Thanks so much for "Renoir, Shmenoir" [February 5]. I hope the Kimbell Museum curators are as chastened by Christine Biederman's astuteness as I am. How rueful was my realization that I was one of "the rubes" drawn in by the Kimbell's desire to "toady up to potential donors!" Although I am not sure what an "Eagles Reunion Tour" is, I am grateful to have been warned away from the Renoir exhibition, its "highbrow equivalent." It sounds tacky.
As a member of the masses who was gullibly taken in by the Kimbell's recent Monet and the Mediterranean show, I was horrified to hear that it "was a bit of pandering to the masses." I was especially grateful that Ms. Biederman alerted us to Renoir's "schmaltz factor." We rubes never would have suspected that Renoir's work is "sentimental." I am especially impressed with Ms. Biederman's invocation of authorities that are far over my head. She says Renoir's work is "the art-historical equivalent of sussing out whether someone owns a Barry Manilow CD or votes for Ross Perot." I cannot even find "sussing out" in my dictionary. Ms. Biederman is just too sophisticated for us rubes. Fortunately, the Observer article includes photographs of Edgar Degas' self-portrait and of Renoir himself so that we masses can see for ourselves that they are not the same painter.
As I sit in my wooden house, built in Oak Cliff in 1918, I am ashamed to realize that I am living in a "faux Georgian suburban homestead," and have actually enjoyed the paintings of "blowsy nudes" (sic) (for future reference, Ms. Biederman may note that the spelling is "blowzy") much as I might enjoy the playmate of the month. What could be more low-class than admiring a nude with a ruddy complexion? I was particularly ashamed of having enjoyed the Barnes exhibit. In my own defense, however, I will assert that by Ms. Biederman's standards I am a person of good taste, after all: The Kimbell curators are so discerning that "the Kimbell doesn't even own a Renoir."
I do not own one, either. I wish Ms. Biederman had published her expose of the Kimbell sooner. I would like to have marched up to the membership desk to declare, "I will not become one of the 26,000 rubes who have been duped into membership by the 'recent Impressionist binge.'" It is too late, alas! I have been a member since the "safe and familiar" Blood of Kings exhibit, years ago. We rubes, like Renoir, who had "the soul of a peasant from Limoges," and "a second-class mind," are "not that good at thinking" (sic). (I assume that by "that good," Ms. Biederman means "very good.") Thank God, therefore, we have Ms. Biederman, who, despite her ignorance of English usage, is eager to do our thinking for us.
John Wheat Gibson
Editor's note: We can only guess that Mr. Gibson consulted a dictionary published in 1938. Webster's New World College Dictionary (1996 edition) lists "blowsy" as an alternate spelling for "blowzy." The same dictionary defines the verb "suss" as "to figure out; grasp, as a result of investigation, study or intuition: often with out." It also defines the adverb "that" as "very."
[Robert] Wilonsky is the best sports columnist in the Dallas area. His columns are well researched and insightful. He's better than Bayless was or Galloway or even Sherrod. His column on Jones ["The madness of King Jerry," February 12] was on target as usual. You need to keep him.
After reading Robert Wilonsky's article "Stealing Home" [February 5], I feel the Rangers are in somewhat better hands than with the previous ownership. I feel Mr. Hicks will make a perfect owner for the team. He will bring some stability to the franchise (unlike his neighbor to the East).
Reading Mr. Wilonsky's article reminds me of Clint Murchison and his style of ownership. He always let the "Boys" in the front office and on the field handle the day-to-day operations while he kept an eye on the bottom line.
Mr. Wilonsky's story has sold me on Tom Hicks and his vision for this area.
Eddie Knoblauch, mentioned in your Tom Hicks story, never had an at-bat in the big leagues, according to the Baseball Encyclopedia. In 11 Texas League seasons with five teams, including Dallas, the outfielder hit over .300 eight times and won the batting title with .327 in his last year, 1955.
Editor's note: Mr. Simmons is correct. We regret the error.
Bad teachers, badder students
As a female minority college student, reading the article "Baby, it's them" [January 29] put me in awe. "Explosive information"? Hardly. I don't think this is earthshaking news to students, whether they are good or bad ones. In my 12 years of public education, I have had my share of noticeably "good" teachers. I've also had my share of bad ones. The fact that some teachers can actually make the students dumber over the course of the year is also not a real shocker. I can honestly remember sitting in class and being so absolutely bored by what was being taught that I would lose all concentration and therefore not listen (or learn) what the teacher was trying to teach. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.