By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Rose Farley's article on Bill Simpson ["Mr. Nobody," August 14] was a classic example of the Dallas Observer's characteristic writing style: reprehensible.
At every word and turn of the page, Simpson was sneeringly portrayed as some sinister and meddlesome "do-gooder." He was even brazenly labeled a "Mr. Nobody." Yet the writer's ill-intended implications proved absolutely nothing apart from her own prejudice. (Very unprofessional!)
Let me tell you something. There are plenty of us "nobodies" out here who still value the family lifestyles and wholesome beliefs that have made our country great. Simpson is simply one who has the raw courage and strong conviction to stand up for those either too timid or unsure of how to thwart the permissive direction our nation is surely heading.
Since when does one have to have "showcase credentials" to become an accepted leader in our community? After all, the true measure of performance is results. And within a relatively brief period of time, Simpson has taken a remarkable stance for morality and decency in our community while others do virtually nothing about the advance of societal corruption and degradation.
Isn't it about time we give support to those willing to fight for the common good instead of attempting to ridicule their well-intended efforts?
Maybe that approach doesn't sell tabloids or newspapers. But it certainly helps preserve a more stable marketplace of readers--and advertisers. Think about it.
Robert E. Carl
While perusing Jimmy Fowler's review of a local production of Pinter's The Hothouse ["A word's worth," August 21], I felt moved to address our good fortune; by "our" I mean the Observer, its readership, the theater community, and the city as a whole. Now that I no longer have to worry that my effusiveness may be misconstrued, I can openly proclaim my opinion that Fowler is a rare find in a reviewer. Not only does he honestly and eloquently own up to his own subjectivity as a matter of routine, but week in and week out he applies himself to his job with verve, wit, and integrity.
One of the most endearing characteristics of his writing style is the exuberant yet unpretentious intelligence with which his commentaries are always imbued. As a reader, I sense that he approaches each performance with hopeful anticipation, respect, and the genuine desire to learn something from every experience. Thus, your readers are able to learn vicariously through him, and whether or not he particularly "likes" a given production, one always senses that he is motivated both by an authentic interest in the arts and the desire to see them flourish in an often indifferent milieu. He never seems to succumb to the facile temptation of being gratuitously mean-spirited or self-servingly glib, traits that tend to make reviews unhelpful to artists as well as their potential patrons. Encouraging, insightful critical voices like Fowler's can make a big difference in a community like Dallas. So give this guy a raise--or at least buy him a beer!
Former Artistic Director
Extra Virgin Performance Cooperative
Mark's bad day
I just read through Mark Stuertz's review of Jungle Red ["Bungle in the jungle," August 14]. Insipid--not insightful--is the word that comes to mind. He gave me yet another reason why I don't pay attention to restaurant reviews.
I read this one because I have visited the new digs with several friends, and all agreed that the decor and fare were extremely refreshing. Does Mark have a personal problem with the place that he's trying to keep everyone from partaking? With regards to the cuisine, since I knew that 'gourmet' cuisine was the treat, I did not expect a 'down-home' helping of food. From my standpoint, gourmet loses going up against 'mom's down-home' every time. However, I still attend a gourmet spot where I expect servings big on presentation and flavor.
That is exactly what I received from Jungle Red. Honestly, I've never heard of 'down-home' Caribbean dining. But my experience obviously shines in comparison to Mark's. I guess if I had a bad PMS day (as, apparently, our 'holier-than-thou-on-all-things-gourmet-Caribbean' critic), I would drag a new, refreshing experience like Jungle Red through the mud, also.
Matter of judgement
I am compelled to comment on an article appearing in the August 21, 1997, edition of your paper concerning Judge John Marshall ["Bad judgment"].
I should say, initially, that Judge Marshall is one of the finest judges at the courthouse, scrupulously honest and a tribute to the judiciary. He applies the law strictly but fairly and calls it as he sees it. He has been on the bench for over 15 years, and to see him unfairly criticized was distressing to many of us who practice regularly before courts in Dallas County.
I will not address all of several aspects of the article with which I disagreed. However, I will comment on two aspects of the story that I feel cannot go unrebutted. First, you say that I did not dispute the allegations made regarding alleged contacts with Judge Marshall. This is untrue. I vigorously denied those allegations. The article suggests that a Bickel & Brewer paralegal met privately with Judge Marshall "numerous times" and "discussed the lawsuit." That statement is patently false. In fact, none of the witnesses who testified at the hearing was present during any of the meetings in Judge Marshall's chambers between [Suzanna] Proctor and Judge Marshall. The witnesses confirmed on the record that they do not know what was discussed. The inference that Ms. Proctor was discussing the merits of the lawsuit is unfounded and without basis in fact. Ms. Proctor has matters unrelated to any litigation in Judge Marshall's court. Mr. Upshaw, who is quoted in the article as having the belief that Ms. Proctor was having ex parte communications with Judge Marshall, obviously did not know the definition of ex parte. Of course, there was no suggestion by any of the "witnesses" that I, or any other Bickel & Brewer attorney, discussed the case privately with Judge Marshall.