Why on earth did the Times send Jim Harris to cover the Motley Crue concert in Little Rock? An Edwardian octogenarian could not have had less of a clue at such a show. I understand that the Crue may not appeal to a mass audience and as the chancellor of the University of Nebraska recently noted their music may be “an acquired taste” but Harris’ review of the show bordered on the moronic. (At least get the names of the songs right!! Pretend you are a “real” journalist and check with a roadie if you are unsure of the tune next time, Jim.)
His review of the show read much like the old Andy Griffith bit about a rural rube’s recited description of his first football game. Surely the Times could have found a younger, hipper person to review the show for the paper. Perhaps Mr. Harris should stick to the symphony or the next ball room dancing extravaganza. Next time, send someone cool like Kelley Bass.
The book battle
Thank you for your coverage of the controversy over materials in school libraries in Fayetteville. The issue may seem to be one of censorship, but I agree with Laurie Taylor, it is actually over parents’ rights. What I am confused about is why she wants the schools to take over an activity that is the right (and responsibility) of the parent if parental rights are her issue. Why should we make it a school’s responsibility to inform a parent about what a child is reading, when it is a parent’s responsibility to know this — perhaps by, say, talking to a child about what she is reading? Is Ms. Taylor asking for parents to have the “right” to not to have to monitor what their children are reading? Let us not forget that she is asking for intervention when students, of their own will, choose a book, which makes this an issue between a child and his parent. Why do the schools need to mediate that? Our schools have plenty to do already, and I’m tired of hearing that they are having to take over parental responsibilities.
In your article about Laurie Taylor, one of Taylor’s supporters, Joy Williams, is quoted as saying, “I feel persecuted. I don’t think I’ve ever been persecuted before.”
Persecuted? What happened to the Christians in Rome during the reign of Nero was persecution. So was what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. What is happening now to Laurie Taylor and her supporters is not persecution!
It seems that whenever Religious Rightists meet with any opposition to their agenda, they are quick to cry persecution. If they can’t take the heat, perhaps they should stay out of the proverbial kitchen.
North Little Rock
While I found Doug Smith’s article on the controversy over the books in the Fayetteville school library interesting, I wish he had not been so quick to take Laurie Taylor at face value. I believe that Ms. Taylor changes her approach, depending upon what she perceives to be the political persuasion of the interviewer.
For an interview that was conducted for the online Agape Press, she discussed the next item on her agenda to be an audit of the libraries in the Fayetteville public school system, so that they are “purged” of materials she and others find indecent. Speaking of her belief that there is an “overall agenda” at work behind the scenes, she told Agape Press that the ultimate goal of those defending the books’ place in the library is “to sexualize our children, to desensitize them to homosexuality, and to perpetuate the myth that it’s normal.”
The Laurie Taylor who is interviewed by reporters for “liberal” publications (I interviewed her for an article for the Little Rock Free Press) may in fact be quite different from the Laurie Taylor who speaks on conservative talk radio, or is interviewed by reporters she is more comfortable with.
Richard S. Drake
Lest people think that the inclusion of controversial subjects in library books is a new and revolutionary thing, it is not. Back in the early 1960s while in my early teens in Dallas, I discovered science fiction. In the works of Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and others I was introduced to a plethora of controversial/questionable subjects. A partial list would include religion, slavery, politics, the purpose of wars, incest, sex, cloning, different types of love, different types of family organization, evolution, revolution, the value of money, gambling, the advertising industry, narcissism, what is consciousness and the difference between being intelligent and being smart.
Now I’m not exactly sure why at a time and place considered by most to be very conservative I was allowed to read about such controversial subjects but I’m sure that I was influenced by them. These books made me think about life and why things are the way they are. Unlike some who seem to want their children to unerringly and unquestioningly follow the status quo, I consider thinking to be a good thing. I like to think that if the rest of the herd were to begin a stampede towards the cliff’s edge the books I’ve read would help me have enough sense to step aside and ask, “What, are you people crazy?”
Oliver T. Driver