One of the best things about your wonderful weekly is its ability to challenge convention. Sometimes you even do this on behalf of the underdog.

Sometimes, however, all you do is give a platform for goofy people with terrible ideas.

One of the goofiest is Ray Audette, who claims that a diet of fresh meat is "natural" ["Neander-guy," July 6]. Unfortunately, Mr. Audette does not define "natural" with much precision. For all his veneration of the natural order, Mr. Audette still uses tools (and even a falcon or two dutifully registered with the appropriate state licensing agency) to dine in Paleolithic fashion.

Let Mr. Audette, without any tool or weapon, hunt and bring down a deer with his own hands and teeth (I don't think even Paleolithic people possessed fangs), and then feast on the carcass without first using a knife to cut it or a fire to cook it. After a week or two, no doubt even a warmed-over bowl of rice would appeal to him.

If your paper is concerned about food, then you should champion a plant-based diet. Not only do vegetarians avoid the cruelties of industrial ranching (and the misogynistic inclinations of Mr. Audette), but a growing avalanche of evidence shows that our bodies and the environment would also benefit.

Oscar Gonzalez

'E' for effort
While I support the existence of the Dallas Theater Critics Forum Awards ["Will act for food," July 6], I question why there is no category to recognize the work of locally based playwrights.

Yes, there are only a few produced each year, and the original works that do get a production aren't always worthy of praise. Nevertheless, enough of these works appear to warrant the creation of a playwriting category; [it] would at least be an acknowledgement of the effort and an encouragement to the artists involved. In addition, it would serve as a reminder to local theatergoers that playwrights can indeed be found right here at home.

Of course, were the Forum to announce that no original works were worthy of an award, many playwrights and producers would cringe from the blow. However, could that be any worse than being told we're not worthy of a category?

I must also add that I take exception to Nora FitzGerald's use of the word "winners" to describe what are more accurately "honorees," especially since the Forum seems to have deliberately downplayed a sense of competition among theater artists.

Furthermore, I feel her use of the word "favorites" to describe a couple of local actors is inappropriate for a theater critic. I must assume from the context that she means they are her favorites, since she does not state otherwise.

We all know critics have favorites, being only human--but to name them in print? How can such a comment not affect the integrity of future reviews?

Tim Hatcher

Ballet Dallas
As President of the Board of Directors of Ballet Dallas, I would like to express my appreciation for Ellise Pierce's article entitled "Why Dallas can't dance" [June 22]. Your front-page recognition has engendered a groundswell of support, and has rallied our city's arts community around both the company and our artistic director, Thom Clower.

Leslie Ann Crozier

Say 'no' to the yes man
Molly Ivins' lack of substantiality in "Countering the 'Get Clinton' movement" [June 22] has surpassed my expectations of her liberal bias by leaps and bounds. Obviously she has never looked at the amount of scrutiny into Newt Gingrich's life--and that media anal exam still isn't over with.

But the one point that I must agree with her on is the idea that Bill Clinton is a "yes" man. That point should be blatantly obvious in the next year, when he will say anything to appear anything but liberal in order to be more appealing to voters.

We don't want to "get" Bill Clinton, Ms. Ivins, just get rid of him.
Michael Sheridan