From the week of April 19, 2001

More recently, my younger nephew, one of the most beautiful and sensitive young men I've ever known, was told by a classmate that his "skin looks like poop." My sister told him that the other boy was probably just jealous because my nephew is so popular with his classmates. While she's probably right, it bewildered and hurt him, and broke our hearts as well.

The really sad thing is that, at one time, I would have said Arizona was a haven for diversity -- racial, social, gender, whatever -- because people here had a "mind your own business and keep your business to yourself" attitude that had nothing to do with either liberalism or conservatism. Unfortunately, that social ethic has been completely overtaken in the last decade by a group of newcomers who appear to think that they are the last word in social mores and do their utmost to squelch any lack of conformity to their efforts to "enlighten" us -- no pun intended.

Linda Wilson

SMoCA Signals

Museum peace: The day my wife and I arrived in Scottsdale, I somehow ended up at the Scottsdale City Council meeting speaking on behalf of the Turrell Sky Space, or at least that is what I intended to do ("Artistic Differences," Edward Lebow, March 15). That night, I met many of the players in your article who had walked out on the plank before me. None of them was a board member of either the Scottsdale Center for the Arts or the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

The question I find myself asking is: What are they thinking? I can't believe anyone is worried about attendance numbers at a two-year-old museum that has built such a tremendous reputation, apparently without any help or support from the very people who should have been willing to lay across the tracks for it. Just try hanging an Andres Serrano Piss Christ and watch the numbers go up and the ax come down. It wasn't that long ago they had to haul a Luis Jimenez sculpture out of Scottsdale away to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., because it was too controversial.

All SMoCA needs is to take a deep breath and relax and quit acting like the Donner party. The museum has a competent staff or it would not have been able to mount the shows it has. The board seems to be made up of big people who, if they start acting like a team rather than a herd of cats, will attract Mr. Janssen back and others like him from all over the world.

Scott Robertson

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