Rhymes with Asso
I'll see you outside: Let me get this straight: The future of art is right here in Dallas. It is an artist whose name rhymes with Asso (Letters, January 11). If I understand him correctly, the future of art is basically major corporate underwriting. The future of art also lies in creating multiples, much like Warhol did in the '60s. His declaration of being the future of art is loud, snotty, and obnoxious, much like the shameless self-promotion of the Sex Pistols in the '70s. His justification for this attitude is that he did not get the publicity he wanted for having a Web site.

With his many futuristic concepts drawn from the past, allow me to suggest one more that is based on the Warhol-Basquiat boxing-match promotion for their joint show. Although they never raised gloves toward one another, I'd love to take on Asso, one on one, in a title exhibition/fisticuffs bout. If I do win, however, I'm not a presumptuous enough Asso, er, I mean asshole, to accept the mantle of being Mr. Dallas Art. What can I say--I'd like the opportunity to free up the title for every artist to consider his own.

His cheap, sensationalist, angry-letter gimmick seemed to work in your paper; after all, you did spell his name correctly. I couldn't help but think, surely an artist of this magnitude must have a great Web site that could enlighten us all to the future of art. So I searched and searched to no avail, only to discover there are a whole lot of Assos in this world.

Frank Campagna

Ready to Rumble
Please shoot me: I can't believe you guys would waste your time writing about those jerk-offs ("A Real Bangfest," January 18). I almost got into a fight with them in the Cafe Brazil parking lot two years ago. I was working at a club then, too; I guess some people grow up. If I am still working at a bar when I am 24 or 26, please shoot me!

By the way--it would have been funny to see that short dude get his butt kicked by a chick!

Adrianne Fenimore
Via e-mail

Not a Pedophile
Panic laws: I want to compliment you on your article about sexual offenders ("Hello, My Name Is Pervert," January 11), as it is one of the first pieces I have read or watched on TV that presented factual information. One very respected weekly news show, which I was eager to watch hoping to hear the straight facts, lost my interest immediately by using the words "sexual offender" and pedophile interchangeably.

Why do I care? I am the mother of a sexual offender, not a pedophile. Try telling that to the people he tries to rent from or work for, and it makes no difference; they believe they are the same.

I was shocked to see that you are the brother of state Sen. Florence Shapiro. Surely, if she had more facts about just what a sexual offender is and how many lives have been destroyed by the law she sponsored, she would rethink some parts of Ashley's laws.

I also had to do some research at the request of my son to realize that there are sexual offenders who do need close supervision. I equated sexual offenders to what my son pleaded guilty to, but now I realize there really are dangerous sexual offenders, too. If you are interested, my son had consensual sex when he was 18 or 19 with a girl who was underage. He is now 38. At the time, he was given a 12-year probated sentence. Six months before his probation was to end, he committed an offense in which drugs were involved (no sexual offense). His probation was revoked, and he spent four years in prison for the probation violation before being released on parole.

The current laws were passed while he was in prison, and when it was time to come home, his 12-year-old daughter had to be moved in with other relatives, and he was not allowed to be around her unsupervised until she was 17. He was never to sleep in the same household with any child, including his daughter, under the age of 17. He was not allowed to be around any child without supervision under the age of 17. His wife could not have a baby unless she lived separately from him when the baby was born.

This is all written in black and white with little emotion and does not in any way explain the heartache that has occurred in our family because of the laws.

Let me say that I agree there should be laws pertaining to different classifications of sexual offenders, but the laws we currently have were developed in panic when a child was killed. Someone should go back to the law who has an open mind and is willing to look at sexual offenders on a one-by-one basis. They have all been lumped into one category, dangerous pedophiles.

Via e-mail

Modern leper colonies: In articles where I have a certain amount of knowledge or expertise, I find Mark Donald's articles to be right on target, informed, and insightful. As a judge having criminal and juvenile jurisdiction, I can only echo his comments and say that we are creating a "leper-colony mentality" with those found to have engaged in improper conduct. Sometimes it is a pre-teen brother and sister and the parents are put in the position of reporting the son and protecting the daughter, and having to deal with the registration of the son for 10 years after he reaches adulthood. The "Catch 22" he refers to for those undergoing therapy is real. If they tell the truth to the therapist, they're hanged for it; if they don't, they're hanged for lying and not cooperating; if they plead not guilty, are found guilty, and undergo therapy, they're hanged for not admitting guilt, since their confession is deemed necessary for successful treatment. These are extremely difficult cases for the judges for all these reasons and the others addressed in Mr. Donald's article. Added to that is the fact that the registration laws do not have any effect on the Ashley Estells of the world. Her murder occurred in Collin County. The man convicted lived and would have registered/lived in a neighborhood in Dallas County. I look forward to Mark Donald's next story.

Name withheld

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