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Letters

Language gap
I had just finished reading a Web page release concerning the state of Idaho's recent certification of six Spanish-language interpreters after their having passed a test given by the national Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification when a friend e-mailed me about Ms. Christine Biederman's thought-provoking article ["Lost in translation," February 25].

Dallas County's problems underscore Texas' need for professional court-interpreting standards. Her article mentions California's certification program. Our next-door neighbor, New Mexico, also has a certification program for court interpreters.

Just one correction: The rate paid by the U.S. Courts to federally certified court interpreters for in-court proceedings is $135 per half-day and $250 per whole day, not $280 as reported.

Your focus on these issues will serve to raise consciousness in the community and benefit all those who require interpretation in pursuit of their constitutional rights, no matter their language or ethnic background.

Michael Mahler
U.S. Certified Court Interpreter
Dallas

My compliments on your lengthy piece about court interpreting. Please note, however, that the story talks exclusively about interpreting, the job of puddle-jumping between languages aloud. When you do it in writing and on paper, then that's translating.

May one of your county commissioners someday run afoul of the law in a country whose language isn't English and have to make do with the sort of interpreting foisted on non-English speakers in the Dallas courts.

Chandler Thompson
Interpreter, U.S. Court
Las Cruces, New Mexico

There you go again
Robert Wilonsky is at it again, trashing all things popular. Now before we get too far, let me start by stating that I am not a particularly huge Pat Green [Music listings, February 11] fan, but I have to say that as usual, Wilonsky's assessment of Green's talent, as well as his witty musings on other Texas artists such as Robert Earl Keen, Jack Ingram, and Jerry Jeff Walker, were completely absurd, bordering on ridiculous.

If there's one thing I have come to realize about Robert Wilonsky, it is that he hates anything that makes the transformation from obscure to accessible. Unfortunately, this attitude runs rampant in the media these days. This "if the public has heard of it, it can't be worthy" back-slapping among so-called music journalists makes me want to vomit blood. Now Wilonsky is extolling the greatness of Jeff Tweedy and Wilco ["The only one," February 25], of which I am a fan. Rest assured, however, that the first time Wilonsky pulls up to a red light on Lower Greenville on his way to drink coffee and pull on the goatees of some of his "we're smarter than the rest of you" ilk and hears "Casino Queen" pouring out of the speakers of a black Ford Explorer driven by an SMU kid with a Tried and True Warrior sticker on his back window, he will immediately race to his laptop and whip up a scathing commentary about how Jeff Tweedy doesn't deserve to change the strings on Jay Farrar's guitar.

So why don't you do us all a favor, Robert: Take some time off, and hang around the house so you can catch up on the Alan Alda movies you missed last year, gaze longingly at your autographed Rhett Miller photo (whom you will undoubtedly be ripping after Fight Songs is released), and listen to your boxed set of Ned's Atomic Dustbin. After a couple of weeks of some well-earned R&R, drop by the Gypsy Tea Room, and my friends and I might even buy you a cold Shiner Bock.

Dennis A. Lokey
Via e-mail

I really liked your piece on Pat Green. That summed up exactly the point I have been trying to get across to a few of my frat-boy friends lately. It's the beer, not the music, that gets them to the shows. I can't think of one worthy musical quote from Pat Green as of yet. His "best" songwriting is yet to come, but it's going to be a few more painful years before we hear his musical maturity. I love George's Bar--it's a 360 compared to Dancehall Dreamer, and I think you should take another listen to the CD, and you'll hear the growth.

A lot of Pat's sound is Lloyd Maines. Pat's first CD was all Lloyd Maines. I think he's trying to find an edge, but it's hard for him to do it. He's just a plain nice guy who writes nice songs about Texas. Give him credit for being himself in this day and age of over-produced, junkie-laced commercial pop music. That goes for country too.

Anonymous
Via e-mail

You completely failed to notice Pat Green's songwriting skills or the fact that he's doing all of this because he's having the time of his life. Is he as good as his fans seem to think? Who cares? He's managed to string together three quality albums that have sold in very high volume considering he doesn't have a major label promoting him. So he's obviously not an overnight sensation.

Maybe you're simply the kind of "critic" who is only interested in getting attention, and the best way to do that is to rip a popular act. Maybe you just wonder why you couldn't have been the one to stand on stage in front of hundreds of people while they applaud you. If that's the case, I'll answer your question: It's because you didn't have the guts to try.

John Gray
Via e-mail

Sorry to hear that you aren't a Pat Green fan, but I can't understand why you would write a story just to put down someone who's trying to earn a living doing what he loves. I love his music, and as long as he keeps putting out his CDs and playing here in Lubbock, I'll continue to buy them and see him in concert.

Courtney LaBowe
Via e-mail

I understand that Mr. Wilonsky has a job to do--as well as an opinion. Allow me simply to register my broad and general disagreement with his philippic regarding Pat Green. Pat's fun. He entertains. He writes songs that reflect his pride as a native of Texas. Being a critic means you critique, so I'm not going to whine. I just disagree, and I thought I'd register that. Thanks.

Justin Shumaker
Via e-mail

You might actually want to meet Pat Green before you go and call him "phony," don't you think? I'm not quite sure you could find a more genuine guy. Most of his songs come from real experiences, and I know quite a few people who could sit down and give you the details on what trip or gal he was talking about when he wrote this song or that one.

So pull out your favorite hat and a pair of jeans--if you actually have any--grab a Shiner or a flask of your favorite potion, kick back, and enjoy Pat's big ol' smile and his very singable songs. After all, even critics can have a good time after they've had a few.

Josh Barron
Via e-mail

Dallas film scene
We found the article "Lights, camera, no action" [February 18] by Jimmy Fowler to be interesting and timely. Mr. Fowler's thesis is basically that Dallas missed the boat as the center for Texas filmmaking and has conceded that to Austin. In large measure, we agree with this premise.

As the article aptly chronicles, Dallas has high hopes of being a national if not international player in film producing. Despite good intentions and some progress, these goals have not been met. But there are several steps being taken today that will give Dallas a more prominent role in the industry. A new organization has been created to take a fresh look at how Dallas can become a major player in producing independent films. As a part of this strategy, the Deep Ellum Film Music Art and Noise Festival (DEFMAN, Dallas) is being created. Its primary focus is an international film festival (DEFF) that will give exposure to local filmmakers, encouraging not only growth in our local independent film community but filmmaking in Dallas as a whole.

We think there are a plethora of independent filmmakers who will provide quality art films if given the encouragement.

For more information, please contact our Web site beginning March 12 at www.deepellumfilmfestival.org or www.defman.org.

Forrest Smith
Chairman, DEFMAN
Via e-mail

Correction
A quotation in the Dallas Observer's February 18 cover story, "The case of the headless, handless corpse," concerning a claim that atheist leader John Murray had discussed fleeing to New Zealand several years ago, was incorrectly attributed to David Travis, a former American Atheists employee. The comment was actually made by Arnold Via, a longtime friend of Madalyn Murray O'Hair. We regret the error.


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