Mr. Erickson has a right to his opinion, but his critique is inaccurate. There is nothing phony or feigned about Tom Deatherage. He can be crass and vulgar, but he is also loyal and kind. It seems his biggest crime, according to Mr. Erickson, is being himself. How can all of Tom's supporters and admirers be "corrupt, degenerate and false" when they include people from a variety of backgrounds and ages from different social and economic segments of society? Most visitors to the Late Show are not interested in "street drugs" or "the delight in shocking the uninitiated." They are there to look at the work and have real conversation.
There are plenty of venues for Mr. Erickson to frequent that will give him the sterilized, impersonal world he seeks. It is unnecessary for him to attack a man who continues to struggle to do what he loves. Tom Deatherage, for all his faults, has given a lot to Kansas City. He deserves better.
Call of the mild: Regarding "Hard-Hat Hazard" (Backwash, April 28): I, too, as a young lady, can remember getting so-o-o peed-off at the whistles and catcalls. As early as high school, I dreaded walking by a fire station after school. This was a hangout for local dudes. My limbs would turn to jelly.
But now, listen up. Those are now fond memories. How I would thrill to walk down the street now and get a "hiya, babe." It would tell me I still "got it." But hey, it ain't gonna happen, because now I'm in the twilight zone -- over the hill.
So your choice is to stay tight-assed and ignore it or go with the flow and strut your stuff, mamma. Be glad you got it. I think if you would be honest with yourself, down deep you would sulk if nobody paid attention to you.
Kansas City, Missouri
From Chimpan-A to Chimpanzee
Planet of the apes: A great run-down on the Kansas Kreation Kapers (Tony Ortega's "Your Official Program for Scopes II: The Kansas Monkey Trial," May 5). Those Bible Belters are a barrel of belly laughs, and the world is watching.
The pity for all Americans is that soon, the only places they'll be able to travel without being the butt of jokes are the places where people are trying to blow their butts off (except maybe Turkey?).
Cell block: I enjoyed Tony Ortega's piece about the intelligent-design controversy in Kansas, which had a great emphasis on myself. I, of course, respect his right to express his views, but there is a very important inaccuracy in his article: I am not a member of the Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (Science Research Foundation). I worked with them voluntarily for a few years. I joined some of their conferences as a speaker, but I stopped all my cooperation with them more than 1.5 years ago due to some serious disagreements on issues other than intelligent design.
Moreover, when I was working with them, I was never an executive or an official "spokesman." That title appeared only in a Science magazine report about BAV. What happened was that the Science reporter had tried to contact BAV President Tarkan Yavas, and since his English is not very good, he had asked me to speak with the reporter. Then the reporter assumed that I was a spokesman. I was not. I approve some of BAV's intellectual approaches but strongly disagree with some of its policies and methods. I had no involvement in some of their works that became a subject for legal scrutiny.
Editor's note: Ortega's article did refer to Mr. Akyol as a volunteer, not a member, of the BAV. In a telephone conversation, Mr. Akyol explained that he split with the BAV after it began to promote, along with evolution denial, Holocaust denial and other unsavory rhetoric. By the time Akyol separated from the BAV, however, the damage to the teaching of evolution in Turkey had been done. Mr. Akyol agreed with the assessments of Professor Umit Sayin, who said that much of Turkey's parliament and public today consider evolution to be a hoax.
Simple plan: In regard to Tony Ortega's article on the Kansas School Board hearings, I had the pleasure of picking up Mustafa Akyol at KCI and taking him out to Topeka. I showed him the article, and he was delighted with his monkey caricature and honored to have been so singularly slimed.
Despite the "lurid media tales" Ortega cites without reference, Mustafa is young, funny, charming and urbane -- the kind of modern Muslim with whom your readers might identify if given the chance. Mustafa is disappointed the Pitch did not contact him before writing the article.
Now that you all are so snugly in bed with Big Science -- on so many issues -- he was hoping you might hear out his argument and then whisper it into their ear. Sigh! Where are the progressives of yesteryear?
Kansas City, Missouri