Powder Puff Piece
Despite the uninspired cover plug, I picked up the most recent issue so that I could hopefully learn more about Miranda Lambert’s music, songwriting, and relationship with Texas [“The Girl Who Played With Firearms,” October 2011]. Unfortunately, Skip Hollandsworth’s story disappointed. Several times during the first three pages, I had to remind myself that I was reading Texas Monthly and not one of those shallow Hollywood profiles so common in fashion magazines. Sadly, Hollandsworth committed the same crime that those writers are often guilty of: taking successful, creative, strong women in the arts and turning them into one-dimensional girls whose life is all about eating, working out, juggling many responsibilities, and playing with their makeup and hairdos. The only reprieve was when Hollandsworth remembered who he was and that he does not write for InStyle and dug deeper into Lambert’s history. He should have skipped all that crap about how this woman can eat chicken fast and is amazingly able to do oh-so-many things in her life.
Thanks for addressing the questions so many public school parents have running through their minds these days [“Super Collider,” October 2011]. Can the system be saved? Or is it every man for himself? We treat large, urban school systems like they are machines: all we need to fix the entire thing is a new fan belt, or a new superintendent. But the problems are complex. Many times, we leave the intentions and faith of the parents and students out of the equation entirely. Our schools are not one giant machine; they are made up of tons of individuals with individual needs.
I agree that Warren Jeffs is deserving of the life sentence he received for his polygamous activity with underage females [“Non-Prophet,” October 2011]. However, I cannot understand why this one man, who provided a home and food for the children of these relationships, was singled out and made the subject of a media circus. Certainly, his scope of influence reached several thousand people. However, in certain areas of every city in this country, and even in many small towns, a multitude of children, probably approaching the millions rather than thousands, born out of wedlock to underage mothers, are fathered by men who never provide a home, food, or even their name to these children. Can we now expect Texas Monthly to devote ink and effort toward bringing attention to that much larger problem?
Arts and Letters
As a native Texan, I’ve often lamented the problems with art in our state [“Straight From the Art,” October 2011]. The issue that most often keeps me away from museums is the pretension and preciousness of the people running things. In spite of their ability to purchase good pieces, there is a superficiality tied to haughtiness that makes me want to check out an art book from the library instead of going to a museum. Jordan Breal underscores these attitudes with her word choice: the use of “icon” (so overused it lacks meaning) and, for crying out loud, “gifted” instead of “given.” Why take a perfectly good noun and make it a verb when a wonderful verb already exists? Sheesh.
It was brilliant editorial timing to run “Here’s the Drill,” by Saul Elbein, in the same issue as “Pioneer Up” [October 2011]. The Ruggieros and the Headens have proved what I heard with my first meals of solid food: if you can’t get the mineral rights, don’t buy the surface.
I suppose they can console themselves by voting Republican some more and congratulating themselves on how little they need the central government. The majority (or plurality) of voters have been asking for treatment like they are getting from the great sovereign State of Texas ever since Ann Richards was not reelected. Happy now?
It was bad enough dealing with the boorishness and brutality that petroleum and gas extraction entails when the Democrats were in charge. Now that the picture has changed a little, more people are going to get pinched in those gears. Do they really think the Republicans’ owners have any interest in programming them to modify the laws or regulations to give people like the Ruggieros any relief?
Samuel L. Archer
I would like to point out some crucial facts regarding the story about Tim and Christine Ruggiero. As the supervisor who oversaw the drilling of a gas well for Aruba Petroleum on their property, I can say with certainty that we did not leave their horses wandering around, as they have claimed; we penned them. In the following weeks and months, we also did everything we could to ensure the family’s safety and well-being: we built new fences, added rock to their road, laid a waterline to the pasture for their horses, and built a new shed—all actions that seem to have been conveniently left out of the story. Finally, I will note that I was not responsible for the offensive graffiti on their property, and in no way condone it. Ultimately this is a case of a family that is simply unhappy they did not buy the mineral rights to their land.
I found Jake Silverstein’s comparison of Governor Rick Perry and President Lyndon Johnson very amusing [Behind the Lines, October 2011]. The governor has carved out his own niche through hard work and self-determination. Johnson built a career on butt-kissing and arm-twisting. He loathed any sort of individualism. Look at food stamps and Medicaid. These programs are essentially broke, and it will be up to the successful individualists to fix and/or replace them. Mr. Silverstein writes as if Mr. Perry’s true frontier spirit is kooky, but wasn’t it rugged individualism that made Texas what it has become? If not for people like Mr. Perry’s ancestors, this state would be a sparsely settled Mexican territory with little or no prospects for growth.