With college campuses across South Carolina filling up with students, we want to welcome back those of you who were away. To the newcomers, we hope some of you will make it your habit to pick up POINT each month. Let us hear from you. What do you find odd/charming/alarming about your new address? Those of us who have lived here longer could be benefit from a fresh perspective.
This month we should have something for everybody: two features, an editorial, essays, poetry, a short story, a packed community calendar and, of course, more Loose Lips. L. Roy Aiken, our man in Japan, offers another fine rant. He explores what he calls D.B.S.: Disposable Batman Syndrome, which he thinks can be used "to explain everything from the Gulf War to Hootie and the Blowfish." The piece raises some tough questions, especially for us information pushers. Does the media reflect or create a culture? How complicit is the press in America's shrinking attention span? And what are the long-term implications of a country which seems to suffer A.D.D.?
We got several calls and e-mail about last month's piece "Divide and Conquer." It was actually a speech slave owner William Lynch delivered in 1712 to peddle his formula for maintaining control over slaves. His "method" was to pit old slave against young, male against female, light-skinned against dark-skinned. He said it worked for him at his plantation in the West Indies and that it would work throughout the South.
The response we got from readers surprised us. A professor in Orangeburg assigned it to his students to read and, while we don't know what they said about it, we heard from several people who said they wondered where it came from and why in the world we printed it. It came in the mail, unsolicited, from Sen. Robert Ford. We ran it because it struck us that, if you took out the word "slave," you wouldn't know the speech was given nearly 300 years ago. It seems that we have not learned much from our history. And you know what that means.