By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
I can hardly believe it. I'm reading Dish on a regular basis. I once wrote about Mark Stuertz that he was as gracious as Jack the Ripper and would commit journalistic suicide like the ex-local sportswriter whose name I won't mention if he kept bashing every restaurant he reviewed. You even printed it, which made me think there was credence to what I had to say.
Now, I feel like someone took me to the pro-wrestling matches, and (God forbid) I enjoyed it and returned. Next thing you know, I'm a fan and believe the matches are real. Nevertheless, I'm reading the column, and (God forbid) I'm beginning to agree with you!
Publish and perish
Great article on Ms. Anthony ["Science friction, June 11]. As an avid and loyal reader, I thought she made a pretty great transition from sci-fi to an "in-between" with God's Fires to Flanders, which to me is her very best work. "Slipstream" or whatever, a good writer is a good writer, and this reader sees that in Patricia Anthony. Thanks!
Now we can only hope that the idiot publishers will also see that.
OK. Let me preface this by saying that I have never been inspired enough by any piece of so-called journalism to ever bother making the effort to comment. Most "opinion" articles have left me soaked with anger and bitterness, but still I feel no need to grace the writer with a confession of my perusal.
So here is my response to the "Pieces of crap" article [June 11] Keven McAlester wrote regarding the schlock with which Jewel financed a summer home (or van, as the case may be): Thank you. I am so glad to see that my heroes at the Observer relentlessly continue to wallow in good taste and sharp wit. I never believed anyone could top the "Jurassic barf" article by Jimmy Fowler, but Keven was beyond successful.
With the Observer, I actually find myself reading reviews about music and movies I wouldn't consume if they were necessary for my survival, just to reassure myself that someone else out there loathes these innocuous pseudo-sophisticates as much as I do. In fact, I found the Jewel piece so wildly entertaining, I wrote my first verse ever, just to prove it could be done with mind-numbing ease:
I read her poetry
It wasn't the best
My time is spent better
Staring at her chest
Thank you, thank you, dear God in heaven thank you! I thought I was the only one who saw the mediocrity in an "artist," for lack of a better word, such as Jewel. I at one time thought I was the only one who saw Jewel as she really is: an over-melodramatic, candy-ass, deep-thinking waste of a performer ever so bent on being a spokesperson for our generation (still laughing at the thought!).
If this is what our generation is actually thinking about our society and its problems, no wonder our nation is so idiotic. My God! We think Puff Daddy is a genius of an artist, rap is such a profound art form, and bands are judged in coolness by the amount of times they can put "fuck" in their lyrics. Jewel only adds to the problem and is probably the reason the young women of today tend to describe their lives with such melodramatic hyperbole. Thank you for being awake and acknowledging the truth for once. You took a stand, and I, for one, applaud you. Well done. Give this man a raise!
I agree with Mr. McAlester's criticism of Jewel's work and the obscenity of her book deal. However, I have one question and one suggestion. If Mr. McAlester holds himself to be the poetry and pretentiousness critic-at-large, why is his first name, Keven, spelled with two e's? Is this merely an attempt at irony with a weak result, or is he, indeed, a verse rhymer himself, as in "Keven from Heaven?"
Reviewing one of Jewel's images, Mr. McAlester writes, "...she's got way too many birds..." My suggestion to him is to read an English grammar book and filter the pre-adolescent jargon from his writing. The above phrase should read, "...she has too many birds..."
Keep this in mind: the good-to-crap ratio for poets is probably equal to the good-to-crap ratio for newspaper columnists.
Arthur M. Hingerty
I am not interested in either smashing or defending the supposed subject of this article (Jewel, if you forgot). I am, however, interested in Keven McAlester's remarkable hatred of poets and poetry. Did we have a bad experience as a child, Kev? This sort of animosity doesn't come naturally.
Next question: Since you're so vehemently opposed to modern poets and poetry, why should we really care what you think about a book of poetry? We know you aren't going to like it. Reading this article was like asking the KKK what they thought about Malcolm X. One doesn't gain any insight from the answer.
So, Kev, please stick to reviewing media that have an outside chance of meeting your approval. And see a therapist about that complex.
P.S. Forgive my incredible ignorance, but what does "twee" mean?
I couldn't agree more with Keven McAlester's review of Jewel's book of poetry. My only criticism of his article is that he failed to use the words "asinine" and "embarrassing." Jewel is a good singer, and it's a shame that someone doesn't tell her that her poetry is embarrassingly bad. If you're really, really good at something that's both easy and lucrative, it's incredibly stupid to just walk away. Just ask David Caruso. Or Shelley Long. Or David Lee Roth.
Maybe they should just tell her: "Shut up and sing already!"
Orbit Room closing
This letter is in reference to Robert Wilonsky's June 18 article on the closing of the Orbit Room ["Out of orbit"]. Unfortunately, Mr. Wilonsky did not take the time to substantiate the facts before stating that "business is down in Deep Ellum." Deep Ellum currently has over 100 restaurants, bars, retailers, and galleries. In fact, in the past six months alone, there have been 10 business openings. Furthermore, a recent article in the Observer reported on the increased police presence in Deep Ellum and quoted the police saying crime is down. Does Mr. Wilonsky not read his own paper?
As is the nature of business, some fare better than others; however, the boom in businesses opening in Deep Ellum, the development of nearly 1,000 residential lofts, and the increased marketing of the area make up the formula for the continued success of Deep Ellum.
The article on Bob Blackwood ["The last roundup," June 11] was really a great one--your only mistake was the name of the cowboy you kept calling Lane Smith! In reality, that cowboy's name is Lane Frost. I do hope you can give credit where it is due. Lane Frost was one of the greatest bull riders of modern times, and given the time, he would have been greater than Donny Gay ever was.
I realize that your paper is mostly for the alternative, but now you can see that folks of all walks read your stuff. So in closing, keep up the good work and keep telling it like it is.
Who in the hell is Lane Smith? This was a great article about a great man, but your journalism comes into question when you cannot get another great rodeo legend's name correct. I believe you mean Lane Frost.
The rodeo world will truly miss Bob Blackwood.
All kinds of hustlers
Even by corporate corruption standards, the recent revelations about City Manager John Ware [Buzz, June 11], Mayor Ron Kirk's wife, and now Governor Shrub all cashing in on their political connections is repulsive. Mr. Lindsay, the city attorney, states that "after reviewing the city's ethics statutes no violation of law has been found." I would suggest he take a closer look at the prostitution, pimping, and pandering statutes. The police regularly arrest working girls for selling it on the streets; why wouldn't these laws apply to selling it in City Hall executive suites?
Perhaps the difference is that working girls make no smarmy, cloying pretense to be representing the public's best interest. I wonder what the vote tally on the arena corporate welfare program for billionaires would have been had the public known then what we know now. In much the same way that legitimizing gambling does, these huge public giveaways inevitably lead to corruption of public process and officials.
One more very good reason to shun the public financing of fundamentally private enterprises. I say recall the arena vote, because over time, a lot more details are going to come out showing how utterly corrupt this hustle was.
Perhaps a new marketing and more truthful slogan for the bumper stickers might read, "The Arena! A World Class deal for our Officials."
If Laura Miller can accuse John Ware of impropriety, then can't she be accused of the same thing because she's taking notes in a reporter's notebook while sitting on the city council? She's gotta be reporting this stuff to either your paper or one of the others in town, but I must admit that that was a pretty neat and wild picture in the June 10 edition of The Dallas Morning News of Laura sitting in front of John Ware with a surprised look on her face. I was pretty amazed myself by it.
Therapy for Zac Crain
I read your reviews often, and it seems as though you rarely have anything nice to say about local bands, much less touring bands. As to your review about Man or Astro-Man? [Music listings, June 18]--they sound more like performance artists, you know, the sort of stuff the Butthole Surfers used to do. Making fires on stage and that sort of thing. You just have to appreciate it for what it is.
Have you ever considered taking some classes in art or music appreciation? It might help. You seem to be very provincial in your views of music and the world. A little education never hurt anyone. And if that doesn't help, perhaps some self-help books or therapy to lift your deflated ego. They say if you can accept yourself that you can accept others--you seem to be unable to accept anyone. Maybe some introspection would help to widen your view.
Good luck to you.
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