Seeing Red, White and Blue
Michael Lacey's diatribe about Salt River Project and the controversial flag exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum was downright appalling ("Flag and Country Bumpkins," May 2). The article demonstrates Lacey's woeful lack of understanding and knowledge. Why does this guy continue to spout such slander? Lacey has exceeded the bounds of propriety by linking the name of Don King with Robert Vesco. King might be weird, but he's never looted a mutual fund or used drug profits to buy asylum from Latin American dictators. Come on, Lacey, be a man and apologize to Don King.

Randy Dietrich

Perhaps quotes from other sources will establish how people in other times and places felt about the flag. "The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history. It represents the experience made by men and women, the experience of those who live under that flag"--Woodrow Wilson.

"There is the national flag. He must be cold indeed who can look upon its folds rippling in the breeze without pride of country. If in a foreign land, the flag is companionship, and country itself, with all its endearments"--Charles Sumner.

"A thoughtful mind, when it sees a nation's flag, does not see the flag only, but the nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag, the government, the principles, the truths, the history, which belong to the nation that sets it forth"--Henry Ward Beecher.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands"--Francis Bellamy.

"At no time shall the American flag be allowed to touch the floor or the ground"--United States Marine Corps manual.

I respect and honor our flag. I ask Phoenix Art Museum to do the same. Please close the current "Old Glory" exhibit.

William E. Holloway

New Times didn't check its "facts" about curator David Rubin's activities during the March 24 veterans protest of the Phoenix Art Museum's "Old Glory" exhibition. I was there, and Rubin was present throughout the afternoon.

For the record, he was neither invited nor scheduled to address the crowd. He graciously conducted television interviews and was on hand to discuss the exhibition with visitors, including myself and state Representative Scott Bungaard. If anything, Rubin took risks in presenting such challenging art in politically conservative Phoenix.

Elaine Goldman

I found it interesting that Michael Lacey referred to the Kent State incident at ASU in his May 2 column. The controversy at Phoenix Art Museum has brought back memories for me, too, of the Vietnam war. I was standing at the edge of that campus flower bed in 1970, looking at John Duffy's men, thinking about being a flower child and soon having to crush a bunch of beautiful marigolds, while maybe some of John Duffy's men would have to crush me. I was real glad when Duffy, like Phoenix Art Museum director Jim Ballinger, decided that violence on top of violence would just make matters worse. At the first demonstration at the museum, I did hear one of the "farmers" tell his comrades to "leave your weapons outside." At the art museum!

Unlike most of the politicians knocking the show, I have seen it. I haven't heard one word in defense of the Kate Millett piece (the "flag in the loo," as Lacey called it), not even from defenders of the museum. I think that all it takes is a little exercise of putting one's mind back to the late Sixties, when we were in full knowledge of people daily being shot, blown apart, napalmed and maimed by land mines (as they still are), to have some genuine sympathy with the horror and anger that prompted Millett to create her unsubtle work. In those days, we had to say things very loudly to get the message across. Who would have known that just replaying the message in a historical context would cause such a ruckus?

Kathleen Shipe

Is Michael Lacey trying to out-Montini E.J. Montini? Or is Montini trying to out-Lacey Lacey? What a pair of spoofers, regarding Phoenix Art Museum's flag art show. These "writers" set out to get somebody upset--and thus ensure their "careers" of enticing the high school and college student "intellectuals" (self-anointed) into cases of the emotional shakes.

The laughable part is that Lacey and Montini wrap themselves in the Constitution as they horsewhip the exhibit's critics for wrapping themselves in the flag of patriotism! The result is all the rest of the USA thinks of all Arizona as a madhouse full of insipid, immature rednecks posing as museum "intellectuals" versus howling mobs of desert Bubbas. The rest of the USA may be correct!

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