Friends in high places


Because Mr. Schutze so unfairly concluded what my intentions were as they related to a political contribution to Ronnie Kendall ("The art of the touch," April 13), I feel it is necessary to write this letter. I'll preface my comments by noting that I am proud of my political involvement and wish that more citizens participated in the process, rather than fewer. I'll continue to support friends and causes in which I believe with my time, energy, and money. Articles like Mr. Schutze's, however, are certainly discouraging.

In direct response to Mr. Schutze's accusations, I would appreciate the editor adding the following facts for readers to review:

1. I was not attorney of record in any case in Judge Kendall's court in January 1997, when the contribution was made.

2. Of the few cases our firm has had in Judge Kendall's court, Mr. Schutze failed to mention that the only case our firm tried to conclusion was in 1999. Both parties waived a jury and tried it to the judge. Our client requested damages of several hundred thousand dollars. After more than a week of trial, Judge Kendall found against our client and awarded no damages.

3. Mr. Schutze did, in fact, leave a voice mail for me, threatening to print his ill-conceived comparisons to the Lipscomb case involving bribery. I returned the call as soon as I retrieved the voice mail message and left a message on Mr. Schutze's voice mail indicating the impropriety of his comments. I invited him to call me back; he did not do so. Perhaps I should conclude that it was a better story without the facts.

4. Ronnie Kendall is a friend of mine.

5. I do not believe that Judge Kendall would change his position for a $1,000 contribution or a $1,000,000 bribe.

Mr. Schutze writes the entire article implying that the political contribution to Ronnie Kendall was a bribe. In a one-sentence paragraph, he rather disingenuously indicates that's not what he really said. I strongly suggest to both Mr. Schutze and the Dallas Observer that reputable journalism requires taking the time to check the facts so that the act of printing libelous articles is avoided.

Debbie D. Branson

Jim Schutze responds: I left multiple messages for Ms. Branson during the week I reported and wrote my story. On one occasion, I talked to a woman at her office who said Ms. Branson was there but taking other calls. A week later, as my article was going to press, I received Ms. Branson's phone message, which said she'd been out of town and just got my message. Because Ms. Branson called so late, I was able to represent the contents of her message only by including the line, "Literally minutes before this story went to press, I picked up a phone message from Debbie Branson saying, 'Your conclusion is absolutely inappropriate.'"

Blood and gutlessness

Give me a break.

The whole American Psycho review ("A cut above," April 13)? I mean, you guys are just a step away from the Enquirer now.

Cutting off women's lips while they are still alive? Do you know anyone who has been a real victim of this type of violence? I mean, because it's so nice of other people to have the privilege of not knowing this type of violence up close, so they'd have the spineless and gutless nerve to mock it and profit off of it.

That distance must be very comfortable. It must be nice to be that far away from it. Some people cannot afford it. Really, you positively reviewed something barely a step above a snuff film. Congratulations.

Do you have a soul?

And yeah, Bret Ellis deserves a whole lot of understanding and pats on the back for surviving all his bad press ("The redemption of Bret Easton Ellis," April 13). I'll remember that the next time I speak with a shelter worker or survivor of this type of violence. Because I so foolishly thought they were the ones who were deserving of the real attention.

How crazy I was. It's the ones making their life an outright hell on earth that deserve all the glory and attention. So good of you guys to set the record straight on that one. What's next? An article on those poor, sympathetic, misunderstood Klansmen glorifiers that have endured so much bad press? Or maybe those poor Nazi sympathizers that got so much bad hype?

Really, what new category of the misunderstood psychotic are you going to glorify next? Are you going to insult those who endured slavery and genocide next? Or would that be crossing the line to you?

Or is it just OK because it's about killing women and prostitutes?

Via e-mail

For shame

Mr. [Rob] Patterson, thank you very much. There is no better compliment I can receive than being called a "dumbass" by such a wonderful individual as yourself (Previews, April 13). I guess I am your worst nightmare. First, I was one of those dreaded "frat boys" once upon a time. Second, I drink beer. Third, and worst of all, I am a huge Pat Green fan. Let me guess -- you were the kid in school with no friends who had no fun.

You claim that Pat Green fans are the dumbasses of the world. Why? Because you don't like his music. Wow, that is such a "dumbass" comment from such a smart, well-respected individual as yourself.

Personally, I like to think Pat Green fans are a little more intelligent than the average music fan. Here is a guy who does not have a national recording contract. Here is a guy who does not get shoved down our throats by the corporate sloths in Nashville. But he has succeeded in gaining a huge fan base. Why? Because he writes and performs some damn good songs that we can relate to.

I guess you cannot relate to Pat because his songs are about fun and enjoying life instead of being a bitter, sorry individual.

My only advice, Rob -- get a life...and enjoy it.

Via e-mail

Patterson's article on Pat Green is a dead ringer. The college pukes will not see it in the same fashion, but that was one of the author's points anyway.

Pat's lowered the common denominator in the equation of what it takes to make music pay. Pat Green is the Kenny Rogers of Texas Music. He can't write himself out of a wet paper bag. Tacos, queso, beer, hill country, road trips, beer, whiskey, float trips, women, and more beer -- these are the elements of Pat's formula for successful songwriting in Texas. He touches nothing significant or soulful in his songs, and his shows are one beer-showered roaring pep rally after another.

He uses the pride Texans feel for their state and the angst of 16- to 23-year-olds as a crutch for poor songwriting, mediocre musicianship, and mundane production. It's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" geared for Texans. He can't play out of the state, and no artist of any integrity will back him. He does not have the respect of any of his peers nor any of his heroes. Folks in the biz tolerate him only because of his numbers.

This is what you get, Pat. Sell your soul to the devil of the Texas frat circuit, and guess what you've earned: a permanent throne atop the heap of sell-outs.

Your evaluators will always be vocal. You'll have your bus and your screaming, beer-chugging, CD-buying college fans, but you'll never make a good record and you'll never have that one thing you crave so dearly. Respect.

First-rate article, Rob. I could hug you. If indeed Pat does reek, the world's not going to let him know through CD sales or concert attendance. So all we have left is critical reviews, and I think justice sleeps a little easier every time a journalist tells his or her readers the truth about Pat Green.

Sonny Cambolia
Via e-mail

I was surprised to read what Rob had written. Maybe it was a tad harsh. I have no vendetta against your paper or the people who write for it. I have never gone on record to say that the Dallas Observer lacks taste or qualified critics. I understand that the very nature of critics is to take their feelings about artists and reveal them to the public. However, don't you think attacking the people who listen to my music is a little too much? I have had embarrassing moments when I accidentally slammed someone's work, not knowing they were listening. I felt terrible and apologized to the point of raking myself over the coals...though that's not the issue.

I love good reviews. Most of the reviews are quite nice. In fact, this is the second bad review I have received in my life, and also the second bad review I have received from this publication. The people who take time to talk to me after shows or whenever are well-received, and I listen to them talk about themselves and their lives. You guys should try it. It makes the compliments that make others feel good about themselves come out easier.

This is how I go through my life. I completely understand that this is not how everybody goes through life. I can accept a good roast of me and my music. I can take the occasional "not so good, Mr. Green." I appreciate the soul of Mr. Patterson. Very colorful and spirited, and in the right light, I bet his thoughts and words shine and inspire people. However, this piece of work lacked integrity and hurt people.

Not so good, Mr. Patterson.

Pat Green
Via e-mail

An article is one thing. A complete lack of respect is another. I hold the writer of the article responsible as well as the editor of your rag. I think you can glean from this e-mail that you have lost a reader. Texas is ashamed of you.

Jim T. Graham
Via e-mail

Rob Patterson, you blow! You obviously have no taste in music, you stupid yankee. If you don't like Texans or their music, then get the hell out of here. No one is asking you to stay.

Most people I know think that you suck and want you to leave the state. You say Pat Green is not respected by any respectable artists. Then why has he opened up numerous times for Willie and been spoken of highly by Robert Earl Keen, Johnny Cash, etc.? You are mistaken in stereotyping the type of people who listen to his music. I was with five older people at Billy Bob's this weekend who loved him and didn't appreciate your article at all.

You suck, Rob!

Via e-mail


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