Letters from the issue of March 13, 2003

On the Spot

Amazed: I wanted to write and say that the author hit the spot on this article ("Dancing Across the Border," by Cheryl Smith, February 27). I am Caucasian, and I was born and raised here. However, I am married to a Chilango. I dated a Chicano for several years prior to meeting my husband, so I have an understanding of the different types, classes, ideas of the Hispanic/Latino population in the states. I have been disappointed before when I have read articles where someone is trying to tap into the culture, but misses the cue--so to speak. I was really impressed by the author's knowledge and research on this article. The article is true to content, and I read over the pages several times just in amazement. All I can say is great job!

Bonnie Zaragoza

Back on the Bus

Some of our best friends...: Concerning Mark Donald's remarks about United for Peace and Justice in his article "Get on the Bus" from February 6: Opposition to Israeli policies and anti-Jewishness are crucially important to distinguish. It doesn't help when Donald uses subjective perceptions of "tone," secondhand quotes and jumping to conclusions to make his judgments.

In fact, United for Peace and Justice rejects all forms of racism and bigotry, certainly including against Jews. We have made several attempts to bring Jewish organizations to join us. We tried to find representatives of the Tikkun Community here. We hosted the Women from Jerusalem Tour in Texas. And we have tried to involve synagogues in the area in our activities.

Nor are we anti-Israel. We intend to promote harmony in the Middle East through equality and justice. However, we believe we can criticize the policies of Israel without being anti-Israeli and can criticize the policies of the U.S. without being anti-American. Journalistic integrity would suggest that Mr. Donald interview the members of United for Peace and Justice to get their perspectives. This is especially serious concerning as serious an allegation as bigotry.

John H. Nelson
United for Peace and Justice

Mark Donald responds: The United for Peace and Justice organization referenced in the story was a different group with the same name.

Smoke and Mirrors

Bite your tongue: Mary Poss has hit the nail on the head ("No Smoking Gun," by Dave Faries, February 27). The city of Dallas won't have the ability to enforce this [smoking] ban and this is a media stunt. One thing that I haven't read here is the economic havoc that this is going to create in the hospitality and tourism arenas. The surrounding cities are going to see a windfall with Dallas-area establishments taking the fall. Has it occurred to anyone that these establishments are private and not public places? Where does Miller get off trying to impose her personal agenda on these businesses? The jurisdiction of the city ends at the sidewalk. I reckon Miller could get her old job back at the Observer when she's voted out of office.

Richard Krause

Fan Club

Dumping ground: I live in Boston, and a sports radio station in town mentioned your column on Carl Everett ("Ready to Rumble," by John Gonzalez, March 6). Now you know why we dumped him. The Red Sox fans hated him, as did the media here. John, I applaud you for standing up to this prima donna loser, and don't take it personal; he's a jerk to everyone.

Joe Viturale
Westfield, Massachusetts

Same ol': I was alerted to Mr. Gonzalez's article from a sports radio show here in Boston. It sounds like more of the same to me. We constantly read articles here of what a first-class jerk Carl Everett is. I just don't understand how Everett could get this far into his major league career and not realize that we, the fans, are the reason he's allowed to make the money he does. He's one of the real bad guys, and unfortunately Texas can't win with the likes of Carl Everett.

I commend Mr. Gonzalez for the courage to stand up to the bullying and abuse. No one should have to be exposed to that.

I'm just relieved to be able to read these quotes in your newspaper and not in The Boston Globe.

Jeff Foster
Boston, Massachusetts

On the other hand: As an only recently departed former Dallas resident, I always enjoy reading the Observer. It's no put down to say it's often mediocre, but sometimes absolutely brilliant.

This week was a sorry exception. John Gonzalez's column was perhaps the lamest thing I have seen in print in a decade.

The meat of the piece is awful, but the beginning is nearly as bad: Since when do tales of condescending behavior and, oh my, tempestuousness equate to horror stories. Horror? My Lord, man, get a hold of yourself.

More seriously, rudeness, thin skin and laziness are always a bad mix for reporters. In this case, that showed immediately.

If a reporter came to my work to take up my time and could not come up with a better explanation of what his story was about than "it's a big story" about the team, "kind of an overview," then I'd have lost interest in cooperating, too. Unlike Everett, I haven't been interviewed scores of times to have grown weary of it. You don't have to kiss a ballplayer's ass to know that it's bad form--and a waste of everyone's time--to do the equivalent of barging into, say, Robert Redford's dressing room to ask him what it is like to be a movie star.

I am no Rangers fan, and know even less about Everett than Gonzalez probably does. But to expect someone who works hard at his job--whatever it is--to take a reporter seriously when he is so obviously either an amateur with a chip on his shoulder or just really lazy--and, judging from this article, probably an ass--is asking way too much.

The really bad part is that neither he nor his editors could see just how self-incriminating this column was before it was printed.

Michael Lindenberger
Shelbyville, Kentucky

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