Letters: Cartoon Controversy, Real Estate Web Site
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
It's Thursday, the day we read from your letters. And one of the biggest stories of the past week was the focus of many emails. It was the sometimes violent response to the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Alan Schickman of St. Louis, Missouri, was unhappy with our choice of words on one occasion. He writes, I wish NPR would learn the difference between a demonstration, a protest, and a riot. When it is peaceful, it's a demonstration or a protest. When rock throwing or other forms of violence are employed, it is a riot. To call a riot a demonstration betrays an unseemly sympathy with the rioters.
SIEGEL: Randall Hickman of Macomb Township, Michigan, adds this, in America we have found ways to carry on a discussion about the role of religion and its place in public life. We have found ways in our political discourse to deal with this issue without riots, the destruction of property and loss of life. The offensive nature of the cartoons has been thoroughly addressed in your coverage, but the disturbing implications of the Muslim reaction has not been.
NORRIS: Real estate is as hot a topic as ever, looking at the number of response to an interview I did yesterday. I spoke with the founder of website called Zillow.com. It offers estimates of home prices.
SIEGEL: Well, it seems that a lot of you went to the site and let us know that you think the information is less than accurate. Barbara Stewart of Watsonville, Georgia writes, I looked up our old Marietta, Georgia neighborhood. The pricing was from the late '70s, and our house, which was built in 1982, wasn't even on the map. So much for using technology to make informed decisions.
NORRIS: Listener Dorin Barron sent these comments. My goodness, she writes, could there be a more blatant promotion of a commercial venture? I doubt it. No talk about similar sites, no talk with any industry professionals. It wasn't a story about a new trend in technology, but instead free advertising for a new startup.
SIEGEL: We reported this week on the Rev. Fred Phelps, who has led anti-gay protests in many places over the past 15 years, including at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. Some states are working on laws that would restrict those protests. This letter, from Rev. Bruce LeBlanc of Davenport, Iowa, was representative of our email. He writes, I listened with interest to the story about Rev. Phelps. Upon reflection, I became saddened and eventually angry. Rev. Phelps was protesting at the funeral of individuals who died of AIDS, who were presumed to be homosexual. I'm left with the impression that it is not the funeral or grieving that matters, but the nature of one's death. How sad that our society was so slow to respond to these disruptions of such sacred events.
NORRIS: Russ Kenner of Surprise, Arizona, heard that story and the one that followed it on Monday's show. The second item was about the Detroit man who assembled a truck horn symphony to celebrate the Super Bowl.
(Soundbite of truck horns playing song Stop in the Name of Love)
NORRIS: Mr. Kenner writes, after hearing the story about the Kansas homophobic church and its leader, an effective counterpoint was provided by the special Super Bowl musical tribute provided by the semi truck chorus. Stop in the Name of Love was an appropriate Motown hit for the truckers to perform. I washed the distasteful story out of my mouth with that much needed bit of joy.
SIEGEL: Well, if we have brought you joy or outrage, or music that brightened your day, please let us know. To send us an email, go to our website, NPR.org, and click on the link that says, Contact Us.
NORRIS: And we can't resist playing those trucks again. So maestros, if you could?
(Soundbite of trucks playing NPR News theme)
SIEGEL: You heard it here. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News.
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