good as Compulations 1-3).
And I'm not even going to try to decipher the offhand reference to "a venerable if often stodgy, defensive old guard." I recognize a straw man when I see it, but someone ought to point out to Grayson that the two guitarists and prime movers in the Birds of Avalon, Paul Siler and Cheetie Kumar, were releasing local music via their Blast-O-Platter label as far back as 1993. Stodgy or defensive? Hardly. Old? Well...