By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
On the ground floor: Fred's all right by me ("Girl on Top" by Andrea Grimes, May 24). The first time I ever saw him perform I was immediately taken aback at his natural demeanor onstage. This guy was made for the spotlight. He's bright, musically talented and a damn good photographer. (I'll pick up my picture this weekend, Fred). Ten years from now I fully expect to be telling people, "I knew him when..."
The anti-twerp: Fred and Bill both are good guys and good friends. Fred just is what he is, likes what he likes and does what he wants to do. I think he inherited those qualities from his dad, who's just as genuine as he is. And, yes, I bought one of the little bastard's pictures too. What can I say? He's just one of those rare people with the dangerously beautiful combination of fearlessness and talent. And humility. Without that, Fred would probably be the annoying twerp a lot of people assume he must be, but he's as down to earth, goofy and legitimately NICE as he is those other things. At the risk of gushing too much...I know I want to be more like Fred when I grow up...
Good ear: This is great, Jonanna ("In on the Ground Floor" by Jonanna Widner, May 24). Montrose is a musician who has been making wonderful music for years and well deserves the press and attention. I'm really glad you had the opportunity to see/hear him live.
That's the Spirit
Dead on: Thank you for giving us a taste ("Ever Seen a Ghost?" by Megan Feldman, May 17) of haunted North Texas! As an amateur ghost hunter, it is nice to know there are communities online and off for interested parties in North Texas. I didn't know of any sites in Fort Worth, and I think it's fantastic that TCU approved a parapsychology class.
My favorite haunts in Dallas are the old Parkland Hospital off Maple Avenue, Highland Park (angry rich people leave GREAT impressions) and the cemeteries in Uptown. I encourage the metaphysically aware to explore those places...the energy is stunning, though sometimes hostile. Dallas is a richly spiritual town, and I don't mean just the living.
Ill Wind Blowing
Law is law: If I lived in Farmers Branch, I would have voted against the referendum ("Buzz" by Patrick Williams, May 17). However, I don't think it's fair to call those who voted for it racists. Many were probably voting to help enforce immigration laws. Some people actually believe that all laws should be obeyed. Some people believe the word "illegal" means just that. When you add the number of those to the number of racists, you get victory. It doesn't really matter; the city ordinance is clearly unconstitutional and will not last. However, the ill will created by this election will.
He prefers Schutzikins: I don't know whether to give Jim Schutze a "James Frey Award" for embellishing his stories to fit the concept, opinion and mood of his pieces, or to give him applause for real cutting-edge investigative journalism ("The Magic Touch," May 24). Either way it makes for great reading. Ed Oakley and Tom Leppert both have huge conflicts of interest in this (Trinity River) matter, and nowhere else is this presented to Dallas voters. Good work, "James," I mean, Jim.
And the Horse You Rode On
And so it goes: I have been reading the Dallas Observer basically from its beginning issues. I have noticed a trend in the last five years or so that makes almost any article from Bon Appetit, Texas Monthly, Dallas Observer—you name it—excruciating because of the incredibly bad grammar used by younger writers. With the exception of Jim Schutze, I wonder if any of your writers even graduated from high school. As official meetings often follow Robert's Rules on how to conduct a meeting in an orderly manner, so should journalists and would-be journalists construct decent, readable sentences according to fundamental grammar.
One of the biggest offenders is beginning sentences with a conjunction—legions!!! legions of them pepper almost every article. Doesn't ANYBODY know that a conjunction is used to link two thoughts in one sentence? NEVER START A SENTENCE WITH A CONJUNCTION.
I am a college graduate, but I learned basic grammar in high school. Maybe you should send everyone to remedial English classes. Of course it isn't just the writers for the Observer; the ignorance is pervasive. I find it highly embarrassing that a huge percentage of writers today are so damned ignorant.
It doesn't say much for standards of journalism, standards of education or that anybody even gives enough of a shit to attempt to perfect the craft of writing.
If perchance you are bewildered by my letter, perhaps you should go back to school too, or at least talk to Jim Schutze.
P.S. I like your mag—it's just so poorly written these days.