I was greatly disappointed with Tom Shales's Dec. 29 review of the Kennedy Center Honors [Style].
Shales criticizes the selection of Sean Connery as a 1999 honoree because he is not a citizen, when in fact, the Kennedy Center selection criteria specifically allow for "artists who are not American citizens, but who have had a significant impact on the cultural scene in the United States, no more than one each year." Connery's extensive filmography (including work with Alfred Hitchcock and a career spanning decades) certainly has impacted American culture beyond "Bond, James Bond."
More offensive on a local scale is Shales's derision aimed at the performance of the City of Washington Pipe Band. He refers to them as "squawky bagpipers" and "an army of amateur bagpipers."
The City of Washington Pipe Band is one of the most decorated pipe bands in the United States. Its members are the 1999 eastern U.S. champions, the 1999 North American champions, and--after a sweep of drumming and piping accolades in Glasgow, Scotland, this August--the 1999 world champions. Many of the band's players compete and perform as professional musicians and have won some of the world's most prestigious titles.
Granted, bagpipe music is an acquired taste, but Shales, as a journalist, should research his subject matter before writing.
--Dawn E. B. Meade