Welcome to our world

In case you were wondering where your copy of DFW Icon was last week -- or maybe you're just wondering what the hell DFW Icon is this week -- it turns out the newest local weekly publication wasn't quite ready to peek out of its shell. Just hours before the tabloid was scheduled to go to press October 26, publisher Jack Ramsey decided his baby still needed a little incubating. Seems he wasn't happy with the content -- at least, that was the explanation offered to the staff -- and held back publication a week. (The magazine's official response: "no comment.")

Last week's little episode caused a mass exodus at Icon. But Ramsey begged hard enough, and the staff, including editor Curtis Martin, returned just in time to get the issue out this week.

Service with a smile

Oak Cliff resident Dan Northcut wanted something done about the speeding cars, the honking horns, and the underage drivers plowing through his neighborhood, so he complained to City Hall, repeatedly, hoping for some help.

Northcut is either the most optimistic man alive, or he wasn't born on this planet. In any event, he got the response a more realistic native might expect -- silence -- until the end of September, 12 weeks after his last written complaint, when he received a letter from city councilman Steve Salazar. Attached to the letter was a "service request response" form from the police department, stating that Northcut had been contacted by a police sergeant and informed of extra traffic patrols in his neighborhood.

"Mr. Northcut is pleased with the quick response of the Dallas Police Department," the form stated.

This was news to Northcut, the father of a 14-month-old boy who, when asked what sound a car makes, says, "Eeeeeeech, honk, honk!"

"I would have been, if I had actually had a quick response," says Northcut. No one had contacted him, despite what the police department said in its Pravda-like pronouncement. ("The citizens are pleased with the grain shortage.")

"You keep thinking, How can they be more worthless? And then they prove how more worthless they can be," Northcut says.

Working for a living

Do you like your boss? Love your job? Does your company offer daycare and employee outings?

You may think you have it good, but listen: If they serve grape Kool-Aid in the cafeteria, don't drink it.

Dave Arnott, a professor at Dallas Baptist University, has written a book called Corporate Cults: The Insidious Lure of All-Consuming Organization, which suggests that some successful companies have cult-like traits: charismatic leaders, a sense of purpose defined by the organization, employees separated from the community. The book mentions Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, EDS, and Mary Kay cosmetics. (Mary Kay a cult? No way!)

Arnott says he doesn't call any company a cult. He simply sees his book "as a yield sign to individuals who let the organization take over their lives."

Arnott may not say it, but we will: Southwest Airlines sure seems like a cult to us. They confine you in small, uncomfortable spaces for long periods. They don't feed you. They make it tough for you to go to the bathroom. Anyone remember EST?

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams