YOUR RECENT ARTICLE “THE TEXAS 100,” by Christine Carroll [TM, September 1992], was about the one hundred richest people in the state and how they got that way. I quickly skimmed the pictures and names, expecting to read about my dad, and was surprised to find he had been omitted. Was this because he was born in Vermont and only arrived in Texas when he was in his early twenties? Couldn’t be; several of those mentioned were born out of state. I went back and read carefully and found that each person listed had one thing in common—a minimum net worth of $120 million. Well, no wonder Daddy didn’t make it. You don’t make a fortune working 35 years at the Pearl Brewing Company, but to hear him tell it, he is the richest man in Texas. My folks have been married 54 years and are happiest when the whole family is together. Daddy likes to sit back and say, “When I first came to Texas, I only had fifty cents, and look at what I have now.” He truly believes he’s a rich man. I believe it too. I am an heiress.
I WAS ALARMED TO READ DANA RUBIN’S article about Mrs. Biggs [“Money Becomes Electra,” TM, September 1992], an astute businesswoman who is well respected in our community and across the nation. The article does not reflect the true character of this warm and caring individual; it projects an entity I do not recognize. This story is indicative of our society’s tendency to exploit and enhance rumor and innuendo to generate a thrill or sell a product.
I am disappointed in your allowing this trend to be nurtured in your organization. Mrs. Biggs is a fountain of information about the history of art as well as ranching in this part of Texas.
ROBERT A. LIGHTFOOT
Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer
Waggoner National Bank
GROVER LEWIS’ “FAREWELL TO CRACKER EDEN” [TM, September 1992] proves that a friendly ghost story can still be frightening. I met Grover late in 1963 in Fort Worth, saw him later in Denton, but never knew that both our parents had lived in Trinity Heights, that we both attended Adamson High, found work and something akin to romance at the Texas Theater, found purpose at the Carnegie Library, and paused at the same cemetery on the hill to ponder Clyde Barrow’s most recent hideout.
I admonish myself. Any cracker worth his salt should be able to distinguish between ghosts and slaves, but the rattle of chains sounds identical.
I SAT DOWN ON A RECENT SUNDAY evening to read a story with the intriguing title, “Farewell to Cracker Eden.” I was forced to put the magazine down, in disgust and outrage, when in the second paragraph I discovered that the author was lamenting the fact that Oak Cliff was no longer the white heaven of his childhood but was now “food stamp country—a jungly midden with a Third World flavor.”
Deputy Regional Director
National Association of Black Journalists
EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN JOE ELY memory [“Roadhouse Warrior,” Popular Music, TM, September 1992]. The one I’ll hold on to is a gig Ely and band did a couple of years ago at a now-defunct Hill Country nightclub. There must have been all of fifty people in attendance, and I fully expected Ely to play for maybe 45 minutes and split back to Austin. Instead, my wife and I and the other paying customers got the full two sets plus encore, two and a half hours, during which Ely took audience requests. Joe Nick Patoski’s appreciation of Ely and his career neatly summarizes what Ely means to native Texans. God forbid the Lone Star Springsteen ever goes national.
SPIKE GILLESPIE’S “GIVE ME AN A!” [Education, TM, September 1992] is a self-serving attempt to justify helping students cheat. One important part of the education process that the author has overlooked is imparting a work ethic and the meaning of integrity. Ms. Gillespie and people like her effectively short-circuit that part of the learning process, ultimately making the educator’s job much more difficult.
Despite her rationalizations, she is perplexed over students’ lack of concern about plagiarism. As long as there are entrepreneurs willing to prey upon students’ shortcomings, there will be students willing to take advantage of ghost writers’ “services.” Sadly, education is one of the few things that some people are willing to pay for and not receive. What Ms. Gillespie has helped her clients learn is that as long as they have money and someone willing to aid them, they can cheat their way through life.
PAUL R. GOEBEL
Associate Professor of Finance
Texas Tech University
I CAN’T FORGIVE CLINT EASTWOOD for his use of the U.S. flag with fifty stars in Unforgiven [“Why Unforgiven?” Behind the Lines, TM, September 1992]. That flag was in practically every main street 1880’s scene. Many felt the movie was a run-of-the-mill Clint Eastwood western. Perhaps Lonesome Dove set a standard that few westerns will ever attain in the future.
GARY CARTWRIGHT DESERVES AN AWARD for “Free to Kill” and &ldquoA System Gone Bad” [TM, August 1992]. I was struck by the reporting, slanted only toward justice, honesty, and fair play—the mark of excellence in journalism. Mr. Cartwright raised hard questions that demand answers ASAP.
Little Rock, Arkansas
ON PAGE 32 OF OUR OCTOBER ISSUE, cowboy singers Red Steagall and Don Edwards were misidentified. Steagall is on the right; Edwards is on the left. On page 5 of the same issue, television evangelist Pat Robertson was misidentified as Pat Robinson. We regret the errors.