Hillary's JobDuring the campaign of 1992, it...


Hillary's Job

During the campaign of 1992, it was made evident that -- in the event her husband became president -- Hillary Rodham Clinton would not be "staying home and baking cookies," that in fact she would go to work alongside her husband.

The people who voted for Bill Clinton -- those who were paying attention, anyway -- implicitly approved of this partnership. Some of us were excited about it.

James Fisher (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 5) misses this point entirely, sniffing that neither management theory nor Roman history support this model of governance.

Well, that would be the definitive nature of "change," wouldn't it?

As for accountability, Mrs. Clinton serves as an extension of her husband. Bill Clinton is directly and irrevocably responsible for his wife's performance, more so than for any of his appointed staff.

If she fouls up, he suffers the consequences. It's that simple. Neither divorce nor lame excuse will serve to deflect blame from Bill Clinton.

Walking a public tightrope, Mrs. Clinton remains focused on her assignment and -- by most accounts -- has done a very fine job of it so far.

Yes, it is "Hillary's job," and thank goodness it's in such good hands.

Lea Jones


Public Disservice

Baltimore City State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms was accused in The Sun of improperly halting the search of an attorney's residence in connection with a narcotics investigation.

In his Jan. 4 letter, he conclusively demonstrated why The Sun's allegations were utterly false, a conclusion supported by the state special prosecutor's investigation of the matter.

Mr. Simms' modesty, however, prevented him from making an important point about the unfairness of The Sun's charges.

The Sun must have failed to research Mr. Simms' career before assassinating his character.

Had it done so, the newspaper would have learned from Mr. Simms' former colleagues at the U.S. Attorney's office, from those who work under him at the State's Attorney's office and from those lawyers who have faced off against Mr. Simms that his reputation for integrity has been, and should remain, second to none among the state's law enforcement officials. Your reporting completely ignored Mr. Simms' impeccable record of public service.

The Sun is the only daily in town. As such it has a heightened responsibility to provide fair and accurate reporting of our public officials. The Sun does a serious disservice to its readership when, as in the case of Mr. Simms, it fails in this responsibility.

Charles P. Scheeler


Innocent Man

How is it possible that an innocent man can be found guilty of murder and sentenced to death?

Just ask Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra O'Connor, and she will tell you, "The evidence against the defendant was extremely strong."

After reading the lengthy article in The Sun Jan. 9, it is quite clear that she does not know what she is doing. Even after Kurt Bloodsworth was found innocent of the murder, she has refused to apologize and admit to her mistakes.

I think it all boils down to gross incompetence . . .

Kalle Teel


McLean Coverage

Samuel L. Banks, a periodic contributor to The Sun's letters page, objected (Dec. 29) to the "epidemic proportions" of publicity given to revelations concerning Baltimore City Comptroller Jackie McLean.

With a touch of self-righteousness . . he presumes to educate us in the well-known -- the concept of the presumption of innocence.

But this is nonsense. Mrs. McLean has not been denied this presumption in any of the accounts appearing in The Sun. Indeed, as is common with all news media, the world "alleged" is religiously and liberally used.

In his final paragraph Dec. 29, Mr. Banks compounds his pretentious nonsense by the preposterous suggestion that The Sun has full control as to how or whether the McLean allegations will proceed and should therefore desist in any further reporting.

All of this is part and parcel of the hackneyed complaint that a person accused of a crime is being "tried and convicted in the media" when in fact the public, for the most part, is simply being apprised of available information and continuing developments.

When it comes to those on the public payroll, citizens have an unassailable right to every scrap of information obtainable, and for that they must depend primarily on newspapers. To call this informing of the public "journalistic poisoning of the well" is misguided hyperbole.

It would be well to recall that among the most vital functions of a free press is to keep the citizenry informed of what its government is doing, for there is a long and unhappy record of dereliction and self-aggrandizement on the part of public employees. A minority, of course. But it exists.

Martin W. Mayer


The Difficult Life of an American Artist

I take great issue with many of the points Ferebe Streett made in her commentary "Capitalism's Corruption of Art" (Jan. 6).

With all due respect to Ms. Streett, a fellow artist and one who has collected my work, I believe she has oversimplified the art world. She has mired her views in misguided bitterness while perpetuating several myths concerning art and the art world.

Ms. Streett complains about capitalism in the art world and its corrupting influence when she writes, "Artists used to spend time perfecting their craft, and teaching it to dedicated students. Now they all want to be rich and famous."

Are artists not supposed to be compensated for their work? This romantic view of artist as Kirk Douglas/Vincent van Gogh has little to do with the hard work, organization and dedication required to be an artist today.

I would remind Ms. Streett that in the past all artists -- Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and even Vincent van Gogh among them -- sought compensation for their work.

Ms. Streett states, "Nowadays, anyone with a good head for business can be an artist." But anyone with a good head for business wouldn't want to be an artist.

It's not easy. And nobody said it would be. The hours are long, the pay is low and nobody gives you any respect.

I've had people tell me that they thought artists were all perverts and homosexuals. Attitudes like Ms. Streett's only help marginalization of the artist and encourage these ludicrous romantic views of the artist as destitute but divinely inspired saint.

Many of Ms. Streett's complaints revolve around the university teaching and tenure system, a topic that goes far beyond the art world.

Yes, it's difficult to find teaching jobs, not because of "greedy celebrity artists" but because of demographics. Baby boomers are far beyond college age, and universities are shrinking. Rising costs and competition from other schools have pressured universities to keep much of their staff part time and give tenure out sparingly to those who add to the prestige (and money) to the institution.

Throughout her commentary, Ms. Streett complains about the difficulty of getting a teaching position. It sounds like sour grapes.

Quit whining, make some art. Far too many artists are overly concerned about teaching but not about making art. They're putting the horse before the cart.

Besides, universities have been a drain on the art world by taking too many talents out of the community.

Finally, complaining about art students concentrating on non-figurative art forms ignores major portions of art history, pigeon-holing the definition of art into ideas which only exist in the Western world and then only since the Renaissance.

Most of the planet's art does not concern itself with "realistic" forms. Realism is a recent trend and a small part of a wonderful diverse world of art.

The general public has a hard time appreciating any art that doesn't meet Ms. Streett's narrow specifications. Accordingly, The Sun's critic, John Dorsey, focuses mainly on art that meets the public's expectations, and people like CBS correspondent Morley Safer and U.S. Senator Jesse Helms make money by preying on the American public's ignorance.

The majority of the public doesn't have the patience for symphonies or the sensitivity for visual art. Too many of us live in front of the television set, facing an overload of confusing images.

Lacking the tools to view the world and critique our society, we band together in angry mobs around the hot topic of the day.

I'm saddened to see Ms. Streett fall victim in much the same way -- beating up on the arts instead of building on them, perpetuating myths and stereotypes and reinforcing prejudices.

Daniel Schiavone


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