The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's embarrassing and shameful overreaction to a right-wing Christian group went national this week in a lengthy article in the The New York Times.
S-T Executive Editor Debbie Price, as you'll recall from the Observer's January 25 story, booted openly gay editor Todd Camp from the paper's youth section, "Class Acts," after receiving a letter from a member of the American Family Association complaining about a comic strip that Camp drew for the Texas Triangle, an Austin gay weekly. An AFA spokesman later told the Observer the cartoon showed Camp was "preoccupied with the subjects of pedophilia and incest."
Price told the Times, "This is absolutely not a gay issue. We made a decision on a personnel matter independent of any outside influence."
Of course, that "independent" decision came immediately after the AFA member's letter landed on the desk of S-T Publisher Rich Conner.
Nobody else seems to be buying Debbie's story, either. The January 29 Times article quoted Leroy Aarons, former executive editor of the Oakland Tribune and president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, putting it simply: "The paper knuckled under."
Say it ain't so, Joe
It's always nice to know you've made a difference.
It seems the Observer was instrumental in ending the filmmaking career of writer Joe Queenan. Queenan, tongue solidly in cheek, penned an article for the primordially hep Esquire this month that also revealed that he has a serious problem with the entire city of Dallas because it "Emurdered my beloved president 32 years earlier--an event from which neither I nor my parents nor the Democratic Party nor the country itself ever really recovered."
Far worse, it seems Observer film critic Jimmy Fowler failed to give Queenan's first attempt as a film producer-writer-director, Twelve Steps to Death, a rave review.
"It [Fowler's review] hit me with the impact of three direct blasts from an Italian carbine in the hands of a commie lunatic with connections to the CIA, the KGB, the Mafia, and assorted Miami-based cadres of deranged Cuban exiles," Joe writes.
We meant the review to be more like a slug in the gut from a .38 snub-nose wielded by a mob-connected, topless-bar-owning loser with a penchant for snap-brimmed hats. So go figure.
He says the review did no less than "end my career as a filmmaker."
Devastating? Fowler merely noted that Queenan's script "lurches on its course like a flatulent Snuffle-upagus, pausing between each target and expelling noxious gas." Talk about thin skin.
If nothing else, Fowler's review was on target in recommending Queenan stick to essays, where he can be brilliant. A perfect example is his summation of the Observer's readership: "Dallas has three gays, a bisexual, one hermaphrodite, and four people who know who Kurt Cobain is; the paper has an estimated circulation of nine."
The hermaphrodite left town, Joe.