Maya Lin's Independence

Saturday, October 28, 2006

In his essay "Why Has Maya Lin Retreated From the Battlefield of Ideas?" [Arts, Oct. 22], Philip Kennicott offered in his own words a "rude and uncharitable" critique of an individual who has spent her career focusing her creative talents in ways that benefit us all.

To my thinking, Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands out among memorials because of the simple genius of her solution and the wisdom and courage of the committee that selected it. To attack Maya Lin because she would not publicly voice criticism of Friedrich St. Florian's World War II memorial is misplaced. I think Kennicott might do well to vent his disappointments on the committees and commissions that often opt for the less than inspired.

My guess is that Lin was carried into the politically charged arena of memorials by the force of her creativity, not an agenda. I am reminded of another talented American who was criticized at a point in his career when he seemed more interested in writing love songs than civil rights anthems and had the audacity to go electric: Bob Dylan.

We should be humbly grateful for all the gifts that such creative lives offer us.

-- Jim Stokoe

Chevy Chase

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