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Oy! It’s a pretty bad state of affairs, I say, when Texas Monthly—the arbiter of all things hip in the Lone Star State—botches a sneering slam as badly as y’all botched the “Guns Up! IQs Down!” Bum Steer [“The 2008 Bum Steer Awards,” January 2008]. If you’re going to insult our Lubbock IQ, at least do it with a sliver of sense. The Bum Steer text completely missed the point of the T-shirt: The “football player” stringing up Reveille was Michael Vick, and the attempt at humor was “Vick ’em,” a play on the Aggie slogan “Gig ’em.”
By giving a Bum Steer to the seminary president who suggested his students forcefully overpower someone with a gun, even at the cost of their own lives, to prevent a school shooting, you apparently intended to disparage his suggestion. Why are you mocking the expectation that people should demonstrate courage and self-sacrifice? I’d rather have my son taught that instead of the mountains of PC fluff most colleges spew out. Someone’s got to have guts.
Thank you for an outstanding article relating the individual experiences of our young people in this most outrageous of all wars involving the American military [“ ‘I Think We Got Blown Up for Nothing,’ ” January 2008]. It is too bad that our leaders have not had to live through the same horrifying experiences that those young men of Bravo Troop faced. I believe that had senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison had to serve in our military—out on the streets of Baghdad and not in the Green Zone—our soldiers would probably have been pulled from Iraq by now.
K. R. Staggs
What About Bob?
I read your article on Bob Bullock with interest but remain mystified as to his venerated position in Texas politics [“The Devil and Bob Bullock,” January 2008]. True, he collected a lot of back taxes, but any conscientious comptroller could, should, and would have done the same. As for the rest, I’m well past the point of regarding drunken, dangerous, and/or unethical behavior in public officials as either picturesque or endearing, and I’m unimpressed with people who create messes, order subordinates to clean them up, and then swoop in to take the credit.
Return to Sender
I enjoyed Greg Curtis’s article on the state’s would-be purchase of the purported Davy Crockett letter [“What a Crockett,” January 2008]. Following the publication of this article, the Texas Historical Commission received the results of the forensic analysis. Forensic experts were unable to find enough evidence through examination of paper and ink samples to confirm the letter’s authenticity. The State of Texas had 120 days from acquisition of the letter to authenticate or return it. The Texas Historical Commission did not exercise its option to purchase the letter, no monies were expended, and the letter was returned to its owner, Simpson Galleries, of Houston.
Executive Director, Texas Historical Commission
Would someone please explain to Christopher Kelly the difference between a documentary and a feature film [Reporter; Hollywood, TX; January 2008]? Charlie Wilson’s War is a Hollywood let’s-pretend movie, Christopher, not a historical tome. Sit back, chill out, and enjoy.
The only thing “shockingly reductive” associated with Charlie Wilson’s War is Christopher Kelly’s review. Aside from an intense prejudice against establishment actors, Kelly is unable to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy what turns out to be a deftly performed, enjoyable movie. Kelly believes that “most Americans have spent the past six years acutely aware of the turmoil in the Middle East—and expect at least a somewhat nuanced portrait of the conflicts there.” Knowing a number of these Americans that Kelly references, I’m quite certain that such knowledge does not extend far into the realm of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. While granting the audience such knowledge, Kelly simultaneously seems to believe that audiences are incapable of distinguishing the Hollywood treatment from reality, which is something we’ve been doing much longer than six years.
Movies that portray historical events do live with an ambiguity. Should we suspend disbelief or hold an hour-and-a-half-long feature responsible for every nuance? Here, the playfulness of Charlie Wilson’s War made it quite obvious that this was no deep-delving biography.
This “Peter Pan ne’er-do-well” story is Hollywood fluff, certainly, but, as most audiences of eight-year-olds can realize, Peter Pan was a good, though not completely accurate, portrayal of events.
I can’t believe you ignored the best town slogan of all: Home of the Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas [Reporter, Pass/Fail, January 2008]. Of course, you may be forgiven for overlooking Dumas, because many people, including elected officials, believe that the Texas Panhandle is in fact not a part of Texas but some sort of autonomous region such as Tibet. May God have mercy on your soul for this slight.
Running With the Bull
The Dan Bartlett interview by Evan Smith was what we in my neighborhood call a bunch of bull caca [Reporter, Texas Monthly Talks, January 2008]. Why didn’t Smith ask the hard questions, on topics such as renditions, torture, lying, war profiteers, and trashing the Constitution?
Hearts and Crafts
What a refreshing male perspective about the wonder-filled world of quilters [“Being There: International Quilting Convention,” texasmonthly.com]. You could hear the pride Mike Hall has for his mother’s work. And the surprise in his voice about some of the “inner secrets” of the quilting world—like fabric. Needless to say, the video is being shared, just like a quilt at a quilting bee, among many of us fellow quilters across the country.