Beating Around the Bush
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GOOD GRIEF. EVERYONE has to be so circumspect and carefully cautious [“The Test of Time,” March 2007]. Let’s try this for W.’s legacy: worst president in the history of the United States of America.
WHILE DONALD EVANS has been knocking on wood that our country has not been attacked on our soil since 9/11, at least as many of our citizens have been killed, sixteen times as many have been wounded, and untold billions of dollars have been expended to no known purpose in Iraq. Should these lives not be mourned, these injuries not be regretted because they happened off our shore? Donald, look a little harder for something positive to say, because this positive negative just doesn’t fly.
MAY I SUGGEST for your next cover that you guys just write in block letters, “We hate Republicans, conservatives, and George Bush (and have serious issues with Christianity).”
THE ONLY POSITIVE thing about Bush’s legacy is that another Texas president, Lyndon B. Johnson, will now be viewed by history as not such a bad president after all.
I ENJOYED READING the various musings of the writers on G.W.’s legacy. For the most part, the comments appear to be accurate and consistent with whatever agenda the writer subscribes to. However, I tend to want to simplify the issue a little: G.W.’s presidency has been/is a lot like the Internet: (1) It sounds good and holds a lot of promise on paper, (2) it costs more (a lot more) than advertised, (3) it requires you to change your way of doing things to fit its needs, and (4) it ultimately delivers much less than promised.
Turn On, Tune In, Rock Out
Many thanks for Michael Hall’s “The Songs Remain the Same” [March 2007]. It brought back many cherished memories, including the night that changed my life: I was riding in the backseat of my parents’ car as we returned home to Archer City on a cold evening in 1962 and had only recently, at the age of eleven, discovered girls and music. Having finally cajoled my father and mother into allowing WLS, in Chicago, on the car radio, although at a less than optimum volume, I was nonetheless blown away when the opening harmonica lick of Bruce Channel’s masterpiece “Hey! Baby” came whistling out of the tinny speaker in our ’59 Chevy.
Transfixed by what I heard, I immediately resolved to become a singer like Bruce when I grew up. As the song ended, however, my career aspirations deviated somewhat. The WLS disc jockey laid down such a smooth line of hip patter that I decided to be on the radio someday, telling all the girls about those extremely cool songs like “Hey! Baby.”
Although I never made it to WLS, I did spin some tunes over the air a decade or so later, in Brenham and Brownwood and Shreveport and Austin. Girls had gotten much more complicated for me by that time, of course, but Bruce Channel’s seminal work of early-sixties pop still astounded with the artfulness of its simplicity.
H. D. STEARMAN
IN OCTOBER 1979, as a freshman pledge of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at the University of Texas at Austin, I worked night and day to help get the house ready for the biggest band ever to play a UT fraternity party: Archie Bell and the Drells.
By party time, a couple hundred inebriated fraternity members and their dates were eagerly waiting inside the house, with several hundred others (frat rats, Drag rats, hippies, independents, gawkers) outside, unable to get in. The band started a long warm-up that seemed to last forever. Just as we were beginning to think the whole thing was a hoax, the Drells bounced onstage, resplendent in their Presley-esque polyester jumpsuits festooned with sequined bells. The crowd went wild! You would never have known that Archie was performing to a bunch of drunk guys in a broken-down fraternity house. He might as well have been on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Archie Bell is a musician, a performer, and a showman. The fact that he fits your criteria of a one-hit wonder in no way reflects the enormous amount of talent and heart this man has. Archie, no matter what Texas Monthly thinks of you, the friendly Phis think you are the greatest!
CONGRATULATIONS on a wonderful story about the New London explosion [“‘Oh, My God! It’s Our Children!’ ” March 2007]. That tragedy overshadowed my young life, and I’ve never sent my children off to school without remembering it.
WELL, THANK YOU, Gary Cartwright. I wish I could have signed your letter to Jerry Jones too [“Go Fire Yourself!” March 2007]. The sad part is that with such an inflated ego, Jones will probably laugh, think he can do no wrong, and nothing will change.
Library Science and Religion
AFTER THE BEATING you received for the fun cover of Dick Cheney with a shotgun, I can understand why you retreated to the shelter of “mere politics” on the issue of George Bush’s presidential library and think tank on the Southern Methodist University campus [Behind the Lines, “The Secret History,” March 2007].
Clinton’s silicon zipper and LBJ’s lie about the Gulf of Tonkin attack may create political questions for the University of Arkansas and the University of Texas, respectively. SMU, however, carries the name of the first denomination born on American soil to honor John Wesley, spiritual and moral “father” of the Methodist Church. To honor Bush’s presidency—after an illegal and immoral war, the enriching of the rich, and the degradation of the environment—with a library and think tank would be hypocritical to United Methodist standards.
To you, perhaps, this is just politics. But to those of us in the United Methodist Church, it is immorality to the nth degree.
JACK D. HEACOCK