Saturday, December 20, 2003
To the editor:
It's hard for me to believe the Douglas County Commission's recent decision not to recommend naming the creek that runs behind the former home of author and artist William Burroughs in his honor. I'm also quite disappointed with the Dec. 3 Journal-World editorial that stated "The most notable events in Burroughs' life revolved around drugs and mayhem." That's just plain wrong.
I am an artist who has regular contact with other artists all over the world. Nearly without exception, whenever I mention the city in which I live to my associates, I am asked about William Burroughs. His innovations and lasting effects on literature and art are universally recognized by the world's art community.
A couple of years ago, Lawrence made a big deal of referring to itself as "The City Of The Arts." In 2000, a large number of local merchants began trading with a local currency, "Real Dollars." The first script issued featured Burroughs on a $3 bill. In 1996, KU's Lied Center hosted "The Nova Convention Revisited" in honor of Burroughs, which brought several world-renowned performers and lots of out-of-town visitors to Lawrence.
Interestingly, within days of the County Commission's decision, Britain's Prince Charles KNIGHTED Mick Jagger, an individual who made his reputation by promoting moralities contrary to those pushed by the very family and country that knighted him. And here in "progressive" Lawrence, City of the Arts, our county commissioners are unwilling to name a little creek after William Burroughs. Sheesh!
Charles Goff III, Lawrence