I support the Lilac Committee's decision to have a concert in the Highland Bowl during the Lilac Festival. The Lilac Festival comes after a long, hard winter. It symbolizes the beginning of the outdoor summer festivals. It is a time to get outside and enjoy our beautiful Highland Park, a time to take in the gorgeous lilacs and (hopefully) soak up the sun while listening to some good music. I'm sure many of us were excited by the proposed music lineup for the festival. And then, the dreaded "Highland Park Neighbors" came along to whine and complain.
A 1998 informal agreement made by County Legislator Kevin Murray to end the Highland Bowl shows should never have happened. Instead, these few people should have been strongly reminded that they do not own Highland Park just because they have homes in the vicinity. This is a public park, and we have a right to enjoy it. Visitors come from all over the United States and several foreign countries to see the lilacs and enjoy the entertainment. They should not have to tiptoe silently through the tulips lest they disturb the neighbors.
I am tired of everyone kowtowing to people who choose to live near a public park and then demand that the parks be operated around what they want. They know there is a Lilac Festival every year, so deal with it. They can walk over and enjoy the festival, or they can arrange to go on vacation, or plan a day trip on the day of the concert, or they can sit at home and pout. But they cannot demand that the Lilac Festival be done their way and only their way. Please let the concert and all other events go on as planned, and don't cave to the demands of those few people.
S. J. Farrell, Rochester
I suspect that City's article on pornography at the University of Rochester sparked a never-ending debate. And the back-and-forth bickering will, no doubt, continue indefinitely. I could not, however, resist the temptation to respond to Therese O'Connor's remarks (The Mail, April 16).
Like the characters in Friends that she cites, Ms. O'Connor should not rely on her favorite sitcom for information about the real world. The preconception that feminism necessarily equals anti-porn is an unsubstantiated fallacy. Unlike Ms. O'Connor, I do not presume to speak for the Women's Studies department at the U of R (as though the department is of a singular consciousness). My suspicion about the faculty's silence is that the issue of pornography is much more complicated and far from as black and white as Ms. O'Connor views it.
The lack of comment could also be due to factors as practical as lack of time --- we academics are a busy lot.
More to the point, Ms. O'Connor's reaction (and I'm sure she isn't alone in her response) rests on rather tenuous assumptions. Not all (and probably not even most) pornography privileges male (heterosexual) fantasy or even male (heterosexual) dominance. Consider pornography made by and for homosexual men and women. What about S&M porn in which a woman is the top and a man is the bottom? Do these forms of pornography simply appeal to male fantasies of being dominated or can women take pleasure in the fantasy of dominating men?
Even within the realm of more-or-less vanilla forms of pornography, industry veterans such as Annie Sprinkle and Nina Hartley, who consider themselves feminists, believe that when conceived and produced properly, pornography can be healthy, educational, and liberating for women. And numerous feminist theorists agree.
But what does "feminist" mean, anyway? As for the position that "the female viewer needs to be a good sport to enjoy it," does that mean that lesbians who enjoy watching pornography are not real women? I know plenty of women who enjoy watching not only straight porn, but a group of former female neighbors of mine once became ecstatic at the spectacle of two men having sex with one another.
Joseph Cameron, Rosewood Terrace
There's no group out to destroy the Gay Alliance ("Path of the Rainbow," April 16). Quite to the contrary, the people who've spoken up are passionately in support of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley and are grateful for the services offered through the years.
The GAGV has been a leader in the Rochester community, providing training and education in the ongoing effort to eradicate homophobia, and we look forward to an even brighter future. But some members have concerns about issues the board seems to want to ignore. The Alliance for Accountability wants to allow those people a voice and a way to get their message to our community.
You can read for yourself the statements at www.groups.yahoo.com/group/allianceforaccountability or follow the links from GayRochester.com.
Bunny Kramer, Shay Road, Naples
On to the parade!
Let us all rejoice that the American invasion of Iraq is over, that the carnage and killing have stopped, that it was a relatively short war.
And now that our magnificent military forces --- with the best-equipped soldiers the world has ever known, backed up by aircraft carriers and other naval forces, operating from well-stocked forward bases, with an air force capable of dropping soldiers anywhere and bombing any target essentially without opposition day and night, using the latest weapons of mass destruction such as 3,000 pound bombs and cluster bombs --- have triumphed over the rag-tag forces of a third-world country further impoverished by 10 years of sanctions, let us rejoice and make plans for an appropriate victory celebration.
First, there could be a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue, after which the celebration could shift to Washington for a parade down Constitution Avenue, where scantily clad virgins would strew rose petals before a tank bearing our glorious leaders, Bush, Rumsfeld, Chaney, Perle, Wolfowitz, and the others who have pulled the president's strings.
Next could come tanks and platoons of fully armed soldiers, followed by a line of Iraqi soldiers on foot and in chains including, if possible, Saddam Hussein and his sons. Lastly: military vehicles pulling trailers on which stand replica oil derricks, symbols of the spoils.
The route would then be to the Supreme Court building, where the Republican majority would place a laurel wreath on George Bush's head and proclaim him Caesar.
Douglas Demetrios Lyttle, Downing Drive, Pittsford