Abdul’s statement on media I must take issue with Abdul, whose new radio program on 1430 AM (WXNT) was the subject of “New Voice in the Morning” in your Sept. 29 issue (Culture Vulture). He said, “The media is anti-establishment.” From someone who claims to do his homework, nothing could be further from the truth. Clear Channel, the corporate behemoth of radio, owns more than 1,200 radio stations nationwide. ABC is owned by Disney. NBC is owned by General Electric. CBS is owned by Viacom. CNN and Time Magazine are owned by AOL Time Warner. NewsCorp (Rupert Murdoch’s evil empire) owns Fox “News.” The New York Times and the Washington Post (which owns Newsweek magazine), arguably the country’s two most respected newspapers, are run by for-profit, publicly traded corporations. Even Indianapolis has its own mini-corporate media empire: Emmis Communications, which owns 27 domestic radio stations and 16 television stations, according to the company’s Web site. The media isn’t anti-establishment — the media IS the establishment. And the result, helped by a variety of other factors, is the bland, mediocre, slave-to-authority journalism put forth by most, if not all, of the major media outlets across the country. It’s the reason independent newspapers like NUVO are so important.
Weekly slap in the face
It really took a lot to hold me back from responding to this review (Cuisine, “A Thousand and One Persian Kabobs,” Oct. 6-13). Week after week, this guy fetishizes food, bravo bravo. But this week he fetishizes my own culture, that of Persia (known to most of you as Iran). Using the magic red carpet, hints here and there to various pan-Middle Eastern mainstays (1,001 Persian kabobs? Dining like Sultans? Treated like kings?), and the most predictable gringoism: calling Persian food Middle Eastern, a typical symplistic attitude held by most people. But I guess it’s up to the Western critics to map the world in terms of cuisine. Those critics who often force Turkish and Persian restaurants to rebrand their dishes as Lebanese or Greek. Please.
And as for Mary’s little friend (a disgusting comment meant only to raise eyebrows) not being served for the naive palates of Fishers, just the usual weekly slap in the face for the “unsophisticated” diners of Indianapolis.
Stereotypical catchphrasesWell, I don’t quite know where to start (Cuisine, “A Thousand and One Persian Kabobs,” Oct. 6-13), except maybe with the sexist comment about the lack of a belly dancer. That, combined with the lead paragraph which is nothing more than a string of racial slurs makes me ashamed to be a U.S. citizen. It’s one thing to compose honest reviews that help customers decide where to whet their palate. Quite another to reduce their culture to stereotypical catchphrases disguised in cuisine. I realize my reaction may sound extreme at best. However, I firmly believe we need to start making the peace somewhere. Apparently, the pages of NUVO is not the place. What a shame.
Incestuous or not? Thanks to David Hoppe for commenting upon the recent $250,000 in awards for public art projects in the Major Public Projects category (Hoppe, “Atlas and Public Art,” Oct. 6-13). As a member of the public art program’s advisory committee (but not a selection panelist), I must point out several facts which may help readers evaluate for themselves whether the process was incestuous or not.
First, the Major Public Projects category was designed for projects with a total budget of $40,000 or more and required the kind of documentation that, given the short timeline involved, was best able to be provided by major art institutions. Because of the necessity for the permissions to place these works to be secured prior to applying for funds, naturally most of them were located on the institutions’ own property.
Second, a condition of serving on the selection panel was that panel members could not review applications involved with their own institutions. The panel members with conflicts signed a conflict-of-interest form in advance and were asked to leave the room when proposals from their institutions were being discussed and scored. They were not allowed to score their own projects.
The article seems to raise the question of why these individuals were on the selection panel at all, and the answer is simple. The visual arts community in Indianapolis is small and it is difficult to imagine a qualified selection panel without representation from a major institution that is also likely to submit an application for funding. I am familiar with both individuals named in the article and I know each to be a person of integrity who places her allegiance to the profession before allegiance to her institution when serving on such panels.
Finally, readers should know that there are additional public art projects that are scheduled to be implemented within the next one to five years under various programs. Most of these will have more of a chance for public input on their location and selection. Meanwhile, I encourage all readers to take advantage of the free access to the projects named in the article even if it means detouring from their daily routine for a few moments. It will be well worth the trip.
Julia Muney Moore