Gazing into the abyss
There are at least two errors in the statements made by Ed Zabel in the Observer article about him ["Dealing with the Devil," February 15]. The first concerns gargoyles, which were designed to be waterspouts, and nothing else. The second concerns Zabel's bizarre theory that the Biblical view of marriage can be interpreted to include S&M. Zabel is simply a debauched avant-gardist who has gazed too long into the abyss, and is now unable or unwilling to avert his eyes. The Observer should be scolded for considering Zabel a suitable subject for inclusion. The women who pose for Zabel's foul so-called "art" should find other, more normal, uses for their beauty and talent.

Robert F. Taylor

Playing the victim
I was barely able to finish the article, "Dead man waiting" [February 15], before I wanted to throw up. Unfortunately, we live in a society where "victims," rather than survivors, are praised and glamorized. The accused claims to be a victim of familial abuse (i.e., physical), and a victim of environmental hazards (i.e., lead exposure). Ugh!!! The level of frustration is rising in me!

I was once a victim until I took responsibility for my life. Playing the victim is easy because no work is involved. One can waste away into victimland, which is exactly what Andre Lewis has done. This man feels that he should not be executed for committing murder, so now I have to support him with my tax money so he can continue to be a victim. No Way! I am a college student who makes less than $10,000 a year. I would much rather see my tax money go to mental-health counseling centers for those who are trying to take control of their lives. They are the ones society will reap benefits from.

Lewis had a choice. He made it, and for that I feel no sympathy. And just like the rest of us living in the real world, he has to accept responsibility. I do not believe he is a victim--he has the same choices and resources as the rest of us.

Jennifer Kunkel

Speaking of bloodsuckers
In regard to Jimmy Fowler's comments on The Addiction ["Scratch that itch," February 15]: "Be forewarned: It's not a movie for those Ann Rice geeks who think they can fall in love with any nocturnal bloodsucker who stalks their way." I must confess that I am an admirer of Ms. Rice's works, in particular the philosophical and religious aspects of Queen of the Damned and Memnoch the Devil. I would not classify myself as a geek.

Criticism is healthy; however, you would get a lot more mileage if you spelled a certain well-known name correctly...it's Anne Rice.

"La Decadent"

King Richard III maligned
The minor error in the capsule review of the new cinematic Richard III by Arnold Wayne Jones in which the king is misidentified as Richard of Lancaster (he was Richard of Gloucester) does not overwhelm the perceptive review by Mr. Jones from which it comes ["Renaissance man," February 1]. But Mr. Jones' review overlooks a chief reason why the film's modern-fascist-fantasy setting is so appropriate: namely, that the play itself is a farfetched fantasy, bearing little relation to fact.

The historical King Richard III ranks as one of history's most slandered. He was actually a progressive Renaissance monarch, a believer in the common man, a patron of scholarship, and a tireless worker for due process for rich and poor when due process wasn't cool. The jury of history is still hung on whether this young king, himself murdered at 30, had killed his younger nephews, yet the jury is nonetheless decisive on such facts as that he was not a hunchback; that his successor, Henry Tudor (Henry VII), was a greedy tyrant enthroned by foreign French-sponsored mercenaries; and that Richard enjoyed a contemporary reputation for good government, good character, and uncommon bravery.

Unfortunately, Shakespeare wrote his brilliant drama during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who just happened to be Henry Tudor's granddaughter. With an artist's mastery and a propagandist's skill, the Bard justified the dynasty of King Richard's usurper by relying on the hokey chronicles of various sycophants and loyalists of the Tudor family. There, King Richard has been made into a monster. Had it not been done, Shakespeare's rulers would have had little justification to rule.

Matthew Hogan
Fort Worth

The February 15 Observer cover story on "Project X" incorrectly reported the amount that Southwestern Bell had been unable to collect from customers during January 1994 in one Oak Cliff neighborhood and one Addison neighborhood. The uncollected billings totaled $44,505 in the Oak Cliff community, and $44,840 in the Addison neighborhood. While the article accurately reported the percentages of delinquent billings in those two neighborhoods--3.14 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively--misplacement of a decimal point resulted in overstating the dollar amount of delinquencies by a factor of 10.

In last week's Dish column, the name of Flying Burro owner Scott Cain was misspelled.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.