Week of October 3, 2001

Oct 3, 2001 at 4:00 am
Beacon of Hope
This is the kind of development I want to see: Your article on Cherokee Street was excellent [Jeannette Batz, "Keepin' It Real," Sept. 19]. I have lived in St. Louis all of my life, and I have resolved that it can get better, should get better and will get better. I want to see more small storefronts and more small businesses succeed. I truly believe that the city of St. Louis can and will succeed in improving itself if it starts from within, by supporting the people who already live here and care about it. I am a financial advisor who would like to volunteer any kind of advice and help that I can give. I am not sure what I can do or how I can help, but I want in. This is exactly the kind of development that I want to see in St. Louis, exactly the kind of mixed, exciting, wonderful neighborhood that I think can become an example to the rest of St. Louis of why and how working together from the bottom up benefits everyone. Thank you very much for the article! It is certainly a beacon of hope!
Katie Foley
St. Louis

Your Reviewer's Head
How not to succeed at theater reviewing: Dennis Brown must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed on Sept. 12. I was very disappointed to read his review on Sept. 19 of How To Succeed in Business. I disagreed with virtually every word he wrote. I am a long-time patron of Stages and in my opinion, this is one of their best shows in the 15-year history of the company. Brown obviously missed the point. It was meant to be funny, it was meant to be silly, it was meant to be cartoonish and it was meant to make people laugh, especially in light of recent events. I was there on opening night just like Brown. The audience loved the performance and has every single performance since opening. The reviews in all of the papers have been more than complimentary. I don't think Brown gave a fair and honest review -- I think his head was somewhere else that night and he didn't really want to be at the theater. I personally wish that he had not been there!
Beverly Boody

Southern Cross
Endorsing slavery: I think Jason Scott is a bit unaware of the situation he is boldly getting himself into [Wm. Stage, "Rebel Yell," Sept 19]. To say that the Confederate flag is simply a flag or a symbol of the South contradicts the reality of the people who were forced to live in slavery under it. As for Jason, it is easy to see how someone so young could miss the point and be confused as to why a flag could generate so much hate and disdain.

The Confederate [battle] flag is not a symbol created to show honorable Southern pride, for it bespeaks much more about the people and the attitude it was created to represent. Just as the American flag was created to represent freedom, justice and truth, the Confederate flag was created to represent a new nation where freedom was only for whites. It was for a people who believed the American dream was achieved off of the backs of those whom they thought were less than human.

That said, one has to understand that displaying the Confederate flag is showing your support for the ways and ideas of that nation, just as so many today display their American flags in support of this nation and what it stands for. You may not be descended of slave owners, you may even like blacks and associate with them, but your love for and display of this Confederate flag tells others that you love what it stands for, whether it is true or not.
Rick Horack
St. Louis

School isn't the place to piss people off: Jason Scott does himself and the rural American lifestyle irreparable harm by displaying the rebel flag. Every time someone displays this symbol it gives fuel to those who ridicule him (or rather "us") and attack the right to keep and bear arms. It helps them rationalize their contempt. The CSA was a government of people who would rather own their fellow man than be American. By displaying the symbols of the CSA you align yourself with those who would limit freedoms. A logical conundrum that leaves your argument open to an overwhelming level of scrutiny.

There are many avenues of self expression that students are restricted from exploring at school. Fighting words, porn, short shorts, baseball hats, etc. School is a place to learn, not piss people off by displaying the flag of a racist rebellion.
Jason G. Hitzert

Alien Nation
Too much talk of vengence: I read Ray Hartmann's column on Sept. 12 and waited. I have just read his column of Sept. 19 ["Knowledge Gained the Hard Way"] and shudder at his quest for "nothing but blood..." How offended I am at the inference that seeing Ground Zero would make me lose my basic beliefs and become vengeful. I would only become much more physically sick. I feel alienated by an overload of aggressive talk, hate talk, blood talk and war talk. I am not ashamed of my need to question, my need to hear some balance and reason and my need to hope not one more innocent dies.
Maureen Costello
Rock Hill

Artificial Reality
A community isn't Disney World: When I first read the article, "The Gospel According to Paul," I was taken aback [Peter Downs, Aug. 22]. At first, WingHaven may sound like a quaint residential community in which people of all different ages, cultures, ethnicities and economic backgrounds can live and thrive together, but that idea quickly changes once an individual looks further into the issue. Developments such as WingHaven create a false sense of reality and are inevitably dangerous for the future of community life.

This community is certainly not for lower, working-class families. Developer Paul McKee Jr. claims that WingHaven is being built to blend the classes, but when houses in this community start at $95,000, working- and middle-class families certainly are not going to be living there. I know that my family wouldn't be.

WingHaven also will create a false sense of security among residents, especially children. When or if these individuals ever leave their dwelling places where the mailboxes are the same, their front doors are painted the same color, and they all have nice little electric cars, how will they be able to handle the world where none of this false comfort exists? They won't be able to. The world is not full of cookie-cutter images and the shock of reality may be in fact quite devastating for these offspring.

Economically, I take offense to WingHaven because of the class issue. Politically, I think WingHaven is a detriment to society. In the false sense of reality that this community offers, people will separate themselves more from each other depending on what their personal environment is, even more than they are now. Morally, I think WingHaven is a disgrace because it creates a superiority complex for the inhabitants of the community.

Most important, I am disturbed by the idea of this community, which is truly not a community at all. A community is comfortable, without being forced to be comfortable. It is where a smile and a glare can be found, where people will argue and fight and throw tree limbs back and forth into each other's yards, where problems happen, and where people get over it. Community is real life, not Disney World.
Heather M. Taylor
St. Louis

Why Not Buddha?
Why just Jesus? I find it odd that you are not afraid to poke fun at the Christians as you are at the Muslims, Jews and [those belonging to] other religions. Why not a "Buddha of the Week" or a "Jew of the Week" [on your Web site]? Please be truly objective here and bash all faiths equally!
Mark Jefferies
St. Louis