Tucson Weekly . Volume 12, Number 10 . May 18 - May 24, 1995

Ethical Considerations

To the Editor,

Your recent attack on Brenda Even is beneath you ("Even's Odds," Tucson Weekly, April 20). Even is one of the [Mailbag] classiest ladies in Tucson. Her entire life has been dedicated to the service of others. Her work with the Family Resource and Wellness Centers is truly visionary.

Perhaps the most despicable aspect of the article is that you quoted Joel Ireland on ethics. Get real! Ireland wouldn't recognize an ethic if it bit him on the ass.

--Shamus Moffatt

We'd just like to take a moment to mention that the photo of Brenda Even should have been credited to Mark Levy. Our appologies, Mark.

Foreign Exchange

To the Editor,

Regarding Jeff Smith's "Hydroponic Hustlers" (Tucson Weekly, April 6), the main reason any business (American or foreign) sets up in a foreign country is to make money. And usually, to bypass the native country's laws. So, we have child labor and all other forms of corruption.

--Vera Jean Johanneson

Press Credentials

To the Editor,

Susan Zakin has a point ("Just the Facts Ma'am," Tucson Weekly, April 13). A good journalism education should include the skills to "look at the underlying issues that drive a story." It should also include skills to deconstruct manipulative language, see through stereotypes to avoid perpetuating them, and realize that often, news is not so much "the" truth as it is a story framed from selected human experience.

Unfortunately, she has not been around the department lately to see that despite the university's lack of support, those in charge are making changes. Not only are there new courses on technology, but a Press and Society section taught from a cultural studies perspective and a Study of News section that focuses on race, gender and related issues in news writing. The latter, which I'm teaching, uses a book by Helen Benedict, a professor at Zakin's alma mater, Columbia.

None of these changes would have come about if department head Jim Patten were not open-minded and generally progressive.

Journalism education does run the risk of being shallow. Personally, I have always been grateful I had a liberal arts degree before becoming a journalist. But having taught some 40 sections of freshman composition, I see that as a discipline, journalism offers much that should be incorporated elsewhere in "the academy"--namely, the precision and power that comes from communicating clearly and concisely. The arcane language glorified elsewhere ultimately feeds sloppy thinking and alienates the snobs who claim to "get it" from the slobs who don't. That is hardly a democratic ideal to be tolerated at a public university.

The anti-intellectual attitude among many journalists troubles me as much as it seems to trouble Zakin. But the answer is not to do away with journalism departments. It is to find ways for the "real world" perspective of journalism and the "ivory tower" perspective of academe to nourish each other.

--Jane Marcellus

Land's End

To the Editor,

Gregory McNamee's "The Blob" (Tucson Weekly, April 20) struck such a nerve with me that I could not resist saying something in response. Tucson indeed is not far behind Phoenix in growth and is likely perched on the crest of a slippery slope into a decidedly non-utopian future. McNamee referenced Edward Abbey's essay ("The Blob Comes to Arizona") which gloomily foretold today's events. Comparing the numbers that Abbey had with those of today should stifle any skeptics, if there could possibly be any.

Both of these pieces only outlined the problem. Their apparent reason for the problem centered on two issues: 1) the control of city and county governments by people with interests in development; and, 2) the influx of people. Consequently, blame rests with just about everyone.

This is where responsibility belongs and where the solution lies. Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac) suggested that all men wield the tools of either destruction or preservation by what they think. As long as we continue to buy homes just like our neighbors', or try to escape winter, growth will continue. Until society as a whole begins to adopt at least some form of Leopold's land ethic, nothing will stop the BLOB(s).

--Todd Mooney

Tune Us In

To the Editor,

I encourage everyone to (re)read "Fighting Words" (Tucson Weekly, March 2). I plead guilty to having listened to G. Gordon Liddy diatribes about the "innocent" victims of Waco and encouraging listeners to "go for the head shot" when firing at an ATF agent. I thought he was an amusing loon, but now I hang my head in shame. Everyone should avoid his show and boycott KNST until his show is taken off the air.

--Richard Trible

Smog Of Misinformation

To the Editor,

Thank heaven for Jeff Smith. He seems to be the only journalist or reporter this side of The Nation newsmagazine able to view events with a sensible, objective eye.

It is so easy for the bored among us to be sucked into the fear-inspiring, hand-wringing, pitiful pathos of television news which seems to be designed to encourage hate and separatism.

Thank you, Jeff, for the fresh air and good sense you bring into the smog of misinformation out there.

--Karen R. MacLeish

Critique Pique

To the Editor,

This is a two-point letter of response to the review that my business received in your Chow column ("Sweet Magritte," Tucson Weekly, April 20).

First, I would like to express our gratitude for your description of what we endeavor to do here at the Café Magritte. M.F. Munday's astute observations about the nature of the Café are evidence of an understanding that there is more to eating out than food. The staff of Café Magritte is enjoying the praise. Thank You.

Secondly, I would like to clarify a stateme nt I made that was misquoted. That is, a comment referring to my first partner David Elliott and myself, saying that we "would criticize every place we went." Criticize is a cruel word--a word I did not use when speaking of those café talks with Elliott, and it is a word I rarely use except when distinguishing the difference between criticize and critique. Criticizing is an act of judgment, often severe. It creates an opinion of absolute rejection of the inherent possibilities of something. I do not believe there is a place for that kind of thinking in the creative process. Critiquing is an enthusiastic way of evaluating things and determining what could be better.

I am offended by this semantic misquote because, as a matter of personal integrity, I do not want your readers to think of David Elliott and me as chronic criticizers. It is from your thoughts that you create your life. There is too much harsh criticism and judgment in the world and there is a great need for careful evaluation of what is truly wrong in order to determine what we can do to change things for the better, and that is the good café way to think.

--Camille Bonzani

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May 18 - May 24, 1995

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