Readers write: Future of African museums, team owner earnings, and magazine redesign

Philippe Wojazer/Reuters
Readers wrote in about our cover story, “The Art of a Steal.”

Future of African museums

In the May 6 Monitor Weekly cover story, “The art of the steal,” Kristen Chick and Ryan Lenora Brown write of African museums that are not as “grand” as their European counterparts – including the National Museum in Benin City, which “has only three small galleries ... subject to the whims of a mercurial electrical grid.”

African governments have had difficulty fitting modern museums into their budgets because they have more urgent priorities. As Western institutions consider repatriating expropriated art, they should establish “sister” relationships with African museums and cultural agencies. This sibling association must not be in name only; it should be backed by substantial technical and financial support.

Why We Wrote This

Letters to the editor for the June 10, 2019 weekly magazine.

Africans deserve highly modern museums that are full members of the international art community and capable of preserving historic work. This is the best form of justice for the misdeeds of the past.

Modernized African museums could enable art exchange not limited to African pieces. At the same moment a young student might look with wonder upon an African statue on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, his or her counterpart in Nairobi could be admiring a work by Jackson Pollock or Georgia O’Keeffe.

These art exchanges could build mutual cultural respect and stronger international friendships – all peoples of the world speak the language of beauty.

Ambassador Herman J. Cohen
Washington

Team owner earnings

Regarding the May 13 cover story, “Do they make too much?,” in the Monitor Weekly: I am not sure if professional athletes are overpaid based on Shawn Klein’s quoted economic argument regarding the relative scarcity of their services.

However, it seems that the team owners are protected by the monopolist structure of their franchises, and they do make too much money. They should no longer be allowed to extort taxpayer subsidies by playing cities against each other to renovate and build their sport stadiums and entice their teams to stay.

Colleen Hartmon Bollom
St. Paul, Minnesota

Magazine redesign

I don’t like the changes to the Monitor Weekly, I love them! As a longtime subscriber, this is the first redesign I’ve taken to immediately. The Monitor was always readable, but I enjoy a new flow in going through an issue, and a subtle ease while taking it all in. Very well done!

Chuck Green
Ashland, Massachusetts

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.