I just wanted to say thank you for writing this article `“Smackdown!,” April 3`. Most of these guys are good friends of mine and are very proud of their sport. Thanks so much for representing them in such an honest light.

Alicia Mercado, via the Internet

I’m glad to see that Billy Manes was at least as angry as I have been at the WrestleManiArt frippery, and enough so to not simply vote with his feet like I did (by not going to the event) but by showing up and writing a fantastic Blister `April 3` on how some of the most respected leaders in the local art community totally sold out and embarrassed the rest of us. Appropriately, Manes’ column was printed in the same issue as a letter from someone criticizing Orlando Weekly writer Seth Kubersky for being, um, critical of the CityArts Factory. Would that he were.

I’m not angry at the WWE for being true-to-form (tasteless) nor the cash-strapped CityArts Factory for, I suppose, getting some cash, nor Mayor Dyer for, well, whatever. However, people like Margot Knight (the president and CEO of United Arts, our local arts grant-giving
organization) were thought to be above this sort of thing, and to not speak so glowingly about something as atrocious as an art show put on by pro wrestlers. That kind of imprudence can make one lose confidence in the jurying abilities of any such organization. (“I’m going to apply to these people for an artist grant?”)

As an artist I don’t like crossing certain lines, such as the one between artists and journalists, but this merits my written protest. I considered organizing an actual protest, but having never really been in one before I couldn’t think of any fun ways to say, “This is extremely stupid” on a placard. Fortunately we have Billy Manes to do our dirty work for us.

  Rick Jones, Orlando

All of these activists have hit the nail on the head `“When doves cry,” April 3`. Lynch’s observation that “we” let it get this way is piercing. A reporter recently asked me if it didn’t make me feel good that I knew the war was wrong before it started. I asked how it could possibly make me feel good that hundreds of thousands of innocent people and many thousands of our committed soldiers have died or been forever wounded by a war of choice waged for profit?

Being right is little consolation for activists. When the majority of our fellow citizens are willing to stand up, speak out, speak up and demand better, things will change. What did you do today to stop the madness?


How disappointed I was to learn that the Bahia Shrine of Orlando will host a circus featuring animals. Each year the Shriners sponsor the Royal Hanneford Circus, a circus
with a long list of animal violations including poor animal care, dangerous animal rampages and even tuberculosis outbreaks (elephants can carry tuberculosis), according to the USDA.

Animal in the circus live sad and pitiful lives. Animals travel from city to city in train cars and trailers forced to perform unnatural and silly stunts. When looking at an elephant standing on her hind legs or balancing a human, ever wonder how wild animals are trained to do such tricks? Fear and intimidation. With fear and intimidation almost any animal will do what you like, and animal circuses use this tactic to fill their pockets with money.

Money from the Shrine circus does not benefit children of the Shrine hospitals, but rather Shrine temple activities, as it states in their programs. In fact according to an investigation done by the New York Times, less than 2 percent of the hospitals budget comes from money raised by Shrine temples. The Shriners could easily still have their circus, just without animals. Children love clowns, jugglers, acrobats and other human performances. Leave the animals out of it.

Carla Wilson, Orlando

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