Regarding last week’s cover story about photographer JD Dragan:
I am black, I am a photographer and I saw the show. The work was banal, stereotypical and derivative. Some Mapplethorpe, some Serrano; it’s all been done before. Just like Michelle Bachman, it proves that white people should probably back up off slavery. You guys just don’t get it. Not then and not now. Slavery is more than a hot button issue to play with to a black man. So some white guy gets off on muscle bound black studs; he gets a show and the cover of the paper. Meanwhile actual black photographers are still excluded. I guess things have not changed all that much, have they?
JAMES MORTON, via email
I had to laugh when I read that someone who knows Dragan was quoted as saying “(His) work is much more subtle and soft” than Robert Mapplethorpe. Was the friend describing the “soft” way a handgun was held over a subject’s taught buttocks, or the “subtle” draping of a noose around the same subject’s muscular back? It’s no wonder Dragan hates being compared to Mapplethorpe. But he must know that his work is only relevant in that it is a poor imitation. Just because there is a lot of dick does not mean it is “edgy,” and just because the artist lives in Philly does not mean he deserves the cover. I can’t decide who is more gimmicky, Dragan or PW.
NICK COOPER, via email
Regarding Aaron Kase’s news feature on the failure of a Germantown supermarket due to pay-to-play practices:
I don’t know the political angle on the Chelten Plaza project, but my eyebrows rose at the phrase “when grocery stores fail in areas that sorely need them.” I just moved into this neighborhood a couple months ago, but it didn’t take long to discover that there’s a Pathmark at Chelten and Wayne avenues. That’s just one block over from Chelten and Pulaski. I have nothing against another grocery store, but this is hardly an area that “sorely needs” one. If I have any issue with the plan to move the Save-A-Lot, it’s only that C&P would be less convenient than its current location, which is even closer to me than the Pathmark.
ERIC HAMELL, via email
Whether Burns is getting away with pay-to-play murder I couldn’t say, but the loss of the Germantown Fresh Grocer was no great one. I live less than a mile from it; after several visits, I went there only for ice, and usually regretted even that. Dirty, understaffed and rude. The nearby Pathmark isn’t much (if any) better. I go all the way to Andorra or White Marsh for a decent supermarket and I await the opening of the ShopRite at TastyKake’s old property with rapt anticipation.
DENNIS C. McGRATH, via philadelphiaweekly.com
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