By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
A decent man
Congratulations to Robert Wilonsky for his fair and accurate portrayal of former chief Jesse Curry and his work ["Officer down," November 26]. True, Curry made an unforgivable mistake in moving Oswald on November 24 in full view of the international media. Yet, as Wilonsky notes, this event was not a "defining moment" of the chief's otherwise distinguished career.
One cavil: Wilonsky does not mention Walt Brown's Treachery in Dallas. Brown writes that DPD officers killed the president as part of a larger conspiracy involving a confederation of anti-Kennedy interests. Curry is heavily criticized in the book for taking the lead in planning the assassination and then covering up his department's involvement. This thesis comes from a Ph.D. historian and serious student of the assassination.
Though Wilonsky was apparently unaware of Brown's book, his account of Curry effectively deconstructs Brown's arguments. Mr. Wilonsky's portrait is just not consistent with a man who would arrange a president's death and then cover up his tracks. Curry was, above all, a decent and fair man. He wanted the world to see that Oswald was not harmed while in custody; that was the rationale for the most unusual handling of Oswald's transfer. Further, published reports of Chief Curry's ties to white supremacists--a purported character flaw and key piece linking him personally to the assassination conspirators--do not hold up under Wilonsky's scrutiny.
Congratulations again on a well-written, fair, and accurate story.
Department of Sociology
University of North Texas
Hip-hop ghost town
If hip-hop music is a reflection of a city's street culture and attitude, then there should be no surprise that the Dallas hip-hop scene lives just below the surface ["Beat down," November 12]. Tremendous potential, but out of sight and out of mind. Dallas is probably the largest city in the United States without an attitude. The minority community is torn between assimilating into the mainstream and being forced to exist quietly, on the south side of town, out of sight and out of mind. In short, there is nothing original to rap about (please note that gangsta rap is dead).
When I moved to Dallas, one of the first things I noticed was that there was no city--just large sprawling suburbs and a ghost town masquerading as a city center (downtown). Uptown was yuppie heaven (the McKinney area), and there was something that I still quite haven't figured out yet called the West End. No wonder Vanilla Ice lied and the DOC chose a West Coast affiliation. K104 is a sorry excuse for a radio station, save the morning team. Have you listened to Nippy Jones and CoCo Butter without putting on a CD halfway through the show? Every other African-American station on the air is dedicated to the golden-oldies circuit (making sure that Dallas has a chance to listen to the originals, not the samples). If hip-hop props ever rain on this area, they will probably land in Fort Worth.
High-tech indentured servants
Miriam Rozen's article "Invasion of the body shoppers" [November 12] presents an excellent look at the abuse and exploitation of foreign workers (H-1B visa holders) who work in the American high-tech industry. The other side of the coin, which she did not discuss in detail, is what the use of H-1B labor has done to the American work force, particularly older workers who have been replaced and excluded from job consideration in favor of cheap, indentured foreign labor. A set of letters covering the impact on American workers titled "The Misfortune 500" was published by the IEEE-USA on their Web site at http://www.ieee.org/usab/FORUM/H-1B/misfortune500.html.
Academic research has also been done on this subject, most notably by Professor Norman Matloff of the University of California at Davis. His work can be found at http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/itaa.html. This is a topic of fierce and ongoing debate within the technical community, and the Dallas Observer has performed a valuable service in exposing it to a larger public.
Mark A. Mendlovitz
I enjoyed Ms. [Christina] Rees' review of the Shelby Lee Adams photographs ["The holler dwellers," December 3], which I have not seen. Thanks for publicizing his work. The people who live in the hollows of Appalachia do pronounce it "hollers," so I understand why you wrote it that way. The hollows are everywhere in a mountainous region, small valleys where a few houses cluster, and I visited quite a few of them in West Virginia and Kentucky while working for the Huntington, West Virginia, newspaper years ago. As Ms. Rees suggests, the subjects in these photographs are not pitiable people; they are proud survivors of unending difficulties from birth to death that an outsider finds hard to believe. They do live amid great beauty, and in my experience, they appreciate it.
The Observer is a superb publication, often sublime. I wish I were talented enough to write for it. Robert Wilonsky certainly is. His piece on Randy Newman ["Maybe he's doing it wrong," November 5] was well-crafted, warm, directly on point--informative but affectionate. Three things about the Observer really impress me. It's gutsy. It maintained a high level despite the loss of Laura Miller. And it has a complete archive so that readers can go back and find the gems they missed, such as the Randy Newman essay.