Ditch the cummerbunds
Good timing, Dallas Observer! I just had received an invitation to this year's Black Tie event--complete with a set of postcards for me to mail to others in order to increase ticket sales. After reading your article ["Black Tie winners," July 25], I decided to decline on both attending and/or co-promoting the event. AIDS Services of Dallas will get my $200, instead--no paperwork, ticket sales, or tuxedo rental required!

Name withheld

Dumb and dumber
Perhaps in the future your movie reviewers should be actively discouraged from any and all references to the Academy Awards.

A few months ago, Kate Winslet of Sense and Sensibility was misidentified as being the recipient of this year's Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (when the winner was actually Mighty Aphrodite's Mira Sorvino). Now, poor Robin Wright, formerly of Big D, is subjected to barbs for "...her vapid, Oscar-nominated turn in Forrest Gump" ["And then there were some," August 1]. The truth, however, is that Wright, vapid or no, was most definitely not singled out by the Academy for her work in that particular film. (And, by the way, you'd be surprised at the number of good books there are readily available on the topic of the Academy Awards.)

On the other hand, I'll salute you guys for being savvy enough to recommend Wright's lovely work in 1992's The Playboys, one of the most solid bits of acting to escape the Academy's attention in recent times--an omission made all the more stupefying in light of the incessant grumblings in the press about the lack of strong female roles at awards time each year. At any rate the plug for Wright's most accomplished performance was a nice touch. Keep up the good work!

Melanie Pruit

Middle East myopia
Steve Sosebee's letter [August 1] would be a joke if the subject matter wasn't so sad. His totally one-sided view of the Middle East situation is to be expected. I agree that Miriam Rozen's article ["Charity gall," July 11] was somewhat slanted. However, she did not even come close to the omissions in Sosebee's letter. To blame the children's injuries solely on the Israelis is ludicrous. The children's injuries are the result of years of warfare and terrorism on both sides. For every injured Palestinian child there are an equal number of wounded Israeli children. His naive view of the situation is laughable, although the suffering of the children isn't. As trite as it sounds, it takes two to tangle. Perhaps he should focus on helping the peace process and educating the children in that war-torn land. Then maybe, someday, the children's pain will go away.

Gay Venable

Vary steamed
Regarding Holly Mullen's article ["Vary messy business," August 1], I would like to take my hat off in admiration to [Steve] Cox and [Susan] Engles for standing up for what they believe is right. The Ceslie (note the last three letters) Armstrongs and Mica Englands of this world might think twice, before they set out to screw talented people for their work, if they knew there would be a price to pay in public humiliation via personal picketing!

Armstrong, England, and their Vary unsuccessful rag left me holding the tab totalling several hundred dollars for a photo shoot I did for them. Once they had what they wanted--my work and talent--they vanished without so much as a 'thank you, sucker!' I believe in the law of karma, and I am thrilled to see that these two "deadbeat divas" are getting exactly what they deserve.

Mark Mahan

Irvin's mea culpa-bility
You can bet Michael Irvin is really sincere about changing his lifestyle [Buzz, July 25]. I just hope he doesn't spill any beer on his way to church. Until he figures it out, his biggest regret might always be that his motel room didn't have HBO.

Hugh W. Savage Jr.
Fort Worth

A word for indies
I found some of the "anti-indie" remarks made in your letters column [July 25] a bit alarming.

Jason Bunch asserts that indie stores should follow Best Buy's example of discount retailing ["Accidental deaths," July 11]. Sorry, Jason--that would entail buying thousands of copies of each title to get a similar volume discount. While Pagan Rhythms will still be around to compete for quite some time, our purchasing budget isn't quite that large.

I commend Best Buy for selling new CDs at a great price, but by selling them at cost they create an unfair environment for smaller music shops that don't have 1,000 TVs in stock to fall back on for a profit.

Mr. Bunch and Mr. Kretchmar can "save" their way into Generic Value Heaven if they want--we all love a good deal.

Bucks Burnett

Royal tiff
Your article by Ann Zimmerman ["Trail of tears," August 1] is full of calculated lies and distortions, to my personal knowledge. I am a registered Cherokee from the greatest Cherokee family (Ross) and have been a college professor of mathematics for nearly 40 years.

Your quote from a "Cherokee Nation" source (unnamed, of course) that our beloved man, our "oukah" (always translated as 'king'), was a joke means only that this writer is ignorant beyond belief. Without this oukah there currently would be no "Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma" or any legal governments of the "Five Civilized Tribes" (all of which are nations, not tribes). I know who he is, what he represents, and what he had done and said. He is my elder brother.

Danny Hair's quote that he did not recognize the oukah's Cherokee language in last year's ceremony at the Chief Bowles marker in East Texas is remarkable. If Hair had been present (which he was not), he would have learned up front that the oukah would do the ceremony in the ancient ceremonial dialect of the "Kutani" (high priesthood). I personally translated each phrase into English.

The current oukah has been written about off and on since 1962. He inherited the ancient Cherokee title, plus the emperor title taken by the Cherokee oukah (who ruled the three Cherokee Nations) in 1729, which was confirmed by King George II of England in 1730 when the Cherokees then visiting London signed our first treaty with a foreign power. When members of our family wrote the Cherokee Constitution of 1827, the ancient ways and customs were never abolished. We take pride in keeping them alive today, and our royal status has been "recognized" by every world leader and royal personage that we care about. Zimmerman has proof of that in her (your) files and knew it when she wrote her vengeful article.

I join my brother in deploring these white people muddying our waters, bringing disgrace upon us, and selling "certified degrees of blood" cards and non-native arts and crafts as genuine. These very people are not worthy of even speaking the name of our spiritual leader, our beloved oukah, who has courageously, at the risk of his life, restored to us something genuine from the past, asking nothing for himself.

His Royal and Imperial Highness
Prince Edward of Tsalagi
The Cherokee Nations

Under a photograph of me (any resemblance to anyone living or dead must be accidental) in your August 1 issue, you wrote the caption: "His Royal and Imperial Majesty, the oukah, a claim the Cherokee Nation disputes."

Let me put things in sequence. I inherited the oukah and emperor titles, which belong to my family, in 1968. Later that year, I sent a message to my people which brought about a lawsuit. The court decision, some three years later, gave the "Five Civilized Tribes" (all of which are legal nations) the right to form and elect their own governments again.

In 1975, some "white businessmen" established the "Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma." Many Cherokees do not recognize it as a legitimate government. There is no authority in their constitution to "recognize" an emperor. They have no jurisdiction over me or my family affairs, but they may owe their very existence to me.

For the hateful, misleading implication of your remarks, I think you owe me and your readers an apology.

The Oukah
Emperor of Tsalagi
The Cherokee Nations