By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Buzz asked "what is more traditional in Dallas than two rich white businessmen signing over our tax dollars to the most sycophantic, unimaginative architect among the competitors" [May 28]. First, this is a question, so it should end in a question mark. Second, was your implied criticism based on the fact that they are rich, white, or business guys? Would it have been OK if they had been poor black activists to give away tax dollars? Three, how does their color have anything to do with their actions? I strongly suspect that rich black businessmen like sycophantic, unimaginative architects too. Four, what's news here? The link between rich and sycophants is well documented.
We are never going to get beyond race as long as the media persists in linking color and behavior when the real link should be status and behavior. Unprofessional. Incorrect. Bad boy. Very bad boy.
Bicker and Brew
Your article in the Buzz column of the May 21, 1998, edition of the Observer seemed to imply that Bickel & Brewer Storefront only helps people when it is politically advantageous for them to do so. I feel that your inference [sic] is unfair and unjustified. Perhaps your readers would be interested in knowing that the storefront offered me assistance, and I am not politically connected.
Two years ago, I was involved in a multi-car collision. My insurance company denied my claim because, although I had mailed the check before the accident, it arrived late. The insurance company wanted to take advantage of that fact, although it had cashed my check. The insurance company would not release my car, which had been repaired at the time, and I asked the storefront for help. After several letters and phone calls by the Bickel & Brewer attorneys, who handled my case without charge, the insurance company paid my claim. If it had not been for the assistance from the storefront, I would have lost thousands of dollars.
I hope that the criticism of Ms. Daisy Joe and her group does not deter others who are in need of legal assistance from contacting the storefront. I should hope that other law firms are willing to offer assistance to those who cannot afford legal help.
That makes two of us
I could not quite understand Jean Oppenheimer's review of A Perfect Murder ["Far from perfect," June 4]. While Oppenheimer complains about the film's lack of sympathetic characters, I applaud the filmmakers' decision to eschew the obligatory marriage-crumbling-apart scenes in favor of opening the picture with a marriage already beyond the point of reconciliation. We are not meant to sympathize with Gwyneth Paltrow's character as much as we are to hiss the deplorable amorality of the Michael Douglas character. Oppenheimer says the film doesn't explain Douglas' murderous motives. Is she kidding? The film makes it clear that Douglas' initial motive is money; as his homicidal plans continually go fantastically awry, his motives veer more toward a pure hatred of his intended victim.
Oppenheimer also states the film is sluggishly paced. Huh? This is fluff-free plotting (no fatty subplots here to contend with), and [director Andrew] Davis propels this narrative with the same ease with which he paced his seminal chase picture The Fugitive.
The film is never about anything other than how three flawed characters (some more flawed than others, obviously) fumble their way through an ill-hatched murder scheme. We don't need to fully understand their backgrounds, nor is it even necessary for us to completely comprehend what drives them to their actions and reactions; the film entertains through its keen sense of plotting.
It's not a classic, but it delivers on its promises much more effectively than Oppenheimer gives it credit for. Quite a refreshing night at the movies after sitting through that mutated-lizard picture.
Rhett Miller's mediocrity
I understand that [Robert] Wilonsky has the medium to have the final word here, but I don't care anymore. His bitterness for the failure of the Old 97's to capture every Observer award ["Vote the rock," May 7] turns my stomach.
I am disgusted that every review must include a reference to the Old 97's. Rhett Miller is a decent guy and a decent songwriter, but he is not the second coming of Christ. He is at best a third-generation Wilco, fifth-generation Killbilly...
Am I the only person in Dallas who remembers Rhett Miller singing downtown with a fake British accent? I guess that now that country is cool, and Rhett has convinced Robert Wilonsky that he is legitimate, we should all be ashamed of ourselves for not voting for Rhett as Musician of the Year, even though he can play no instrument well and he is only a mediocre songwriter. Looking back at the other bands Wilonsky has deemed brilliant and their eventual success, or lack of it, it seems that the best thing that Wilonsky could do for the Old 97's is never to mention them again.
The illustration in last week's issue News section was provided by Michael Hogue.