Different take on Carmen 

I did not agree with Amy Bowers’ assessment of “Carmen” at Wildwood. I’m no opera expert but I’ve seen a few and had really hoped for more at Wildwood. “Carmen” is a nice opera with great music, a weak story and potential for colorful and rich dancing, scenery, costumes, vocals and instrumentation. The vocals were for the most part fine. The rest of the production was ... well let’s just say my daughter loves the theater and I am not sure when I will ever get her to go to another opera after this experience. We listened to the music and read the libretto together before going to Wildwood and expected for $30 to $50 a ticket something on the order of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. We got much less. I was disappointed in your review, which used such words as “spectacular” and “wonderful.” I’d hoped the critics would challenge Wildwood to step up a level to their potential. I think they need serious help. It could be a great venue.
Jim Pfeifer
Little Rock

Re: The Observer June 29. Paragraph four includes the statement, “But as The Observer is an old comics reader ourselves,” (politically and tastefully correct in avoiding first person singular reference) but then concluding paragraph six with, “This is how long The Observer has been reading the comics. HE can remember when …” (pirouetting away from the plural). No harm done. It is just that deities always refer to themselves in first person plural for obvious reasons. Persons of celebrity, persons sensitive to whom they are speaking or persons who simply wish to exercise tact in their remarks frequently opt for first person plural to avoid such times when “I” might not be appropriate. The Observer is clearly sensitive and aware of all that and more. I (make that “we”) suspect that he (they) was just impatient to hasten on to the conclusion of an article expressing an opinion with which many of us agree and, hopefully, the Democrat-Gazette will take under consideration.
Larry D. Powell

Hall v. Central
I was interested to read in Jennifer Barnett Reed’s recent story about Hall High School that it was opened when Central High was integrated. A more accurate statement would be that Central was integrated because Hall was opened. The Little Rock School Board, which planned the voluntary integration of Central, hoped to gather support from the establishment by providing an unintegrated school for the children of more privileged citizens.

Ironically, this strategy allowed Faubus to play not only on racial prejudices but also on class resentments. I remember an excellent teacher at Central saying satirically at the time, “I don’t see why they couldn’t have persuaded at least one of the nine to attend Hall.”

I was gratified to see the note in a recent Arkansas Times that the initial integration plan was voluntary, not court-ordered. The plan was to get ahead of the courts and integrate on the Board’s own terms — beginning with older students and working down through the grades to the younger ones and letting the less privileged bear the brunt of the effort.

Unfortunately, the planners ran into Faubus’ desire to secure an uncustomary additional term as governor. This class-based integration plan contrasts with other voluntary efforts at smaller schools (i.e., Charleston, as per Dale Bumpers) where all students attended the same school.

The developments of the past 50 years in the story of Hall vs. Central, as related by your writer, are certainly ironic.
Margaret Duggar

Thank-you note
My husband, Walt (aka Pepper), and I recently returned to New Orleans after an extended evacuation in Little Rock. We’re native Arkansans, are both licensed to practice law in Arkansas and we still own property in the state.

Arkansas treated us southeast Louisiana evacuees/refugees/guests-who-overstayed-their-welcome pretty darn well. I offer a “Declaration of Public Gratitude” for you to share with your readership. We’re approaching the anniversary of Katrina, and folks down here are more than a little jittery, so I’d like to get my thank-you note to Arkansas out before we have to call on your hospitality again.
Terry Clayton Paulson
New Orleans

Longhorns and Republicans
I just read Max Brantley’s column “How Low Can They Go?” I find it interesting that he consistently writes that Republicans use “fear” tactics. Usually, someone criticizes others to build himself up, or to take the attention off oneself. I relate his bitterness toward the Republican Party to the bitterness of Arkansas fans towards Texas. Arkansas fans despise Texas because they have dominated us over the years. I cannot think of one instance where a group of people dislike another group when they consistently dominate the other group and no competition is apparent. I feel his dislike of the Republican Party is because it continues to prosper and win elections. As my grandfather always used to tell me, “Don’t gripe, if you don’t have a better answer.” Please write an article about everything you would do to solve the “problems” the Republican Party has created. By the way, November is football season and election season. Probably another big year for the Longhorns and Republicans.
Mark Conine
From the Internet

Lucky Asa
Congratulations to Asa Hutchinson, the next governor of Arkansas. Hutchinson’s chances of winning the election have just increased. The independent candidate, Rod Bryan, has miraculously harvested enough signatures to get a name placement on the ballot. Frustrated voters and liberal Democrats will undoubtedly abandon the establishment and flock to the independent, leaving the office door wide open for the Republican, Asa!

Liberal Democrats have been waiting decades for a candidate like Bryan. This independent has already proven himself an advocate for the hard-working common man by successfully operating a small business, campaigning on a bicycle and promoting ideals of common sense and agriculture. He does not stand a chance. If Bryan really wanted to occupy a political office, he would join the mighty, claim favor of the almighty, then struggle to retain the kind of power that will not last even a decade.

However, the media attention will be good for Bryan’s business.
Gene Mason



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