Re Tom Hull's article about the way Smooth Jazz squeezes out all other jazz but the Dead Legends ["Mostly Harmless," April 13-19]:Amen. Amen. Amen. Thanks for clarifying something that I have been feeling for a long, long time. Consequently I buy digitized CDs of the living legends, even as they slowly fade away. Two of my longtime hangouts were Real Jazz cruises and Ravinia. Real Jazz, no way. What's an 82-year-old supposed to do? I watched and listened as Nicholas Payton evolved. So make each note like Count Basie. Basie who?
Re John Giuffo's "Report From the Upper West Bank" [April 6-12]:While both sides of the Columbia Unbecoming debate fling around the useless and empty term academic freedom, nobody has bothered to examine one of the most pertinent angles of the case. Why is it that one of the few thriving centers of Middle Eastern and Asian studies has come under attack in a country and a profession where there is already very little tolerance for the views of people from the Middle Eastespecially those expressed by people of color? While anti-Semitism certainly exists on campuses across America, the level of anti-Arab violence, on campus and off, is at an all-time high. Those who have attacked the faculty of the Middle East studies department have already made the reckless move of conflating pro-Palestinian advocacy and scholarship with anti-Semitism. In demanding that Columbia create a fair and balanced faculty, they have ignored the ponderous and weighty support given the state of Israel by scholars around the country, deeply prejudiced public opinion, and the mechanisms of federal government. Yes, anti-Semitism is deplorable. We should acknowledge and interrogate it in all its forms, just as we should come to grips with anti-Arab violence committed by U.S. citizens at home and abroad, in word and deed, on a daily basis.