Found among the voluminous inrush of response to our latest cover was a distinct subset of disgruntled reader: the protester who returned the March issue, in whole, to our post-office box. Often, these declarations of dissatisfaction also carried with them a bit of hand-written commentary: “WORST ISSUE EVER (with the exception of the article on Becky Hammon)” came scribbled across one. “I am returning the enclosed cover. Please feel free to use it in lieu of toilet paper,” decreed another. One even served to permanently dissolve future correspondence between publisher and reader: “If this is what I am to expect from Texas Monthly, I request a refund for the balance of my subscription and that all mail from Texas Monthly to my address cease.” Below, more feedback on the issue.
And now, a sampling of feedback from our readers.
Why won’t Texas let Cleo and Nicole get married? Because Texas is still trying to go by the biblical standards that this nation was founded on [“To Love and to Cherish”]. That is: marriage is between one man and one woman. Any other union—such as man and man, or woman and woman—is truly an abomination to God in heaven.
Wayne E. Behymer, Cleburne
Texas Monthly knocks it out of the ballpark with yet another well-written story. Fingers crossed that these two women and their children get the justice and peace they deserve.
Chad Vickers, via Facebook
As a high school teacher, I have a front-row view to the generation that will begin determining public policy within the next few years. This generation embraces diversity, because it is all they have ever known. They do not know how to exclude from the banquet others who may appear or act “different.” To these open, accepting, compassionate young adults, love is love—whether that love is expressed from a male to a female, from a female to a female, or from a male to a male. By the time today’s adolescents apply for their AARP membership cards, married same-sex couples will be as common in Texas as are 100-degree days in August. That day may not come soon enough for Nicole and Cleo, but it will come.
Edward Smith, Alvarado
If I am not mistaken, we live in a democracy and the majority rules. If the majority of Texans are not in support of gay marriage, it should not be forced on us by a few people taking it to the courts.
Katie Hameka, via email
One of the perks of moving back to Texas after a decade in D.C. was supposed to be freedom from gay-marriage puff pieces. The Washington Post barraged Beltway denizens with them leading up to the 2013 gay-marriage cases, but your March cover story may have out-puffed them all.
The two lesbians profiled may well be doing a lot of things right when raising children, but that does not mean it is irrational for the state to generally favor parenting arrangements that are based on basic biology, the rather common desire to know both of the sources of one’s DNA, and a few thousand years of well-tested tradition.
John Murdock, Hallettsville
As I read the article on Cleo and Nicole and their quest to be married, I was reminded of Archie Bunker. I know that Archie was dead-wrong on many things, so I’ll ask the reader to accept that concession up front and stick with me.
Archie’s controversial and often misguided viewpoints on race, marriage, and any number of touchy topics were a big part of All in the Family’s success as a series. The topics that Archie and the Bunkers struggled with are topics that we still struggle with today. Sometimes (here’s where I need you to stick with me), every now and then, Archie’s position held some merit, containing at least a kernel of truth. Archie’s failing was that he was able to see only the points of his argument that tended to support his position. Much to the consternation of his son-in-law, Meathead, all other facts were either minimized or ignored.
Ms. Colloff makes the same mistake in her article on same-sex marriage. Her arguments for legalizing same-sex marriage are valid and persuasive. What her article fails to do is even mention the reasoning behind millions of Texans’ support for traditional marriage: a man brings to a marriage what a woman cannot. I know that a woman is technically capable of teaching a boy to throw a ball (change the oil, build a deck, insert your own cliché here). But being a man is so much more complex than that, and a boy needs a man in the house all the time. That’s not to say a woman can’t raise a boy into a fine man on her own—millions of women have done it—but it’s a lot harder and the odds are stacked against both mother and son.
Ms. Colloff’s eloquence stands in stark contrast to the Bunker patriarch’s presentation of an argument. But ignoring a position held by millions of Texans is Archie-esque.
Bryan Baese, San Marcos
A page or two into Skip Hollandsworth’s article on Theresa Roemer’s closet [“The Ultimate Real Housewife of Houston”], I found myself glancing back at the cover to make sure I hadn’t accidently picked up the copy of Us Weekly off my coffee table.
Kara Van de Kieft, San Antonio
The article reviewing Empire of Cotton: A Global History [“The White Stuff”] might have been interesting if it hadn’t quickly devolved into an anti-capitalist, anti-Texas rant. Life was harder than we can imagine at the dawn of the Industrial Age. From our lofty perch of affluence, leisure, and entitlement in 2015, it’s easy to criticize the harshness of life two hundred years ago. I would guess that working conditions in Newcastle coal mines, Bethlehem blast furnaces, or merchant sailing ships were no better than those in the cotton fields and mills. Has Michael Ennis not heard of Upton Sinclair and his writings on terrible working conditions in the meatpacking industry and elsewhere? Unfortunately, Dell wasn’t hiring back then. The Western world was still moving out of feudal times, when life was harsh and cheap. Maybe Ennis would prefer the forced collectivization of peasants by Stalin and Mao, in which many millions died, to our imperfect capitalist system.
Laurence Parent, Wimberley
I’m not much of a writing-letters-to-the-editor-to-complain kind of gal; I’m more of a gee-editor-I-really-liked-this-and-that kind of letter writer. However, Michael Hall’s piece on Amarillo guitarist Hayden Pedigo [“Plains Sound”] has changed my religion. The piece is littered with the worst kinds of stereotypes about the Texas Panhandle, characterizing it as a desolate wasteland populated by nothing but mindless cattle, both the four-legged bovine variety and the two-legged Homo sapiens version as well.
I’m insulted by the tenor of Hall’s assumptions and assertions, not only as a resident of the Panhandle but also on behalf of the generations of people who turned this railroad stop into what Hall begrudgingly admits is now “a bustling, contemporary city with an opera, an orchestra, and a ballet.” Yes, we have lots of cowboys. And Baptists. And Republicans. And oil money. We also have writers, artists, scholars, philanthropists, professional athletes, chefs, research scientists, and businessmen and -women. We have people working tirelessly to serve the homeless, feed the poor, keep arts in schools, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We have Catholics and Episcopalians and Buddhists and Muslims and atheists. We have vegetarians and vegans. And—gasp!—Democrats.
The fact that Hayden Pedigo’s notable accomplishments became the side story for Mr. Hall is the most disappointing part, though. Mr. Hall’s slack-jawed incredulity upon discovering talent among the High Plains tumbleweeds turned the piece into a nasty kind of othering: “Wow, world, look at the provincial folks in West Texas. Let’s objectify and stereotype them and be sure to underline, repeatedly, the ways that we are not they.”
Monica Smith Hart, via email
Safe and Sound
As the mother of De’Andre Tatum, one of the four young lives lost in the SXSW tragedy in 2014, I can certainly relate to the “cloud” Roland Swenson mentions in his interview [“SXSW Everything”]. The crash that occurred on March 13, 2014, has put the darkest cloud over my life. I never want another person or family to experience the pain and suffering I have regrettably come to know because of a tragedy that was preventable and foreseeable.
Mr. Swenson operates an international music festival that mixes hundreds of thousands of pedestrians and cyclists with alcohol and cars, all in close proximity, late at night in the city’s downtown district. It is the responsibility of SXSW to make every effort to employ basic public safety measures to protect lives during the festival.
I am gravely concerned that Mr. Swenson seems more concerned with how they will handle the next tragedy than focused on preventing another one.
Tamara O’Neal, Fort Worth