Letters from the week of February 10, 2005

Night Sweats 

Letters from the week of February 10, 2005

Tear in my beer: This letter is in response to the "Booze Cruise" letter of the January 27 issue.

By the tone of your angry and quite personal attack on Jen Chen and her column, I can only imagine what a frustrated artist you must be. I think your disdain for living in a "so-called city" with such a "disgusting cultural level" speaks volumes about who you think you are and what is "remotely worthwhile." Oh, wait; we don't know who you are, because you don't have the balls to sign your letter.

Although Kansas City is not the cultural mecca of the Midwest, it is hard to miss the columns of print related to food, theater and music in last week's Pitch. With a small amount of effort, you will also find that for a city our size, we are blessed with many types of fine art, budding chefs and a nationally acclaimed theater.

Let's face it. Alcohol is not good for you and is the cause of a lot of misery in this world. That being said, there are many who enjoy alcohol in moderate amounts. It is the fuel in some social settings that makes for great observational entertainment. I think that is what Jen's column is all about, not about how to be a functional alcoholic.

Since you started with the F yous, here's mine: Fuck you for dissing my city. Tell Blockbuster you want a transfer.

Curtis Anderson
Kansas City, Missouri

Schoolhouse Block
Book 'em: Tony Ortega printed a lot of dirty words in the January 27 KC Strip, but he forgot the word nigger. My high school teacher didn't let our class read Huckleberry Finn because the word was used too frequently.

I agree with Ortega that it's stupid for parents to prevent their children from reading books with bad language, specifically because (1) most of those kids probably listen to Eminem and watch South Park and (2) most of those kids are more likely to read the books their parents don't want them to read just to find out what's so bad about them

But at the same time, I agree with Jerry Agar, because it's a public school. If there is an assignment that conflicts with the parents' beliefs, I think the school should respect that and assign less controversial reading.

There are plenty of great books out there that don't use the word nigger or talk about masturbation or deal with extreme violent situations: The Old Man and the Sea, Little Women, etc.

It seems like the schools and the parents could find common ground.

Bryan Stalder
Kansas City, Missouri

Blackboard jungle: The much-maligned public school system has educated millions and millions of Americans. Many of them have gone on to excel in all walks of life. Public school graduates are predominant in science, industry and the arts. They have put men on the moon, occupied the White House, staffed hospitals and courts of law. Public schools must be doing something right.

Dedicated, hard-working teachers have managed to ignore the carping of people like Canadian talk-show host Jerry Agar and concentrate their efforts on what they do best: educating children.

Kenneth Lee

Highways to Hell
Out of the Loop: Regarding David Martin's "The Concrete Bungle" (January 27): There are a number of grounds upon which HNTB and other design professionals can and should be criticized. I don't think R.N. Bergendoff would have said his work was perfect or could not have been better. But the Pitch's attack seems a bit excessive, and there is plenty of blame to go around

First, you have to recognize that the nation had surrendered itself to freeways. In 1923, when J.C. Nichols began planning the Country Club Plaza, there were 15,000,000 cars in this country. Last year that number had grown to some 215,000,000 registered cars and trucks. Meanwhile, Amtrak and most public transit systems became whipping boys because they did not "pull their own weight," and only in the past decade have cities begun to dig themselves out of the congestion with new transit investments.

This situation is the epitome of what now is referred to as an "unintended consequence." Nobody foresaw the exponential growth of automobile use. So to a great extent, the designers of freeways in the last half of the 20th century were just doing their jobs and utilizing all those millions that Congress thought were right expenditures. They were experimenting with a new world vision that had been painted by our architects, our political leaders and our philosophers that was bought by the American public. Public housing is a similar saga and today is in the process of fundamental reform.

Let's hold our whole society accountable and not use HNTB as a scapegoat. Let's learn from the failures of these experiments, and rather than avoiding experimentation in the future, let's be more introspective and self-critical as we proceed into this new century. For example, when we think now about how to improve HNTB's "downtown loop," let's be careful not to overload it with more new traffic than can be accommodated within this 1950's design.

2005 Editorial Board of the American Institute of Architects, Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri

Food, Glorious Food
Mac the knife: What a great review on Macaluso's (Charles Ferruzza's "Big Mac Attack," January 20)! It has always been one of my favorites, and I think it's often overlooked. It is my favorite comfort-food place, where Tommy Macaluso serves up advice and great food when I need it the most!

Ferruzza's great critiques and commentary make reading the Pitch fun each Thursday! Thanks, Charles!

Nancy Bruda


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