The prophet

The Dallas Observer should hereby tithe one fifth of the advertising spoils to Eric Celeste. After his May 25 column, "Misguided Muslims," we can be sure of one thing: Celeste is a prophet.

How else to account for his opening paragraph, where he states that he's "asking for trouble?" No sooner had the computer pixels for his column "dried" than DallasNOTNews.com informed its online mailing list that Celeste "demonstrates extreme bias/bigotry," militating for a new wave of outrage.

OK, it isn't quite prophecy--DallasNOTNews.com has a track record of knee-jerk reactions to any criticism of its monochromatic jihad (it means striving, folks--really--don't get up in arms) against the The Dallas Morning News. Ambiguity is forbidden, which is why DallasNOTNews.com, context be damned, has characterized Celeste's deathblow to its flimsy use of statistics as but another case of media villainy.

Hence Celeste's indeterminate phrase "proof of something, just not Morning News bias," which, when translated into "Goode vs. Eville" DallasNOTNews.com algebra becomes: "It appears that he agrees with the equations: Muslim equals Terrorist and Islam equals Terrorism."

DallasNOTNews.com is the last organization that should attempt math. If we, for argument's sake, accept their unstated premise that all major religions have the same uplifting effect on their adherents, and that it is always those who are acting contrary to "genuine" religious teachings who give religions their bad name, we still have to take into account the proportion of followers for each religion.

DallasNOTNews.com says in its shockingly myopic stats that "Extremist" is used in connection with the word "Jewish" 99 times, while it is used in connection with the word "Muslim" 214 times. Yet looking at the world population, there are several-fold more Muslims than Jews, by DallasNOTNews.com's "logic" disproportionately connecting Judaism with extremism...but, alas, that's forgetting the "more equal than others" theorem, which proves that whatever the One True Religion's consequences, any criticism thereof, however valid, is the equivalent of bigotry.

D. Lesser
Via e-mail

Seeing colors

I'm not some kind of "militant minority" or anything, but I do have to speak up this time. Since when has "brown" become an ethnicity? I've been at the Dallas Observer for almost a year now, and since I've been here, every time we print a story about Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, etc., we are called "brown." Just FYI...we are not all brown! We come in a wide range of skin tones. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud to be who I am, but I am Mexican-American--not brown!

Dana Escobar

English only

In reading through the article "Brown-out" (May 25), one paragraph did catch my eye: "One grievance, however, loomed above all others at Silberstein. The big beef: simmering frustration among many Spanish-speaking parents over the difficulty of communicating with English-speaking administrators and teachers."

My big question: Why can't the Spanish-speaking parents take the time and the effort to try to learn English? I do believe in preserving one's culture and customs, but if the Spanish speakers are going to work and live in this country, they should be able to write, read, and especially speak the primary language of the United States. Why should we bend over backward to accommodate?

John Phillips

The yellow ribbon

And the jar of urine goes to...Andy Timmons!

You people crack me up. You give an "award" to Andy Timmons (Dallas Observer Music Awards, April 20), then proceed to negate it using the inimitable Crain-Wilonsky "Too bad something this great sucks this hard" template of back-handed compliments. Why even bother mentioning him?

In terms of being too talented to succeed, Andy's currently over in Europe doing guitar clinics and playing with Simon Phillips, a drummer with a nose for other "unsuccessful" guitarists like Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Al DiMeola, and Jimmy Page. Stateside, he's the first-call session guitarist in the city when he's not touring with other national acts. I suspect he makes more playing around the world than you guys do writing snotty little screeds in a free local weekly.

And admittedly, Andy is a nice-looking guy. When Zac and Robert repeatedly use masturbation metaphors when writing about him, though, it does make me wonder. But hey, your secret is safe with me.

Via e-mail

A fine whine

Give me a damn break.

As a local artist who's worked on both sides of the fence, in galleries and selling my own paintings, the article you published today reminds me of the reason that the profession of "artist" is not one that garners much respect.

A full-page whinefest seems about right from the local artists that I've met so far. Several things from this need to be addressed:

1. There was a tornado that destroyed downtown. A tornado, not some devious plot by event producers to back out of their commitment ("No place like home," April 20). Not the government keeping art off the street. Not aliens, who don't have art in their culture, trying to suppress it in ours. A freaking natural disaster that killed people, destroyed buildings, and tore up peoples' lives. And these people are worried about their art.

2. "They don't make a dime off the juried show." That's right, they probably don't. (I don't think there is an admission fee.) Here we get to the all-too-common practice of artists receiving an opportunity they would not otherwise have had, and bitching about it. Typical. I mean, the world does revolve around them, doesn't it?

3. The "...show had to have adequate space, adequate security, and a venue with an adequate reputation." I don't think this one sentence could be expressed enough. If the art were crammed in somewhere, the artists would complain. If the art were stolen or damaged, all hell would break loose, and the artists would probably hold Main Street financially responsible. If the show were held in some grocery store somewhere, the artists would probably complain about the "commercialization" of their work. While I don't think the online solution fixes things (it was probably online anyway), I do know how hard it can be to get an adequate space in that period of time, especially when the local museums (like the Kimbell, to name names) didn't even support the festival in the move.

I've lived several places, and the DFW art community is the whiniest I've seen. This article just seems to support that. Not to mention the obvious inability of the writer to write in a journalistic style that doesn't include bias. (The writer must be an artist--or maybe her mom or something--or she thinks journalism is "art" and is siding with these poor maligned souls.) Also, I liked how all the negative comments were from "local artist" or "anonymous." Yeah. That's credible.

So artists, get off of your soapboxes (whineboxes?) and organize your own damn event if all you can do is bitch about it when others do it for you. You won't be famous until after you're dead anyway, and there's good reason for that, because if we met you while you were alive, we probably couldn't stand you.

Jeff Greenman
Via e-mail

Sheeple people

Thanks to Joe Pappalardo for his generally fair portrayal of the dedication of the new Branch Davidian Church at Mount Carmel ("Paranoia with purpose," April 27). I would point out, however, that whatever else the Davidian children were, they were victims, first of David Koresh and then of the Clinton administration. And, because of the Clinton administration, they are just as dead as the children murdered by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. Yet no national memorial commemorates them. After all, they were not children of federal employees blown to smithereens by some right-wing zany, they were children of cult members incinerated in a raid initiated by frustrated government agents. And because they were "cult children," in America's mind they count for far less than the other kids. As long as that is true, Allen Croft will be right: Americans are "sheeple."

Mike Carter

Barbara Davis' woes

When are the citizens of this "free" country going to wake up and realize that this so-called "war on drugs" is a farce? Why don't the powers that be just go ahead and call it what it really is--the "war on people?" After reading the story on the shooting of Troy Davis in his own home ("Fallen angel," April 27), once again I'm reminded that as long as this war continues, none of us will be safe from the Barney Fife Gestapo, the nosy neighbor, or the vindictive relative.

Does anybody out there see a pattern here the same as I do?

People do drugs for whatever personal reasons they have. They get caught, whether by a narc (i.e., a person who is above the law) or by carelessness on their part. They get railroaded into the prison system with sentences that far outweigh sentences handed down to "real" criminals. (An armed robber will get out before Billy on smack will.) Then, when they get out they can't own a gun or vote, much less get a job.

We can spend untold dollars on defense and the war on drugs, but we can't fund our schools or pay our teachers. Hmmm...so it would appear that the present policy is: Keep the population stupid, then throw them in jail and strip them of their right to vote. How many deaths and incarcerations will it take before people stand up and say "enough's a-friggin' enough!" Barbara and Troy Davis, were not bad people, even if they were smoking pot. People drink every day and still drive their stupid cars into each other, but drinking's OK. But pot is viewed as the root of all evil.

I hope the jerk who shot Troy can sleep at night after what he's done. Oh wait--I'm sure he and his little SWAT team are pros at busting into people's houses unannounced and shooting them up, so it's probably no big deal to him. How would he feel if it were his son? I'd like to know, and are we really supposed to feel safer at night? I don't think so.

Until "we the people" wake up and fight for our rights and our constitution, we will forever be looking over our shoulders, not trusting our neighbors, and wondering whose kid will be next.

Kimberly Wood
Via e-mail

Public money, public info

Would someone please explain to me one more time why we should spend public funds to build a luxury sports arena for fat cats to be seen in, instead of keeping neighborhood swimming pools open? Once I've got that figured out, maybe I'll try to understand why Dwaine Caraway and Joann Baggett ("The shallow end," April 27) think it's wrong for the press to cover their ostensibly public deliberations about how the Park and Recreation Board spends public money.

Gary Cooper

No Action

Have to go along with Robert Wilonsky here. I was really upset to see the Chris Thompson-produced show Action get canceled; it was hilarious and one of the best 30-minute comedies I've seen on television ("Geek love," April 27). I was afraid that it might have a difficult time achieving the numbers, especially when Fox jumped immediately on the Regis phenomenon of big-prize game shows with its own millionaire show Greed. I also hated to see the demise of Wonderland, although I wasn't so disappointed to see Freaks and Geeks and Harsh Realm go.

However, it's pretty sad when game shows and wrestling shows can have such a large audience share that it reduces the possibility of much better shows having a chance to succeed.

I've been pretty respectful in tone, but my feelings run more toward the biting sarcasm of Wilonsky when he said, "...and nothing goes together like the words 'Regis' and 'oversimplifying.'" Also a nice touch were the words of Action producer Chris Thompson when he stated, "...development departments are telling their bosses, 'Don't worry about it, because I made this developmental deal with some Wayans fetus.'" I have to go along with Wilonsky, because I think Regis comes close to being beneath contempt for being such a well-rewarded simpleton; and it seems that Fox feels that all they need to do to maintain their network is sign some Wayans or a clone.

Nice article and so true.

Via e-mail


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