Letters

Snakes bite
I explained clearly to Miriam Rozen, when she asked me to cooperate with her story ["Hot product," June 27], that it was common knowledge that, at the very least, the Observer is "fast and loose" with facts. But, after listening to her assertions to the contrary, I "opened the books" to her, including waiving attorney-client privilege to Gary Lewellyn's counsel.

Even though we had been warned by the Securities and Exchange Commission itself that Rozen intended to construct what has become the classic Observer smear, we cooperated fully--but not with our eyes closed. To borrow from a cliche, "We knew you were a snake before we picked you up."

But Rozen assured us that her intentions were honorable, insisting that this was going to be a story about recovery and redemption, with a factual, fair presentation of the facts of Lewellyn's past combined with the story of how he transformed his life and developed an amazing company that, since 1988, has been instrumental in the lives and improved health of hundreds of thousands of adults and children.

What it ended up being was a few correct facts combined with another boring string of untruths, misstatements, omissions, out-of-context quotations, titillation, and sensationalist drivel, typical of the tabloid you have become.

Rozen, when you take the king's coin and do his bidding, you and your "paper" then are without shame. Gary Lewellyn, Plex, and Kids Plex will be fine. However, that you may have influenced one mother who is drugging her child with Ritalin from trying this safe, effective option--because of your scurrilous innuendo--is something you, as a "responsible" mother, must live with.

David Wynne
Communications Director
Performance Nutrition Inc.

Hugh and Loe
I read an article in the Observer wherein your managing editor wrote that I claimed that Dallas Morning News reporter Victoria Loe was guilty of "intellectual theft" in her recent story about the multimillion-dollar Sarita K. East probate battles in South Texas [Buzz, July 4].

The article also said I wrote a letter to the Observer making those charges.
Since your publication often concerns itself with journalistic ethics and professionalism, or lack of same, I suggest you make a couple things very clear on this.

I talked to nobody at your newspaper about this situation. I wrote no letter to the Observer. And, I complained to nobody else about Loe's story. Had I considered the matter worthy, I would have gone to the source, not contacted you in hopes you would handle the job.

I would think that before you quote someone as making the extremely serious charge of "intellectual theft," you would have the decency to telephone that person and ask his opinion of the situation.

That would have indicated proper journalistic ethics and professionalism in my book.

Hugh Aynesworth
Dallas

Editor's note: The Buzz item in question was based on interviews with Aynesworth's co-author, Stephen Michaud, who mailed the Observer a package of information, including a letter that appeared to be signed by Michaud and Aynesworth. We were given no indication that Aynesworth "did not consider the matter worthy," particularly when the letter included such statements in the third person, as: "...custom and decency dictate, we believe, that Loe acknowledge her debt. She couldn't have done it without us."

Co-author Michaud still supports the allegations in the letter. Michaud explained to us, after the article ran, that he had written the letter, and made Aynesworth aware he was sending it to the Observer. Michaud attached Aynesworth's signature to the letter without first showing it to Aynesworth or detailing its specific contents.

Maybe you are
Jimmy Fowler's review of Sappho's Symposium [Stage, July 4] was unenlightened, academic, and overly cynical. But then again, maybe I'm overeducated. Fowler and I have different understandings of the definition of comic theater, which, to me, suggests that the audience will be amused and inspired.

The performance I attended clearly saw this result, and though Fowler found the humor to be "unfortunately, rather obvious," I would argue that he was one of the few with this viewpoint. I think that, in his haste to brand the comedies "obvious," he missed a lot of what was not obvious--what the scripts represented.

The personal is political, and unfortunately for gays this is an even more compelling fact. The transforming of gender roles is a timeless practice, but to renew the ritual in such a fresh and timely manner, Sappho's Symposium reaffirms the identities of an underrepresented group and inspires and amuses all at once.

Contrary to his absolutist statement that the audience members yearn for "political change every day of their lives," clearly he is the one craving political stimulation. His statement is also insensitive to the myriad gay activists patiently working for incremental reforms. He also overlooks the fact that political activism is a means of solidarity within the gay community, and that there are many gays who are apolitical. I don't even vote!

Heather Wood
Fort Worth

 
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