Musicians ill-served by their strategy

The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are like children playing with fire. They have no idea how much damage they might cause in their contract dispute. Nothing in the published bios of the musicians' leadership indicates the education, experience or other expertise to manage a multimillion-dollar organization.

Amid their red herrings, straw men, ad hominem attacks, motivation-­questioning, demonizing and other fallacious distractions, the musicians' leaders and their sympathizers have failed to address the core issue: How can the orchestra fulfill its mission in a financially sustainable way? Surely it cannot do so when its expenses exceed its revenues. No amount of rhetorical posturing can wish away that simple fact.

The musicians understandably are frustrated and angry about how they have been affected by the same economic conditions that have cost millions of other Americans their jobs and income. Unfortunately, it appears that their leaders have preyed upon that discontent to foster a mob mentality that is leading the musicians headlong into chaos.

A better strategy would be for the musicians to recognize the substantial interests they have in common with the Minnesota Orchestral Association. A first step would be for the musicians to find leadership that is more sagacious about the core issue and their fundamental goal.

Bill Fruen, Wayzata

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North Dakota field is good for humanity

The May 3 Letter of the Day ("North Dakota oil field's size is anything but good news") expressed dismay at the fact that there are those who wish to take advantage of the abundant resources available in the North Dakota oil fields.

While the letter writer came across as a true believer in matters of the environment, could we please bring some common sense into the discussion? Our economy, and growing economies around the world, are driven by fossil fuels and will be for years to come.

The question should be: Which country do we want to monitor, regulate and profit from the exploration? Which country will make sure it occurs in a safe and sensible manner?

Fossil fuels are going to be produced and consumed. The industry can provide much-needed jobs, much-needed tax revenue from the wages and profits, and much-needed independence from our current suppliers.

Most important, however, is that all of the financial rewards of this industry will be funneled through the American free-enterprise system.

If we are as concerned with the health of humanity as much as we are the health of the Earth, then the United States should embrace all the fossil fuel production possible, because nothing in history, ever, has done more to improve the human condition around the world than the American free-enterprise system.

Tim Miller, Lino Lakes
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What girls should wear: A teenager responds

Although I understand that the May 4 commentary "Girls, you are what you wear" was somewhat about protecting children, I must disagree with the author.

I am a 14-year-old girl. I get good grades; I aspire to be a successful adult, and I fully support women's rights, but I do, occasionally, show skin in public. I do not do this because I want to be a prostitute, but because it is my right, not only as a woman, but as a human being, to dress as I please and not have the foundation of my character criticized simply because of my appearance.

The author states that women should be recognized by intellect and not looks, but goes on to say that women who dress provocatively are just strippers in the making. Even the headline implies that the way you dress defines who you are.

The commentary says, regarding busts and butts: "News flash: all women have these." Yes — shouldn't that mean that we should all grow up about it?

A man running shirtless in the park wouldn't be considered a male prostitute, though it's the same situation. The author, in trying not to be sexist, is being more sexist than she seems to know.

I, as a young girl, shouldn't need to be afraid of judgment because of how I dress, and if I am perceived as a "stripper," it's society's fault, not mine.

Alma Engebretson, Minneapolis

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I am a feminist, a former member of the National Organization for Women, a retired police investigator and the mother of two grown daughters.

As a public speaker and trainer throughout much of my career addressing sexual-assault investigations and personal safety for women, I was a crusader who ardently argued against the myth that women who were "scantily" dressed and later sexually assaulted "asked for it." Women are not what they wear, I said.

I read Dawn Quigley's "Girls, you are what you wear" and found myself still struggling in agreement with some of her observations, thanks to my daughters. I went through their teenage years and the fights over "appropriate" dress. I won some, lost many. (Geez, they can wear you down.) I remember similar scenes with my folks, back in the day. Miniskirts, anyone?

In the end, it all worked out. Today, my daughters are successful women who understand the balance, the nuances and some unfairness of what is "appropriate" in today's world. I believe I "modeled" by example — and the good fight was fought, where it mattered.

Juliann Brunzell, Minneapolis

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Indeed, Dove's "real beauty sketches" videos are creating a buzz, as well as heaps of critique "Real beauty found in viral video" (April 30). As opposed to challenging hegemonic ideals of beauty, or deconstructing why our society places such a weighty (pun intended) emphasis on physical appearance, the videos remind us that "crows feet" and "big jaws" are culturally "ugly."

My dear consumers, don't be fooled. If the manufacturers of Dove really wanted to boost your self-esteem, they wouldn't tap into your deepest insecurities to sell you a product.

Katie Robinson, Minneapolis