Letters, Week of November 1

Another Bad Apple

Attention whore: I think the teacher involved here ("Bad Apples," October 25) is more of an attention whore than a person truly interested in seeing justice done. I would not be surprised to find the sleuth married to one of the wrongly accused in the near future.

If, in fact, these are wrongful convictions (and who better to know the law than an attorney), there are plenty of attorneys out there who might look at the particulars pro bono. It would be tragic if these men were wrongly convicted, but it is more tragic that someone gave this attention-hungry woman a forum to voice her "findings," which appeared to be nothing more than speculation.

Suzie Guthrie

Don't Believe the Hoax

Art's affirmative action: Other than the self-serving part--licking her wounds in public in the first couple of paragraphs--I found myself finally in a kind of agreement with Christine Biederman ("The Basquiat Syndrome," October 25). Yeah, Trenton Doyle Hancock is a hoax to anyone with critical sensibility. Like Dario Robleto, another young artist getting attention here, there and yon, Hancock is getting attention because he is making work that some curators and viewers find fascinating--full of clever (or not) little puzzles to be solved about the artist and the "conditions" in which a black person is an artist, etc.

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Note that Houston critic Bill Davenport recently called Hancock a Post-Black artist, but I'm not sure what he meant by that, other than maybe he doesn't want to deal with the black stuff in Hancock's work. Hancock is the kind of culturally productive guy stodgy, uncreative folks like Auping can rub up against and feel sexier for it for a little while. It's pathetic, obviously.

The black artist deploys his "creativity" into a milieu that wants him to play a role, so that everyone can feel release, a false sense of unity with shit they don't understand (shit maybe the artist doesn't understand either). The artist, who feels or is powerless to change the milieu (and in this case just wanting to make it), is forced into a conceptual world of near lunatic fantasy and a stylistic world of hackster expressionism with some visual twists that are really what get NY critics' attention anyway.

Every effort Hancock puts into his art by way of heroes coming to the comic rescue is effort diverted from real action in the world, but we'll take it as a stand-in. It's a sham when artists do this sort of shit. It's why Guy Debord knew so-called avant-garde art practice was the most counter-revolutionary force out there. But hell, there's a career in it, and Hancock is probably in for a good ride if he can keep the tricks going. That's the art world today.

Tyrone James

Save the Forest

Relocate Cadillac Heights: Your October 25 article by Jim Schutze ("Down the River") shows that new levees down the Trinity River would provide little protection to residents along that part of the Trinity. The toll roads raised between existing levees alongside downtown Dallas would tend to raise the flood level, even downtream. The best protection for residents of South Dallas and Cadillac Heights near the river would be the option to move to higher ground at public expense. Such an approach would prevent the ruination of the Great Trinity Forest, which extends down the Trinity from the existing levees. Residents along that part of the Trinity, even if they choose to move uphill, would still enjoy walking into the magnificent forest that they and the Dallas citizens can save by undoing the currently challenged Trinity River project.

Edward C. Fritz

Hairsplitters, P.C.

Someone else's client: Unnamed sources in your October 25 issue ("Lawyered to Death") have caused your newspaper to print something that is inaccurate and needs to be corrected.

Paul Watler provided legal counsel to WFAA-Channel 8 in connection with a series of reports in 1995 on school trustee Dan Peavy and others. When Mr. Peavy and others sued WFAA and reporter Robert Riggs, the station hired another law firm, Vinson & Elkins, to represent the station and Riggs in defense of that litigation. Mr. Riggs was never Mr. Watler's client at any time during the Peavy litigation. This is not a matter of opinion or interpretation but a matter of record at the courthouse.

David S. Margulies

Eric Celeste responds: Mr. Margulies is a public relations agent representing Mr. Watler. Under the tort of negligent misrepresentation, liability is not based on the breach of duty a professional owes his or her clients or others in privity, but on an independent duty to the nonclient based on the professional's manifest awareness of the nonclient's reliance on the misrepresentation and the professional's intention that the nonclient so rely. See Horizon Fin., F.A. v. Hansen, 791 F.Supp. 1561, 1574 (N.D. Ga. 1992) (citing Eisenberg v. Gagnon, 766 F.2d 770 (3d Cir. 1985), and Robert & Co. Assocs. v. Rhodes-Haverty Partnership, 300 S.E.2d 503 (Ga. 1983)). This according to McCamish, Martin, Brown & Loeffler v. F.E. Appling Interests (1999), Texas Supreme Court No. 97-0970. So there.

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