Regarding Janice Mitich's letter ("Sick Puppy," May 30), in which Ms. Mitich stopped just short of calling me a bitch in print: I would like to gently suggest that Ms. Mitich's interpretation of my painting as promoting cruelty to animals is misguided at best.
"Cur," the self-portrait at the Temple exhibition, included the image of a dog wearing red latex gloves and helplessly suspended by ropes. I have often incorporated animal imagery in my work, but never with the intent of suggesting new methods of torture for any species. Rather, the attempt is to draw attention to the animal components of our human makeup. Enlightenment ideals and religious perspectives have exalted the human intellect, while suppressing our biological and animal natures. By combining humans and animals, my work reminds the viewer of our biological identities, and the need to grapple with our true natures in order to maintain a functioning society. Also, I embrace the charge of using "jubilant laughter" in my work; I firmly believe that the most serious issues are best tackled though humor, dark or otherwise.
Ms. Mitich's insight into my work appears to come from viewing one small reproduction in this newspaper, and through reading Pamela Portwood's review ("Muck and Mirrors," May 23). While Ms. Portwood and The Weekly do a wonderful job of tracking and supporting local currents in the arts, I would suggest that is difficult to understand or effectively critique an artist's work without actually viewing the exhibition. While the HazMat show will be over by this letter's publication date, I encourage Ms. Mitich to visit my work at The Temple or at Hotel Congress. I would be happy to meet her at either location to further explain the message of my art, and to allay any fears that I am flaying local pets in my spare time.
Regarding Connie Tuttle's "Memorial Slay" (May 23): What idiot decided to allow such trash on Memorial Day weekend? Not only is the woman ignorant of historical fact and ungrateful to be living in a country brave men have died to preserve, but she can't write very well. Poor thing. She should take English Lit, travel a little and learn about the rest of the world before attacking this country. What's your excuse?
Thank you for Connie Tuttle's courageously and beautifully written "Memorial Slay" (May 23). She didn't mention, however, that we are the only western industrialized nation to continue to execute capriciously selected prisoners--even those who committed their crimes under the age of 18. This archaic practice may cause us to lose our observer status with the Council of Europe as well as losing face in general.
Regarding Connie Tuttle's "Memorial Slay" (May 23): Joan Baez wannabes are a dime a dozen in Tucson and around most large college campuses. They beat their drums and chant their lyrics and rant about the bad old days. Of their kind of ceaseless talking, Ben Franklin wrote in Poor Richard's Almanac, "Many words won't fill a bushel."
The accusations of national guilt are timeworn and tiresome. We all attended the history classes and learned the story of social evolution in America. Not all of us are so consumed with worshipping Mammon that we need to be reminded by worn-out dogma to work on justice for all. The least you can do is balance the socialism with a little reason. Maybe something constructive might emerge.
--Thomas R. Carpenter Jr.
After more or less exhorting us to look back in loathing on Memorial Day ("Memorial Slay," May 23), Connie Tuttle left us to remember the words of Malcolm X. While we digest his words, she might consider Evelyn Waugh's: "There is no more agreeable position than that of dissident from a stable society. Theirs are all the solid advantages of other people's creation and preservation, and all the fun of detecting hypocrisies and inconsistencies.