Letter From thenLower Rightnby John Shelton ReednThe Last Round-upnChronicles has a leisurely — almostnSouthern — production schedule,nwhich means that you should be readingnthis just about the time the dogwoodsnblossom. I’m writing it, though,nas 1989 draws to a close, ending andecade that, all things considered,ncould have been worse. But lest wenwax too smug about the success ofnvoodoo economics and Star Wars diplomacy,nlet’s consider some recent,nrevolting developments on the culturalnfront.nThe big news in the art world lastnyear was the attempt by my state’snsenior senator to impose fascisticnthought control. This was the sort ofnlanguage generally used to describenSenator Helms’s proposal, inspired byna couple of particularly raunchy examples,nthat taxpayers’ money not be usednto support obscene art. As it happens,nwhen I was in DC last August, I snucknoff (in the interests of science) to seenMr. Mapplethorpe’s notorious photographs—nand I wish I hadn’t. WhennJimmy Walker said that no girl was evernruined by a book he revealed his contemptnfor books, if not for girls. If anpicture’s worth a thousand words, thesenphotographs add up to a book thatncould sure bend an impressionablenyoung mind out of shape. Even Inpicked up a few images that will benwith me for a while.nIn fact, I think Jesse wimped out onnthis one. He just wanted to deny fundsnto this exhibit; me, I’d shut it down andnput an armed guard on the door.nThirty years ago these photographsncould not have been publicly displayednin any American community, and Indon’t think our country’s a better placennow because they can be.nWhen it comes to state support fornsadomasochistic homosexual art, givenme Georgia State Representative BillynCORRESPONDENCEnRandall’s bill to make Little Richard’sn”Tutti Frutti” the official rock and rollnsong of Georgia. (One clause of thenbill reads: “WHEREAS, a wop bop anloo bop ba lop bam boom.” RepresentativenRandall is 45, a dangerous age.)nLast I heard the bill had stalled, whichnis a shame: Georgia ought somehow tonhonor the best-known poet from Maconnsince Sidney Lanier.nThe other big First Amendmentnnews last year, of course, was thendecision by the Eleventh Gircuit Courtnof Appeals that pre-game prayers atnDouglas County (Georgia) HighnSchool football games violated the separationnof church and state. Time reportednthat fans in Sylacauga, Alabama,nresponded with mass chantingnof the Lord’s Prayer at the start of theirnteam’s first three games (which thenteam won). In Escambia County,nFlorida, preachers with bullhorns lednthe crowd in prayer. And in Chatsworth,nGeorgia, fans turned their radiosnto full volume as the local stationnbroadcast a prayer. “There’s more thannone way to skin a cat,” the stationnmanager told Time.nIn Montgomery, pre-game prayersnat the municipal stadium were led bynthe Honorable Emory Folmar himself.nMr. Folmar, mayor of Montgomery, isna colorful character known to many ofnhis subjects as “the Mayortollah.”nAbout his habit of traveling armed, Inonce heard this joke:nQ: Why does Emory carry annickle-plated revolver?nA: So it won’t rust in thenshower.nDown the road at Tuscaloosa, campusnpolice at ‘Bama are also ready fornwhatever comes along — for now. Anstudy commission has concluded, however,nthat their purchase of automaticnshotguns and semiautomatic pistols wasn”unnecessary and unwarranted.” Accordingnto the student newspaper. ThenCrimson White, the report also criticizednthe campus police for setting upna SWT unit. This kind of negativitynwould never have been tolerated whennthe Bear was running things.nnnBut that’s the Second Amendment.nGetting back to the First, maybe wencan forgive the ACLU a few excessesnfor its defense of the right of juniornhigh students in Durham, North Carolina,nto wear rebel flag patches on theirnjackets. Such patches were banned bynadministrative edict, you may recall, asn”likely to cause trouble.” Last fall, afterna successful suit in district court, thenflags were readmitted to the classroom.nSo far they’ve caused no trouble.nThat can’t be said for what BridgetnFonda did with the same flag in Shagnor for the flag bikini worn by anotherncharacter in that movie, which desecra^ntion elicited spirited protest from atnleast one member of the Sons ofnConfederate Veterans. Personally, Inthought the bikini was rather fetching,nbut if we have to do something aboutnit, I have an idea. I read that a Tennesseenlegislator has introduced a bill thatnwould levy a fine of $ 1.00 on anyonenconvicted of assaulting someone who isnburning an American flag. Well, let’snpunish ripping off a Confederate flagnbikini with about the same severity.n(Incidentally, these Tennesseans takenthe flag-burning threat seriously. ServpronIndustries, of Gallatin, offers tonfireproof your flag to three thousandndegrees.)nOf course the young Miss Fonda’snindiscretion is nothing compared to hernaunt’s. Some folks down here are stillnLIBERAL ARTSnA WITNESS FORnNORIEGA’S DEFENSEnElliott Abrams, as Assistant Secretary fornInter-American Affairs, in an April 21,n1986, testimony before the Committeenon Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee onnWestern Hemisphere Affairs: “The subcommitteenhas expressed concern regardingnnarcotics in Panama. In thenmatters of controlling the production ofntrafficking in drugs or precursor chemicals,nwe have received excellent cooperationnfrom Panama’s civil and law enforcementnauthorities.”nAPRIL 1990/41n