Jason Woltjen
New Bern, North Carolina

Artistic licentiousness

I wanted to thank Jerry Saltz for his last two articles ["Lesser New York," March 30-April 5 and "The Emperor's New Paintings," April 6-12]. When I look at the current art world, and exhibits such as the P.S.1 show ("Greater New York") and Damien Hirst's "The Elusive Truth" I'm just glad that someone is exposing these people and institutions for what is really happening. I hope that through Saltz's writing the public will be as turned off by these things as he is and be more critical of what they are actually looking at.

Fernando Mastrangelo
Bushwick, Brooklyn

Less is more, more or less

Re Anya Kamenetz's "Generation Debt: Kids in the Thrall" [March 23-29]: I disagree very much with the statement that Congress does not care about minimum-wage jobs; I believe that they care very much about those jobs, and that's why they did not raise the minimum wage. Every company that has minimum-wage employees would need to raise the price of its goods and services to cover this increased cost; McDonald's would have the $2.50 value menu instead of the dollar value menu. The extra money earned by minimum-wage employees would be spent on items with higher prices. Unless there is an equivalent pay raise for skilled laborers, when the prices went up, those workers would actually be earning less. There are also production or manufacturing (assembly line) jobs that would be forced to raise the salaries of employees. If we force them to raise wages, we are encouraging the employer to outsource jobs to other countries. A well-paid unskilled manufacturing employee in Mexico makes $30 a week, a very good salary in Mexico. Why pay someone $50 a day here in the U.S. when you can pay the same employee less for the entire week?

Melvin N. Schneider III
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Francis Davis's outstanding article on Dave Douglas's and Dave Holland's new labels ["Resist Labels, Reverse Roles," March 23-29] had one small omission. There was one other important black-owned '70s jazz label started by a musician. That was Gene Russell's Black Jazz, a company that issued releases by Doug Carn, Walter Bishop Jr., Henry Franklin, Russell, and several others, and arguably made as much of a contribution to the dynamic of African American-owned and -operated record companies of that era as Strata-East (which Davis mentions). I raise this only because Black Jazz had the same mission as Strata-East—fighting to see that black jazz artists be fairly recognized, get compensated for their work, and retain control of their masters.

Ron Wynn
Nashville, Tennessee

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