ABOUT YOUR SEPTEMBER COVER … As a lifetime Texan and hockey dad, I’m a bit offended. Okay, I’m over it. However, I’m wondering if you know that the state of Texas houses more pro hockey teams than any other state. I’m wondering if you know just how many kids (and adults) have chosen hockey over football as their sport of choice. Hockey welcomes the kids who are not the biggest, strongest, or fastest. Perhaps it is time for parents to have the chance to learn about this great sport. Those who have made the change have not looked back.
AS A SPORTS FAN who doesn’t buy into the football mentality of this state but instead loves the finesse, skill, and agility of hockey, I think you should do a hockey cover. Texas has a Stanley Cup—winning team, some of the highest-profile players in the league, and arguably one of the best-looking and most eligible men in Dallas [in Mike Modano]. Let’s see Drew Bledsoe or Terrell Owens do their jobs on ice!
THANKS FOR INCLUDING A NAME from my father’s era, Clyde “Bulldog” Turner, in “Thank God It’s Friday” [September 2006]. I appreciate that the reach of your football memory includes players from different times and circumstances.
ODESSA PERMIAN A “must-see”? Upon what distant past decade of faded football glory do you base that opinion? The last Permian game I attended, against Midland Lee—much touted, broadcast by ESPN—was a humiliating, good old-fashioned butt kicking, and it was not Permian doing the kicking!
IT SEEMS LIKE every time you pick up a magazine, turn on the TV, or open a newspaper, you see articles on Texas high school football. That’s all fine and dandy, but why, why, why is it about only 5A schools and only the schools that did something spectacular during the previous season? No wonder the kids from 4A and down have a hard time getting noticed.
I THINK I’m tough as hell, but Gary Cartwright’s “Main Squeeze Blues” made me cry [September 2006].
AT ELEVEN O’CLOCK on a Wednesday night, I crawled into bed with my Texas Monthly to read myself to sleep. I flipped the magazine open to “Main Squeeze Blues,” and I started reading. At first I teared up, then the tears began to slide down my cheeks, and by the time I finished, I was openly sobbing. It is so obvious that Gary loved Phyllis very, very much. All of us women should be so lucky as to have a man in our lives who cherishes us as much as he did her. He couldn’t have given her (or us) a better gift than that special piece of writing.
Santa Ana, California
NORMALLY I TAKE the position that each of us has enough grief in life that it is altogether unnecessary to read of others’ personal losses and pain. But for some unknown reason I was into Gary Cartwright’s story before I realized it and was compelled to finish. Gary shared a personal and painful major loss in such a way that helps others, if only slightly, face such tragedy with a firm grip on the memories of happier times.
THANK YOU FOR PUBLISHING Gary and Phyllis Cartwright’s beautiful love story. What a lovely tribute to their wonderful life together. I hope their story will inspire others to consider hospice care should the need arise. It was an honor for Hospice Austin to help the Cartwrights during this poignant time in their lives. I hope that Mr. Cartwright can find solace in the knowledge that because of his lovely remembrance, he will be helping others who are facing a similar situation.
Executive director, Hospice Austin
I APPRECIATED JOHN Spong’s article “The Good Book and the Bad Book” very much and the fact that you saw fit to print it [September 2006]. After getting partially through the article, I was already asking which side I was on. While Brokeback Mountain is not a book I would have chosen to teach from, the questions it causes Ms. Horne to raise seem to justify her use of it. I’m sorry that I didn’t have a teacher of her caliber as a high school senior.
Tularosa, New Mexico
IT’S OBVIOUS FROM the article that both Brokeback Mountain and The God of Small Things have passages that would have, when I was in school, been called pornography by 99.9 percent of the public. The fact that it’s so common now does not change what it is, only how it’s regarded.
TWO QUESTIONS FOR St. Andrew’s and John Spong: If The God of Small Things is appropriate literature for high school students, why didn’t Mr. Spong feel free to quote the offensive passage? And in a world full of great literature, why spend precious time and resources reading material that even Texas Monthly won’t quote?
IN THE SPIRIT OF FULL DISCLOSURE, I am compelled to state that (1) I am not a Christian and (2) I am the product of public schools. To many, this may render me wholly unqualified to stand in judgment of the goings-on at a private Episcopal school. Nevertheless, this atheist was moved by the higher powers of irony, justice, and feminism to speak: I cannot believe that even Mary Ann Bowling’s God would condone calling any woman “Ms. Porne.”
THE STATEMENTS BY ENGLISH teacher Kimberly Horne, of Austin’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, made me want to be a student again. Her faith in the power of the mind’s processes of turning a story over, taking apart its characters, and analyzing those characters in the fear-free arena of the classroom is one that I think should be rewarded.
KAY WILLIAMS JOHNSON
Colorado Springs, Colorado
IT’S DISAPPOINTING that today’s educators cannot draw from the wealth of wonderful literature available that contains nothing offensive to young readers. I admire Rachel Bowling’s courage to stand up for her family’s personal convictions, and I find John Works’s response comparing her rebellion with unsavory personalities in our nation’s history to be unacceptable. I’d like to offer Rachel a few other examples of “rebels” in our history: Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Tubman.
Raleigh, North Carolina
YOUR RECENT ARTICLE concerning the tussle at St. Andrew’s ended without exploring the answer to the question “So if we live in a broken world, what part do we play in it?” The traditional Episcopal answer is that our role is to live a life consistent with the teachings of Christ and the church. The new Episcopal answer is that love is sufficient to excuse any action, no matter how inconsistent with the teachings of Christ or the church. Many former Episcopalians, such as myself, find that this is not enough.
NORMAN W. BAXTER
Praise the Word
THE SPIRIT OF H. L. MENCKEN lives! Nate Blakeslee’s article on “Christocrat” David Barton is one of the best pieces of investigative journalism I’ve seen in this magazine in a long time [“King of the Christocrats,” September 2006]. Indeed, Mr. Blakeslee’s response to the woman who asked if he was “a Christian too” (“No, ma’am, I’m a reporter”) was pure Mencken and worth the price of admission.
COWBOY BOOTS NOT CHIC [Reporter, “The Horse’s Mouth,” September 2006]? Only for Rodeo Day in junior high? Quite frankly, cowboy boots would have done wonders for that unfortunate outfit Kim France chose to wear in her photograph. Check that woman’s birth certificate!
I OFTEN DO NOT AGREE with what Paul Burka writes, but his “Grand Old Parry” article in your Behind the Lines section in the September issue was right on. There is entirely too much posturing for the “party hard core” and not enough statesmanship in all of today’s politics, and it is refreshing to see him address that in the way that he did.
ROBERT B. PRICE