By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Laura is jolly
I was appalled to read Laura Miller's article ["Power houses," June 13] in the Observer. Obviously, Miller was concerned that maybe some people take her seriously. Miller's article should alleviate that concern.
Miller disdainfully comments that Gloria Campos' home belies her "folksy" image. If Miller knew anything about Campos, she would know that Campos' concern for others is not an act. I have witnessed such concern.
Miller is always the first person to scream First Amendment at every little perceived slight. Nonetheless, Miller thinks nothing of divulging street addresses and other confidential information regarding high-profile people.
Moreover, she questions whether Campos' personality is an act because she has a high wall around her house. Miller apparently cannot see past a chance to sink her venom into another successful Dallas personality long enough to realize that Campos has two small children. Apparently, Miller has been living in a vacuum. Surely she must realize that printing such information exposes these people and their children to the crazy people in our society who stalk the rich and famous. Perhaps she just does not care whom she puts in harm's way. This is not journalism. It is a cruel invasion of others' privacy.
Miller shows all the sensibility of a person who jostles people on a subway platform.
Good journalists make us think. The best of them unearth issues that need exposing to the light of public scrutiny. Miller seems to believe that muckraking means getting into the gutter in order to make the reader angry. OK, she wins. I am angry that such a lowbrow author has a place from which she can take ill-advised and unwarranted pot shots at people who have class. Obviously, a word never used to describe Miller.
Hopefully, Miller will one day stop peddling her sleazy diatribes. I know we can sooner expect a jolly man in a red coat to come down the chimney.
To say that Ann Zimmerman's piece ["Kiss and tell," June 6] was acerbic would be like calling the Johnstown Flood a spring run-off. Like any human being, Preston has his faults, but he didn't deserve the hatchet job Zimmerman so callously dashed off. In several cases, the facts were not only misquoted, but blatantly misrepresented. For a publication that takes itself as seriously as yours, I find this absolutely appalling.
The forum Preston provides is one of the most creative writing outlets I've ever known. Preston willingly opens his door to any and all, from the exceptionally talented to the mere "wannabes," and he treats all of them with the same gracious patience and sincere respect.
You won't find many agents who share that much of themselves with their clients. And as far as sales are concerned, Zimmerman was wrong. Preston has sold four scripts that I know of, and at least three of his writers have won regional writing competitions.
I've never been a big fan of the Observer, and most of my colleagues (I'm an electrical engineer with a major defense electronics plant) have always considered your paper to be little more than a scandal sheet; something to be perused and laughed at while waiting for your burger at lunch. If Zimmerman's article is typical of what you consider journalism, then maybe they have the right idea. I know I won't be reading it anymore.
In regard to the prolix furor over Robert Wilonsky's article on Leaning House Records ["Rhyme and reason," May 16]: I think the previous letter writers would do well not taking themselves so seriously. Taking yourself seriously as an artist is important, but, in a DIY context such as is consistently referred to, you end up looking like Billy Idol.
The popular reputation of an open-mike reading is summed up in the sentence: Anything can happen. That's often exactly what happens. I've been reading for seven to eight years, so I could get into some egregious specifics.
As to charges against "academic" poets, whatever that is, in 1990 I personally invited Tim Seibles to read at a showcase of locally produced film, video, and performance, and was there when he read to our small audience and still remember some of the poems. I had invited him just before he read to accompaniment at Club Dada. I have been present, by a sort of intended accident, when Ariel Dorfman, the Chilean poet, who has written so movingly about the tortures and "disappearances" in his country, read to a packed audience at "the Miracle on Berry Street" as weekly readings at the Hop were called. I think there are reasons these and other poets with large reputations are both distinguished and distinct.
Anyway, I know that part of the reason Wilonsky mentioned slams and open mikes is because they are popular, gaining popularity with a particular audience. I hope that particular audience will also pick up Seibles and Nye. And Molly Peacock and Philip Larking and...I wish Leaning House well.
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