Saturday, August 13, 2022

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Shedding the skins of Hannah Montana


Miley Cyrus was not shocking at the Video Music Awards with her disturbing performance. There have been moments that have been shocking in pop culture, that have left us rumbling and rambling with eyebrows raised and aware that there has been a historical shift, a bubble of change just beneath the surface of our conscious. Miley referenced “the kiss” as inspiration. The kiss between Madonna and Britney was shocking in that it was completely unexpected and seemed to mean something, some sort of pop culture poetry or torch being passed. Miley’s performance was just terribly sad, like the drunk girl at a party that people try to turn their eyes from but end up looking back to grimace at the train wreck.

Dear Miley, I speak to you from the abyss of the viewing audience, a voice of thousands who wait to be entertained by interesting television. From the movie “Stranger than Fiction,” I suggest to you that you decide whether your life is a comedy or tragedy. If you are interested in blurring the lines of culture, finding humor in your extraordinary life, bursting out of the box that your fame has created, do it with integrity, do it with a red, beating heart, do it with a pureness of intent. Be yourself. Don’t try so hard. If you have something to say, say it with meaning. We will laugh with you and celebrate you. We are not simply drooling fools who can be shocked into revelation by demented furry gyrating (well, most of us anyway). And that performance left us in tears, grieving for you, embarrassed for you. Don’t let your life be a tragedy.

Mary Harrigan


Thank you, Herb Strentz

It is of some comfort to read a commentary that illuminates a vital law. You know the law pertaining to public information, and you obviously are pained to see the waning of respect for it. Please continue your efforts to provide vital information for public attention.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Since retiring from Drake, you retain the respect you deserve and surely have many years of intellectual life left. Have you considered a blog or website of your own? Sincere appreciation to you.

Nan Stillians
–Des Moines

EDITOR’S NOTE: Herb Strentz is a retired administrator and professor in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication and writes occasional “Guest View” columns for Cityview.


Branstad’s gift to the extreme

The Civic Skinny article “Odd questions for would-be judges” (Aug. 29) provides further evidence of Gov. Branstad’s deliberate agenda to fill Iowa boards and commissions with the most hyper-partisan, extremist and narrow-minded political operatives. The Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission and its members have had a nationally respected record in choosing the most qualified judges to serve in Iowa. The reputation of that commission is in jeopardy as Branstad pursues his drive to appoint from a small, select group that represents the most extremist, partisan and personally biased people lacking in professional legal qualifications.

A similar example was in evidence last week as his appointments to the Iowa Medical Board asked equally bizarre and medically irrelevant questions while deciding on a women’s right to choose to use Telemedicine. Branstad is rewarding these very small politically vocal extremist ideologues by appointing them to boards and commissions established to represent all Iowa viewpoints in a balanced and fair review of facts. Many members of these groups advocate without compromise positions that oppose woman’s rights, diversity, science and seeking common ground. Remember when the legislature was forced to intercede and reject his two nominations to the Board of Regents after issues of equality and academic freedom were raised.

Iowa deserves a governor that represents all Iowans, fights for common sense solutions and rejects partisan political motivations. Iowans must demand all his future appointments represent a broad spectrum of Iowans with the necessary credentials to safeguard this state’s sterling reputation for civic oversight.

Rick Smith


Terms in office should be capped

The other day I had someone say to me that “re-electing Terry Branstad will give Iowa the title of having elected the nation’s longest-serving governor.” It was said in a tone as if it would be a good thing for Iowa to have the title. But that is all it would be: a title. Are titles important? Are they relevant? I don’t think so.

Whatever happened to the loud voices that called for term limits? There were loud voices about U.S. Congressmen, U.S. Senators and state legislators being in office too long. Shouldn’t that apply to a governor, too? Some states have laws limiting their governors to two terms. Maybe Iowa should also enact that law.

Wake up, Iowa! Change is a good thing. New leadership at the top of the helm is good. Having elected the nation’s longest serving governor is one title that Iowa doesn’t need.

Gary Schmidt


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