Re "The trouble with gay theater," by Dan Rottenberg—
As a New Yorker and lifelong friend of the editor, I respond with sympathy and agreement, despite my having moved to San Francisco. However, as a literate psychoanalyst, I must suggest to Mr. Rottenberg that his theory of the relations between homosexuals (and lesbians) all-too-closely, if not uncannily, recalls Freud’s formulations about narcissism, and therefore suggests that truly mature love relations are developmentally beyond our gay brethren.
August 28, 2006
Re Dan Rottenberg’s Editor’s Notebook on chain restaurants (Aug. 12)—
What’s sad is not so much that suburbanites like me enjoy Applebee’s so much, but that you urbanites have accepted upscale chain restaurants --- by my definition every Stephen Starr restaurant is a chain, just as every Emeril or Mario Batali restaurant is a chain. The victims, beside diners, are the very chef-owned restaurants you were talking about.
August 28, 2006
Editor’s note: The writer is the noted food and wine critic for GQ magazine.
One quibble with Benjamin B. Olshin’s piece on cafe culture. He writes, "In America, we don’t have professional waiters — just students, actors, and other people working as waiters, on their way to a “better” career." In fact, we do still have a dwindling number of professional waiters, usually men, including some here at The Palm and similar high-end eateries. (And not all are aged men with Italian accents, as I remember from my youth!)
Cherry Hill, N.J.
August 24, 2006
Editor’s note: For my take on this subject, click here.
Admission to the Barnes
In "What Price Admission to the Barnes?", Richard Carreño says that the Barnes Foundation has a $4.5 million annual operating deficit to make up. Where does he get that figure from? The current deficit of the Barnes, according to its court-ordered audit, is $1-1.2 million per annum. But $4.5 million would be the estimated deficit of the Barnes were it transported to Philadelphia, and were it to attempt to carry out the rest of the three-campus model presented by the feckless sponsors of the proposed move.
Mr. Carreño, keep the Barnes in Merion where it belongs, adopt the plan put forward by the Lower Merion Township Commission (which resolved unanimously on August 2, in a statement ignored by the Philadelphia media, that plans to move the Barnes be “abandoned forever”) to raise revenues while retaining the unique character of the Barnes, and you need have no fear of rising admission prices.
The Barnes is not bankrupt. But its so-called leadership is bought-out, brain-dead, or both. That’s what needs fixing.
August 14, 2006
If Carreño sells books as well as he analyzes museum pricing, he should soon be rich enough to be tithed as a donor! Is there a City Commission that advises us citizens on such matters? If not, establish one and make him chair.
August 28, 2006
Barnes shell game
Robert Zaller’s last brilliant article (“The great Barnes shell game”) points to the possibility that the Philadelphia Art Museum and its chairman Gerry Lenfest may be like vultures ready to pick away at the destitute Barnes Foundation. But wait! On August 2, the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners passed a resolution urging that the plan to move the Barnes Foundation from Merion to the Parkway in Philadelphia "should be forever abandoned."
This welcome, sensible 11th-hour resolution should I hope arouse some common sense in the governor, the city of Philadelphia, and the boards of the Pew, Annenberg and Lenfest foundations. Let them quit spending taxpayers’ money on this foolish move. Let them leave the Barnes Foundation where its founder so brilliantly placed it. To do otherwise will ultimately prove to be ill-considered, expensive and destructive.
August 3, 2006
Editor’s comment: Is it possible to argue the merits of this case without ascribing evil motives to one’s adversaries?
Sifting through the mountains of scholarly diatribe about the Barnes Foundation, it is interesting that no one bothered to include the fact that Dr Barnes worshiped alongside African Americans in AME churches right here in Philadelphia; that his best and most trusted friend was an African American president of Lincoln University, whose son, as it turned out, is Julian Bond.
Nor did anyone include the fact that the rrelocation of the Barnes Foundation from Lower Merion to its planned site on Philadelphia’s Parkway will result in a prison being constructed in an African American community.
My question to all of those party to this effort is: What do you think Dr. Barnes’s reaction would be to hearing the news that his efforts ultimately contributed to the degradation of an African American community for the sake of profit?
August 7, 2006
Bruce Toll’s opinions
Re "The Inquirer’s new owner and his opinions," by Dan Rottenberg—
Although skeptical, I’m willing to give the new owners of the Inquirer and Daily News the benefit of the doubt when they promise to keep hands off the editorial product. I don’t know Tierney and Toll personally, and have no reason to doubt their sincerity, but I just wonder how hands-off they’ll be when their oxen are gored in print.
On the other hand, I respect their right to have a say in what’s published on the opinon pages. No owner should be expected to sit by while his paper is expressing views with which he strongly disagrees. Sooner or later, editorial page editors Chris Satullo of the Inquirer and Sandy Shea of the Daily News (Frank Burgos has left) will have to make judgments on issues that require some delicate tightrope walking.
The idea of a periodic column by one of the owners makes me shudder, but Bruce Toll deserves the same privilege any reader does. That begs the question, of course, since a letter to the editor from Joe Rowhouse can’t have an impact comparable to one from the newspaper’s owner.
Much of my half-century-plus as a newspaper writer and editor was on the Daily News opinion pages, where as far as I knew, we could say whatever we pleased in any way we wished, but we were spoiled. Active in the National Conference of Editorial Writers, I learned from colleagues that our situation was unique. On most newspapers, the owners played a very active part in the opinions the newspaper espoused, often sitting in on editorial board meetings, for example. This horrified me, but it’s their ball and bat, so if they want to play, they’ve a right to.
This is one of the downsides of local ownership. Most chains, like Knight-Ridder, don’t much care what their papers’ editorials are saying; the bottom line is their only concern. When you live in the region where the paper circulates, you can’t be as detched.
August 8, 2006
Editor’s comment: If journalists want to be treated as professionals, they must act like professionals. What distinguishes professionals— be they doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, whatever— from errand boys is this: They exercise their best independent professional judgment in behalf of their clients, even if the client disagrees. If the client rejects that judgment, the professional resigns. He does not say, "It’s your ball and bat."
Dan, your shrewd deployment of Royster, Seiderman and Kushner together must force Bruce to ask himself for whom Toll knolls! Nice going.
Patrick D. Hazard
August 10, 2006
Denyce Graves: Over-promoted?
Re: “My problem with Denyce Graves,” by Dan Rottenberg
My problems with Denyce Graves are entirely vocal. She never gets her voice out of her throat, therefore she doesn’t really possess a classical vocal timbre. I have found Graves lacking in style and interpretati
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