December 1, 2011

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The Price (?) of Fame

Discrediting false marketing, Chuck Crowder wrote that fame and acclaim should be awarded to the deserving—that which has passed a litmus test. His editorial implied that the famous, should 1) meet criteria proving it to be outstanding, and 2) be acknowledged as such by the public, or even better, by a group of experts. But I tend to think that most of who and what is famous has not met either of these criteria. Fame is not fair, because it is by nature imputed, and often done so by a powerful minority who influence the majority. Fame is also controlled by time and place far more than we want to admit. While I sympathize with Chuck’s frustration with adjectives used by marketers, I wonder if his standards are too ideal. Because of globalization, today’s “famous” are competing with the whole world—YouTube has forever leveled the playing field when it comes to skill. So my question is, are you really only qualified to be called “world-famous” if you are the best on some kind of international platform?  

Laura Heath


Homo for the Holidays

Our 31-year-old gay son died from HIV/AIDS nineteen years ago. I loved him, cared for him until the end, accepted him, his partner and friends. I became a “member” of the lgbt community by way of ChattanoogaCares and PFLAG Chattanooga. They are my family. My bio family (siblings, et al) is large with many elephants standing around. Although we’ve been very open with everyone, other siblings have been non-accepting of our response and way of dealing openly with our own situation. For example, one sibling has two gay children that are disowned, not allowed to come home w/partner, and a third child who has partner of another race - also not allowed to bring partner home. Result: Total estrangement. Their way of dealing with the whole situation is “not to deal with it”(total silence). We have become surrogate parents. However, we had our Thanksgiving Table today with family and do every year; we are so blessed. Thank you.

Matt Nevels


Police, not guns

Chattanooga Organized for Action takes crime, especially violent gun crime, very seriously because many COA members are living with the daily realities of violence and death in the places we live and work. Citizens demanding justifications and holding elected leaders accountable does not mean that we hate free speech or cops. The decision to purchase a slew of AR-15s is, like all other budgetary matters, a question of priorities. Apparently our City Council and City Hall believe that our police should be underpaid, overworked and armed to the teeth. Rather than forking out money for a unceasing arms race, we should hire more police, pay them more and place a greater emphasis on funding programs that provide essential social services to our most marginalized and impoverished communities.

Our city is more dangerous than Atlanta or Detroit, two of the most dangerous cities in the country. The answer to violent gun crime is not AR-15s, tactical Bear Cat trucks or a Zodiac boat, the answer is taking responsible action to deal with the underlying economic and social conditions that give rise to desperate acts.

Chris Brooks

Executive Director, Chattanooga Organized for Action


December 1, 2011

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