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Not a race thing

The first two paragraphs of your report “The elephant in the room” [Jan. 17] give a tone of opinion on your part that is not of an impartial reporter, but rather of one who is agreeing with the school board. The issue with the Clarcona community is in fact, we are a rural community. We have zoning such as country estates, which means if we want a goat or a couple of chickens, we can have them. It also means we are to be protected from developments such as what the school board is attempting to impose.
Also, what you and many Orlando Sentinel reporters are failing to report is the manner in which the school board has conducted themselves throughout this whole process, with deception and outright lying to two of the three communities involved, Pine Hills and Clarcona. They have failed to go through the proper process, which any other developer would be required to do. As for the implication of this being a “racial” issue, we don’t care if it was the most elite white school in the world, we do not want a high school with 50-foot-plus-high buildings, football fields and the outrageous increase in traffic and noise that comes with it, not to mention the environmental dangers this community would incur.
The only “racial tones” that have been made have come from the school board itself. If one were to read all their comments of the past year or two, one would realize that what is being said is, “If you move Evans to a predominantly white area, the kids will learn better because then they will be mingled with more white kids who do better.” These are not our words, but their words when you remove the political jargon. The Clarcona community does not want this “white elephant” (look up the meaning) in our community, and the voting, tax-paying adults of Pine Hills do not want their school yanked out from their community. Unfortunately, the school board is not listening. It is our hope that the county commissioners, who are all voted in by tax-paying homeowners, will.
 Mrs. Carmona, via the Internet

Au revoir!
Dear [J.B.] Mitchell: You’re very fond of quoting other critics when you review a film. So please excuse me if I feel inspired to single out a few of your own.
In your review of The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, you claim that “a person would have to be a masochist to watch” the film. You also claim that the film doesn’t have enough “going on” and that it is “depressing and claustrophobic.” I will agree that I squirmed with discomfort and a sense of claustrophobia at times, and no horror movie in recent memory has featured anything nearly as plausibly terrifying as the stitching-the-eye-closed scene. But why is that bad? Those sensations are necessary in order to appreciate the rest of the story.
I thought director Julian Schnabel and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski employed very original and unique methods to tell Jean-Dominique Bauby’s story. In fact, his approach to writing the memoir, and the filmmakers’ choices when adapting it, were very similar. Bauby could have given up and died in a very ordinary way, just as Schnabel could have stuck to a straightforward narrative ripe with melodrama. Sure, the pacing was deliberately, consistently slow. But I didn’t think the film was depressing at all, just the opposite actually. I thought it was fascinating to watch Bauby fight to communicate, and even though I knew how his story (and life) ended, I always considered the possibility that he would recover.
You may have thought the scene where Bauby shaves his father was boring, but I found it heartbreaking. What, exactly, should have been “going on” in a movie such as this? A car chase? Sharp, clever dialogue? Maybe they should’ve trimmed 30 minutes off by cutting some of those monotonous blinking sequences that allow us to truly experience Bauby’s struggle? But then again, maybe that was the point.
I am not a masochist. I do, however, value subtlety over “action” scenes and silence over unnecessary chatter. If this is “the end of cinema as we’ve know it,” I say, “Au revoir!”
Jeremy Seghers, Orlando

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