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Dennis the Menace?

By November 1998Comments

ANY SEVENTH-GRADE HISTORY student will tell you that the star on Dennis Rodman’s head is incorrect [“The Texas Twenty,” September 1998]. It should point to the top (white bar) of the flag. But I know that Texas Monthly would never make a mistake like that. Rodman’s head is just not screwed on right.

THAT TEXAS MONTHLY would include Mr. Rodman as an “impressive, intriguing, and ifluential” Texan raises a question as to the abilities of the editorial staff to critically evaluate the meanings of “impressive,” “intriguing,” and “influential.” Mr. Rodman is impressive only for the vulgarity of his disdain for the norms of civilized conduct, he intrigues me not, and he would hardly be influential were it not for his athletic skills. Unfortunately, our society is so bemused by our star athletes that we grant them privileges far beyond their worth as entertainers. That Mr. Rodman had a hard growing-up is lamentably sad, but eventually each of us must be responsible for who we are. An occasional play to the gallery (i.e. Jasper) does not absolve the largely disreputable image he seems to have worked so hard for.

NO DOUBT TEXAS SUFFERED through a bad summer—drought, floods on the coast, the Cowboys’ Scissorgate, hundreds of ranchers losing money on cattle. But I did not realize just how bad things were until I received the September issue and saw Dennis Rodman on the cover.

DENNIS RODMAN IS THE LOWEST of the low and a scumbag. We want people to think he’s from Chicago or L.A.
Mary Louise Dickehut
Del Rio

THE REPULSIVE COVER PHOTO of worm rodman (non-capitals intended) made me gasp for equally repulsive Beaumont petrochemical air.

THERE ARE SOME THINGS ONE should never do to a horse, the Texas flag, or subscribers! Does an obnoxious lifestyle and a $25,000 charitable gift qualify someone for your cover?

ALTHOUGH I LIKE TO THINK THAT no one is totally useless because he or she can always serve as a bad example, I am sorely disappointed that you put Mr. Rodman on your cover.

MR. RODMAN IS A PERSON WHO, other than being a great rebounder in the NBA, has absolutely nothing of socially redeeming value to offer the general public and the readers of your fine monthly.
Charles L. Floyd, Sr.

AT SOME TIME WE ALL WISH WE could retract something we say or do. I’ll bet the cover of your September issue is one of those things.
Zanesville, Ohio

PLEASE THANK PAUL BURKA FOR his insightful profile of Dennis Rodman. So much pain in one person. I do feel that any article on Mr. Rodman is incomplete without coach Phil Jackson’s explanation that Mr. Rodman plays the role of the “backwards man” in Sioux culture—he who rides his horse backward, mocks every sacred ritual, dresses as a woman, and otherwise reminds the tribe that all humanity is pretense.
Knoxville, Tennessee

Mixed Reactions

THANKS FOR RECOGNIZING Naomi Shihab Nye in “The Texas Twenty.” She not only is an accomplished poet but also has been a strong influence on many young writers, including myself.
San Antonio

IF EVER THE ACRONYM OBE (overcome by events) applied, it would be to your underwhelming choice to include Paul Begala in “The Texas Twenty.”

TEXANS USED TO BE KNOWN for being plainspoken, meaning they spoke the truth plainly. Now we have a spinmaster like Mr. Begala. If he had any huevos, he would quit.

YOU REALLY BLEW IT BY PUTTING Mr. Begala on your list. Maybe you should do a new list, of Texans who lie for their bosses and are proud of it or Texans corrupted by power.
Charlotte, North Carolina

JOHN MORTHLAND GOT BAMBOOZLED by what I would consider not one of Texas’ best and brightest educators when he attempted to cast the president of UT–El Paso, Diana Natalicio, in bronze. For her ten years as president, Ms. Natalicio has not only sold El Paso a load of goods but graced various national committees selling the nation a bum steer by calling UT–El Paso the “Harvard on the Border” and by touting the demographics of chance—UT–El Paso’s student body is largely Latino because the town of 700,000 is mostly Hispanic.
English Department University of Texas at El Paso

KARLA FAYE TUCKER IS GONE NOW. She paid the supreme price with her life for the ugly crimes she committed. The wonder of it all is that her spirit still lives on in the hearts of many people. She made us look at some of our laws and know that changes must be made.

I WAS APPALLED TO SEE KARLA FAYE Tucker among your Texas Twenty. I am astonished that you would choose to highlight a pickax murderer over the numerous community and civic leaders that can be found throughout your great state.
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Girl Talk

USING THE DAVE BARRY STANDARD FOR humor, “The Belle Curve,” by Anne Dingus, meets or exceeds it [First Person, September 1998]. It was excellent, giving the Miss America Pageant a whole new dimension.

AT ONE POINT WHEN READING “the Belle Curve” I had to put the magazine down and wipe away tears of laughter. I suspect Ms. Dingus and her fellow Miss America Weekend members have the competition analysis down to a science, but they also cut through all the tiptoeing around a subject labeled sexist and politically incorrect to remind us that sometimes it’s better just to lighten up and enjoy the show. Too bad I can’t join their MAW group—it sounds like they have one heck of a time.

Editor’s note: In “Tales of the Bazaar” [October 1998], the schedule for the Old Mill Trade Days in Post should have read “held on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before the first Monday of every month.”

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