Badu to the Bone

The dirty dirty: I am the weird girl. I picked up the Dallas Observer with her pic on it ("The Weird Girl," by Robert Wilonsky, October 16), and strangely enough, I didn't have to read the article to know what it said. Don't get me wrong...I did read it. It said what I knew it would. I know the dangers of promiscuity. I know the dangers of drugs in the community. I have seen the drugs, done the drugs. I have seen what it does to families, and children in particular. I have a child, born in July 1997--the same year I graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. I had enough sense to graduate early so I could tell my son in honesty that I was already in college when he was born. I am still in college. I still go to school downtown, and I still see the drugs. What I need to do I cannot put into words. This much I do know...my music and the "before-my-time wisdom" have carried me far. What Erykah Badu has done for her community will happen to mine. I know this because I will find a way to communicate--artistically, musically, politically, in English and Spanish. I have been inspired. I'm sticking around. What do you really know about the dirty dirty?

Naomi Mancillas

Fulfilled: This was an excellent article--very informative. I can never get enough of articles written about Ms. Badu, but this one left me fulfilled. It was nice to finally read an article that talked about her community exchanges, which is rarely heard. Thanks a bunch.

Tina Owens

Liberty and Lap Dances

Waste of time: If a lap dance doesn't fall under "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," what does? ("Feel Coppers," by Jim Schutze, October 30.) Let's put aside for a moment that consensual behavior between adults that doesn't harm the participants or anyone else is inherently no concern of anyone else. Let's also put aside the fact that "lewdness" that may happen in these clubs is not really public in the same sense as if it were happening on the street.

Pragmatically, the tremendous time wasted in battling over divisive culture war issues is time that the city council and others could spend doing something that might actually have a chance of mattering to the majority of citizens. When real crime, home and car burglaries are soaring. When the city is broke. The absolute last place I want my tax dollars spent is on policing what a bunch of grown-ups are doing in a club somewhere.

Derek Britz

Running Scared

It's a crime: Holy bad aim, Batman! She completely missed the mark! (Letters, October 30.) Here's a good pop quiz you may want to give your students: If a teacher closes his/her classroom doors and secretly gives the students the answers to TAKS and TAAS tests so they can pass the class and move on to the next grade, is it 1) the teacher's fault or 2) the government's fault for making the test so darn hard?

I understand the dilemma of how good teachers end up being the victims of bad previous teachers. But the answer certainly isn't to continue passing the buck. That just makes good teachers into bad teachers as well.

To answer your question, when you receive students at the seventh grade unable to spell the word "and," your responsibility should be clear: Notify your school administrator immediately and find out who the student's last teacher was so that action can be taken, then put that student in remedial classes right away, because they certainly aren't going to learn anything in that class if they don't understand the fundamentals of English. In fact, to let them remain in the class should be a crime...literally.

I think there is too much emphasis on a teacher's livelihood and not enough on a student's academic welfare. Russell Fish has the right people scared, thank goodness. Nothing else seems to work.

Reuben L. Owens

Buddha Backlash

Your "norm of degradation": I read your article in the Dallas Observer regarding Kwik Buddha (Full Frontal, October 23). Have you even listened to the album? They are one of the most original local bands in the metroplex, if not the whole state. You obviously have incredibly old taste in music. When you have time between your Dungeons & Dragons game and your shifts at Denny's to make ends meet, do you ever actually go out to see some of the local bands? Have you even looked at the people who do go to the clubs and support local music? Most of them no longer have the "black concert tees and long locks," and in case you haven't been outside your little cubicle, these people who support the local music scene--the ones who keep people like you and your magazine in business--look like the members of this band. Since I know that you've never been to a show, how can you say that they sound like "your very average metal band" and that they sound like "they're playing with their feet"? The two "full litter boxes," as you so eloquently put it, complement each other to make an incredible thick sound that makes you feel as though you are part of the music. As for the drummer, Phil--a.k.a., "Phil M.I. Ballz" or "Landphil"--have you ever heard him play? He kicks ass so hard on those drums that there is no moniker needed. He is just Phil--and that says it all.

Now Zac, baby, why did it take you two years to finally write a review of this band? Did it take you that long to come up with some kind of insult? I have to say that this is not your norm of degradation. Usually you have much more to say about people than just that their hair is going to be out of style in two months and they have terrible goatees. And by the way, I don't see you attaching your picture to the Web site--I looked. It would be interesting to see what you look like in comparison to them.

And just out of curiosity, what the hell is a sack of kittens? Is that supposed to be something insulting?

Erin Powell
Via e-mail

Editor's note: For Zac Crain's mug, see Full Frontal.

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