Lord Have Mercy On Our Souls

To the Editor.

Regarding James DiGiovanna's review of Jaci Velasquez's A Heavenly Place ("Virgin Territory," July 2): It strikes me as strange that we've reached a point in our society when we ridicule wise choices. Jaci chooses to abstain from sex until she is married. This is a wise decision, and one that was common during previous generations. I would venture to say that many of our mothers, grandmothers or great-grandmothers (depending on your age) made that same decision. You won't get pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease if you abstain.

Mailbag It also grieves me that the writer has such a low opinion of Christians. This must stem from a bad experience he has had with Christians, or from a false perception of us. It is a shame that many Christians do not practice the grace that we have received. I met Christians like that before I became one. Grace is the central point to Christianity. In Ephesians it tells us that it is by grace (unmerited favor) that we have been saved by faith, it is a gift (free) of God lest anyone should boast. We don't earn it, it is given freely. Freely we have received, and freely we should give God's grace to others. Jaci sums this up in her latest song that we play on KGMS:

"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son....

That whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

I hope that you will experience God's love and His grace. May we who are Christians represent Jesus correctly.

--Doug Martin

Officer Friendly

To the Editor,

Regarding your editorial "Cop Talk" (July 16): Let me first state that I am not a member of the police department, nor do I know anyone on the department. I am writing this merely as a concerned citizen. I was very disturbed after reading the article. I was raised to be polite and respectful to all law enforcement officials, and in the article I was appalled at the lack of respect displayed.

No organization is perfect, not even yours, but there is such a thing as constructive criticism. The article used elementary-school name-calling, for crying out loud. For example, why must the police station be referred to as the "cop shop"? It is possible to intelligently report about a matter without using yellow journalism.

In a society getting more and more violent all the time, we should work with the police department, not start a battle cry against them. Whether The Weekly believes it or not, they are protecting and serving our community. And for the most part they are getting paid less than most of the people at your newspaper. I invite anyone at The Weekly to do the job they do, or even ride along with an officer one night. Maybe more respect would be given. And instead of having people send you "crappy cop" stories, have them send heroic cop stories.

I would like to thank all the officers of the Tucson Police Department for making Tucson a safer place.

--David Brotherton

It's A Date!

To the Editor,

What would you say about either daily paper if they ran a story a week late without realizing it? What if they recommended helping re-seed the Buenos Aires refuge on July 11 in the July 16 issue?

What sort of mea culpa can we expect for this mistake, you paltry, imperfect, human knuckleheads?

--Joe Gunn

String Fever

To the Editor:

David McElfrish's article about guitarist George Benson's commercial output is right on target ("Jazz Standard Deviation," July 2). Benson is, indeed, one of the finest jazz guitarists who has ever lived when he plays jazz. The sad fact that Benson is better known as a singer than as an instrumentalist speaks for itself. And cotton-candy stuff like "Breezin' " is to jazz guitar what Bill Clinton is to military Commander-in-Chiefing: embarrassing, superficial, and deserving of the derisive comments and unkind jokes it engenders from the truly dedicated.

I find myself being surprisingly forgiving about Benson's commercial stuff, however, when I think of his predecessor (and Benson idol), Wes Montgomery. Wes also did some cringingly trite commercial records near the end of his life, those pop hits with lots o' violins and excruciatingly corny beats. When someone pointed out to Wes that those sugary pop hits had earned a bunch of money for him and his family, Wes sadly shook his head and said, "Yeah, but you should have heard me when I was playing jazz."

Like his hero Wes Montgomery, George Benson is a family man who has always had a mature sense of responsibility. (Wes continued to work at his day gig as a welder even after he had become a monster star in the jazz world.) Neither man bought into the "starving artist" bullshit that lazy parasites use as an excuse for sponging; you know: "I'm a sensitive artiste, a delicate musician/painter/actor/poet who can't be bothered with earning money to pay for the rent and groceries and decent things for my wife and children, because I'm too busy sleeping in and communing with my Muse. Don't those raggedy-looking kids qualify for food stamps yet? And other stuff that working people pay for? Uh, by the way, could I borrow some more money to get my car fixed? I mean it's okay for you to go out and work a day gig, but I can't be bothered."

I remember reading an interview with Benson where he pointed to his brand new car (certainly a rare treat for any full-time musician) and said, "Look, years and years of playing pure jazz never earned me one of these."

Sad but true. As a jazz guitarist myself, I've received puzzled looks from audience members who request "Breezin' " or "Mr. Magic" when I tell them I don't know those tunes. Never learned them, never will. And when I announce that I'm going to play some Wes Montgomery, invariably someone will say, "All right!" and then call out the name of one of Wes' violinish pop hits, which I politely ignore as I play some real Wes, as he would've called it.

Alas, commercialism does seem to have its place when it comes to paying the bills. But at least we can try to be keepers of the flame and remind folks that some of the jazz giants were that way before they took that other road.

--Tom Burns

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