City Paper is not for tourists
Re: “The End of an Error” (2/22): It is not the end but the beginning. As I talk with the faculty and staff at Woodson, they thought the article was awful and so one-sided. Yet, when I talk with the alumni and former staff members, they find the article to be on-point and accurate.
Many people come to Woodson and ask the question of how, what, and why in reference to the building design. But in its heyday, Woodson High School was the premier school of its kind. You have Banneker now, but it was Woodson in the early years; you have Duke Ellington, but it was Woodson. Case in point: When these schools had to staff their respective schools, the top-rated teachers came from Woodson.
What you entered might have looked like a jail, but you were not leaving there with a jail mentality or expectation for that matter. You can ask any or our formidable sport opponents: There was nothing like the “Warrior Chant” at a sporting event; it is as memorable and infectious as “Hail to the Redskins.”
There are only two high schools in this city that have recognizable nicknames: They are Woodson and Eastern, respectively, with Eastern being known as the Pride of Capitol Hill.
Yet, Woodson is known by various names. Some will always say the Tower of Power, but the newer generation will proudly announce that they go to H.D.
As the new design of the school was developed and the final design was shown, there was a group of students who said it is no longer going to be a Tower of Power—and then they started saying we are going to call it the “Palace of Power.” They started rapping and singing “We were the T-O-P, but now we will be the P-O-P” as the design team and others pretty much agreed that the Palace of Pride will be produced!
Dave McKenna (Cheap Seats, “Black Revisionist History Month,” 2/22) quotes Terry Greene on Remember the Titans: “It’s like people in the city don’t care about the truth anymore. Even people who were there act like they weren’t there, because of the movie.” Granted, Hollywood’s treatment of actual, historical facts almost invariably gives way to artistic license, and the story of the T.C. Williams football team and the desegregation of Alexandria’s schools is no exception. That being said, Greene’s obsessive complaints strike me as personal and self-serving.
Thank you for “Desert Son” (1/25) on novelist Joe McGinniss Jr. This kind of reporting presents a wholesome image; a man who is serious about his responsibilities (he’s holding off on writing another book to focus on raising his son) and really cares (he worked for San Francisco’s children’s welfare agency but couldn’t take the bureaucratic maneuvering trumping the agency’s mission) without any sacrifice of mannishness or vogue. I would vote for him for city council, and Mayor Fenty ought to be banging on his door to put him in charge cleaning up the colossal catastrophe at D.C.’s children’s welfare agency.
That article author Mark Athitakis and photographer Darrow Montgomery conveyed this positive, healthy image shows that City Paper’s bad rap for a kind of mercenary “cash-on-the-barrelhead” decadence with all these ads for topless, bottomless, whatever pays for advertising is not entirely fair. And along with those ads for raunch du jour comes some hard-hitting reporting on the city’s lax and inept response to crime, such as prosecutors’ overcaution about papering property damage (“Tire Irony,” 1/25) in defense of traditional values.
Come at the king, you best not miss
The next time Mark Athitakis attempts to make the front page cover story by bashing what is, arguably the smartest, most well-written show on television (as is evidenced by the recent “Best Dramatic Series” award given by the WGA), please make sure that either he or his absent-minded editors checks to make sure that there are no spelling errors in the first sentence of the article (“What Happened to Our Show?” 2/1). Unless of course he was trying to subtly make fun of his own stance on the program by misspelling the word “integrity” (which he claims the show has lost).
I am offended by the fact that you consider The Wire “Our Show”, considering you are condemning a show about the political and bureaucratic corruption in Baltimore while you are writing for the Washington City Paper, based in the city with the greatest amount of political and bureaucratic corruption ever recorded in modern history.
Ellicott City, Md.
This Week’s Letter About mount Pleasant
Re: The ongoing discussion about live music in Mount Pleasant (any number of articles, 1998–present): Why is it that Laurie Collins is the only person you ever see quoted backing a live music ban, besides her attorney? Hear Mount Pleasant brought around 20 neighborhood supporters to the ABC Board hearing last week, to go with its thousands of petition signatures and coalition co-sponsors, and the group has a transparent steering committee structure. So, if the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance really is an association of the “neighborhood,” who are the other members, and how many are there? And I don’t mean how many people have paid dues in the last 10 years. Have they ever even tried to prove that more than a handful of Mount Pleasant residents think the main street is at risk of turning into Adams Morgan? Let’s be honest. Laurie Collins is acting alone, way out of step with the neighborhood. She’s terrific at getting press coverage for her cause, but it’s just that: hers. Here’s to hoping responsible local journalists reveal the reality on the ground—saying Mount Pleasant residents are divided on the issue is like saying D.C. voters are divided on George W. Bush.
Andrew Willis Garcés
16th Street Heights