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No Excuses: Do Your Best Work, and Fight for It

For Eleftheria Parpis' article "No Excuses" [A&C, Oct. 7], I just wanted to say thank you. It was refreshing to read a piece that says exactly what I am feeling.

There are no excuses. If you created strong work when the climate was good, you will create strong work when the climate is bad. Creativity is an independent. It may be more difficult to get your piece produced today, but that shouldn't be how you measure success. That should come from believing that what you create is the best of your ability. And then you just have to keep fighting for it. That is the nature of the beast of advertising. Whether you have $1 million or $10,000 to spend is a moot point. Picasso only had a brush and paint, and look what he produced.

Jessica Castellucci

Research associate

J. Walter Thompson

Detroit

Gangsta Rap: A Cultural Barometer

I'd like to point out just one little thing about Barbara Lippert's article on Bill O'Reilly and Ludacris [Creative, Sept. 9]. Gangsta Rap is one of the most important art forms in America. Without it, most Americans would have never known about all of the atrocities going on in the 'hood. Most people would have just sat oblivious in their suburban neighborhoods.

Gangsta Rap shined the spotlight on police brutality long before Rodney King. Remember NWA's "Fuck the Police"? NWA didn't just write that song to be bad boys. Blacks and Latinos were (and are) getting their asses kicked in the inner cities by police officers every day. (Of course, the majority of cops are heroes. In fact, my cousin is one.)

If we were wise, we'd use Gangsta Rap as a barometer. From it we can tell how well our social programs are working. And our government officials could make adjustments accordingly. When the music is fun and light, things are changing for the better. When things are ugly and violent, the neighborhoods are suffering and an adjustment needs to be made. I'm not talking about building more prisons, but more schools, etc.

Nice article—and a slap on the wrist of some in corporate America.

Jimmy Smith

Copywriter

Wieden + Kennedy

Portland, Ore.

American Girl StaysTrue to Its Vision

Thank you for Neilan Tyree's article, "Thank heaven for (a place for) little girls" [A&C, Sept. 30]. In 1998, when Mattel bought the Pleasant Co., the parent of American Girl, the media had a field day, saying the Barbie company was buying a company of plump dolls. At the time, I wrote to American Girl founder Pleasant Rowland and pleaded with her to stay true to her products and the girls. So far, I am satisfied that she has. While I have heard some critics complain about its catalogs being marketed to minors, I guarantee they are better than what is marketed on TV as well as many "kids programs."

I am not interested in my 8-year-old daughter knowing the words to Britney Spears' songs or wearing low-rise jeans that show her undergarments. Instead she's learning about girls in history who reinforce a positive message and can truly do anything!

I know there is hardly shock value in celebrating girls, history, reading and educational toys, but perhaps that is what is wrong with our society!

Amy Carroll

Artist representative

Stone Soup Productions

Raleigh, N.C.

For the Record: In Best Spots of September [Creative, Oct. 14] the name of Chris Mitton, creative director on American Express' "Bears" ad, was misspelled.