Savage regrets
I can hardly believe it. I'm reading Dish on a regular basis. I once wrote about Mark Stuertz that he was as gracious as Jack the Ripper and would commit journalistic suicide like the ex-local sportswriter whose name I won't mention if he kept bashing every restaurant he reviewed. You even printed it, which made me think there was credence to what I had to say.

Now, I feel like someone took me to the pro-wrestling matches, and (God forbid) I enjoyed it and returned. Next thing you know, I'm a fan and believe the matches are real. Nevertheless, I'm reading the column, and (God forbid) I'm beginning to agree with you!

Sam Savage
Via e-mail

Publish and perish
Great article on Ms. Anthony ["Science friction, June 11]. As an avid and loyal reader, I thought she made a pretty great transition from sci-fi to an "in-between" with God's Fires to Flanders, which to me is her very best work. "Slipstream" or whatever, a good writer is a good writer, and this reader sees that in Patricia Anthony. Thanks!

Now we can only hope that the idiot publishers will also see that.
Marie Smith
Via e-mail

Precious Jewel
OK. Let me preface this by saying that I have never been inspired enough by any piece of so-called journalism to ever bother making the effort to comment. Most "opinion" articles have left me soaked with anger and bitterness, but still I feel no need to grace the writer with a confession of my perusal.

So here is my response to the "Pieces of crap" article [June 11] Keven McAlester wrote regarding the schlock with which Jewel financed a summer home (or van, as the case may be): Thank you. I am so glad to see that my heroes at the Observer relentlessly continue to wallow in good taste and sharp wit. I never believed anyone could top the "Jurassic barf" article by Jimmy Fowler, but Keven was beyond successful.

With the Observer, I actually find myself reading reviews about music and movies I wouldn't consume if they were necessary for my survival, just to reassure myself that someone else out there loathes these innocuous pseudo-sophisticates as much as I do. In fact, I found the Jewel piece so wildly entertaining, I wrote my first verse ever, just to prove it could be done with mind-numbing ease:

I read her poetry
It wasn't the best
My time is spent better
Staring at her chest
Via e-mail

Thank you, thank you, dear God in heaven thank you! I thought I was the only one who saw the mediocrity in an "artist," for lack of a better word, such as Jewel. I at one time thought I was the only one who saw Jewel as she really is: an over-melodramatic, candy-ass, deep-thinking waste of a performer ever so bent on being a spokesperson for our generation (still laughing at the thought!).

If this is what our generation is actually thinking about our society and its problems, no wonder our nation is so idiotic. My God! We think Puff Daddy is a genius of an artist, rap is such a profound art form, and bands are judged in coolness by the amount of times they can put "fuck" in their lyrics. Jewel only adds to the problem and is probably the reason the young women of today tend to describe their lives with such melodramatic hyperbole. Thank you for being awake and acknowledging the truth for once. You took a stand, and I, for one, applaud you. Well done. Give this man a raise!

Ted Wallace
Brunswick, Georgia

I agree with Mr. McAlester's criticism of Jewel's work and the obscenity of her book deal. However, I have one question and one suggestion. If Mr. McAlester holds himself to be the poetry and pretentiousness critic-at-large, why is his first name, Keven, spelled with two e's? Is this merely an attempt at irony with a weak result, or is he, indeed, a verse rhymer himself, as in "Keven from Heaven?"

Reviewing one of Jewel's images, Mr. McAlester writes, "...she's got way too many birds..." My suggestion to him is to read an English grammar book and filter the pre-adolescent jargon from his writing. The above phrase should read, "...she has too many birds..."

Keep this in mind: the good-to-crap ratio for poets is probably equal to the good-to-crap ratio for newspaper columnists.

Arthur M. Hingerty
Via e-mail

I am not interested in either smashing or defending the supposed subject of this article (Jewel, if you forgot). I am, however, interested in Keven McAlester's remarkable hatred of poets and poetry. Did we have a bad experience as a child, Kev? This sort of animosity doesn't come naturally.

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