By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
The poorest of taste: I'm not sure which is more despicable, the comic itself [The City, May 25], the timing (did you not know it was Memorial Day weekend, or did you just not give a shit?), or the fact that the Houston Press chose to run it at all. Your decision to exploit those members of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country as a punch line to express your views on the latest hot-button issue was in the poorest of taste. It is highly doubtful that Derf even knows anyone serving overseas any closer than a friend of a friend, for surely he would have chosen a more tactful submission for the Memorial Day edition. He has no business depicting these brave men and women in such a callous manner; it simply validates what many people have known all along: that he is a first-class asshole.
I may not agree with many of the opinions expressed in other political cartoons such as This Modern World, but at least that strip is intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking -- everything The City is not. I implore the Houston Press to replace this ass-wipe of a comic strip with anything remotely resembling wit, humor or satire. This is not a matter of censorship or freedom of speech, it is a matter of taste and class. While it is true that I read The City every week, don't flatter yourself, Derf. It is the equivalent of passing by an open sewer hole -- one can't help but wonder what sort of shit lies within. Any idiot can piss off the masses with his pen (such as the droll Danish comics who so enraged the Muslim world), but it takes someone with actual wit and intellect to make people stop and think. You would be well advised to take a lesson from the creator of This Modern World and learn a thing or two, but sadly, I don't think you're that intelligent or talented. I hope you had a nice Memorial Day.
Who's the Idiot?
Uninspired: The Ray Hafner article on Green Day [The Abattoir, Wack, April 20], much like his comment on the album American Idiot, was "completely uninspired." The premise -- that if a band is successful in terms of album sales, then their music is subpar --plays to the stereotype of music critics. The author seems to detest unoriginality in music, so why does he not give an original assessment of Green Day's music and history?
This article (much like the John Nova Lomax piece on American Idiot) lacks a clear description of the band's roots and the influence of West Coast punk; i.e., Operation Ivy. Green Day is not the only reason for the proliferation of "pop-punk" and the many mediocre bands that fill the airwaves. Neither is pop-punk the sole invention of Green Day, and plenty of bands outside the mainstream can be described as such.
Green Day has continuously put out records with great pop songs. Their live shows are entertaining and energetic. Many new bands have tried to break into the mainstream by copying Green Day's sound/act, but none can sound exactly like Green Day. This is precisely what makes them worth listening to, the fact that they are not Simple Plan or New Found Glory.
I'm more than happy to buy Green Day's albums as long as they keep putting them out. I'm also glad to know that future generations of angst-ridden teenagers will be exposed to Green Day's albums and live shows.
He's a Horseman
Disappointed: Since I was present with Josh Harkinson at Kaufman, and was mentioned prominently in his article "Horse Flesh" [April 13], I would like a chance to reply. Harkinson assured me that he was going to take a balanced approach to the article, and he did indeed cover most arguments from both sides. But I found parts of the article disappointing in several respects.
The subtitle "Texas struggles with what to do with its overabundance of Equus caballus, while Europeans wait with open mouths" was a most unfortunate acquiescence to the myth that horse slaughter is somehow based on, and a solution to, the "unwanted horse" problem. I would have thought that his coverage of the rescue of an emaciated and truly unwanted horse would have made him realize the stark contrast between that horse and those in the kill pens. But he apparently failed to recognize that the problem of unwanted horses is a completely separate issue from horse slaughter.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment was that Harkinson played to the fears of the agriculture community by reinforcing the stereotype of people in the battle against horse slaughter as "animal rights" vegans with an agenda to stop all slaughter. He describes me as a "robotics expert" but does not mention that I have owned horses for more than 40 years and live on a rural farm. But the line that came across to me as a cheap shot was when he said we "celebrated over vegetarian pizza." This implied that we are all vegetarians, which he knew was not true. I am not one, and neither is Jerry Finch.