Flag Bashing
Government funding for the arts is essential to the support of emerging artists; exhibitions and performances for the public; arts education; fostering creative expression as a chronicle of our times; and for this country to take its place as the most prosperous nation in the world, not only in monetary status, but in the form of cultural integrity that ensures freedom of expression ("Legionnaire's Disease," Michael Kiefer, April 4). Politicians who want to end arts funding categorize artists as second-rate citizens whose freedom of expression should be censored.

Unfortunately, some of our leaders can no longer see the importance of the arts. Since 1989, government funding for the arts has been under fire by those who deem certain artwork inappropriate. The opposition's main complaint regarding the artwork in Phoenix Art Museum's "Old Glory" exhibition is that the veterans of this country fought, and some soldiers lost their lives, defending the flag. They must be reminded that those proud, valiant soldiers were often fighting for this country's freedoms. That includes the freedom of expression for artists, veterans and all people.

Because of this controversy, Arizona leaders are looking into cutting the controversial arts funding, joining the U.S. government, whose Republican-led committee has passed a bill to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities by fiscal 1999. Instead of entering the 21st century by taking a step forward, we may find ourselves sliding back into an archaic abyss where arts, culture and freedom of expression are no longer valued. We must not let that happen.

Elizabeth Hoffman

Phallus in Blunderland
It was interesting to read Amy Silverman's article "Organ Lessons" (March 28). I hadn't realized that so many men were trying the procedure. Plenty of horror, but what about this "unanimous" statement: "Penis size doesn't matter"? Get real. Read the personals. Would anyone wind up a breast-implant horror story with "breast size doesn't matter"?

Wendy Taylor

Amy Silverman's article on penis enlargement raises several interesting concerns. One is that some doctors can't remember that they took an oath to, first, do no harm. An elective surgery that has no purpose other than serving the vanity of the patient, and can result in disfigurement and prolonged pain, should not be offered. Just because medical science can do something doesn't mean it should. What's next, femur extensions so shorter men can become taller?

I thought there were all sorts of ways for men who felt "inadequate" to compensate for that. Driving sports cars or monster 4x4s, carrying handguns, using Windows 95. Isn't anybody happy with what he's got, or who he is, anymore? Physical stature shouldn't be part of what makes a man a man.

Michael Poppre


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