Missed Shot

Presumption of guilt: Carlton Stowers' story "Shot in the Dark," June 5, is a ridiculous non-story. It's a sympathetic story of a criminal. No matter if it is small-town Texas or Dallas, a crime is a crime, and punishment is needed. If Hicks had been a resident of Dallas and had led police on drunken chases, he would have already been in prison. The law said he could not have a weapon during that time; he had one. He broke the law. I do not see what the big deal is. He was found not guilty of murder, as it seems he should have been based on the evidence in the story. Yet he did break other laws and is now doing time for those violations. Maybe they used evidence from his murder trial, but that is normal practice in law. If you continually break the law and put yourself in those situations, you are eventually going to have to do the time, and that is what seems to have happened here. Instead of pandering for this criminal, your time would be better spent investigating and writing stories that actually better Dallas, like I usually find in my Dallas Observer.

Jason Hathaway
Via e-mail

Hammer Time

Young fart: Exactly. Precisely. Your article ("Hammer of the Gods," June 5, by Robert Wilonsky) expressed what I feel in my heart and my head about music. I am a 24-year-old graduate student, and I love Steely Dan, Zeppelin and especially Fleetwood Mac (two tickets to see them tomorrow and am so psyched!). These bands are not nostalgia acts to me; I have no nostalgia for them. I'm not old enough! They are simply great, exciting, fantastic musicians who know how to make music (something many of my generation's bands should look into). Thanks for the article.

Ryan Rairigh
Gainesville, Florida

No mullets: I really loved this article. Excellent work.

One thing I'd like to add is that I kind of defy the stereotypical "classic rock fan" by being a 22-year-old, non-mullet-loving man. I also have many friends who are the same way, and I'm also a big White Stripes fan (as well as some other choice "nü rock"). As a fan of music first and foremost, I long for the day when everything can be treated on an equal stage and judged for its own worth as a piece of music.

Jason Rollison
Via e-mail

Stop the presses: I can't believe what I'm reading: Robert Wilonsky writes an article in which he actually praises a band (more than one, even) with more than three albums under its belt? Oh, the hypocrisy. This guy typically disses everything--both old and new--but especially the old stuff. This is, of course, a relative term, because Wilonsky considers music from the '90s to be "old." How is it that he's just now getting a clue? I've been an avid Observer reader for years, and I think now is the time to lay down the challenge I've wanted to present for a long time: Mr. Wilonsky, I dare you to print your top 10 favorite albums of all time. I dare you to expose what music you actually like and listen to again and again. Are you brave enough to stand up for what you really believe in?

The vast majority of today's musical "product" is just that: a disposable product, just like toilet paper. It's meant to be purchased, used and then discarded as soon as the next big thing comes along. (How's that for an analogy?) The music industry generates this mind-set, then pays the media to promote it. Writers like Wilonsky typically follow the consumer-driven status quo, demonstrating how cool and hip they are by championing the latest trend and dissing everything that came before it as being outdated. A few years later, and they're dissing the albums that were once considered cool. The truth is this: Since roughly the end of the '70s, the amount of quality music being released by major record labels has been declining at an increasingly alarming rate.

Here's my recommendation to those who are passionate about music (this is what works for me): If you find yourself interested in a band's music, no matter how old or new, do some research on the artist before you buy anything. Check the All Music Guide online, your older friends/relatives or some other resource to find out who influenced the band you are interested in. Then, do the same research on those influences. Keep working backward until you get into the 1960s, 1950s or even further back. Then go buy a CD of music from that era. What you will find will be actual music, played with genuine emotion on real instruments, by people with actual talent and creativity. In short, something worthwhile that has lasting value. To hell with what the media have to say; they're only trying to convince you the latest "product" is something worth spending your money on. Oh, and don't be afraid of vintage jazz, people. It's the ultimate American expression of freedom and creativity.

Mark Colden

Warped Minds

Mighty white: Way to go, Patty! You are so right on target (Buzz, June 5, by Patrick Williams). Wonder how many other neighborhoods are still all white, except for the help? Is this due to the so-called legal homeowners associations or the good ol' boy sellers club? I wonder how many other non-white buyers have tried to buy there in the last 40 years.

Grace Giles
Richardson Corrections In last weeks issue, the cover story, Shot in the Dark, incorrectly stated that federal court juries can find defendants guilty based on the lesser standard of a preponderance of the evidence. Federal judges can use that lesser standard in sentencing, but juries in all criminal cases must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt to find someone guilty. Also last week, in the story Vintage TV, Dr. E. Lee Doyle was misidentified because of an editors mistake. We regret the errors.