Letters to the Editor

Published the week of February 3

We give a lit

I'm sure you won't print this e-mail in its entirety, but I'm compelled to write it anyway. When I began writing my novel, The Protégé, I promised myself I would welcome constructive criticism when it came, no matter what the form. I stuck by that promise throughout the editing process and would have also done so with Patrick Williams' "Valley of the malls" comments (Buzz, January 27) had they resembled anything close to an intelligent critique. In fact, Mr. Williams makes it very easy for me to respond.

He begins his comments by admitting that he doesn't read books -- except for comic books, of course. I can only assume that that is a good characterization of his intellect. He then proceeds to say that he is probably not "qualified" to review such things (books), since he is not a "professional." One would only have to read his articles to discover he's not a professional, but it's nice of him to admit it in writing. The fact that he did not read the book -- only scanned it to make his points -- is glaringly apparent in his comment that Jake Travis comes from a "small Texas town." On page six and throughout the book, Jake makes reference to his "Indiana" roots.

I'm assuming that the comparison to Jackie Susann is supposed to be a cut, but since her novel Valley of the Dolls sold over 30 million copies and spent nearly 65 weeks at the top of the best-seller lists, I'll take the comparison as a compliment. I'm sure that he is trying to refer to the fact that although Susann's novels were loved by the public, they were universally disliked by "qualified" critics. But, if so, it seems he missed again. In a recent review in the Sunday Oklahoman (with a circulation six times that of the Dallas Observer), a "qualified" reviewer described my novel as "captivating" and an "enjoyable read." She also called it "Grisham-like" and "a book you will want to read from start to finish, as quickly as possible."

In closing, I'd like to say that Mr. Williams' comments about sex -- which admittedly appears sparingly in the novel -- can only lead me to believe that he is living the life of a repressed adolescent, still hurting from not being able to find a date for the prom and still wondering what it's like not to have sex alone.

George Clidienst
Via e-mail

Editor's reply: Alas, Patrick Williams was spared having to read, or skim through, Mr. Clidienst's book. That duty fell to Robert Wilonsky, who did indeed have a date to the prom and who, thanks to his gracious wife, knows what it's like not to have sex alone -- that is, when he's not reading Justice League of America.


On the Mark

I had the good fortune to grow up in Lakewood three doors from Charles Tessmer's home, spending as much time there as at my own home during many of those years ("Good-time Charlie," December 23). I can say from someone who knows Charles well that Mark Donald's story captured him in a warm but accurate light. Thanks for running the story. I wish someone would use his material for a novel or even nonfiction.

Bill Cunningham
Via e-mail


More Ball talk

I happened upon Jimmy Fowler's Dragon Ball Z article, "International incident" (January 20), via the Anime News Service at www.animenewsservice.com. After reading it, I felt compelled to write your newspaper, as well as Mr. Fowler, even though I live in Michigan. I am an assistant editor of FantastiCon.com (www.fantasticon.com) and chief editor of AnimeCon.com. I have been a fan of Dragon Ball long before it ever came to America. Before you go and dismiss me as a belligerent anime fan here to bash you for your heavenly portrayal of the hard-working folks at FUNimation, let me say this:

Congratulations.

Congratulations on bringing to light the things that the rest of anime fandom, including myself, don't see. While I admit I do grit my teeth when I hear some of the voice performances in the show, this feature story has made me realize that these people work really hard to create an American version of a Japanese product. What most fans fail to understand is that our two countries (Japan and the U.S.) are different in a lot of varying ways. And I believe Mr. Fowler said that America is just too multicultural to accept all of the stuff that is in the original product.

I'm 21 and am mature enough to enjoy the humor that Toriyama uses in his series, as well as sort out the difference between fighting for a cause and fighting for no reason. Most fans appreciate Dragon Ball only because it's a fight fest. I choose, on the other hand, to recognize that most of these fights have a true meaning under them. Otherwise, why fight right?

Please tell Mr. Fowler that I appreciate his article!

Ken Cross
Chief Editor,
AnimeCon.com
Via e-mail

I am a 22-year-old male who has just read over your article about Dragon Ball Z ("International incident," January 20). I watch the show every day faithfully. I have been watching it ever since that first night I stayed up all night from a party and turned on the TV to the FOX network and saw episode one for the first time. Your article was nicely done.

It was good to hear both good feedback as well as bad and hear about the companies responsible for it. The Internet overflows with Web sites devoted to hate mail aimed at FUNimation. I, for one, am sick of it. Too many people are concerned with the Japanese version and fansubs. I have seen both, and I am here to tell you I don't like reading anything, let alone an action-filled telecast. I have been hissed and punted (removed) from chatrooms because I try to tell people to stop being so critical and enjoy this version.

America is the melting pot, and with so many diverse cultures, one cannot appeal to everyone. I like the fact that this immensely popular show has made its way to America. I don't go to chat rooms anymore, because all they consist of are 13-to-18-year-old kids who think what is good for one is good for all, and they blame FUNimation instead of the older generation of right-wing conservatives for the degree to which some things need changing. I will agree that some voices are bad, but others have promise. The only thing that really gets me is the lag time, the waiting from episode to episode and the waiting for newer episodes to air. I don't condemn FUNimation for what they are doing. Instead, I extend a gesture of thanks, and keep it up until the show is completely done.

Anonymous
Via e-mail

Jimmy Fowler, I am sorry to hear that you feel that Dragon Ball Z is just like WWF wrestling. Apparently, you refuse to look past the fighting and read into the very positive message that is being portrayed. A hero (Goku) fights off the powers of "evil," and while doing so, gives us a very good moral representation. His relationship with his son is a good example. Also, calling Goku a "nerd" is a totally off-the-mark description. As VegettoEx explains in his editorial on his Web site, he is simply naive -- simple-minded, perhaps, but very naive. This is not a nerd.

Another concern I have is the way you stereotype DBZ fans. Just because a few people send in immature comments to FUNimation does not mean that all DBZ fans are immature. Most of the people who write those letters are people looking for attention. On a final note, FUNimation does censor out too much of the show. Explain why they added a rock in front of Gohan's foot. Is that now considered inappropriate?

Please take this letter seriously. Remember what I have said when you write another article on a similar subject. Don't use just FUNimation's point of view. Look at the avid fan's point of view.

Anonymous
Via e-mail

Dear Dallas Observer, you guys completely fucked up what is wrong with FUNimation. They have been neglecting fans' wishes for so long that people have just given up. You crossed the line when you called us "anime snobs." More like Dallas Observer bitches. I suggest you visit VegettoEx's site and read his editorial on you guys.

Anonymous
Via e-mail

Editor's note: Indeed, there is a 3,400-word response to Jimmy Fowler's article, available at http://members.aol.com/vegettoex/editorials/vegex_17.html.

Dragon Ball Z is a great show no matter how you put it. Some of the battle scenes may repeat actions, and, yes, some of the dialogue is very corny, and the fact that FUNimation censors so much stuff out of it is so mind-bogglingly stupid that it's hard to imagine. I can sympathize with the fact that they're introducing it to a younger audience, but I have friends who can translate every word of the Japanese episodes for me without even thinking. I have three Japanese episodes in my house -- one with subtitles, two of which I know by heart because my friend recited them to me.

If there is one thing I like better about the American version, it's that the voices actually sound adult, they're in English, and the music is better. I'm 15 years old and have seen every single episode of Dragon Ball Z released on Canadian television, up until episode 53. No one can deny that the action (yes, action, not violence) in Dragon Ball Z is spectacular and that the storyline has depth, yet at the same time, it's simple and easy to follow.

If you ask my opinion, if FUNimation left only a few more things in, say, a couple of the "naughty words" and some of the blood, then maybe more varieties of people would watch it. It would easily surpass Pokémon.

Michael Forward
Via e-mail


Oh, yeah -- and Crain sucks

First off, I would like to say that I never write to any publications...until now. How Zac Crain got the job of picking the worst local records of the '90s is beyond me ("Please kill me," January 20). He's definitely got to be one of the most close-minded assholes in Dallas. Out of the albums he picked, how could Pantera, LeAnn Rimes, and the Dixie Chicks be on there? All three of these artists are multiplatinum sellers when it comes to records. Oh -- Zac, I wouldn't worry about Vinnie Paul coming to kick your ass. There's plenty of us Pantera fans that would gladly do it for him.

Anonymous
Via e-mail

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