Letters: Older Mothers, and Black Panther Sauce Melissa Block reads a selection of comments from listeners. There are reactions to our stories on older women and motherhood, the Black Panther Party's commercial hot sauce venture and hip hop Chaucer.
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Letters: Older Mothers, and Black Panther Sauce

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Letters: Older Mothers, and Black Panther Sauce

Letters: Older Mothers, and Black Panther Sauce

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

It's Thursday, the day we read from your e-mail.

Tracy Morris of Spring, Texas, writes to praise my colleague Michele Norris for her series on reproductive issues, stories about older women having children and the ethics of egg donation. `Thank you for your coverage of these very related reproductive-medicine topics,' Tracy Morris writes. `As a former fertility patient and a writer who specializes in the subject, I found your stories to be well-balanced and unsensational, two relative feats in this day of high-dollar medicine and scientific marvel.'

Kudos, too, for our correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. Omar Canosa of Philadelphia writes this: `Her report from Iraq on the shadowy militias which essentially rule Basra is the most courageous, poignant and well-composed piece of journalism in recent memory. Journalism such as this, which manages to inform the mind, to move the heart and to exalt the spirit by its very excellence is all too rare in an era of glaring headlines and sensationalist depictions.'

On to comments on our story about the entrepreneurial efforts of some former Black Panthers. Among other things, the Huey Newton Foundation is marketing Burn Baby Burn hot sauce. Well, Neil Heever(ph) of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was not amused. He writes, `That phrase, "Burn Baby Burn," brings back memories of the Newark riots in July of 1967. I recall being a seven-year-old kid staying up until 1 AM wondering if my daddy was dead. He finally came home bruised but alive. The grocery store he managed on Springfield Avenue had been looted and his staff run out of the store. I understand why urban blacks were bitter and upset during this time. But if this hot sauce is a joke, it is not funny. If it is a celebration of black history, it is a shameful choice.'

And Danelle Morton of Oakland, California, sent this: `I felt like throwing something at the radio speaker. You basically offered a commercial for the product, a product without any significance, except to further sanitize the Panthers' image. I am appalled at how ignorant this piece was.'

Finally, some reaction to our story about this music, Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" done as rap.

(Soundbite of song)

BABA BRINKMAN: (Rapping) ...like brothers. And swords distributed, they fought till their guts were entangled in knots...

BLOCK: Matt Virkstis of Royalton, Vermont, writes, `I listened with a combination of fascination and horror to your story about Baba Brinkman's hip-hop translation of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." My thoughts turned to my eminent Chaucer professor who taught me as an undergraduate. I imagined him hearing your story, his mouth agape, spilling his coffee on his tie while scrambling to his computer to write you an e-mail proclaiming that he'd rather suffer the painful indignity inflicted upon Nicholas in the "Miller's Tale" than listen to another moment of Brinkman's efforts.'

Well, you're going to have to go to your library or your computer to find out what happened to poor Nicholas. It's a bit too graphic for this radio program.

Remember, we want to hear from you, indignant or not. You can send your comments through our Web site. Go to npr.org and click on Contact Us near the top of the page.

(Soundbite of song)

BABA BRINKMAN: (Rapping) In the aforementioned tradition of reciting, writing was a natural invention for kings to catalog things with practical intention. And the offspring, of course, was the birth of the author, from Homer to Virgil to the immortal words of Chaucer, the father of modern verse, first formal border crosser. This time we're living is a rhyme renaissance. This history lesson is five minutes long. If hop-hop is bringing it, fine; let's get it on, and consider it official when I finish this song. The birth of the author was also the birth of the ego. Celebrity seems to bring the worst out of people, especially with...

BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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