Page 12


ekfizteca WZit 2600 E. 7th St. Austin, Texas 477-4701 vegetarian food LI because they are such a small component of the total cost of doing business. The major tax burdens associated with doing business are income tax and social security at the federal level, and property taxes at the local level. In addition, the cost of taxes must be compared with the benefits that are purchased with tax dollars. Business executives who are considering a move to, say Houston, from another state are much more likely to be influenced by the fact that the state is slashing funding for higher education and that the city may lay off police officers, than they are by the absence of a state income tax. Stephen K. Huber Houston False Dichotomies As a folklorist whose area of expertise includes folk art, material culture, and museum studies, I wish to comment on Julie Ardery’s review, “Folk Art Mishandled” \(TO, concerned the exhibit “Handmade and Heartfelt: Contemporary Folk Art in Texas” curated by Pat Jasper and Kay Turner of Texas Folklife Resources times while it was at Laguna Gloria and found it to be dynamic and exciting. I can report that the audience response that I overheard while viewing the exhibit was consistently enthusiastic as well. Ardery’s review largely negative is powerfully written and an initial reading can lead one to be swayed by her convincing rhetoric. Fortunately, and to the credit of The Texas Observer, Ardery’s review is followed by a thoughtful response written by Turner and Jasper. There is no doubt that Ardery raises some important questions such as the potential impact that publicity and the opportunity to sell their works has on individual folk artists. As advocates for the documentation and interpretation of folk art, the members of TFR have shown an awareness of these issues. Most folklorists, especially those who work in the public sector, are facing similar issues. These are questions to which there is no easy answer, although, in my opinion, Jasper and Turner rightly conclude that one must turn to the folk artists themselves in trying to evaluate the consequences of publicity and economic factors. Ardery rightly points out that certain mistakes were made in the process of producing the exhibit, such as the removal of Bill Tolbert’s tombstones from his front yard without his permission. Jasper and Turner readily admit that this was a mistake. One must consider that in any organization mistakes will be made, especially an overworked organization such as TFR. In discussing ethics, one wonders about Ardery’s own method of collecting data. She cites commentary by members of TFR that seems particularly damning. Granted, she had the curators’ permission to tape-record their conversation, still, one must ask the following: What was the context in which those statements were made? Did Ardery select only those comments that supported her claims, while ignoring others, particularly ignoring the curators’ expressions of the overall aims of TFR? I must echo the response of Jasper and Turner that a class-based analysis such as Ardery’s sets up false dichotomies. Ardery implies that the terms “tradition” and “folk” are equivalent to “poor” and “lower class.” This is a misconception that folklorists have been struggling to correct for many years. Folklore, defined as “artistic behavior reflecting community values,” can certainly be found in all classes of society. The terms “folk,” “popular,” and “elite” are not rigid class-bound constructions. Furthermore, as pertains to this particular exhibit, Jasper and Turner emphasize that the artists whose work was displayed cannot be categorized solely as “poor” or “lower class.” TFR has been responsible for numerous projects of great importance, always emphasizing the importance of the individual artist. Jasper, Turner, and Peterson are creditable people whose intent has been, not to exploit folk artists, but to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of a form of artistic expression that suffers from neglect and, sometimes, wanton destruction. M. Jane Young Assistant Professor Folklore and Anthropology UT-Austin In Support I have known Pat Jasper and Kay Turner, founders of the Texas Folklife Resources, for almost ten years. They have made invaluable contributions in preserving and promoting Texas folk art, and should be encouraged and supported not vilified. Ruthe Winegarten Austin Waste Not I just finished reading Terry FitzPatrick’s article, “The DOE Gets an Earful” \(TO, whelming agreement with Bonnie Titcom, with Citizens Against Nuclear are both in horrifying danger from nuclear wastes connected with nuclear reactors, and other nuclear-related deployments. According to the 1982 Radiation in America Map in the book, Killing Our Own: 1.In 1982, the 50 states in America had 226 nuclear waste dumps. 2.Only five states, Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi, Montana, and New Hampshire had no dumps \(16 in each state were California and New York. 4.Colorado was next in line with 15 nuclear waste dumps. 5.Ohio and Delaware were next with ten nuclear waste dumps in each state. 6.Texas shared the shame of nine nuclear waste dumps, along with the states of Maryland and Wyoming. Let me close by saying that each Texas citizen must stand strongly against the fatal dangers unloosed by the U.S. government-sponsored, grimly-driving DOE. The danger is directed to all living creatures. We should be called, not only to our duty, but also to our love for all living creatures. High on that list, read the words, the unborn . . . -“whose fetal size and vulnerability make them infinitely susceptible to even the tiniest doses of radiation … ” and remember that all humans must go through the fetal stage therefore, the whole species is at risk. Willo L. Currier Temple 1 -I -.I -_J-1,–Jr=1,,Jr=1,-.,-, East Dallas Printing Company Full Service Union Printing 211 S. Peak Dallas, Tx 75226 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5