Art appreciation

Letters to the Boston Phoenix editor, June 12, 2009

The recent Phoenix editorial on state-government funding for arts and culture highlighted many of the challenges we face as we try to meet our aspirations as a community amidst a very difficult economic environment.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) appreciates Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz’s leadership in focusing public attention on the need for new revenue for the Commonwealth, so that it can sustain support for vital public programs that make our communities healthier, better places to live, work, and visit. We thank the senator for her commitment to the MCC and the many nonprofit cultural organizations, artists, and school and youth programs that benefit from the agency’s support.

Thanks to the support of Senators Stan Rosenberg of Amherst, Robert O’Leary of Barnstable, and Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield — and all of the senators who voted for new revenue options in the Senate budget — the Senate was able to restore $4.3 million to MCC’s budget for next year, reducing a proposed cut that would do harm to many nonprofit cultural organizations and schools that rely on our funding.

We support the governor and the legislature as they maintain their commitment to MCC funding in the face of rapidly declining revenues. Their support affirms the case that the Phoenix made so well in its editorial: that arts and culture build healthier, more livable, more vital communities; that they are an essential part of a strong educational system; and finally, that they contribute enormously to our economy.

Elyse Cherry
Massachusetts Cultural Council

It seems ironic and unfortunate that this editorial relies on an economic argument to justify cultural/arts funding. Isn’t there more to life than money, Boston Phoenix?

Gilad Barkan

Choose your own identity
Regarding “Trans Fact,” the only reason you think it isn’t offensive to be identified by a former gender is because you don’t understand someone who doesn’t fit the gender binary. What about a person who was born a Catholic but converts to Judaism, and then commits an error that harms others? If members of the press find out about the person’s change of religion, would it be right for them to claim “He’s really a Catholic, and you all know Catholics tend to be negligent,” or something to that effect? Blame it on the pronouns, but that doesn’t fit either, since Aiden Quinn uses masculine pronouns. And though he has publicly acknowledged that he is female-to-male, that’s equivalent to divulging his medical history — which is his business to do, but does not reflect every aspect of himself.

Jamison Green
Oakland, California

Into the pot
Another reason to legalize the relatively safe, socially acceptable, God-given plant cannabis (marijuana) that doesn’t get mentioned in your article is that it will lower hard-drug addiction rates.

How many citizens try cannabis and realize it’s not nearly as harmful as taught in DARE-type government environments? Then they think other substances must not be so bad, either, only to become addicted to deadly drugs. The old lessons make cannabis out to be among the worst substances in the world, even though it’s less addictive than coffee and less harmful than cigarettes.

The federal government even classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin, while methamphetamine and cocaine are only Schedule II substances. For the health and welfare of America’s children and adults, that dangerous, irresponsible, and inaccurate message absolutely must change.

Stan White
Dillon, Colorado

In our June 5 profile of Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, we referred to the archbishop of Canterbury as the Englishman Rowan Williamson. In fact, his name is Rowan Williams, and he is Welsh, not English. We regret the errors.

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  Topics: Letters , Boston, Illegal Drugs, Marijuana,  More more >
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