Join the Moderates
The dilemma of ethnic and racial diversity is a valid discussion for any news media organization [News, "Seeds of Trouble, Part II," by Tim Fleck, September 15]. We must become a more multiculturally inclusive nation, and further efforts to accomplish this most mandatory task are to be encouraged. Perhaps the Houston Chronicle should be questioned for highlighting South African blacks in tribal dress over those of a more urbane and sophisticated demeanor. There is also much to criticize regarding the dubious focusing on a certain affluent class as the virtual sole representation of an alleged high society.
Wayne Metz, though, fails to make an adequate case against the Chronicle for its handling of ÒSeeds of Trouble." Contrary to his oversensitive response, it is indeed good journalism to publish articles concerning the disproportionate violence and felonious street crime committed by an underclass segment located in our Third and Fifth wards. The latter's criminal element's primary victims are their own Afro-American neighbors. It must be conceded that white majority racism may very well indeed be a major contributing factor to the defeatist and nihilistic mindset of so many of that community's young. Nevertheless, the problem must be honestly confronted and not evaded through the illogical underpinnings of political correctness. Wayne Metz should stop indulging in self-righteous rhetoric and join the more moderate of us who desire to address this crisis in a more non-ideological and balanced manner.
Yeah, yeah, "television journalism" is an oxymoron, and television journalists are just plain morons ["Changing Channels," by D.J. Wilson, September 8]. Stiffs and slime in the ice machine, a bunch of self-important schleps who barge in and stick a microphone in somebody's face and think they've done their job. Even if goofballs like Marvin Zindler do admit they aren't journalists, a lot of viewers think they're watching journalism, and that is just plain dangerous. But the truth is, there hasn't been a compelling reason to watch the locals since The Weather Channel went on the air.
Diversity or Perversity?
Congratulations to Tim Fleck for such a wonderful and insightful article on the Houston Chronicle's "journalistic cultural diversity" [News, September 15].
I should also like to publicly thank Wayne Metz for having the guts to put "principle over paycheck" and exposing diversity at the Houston Chronicle for what it is and always has been -- perversity.
Houston's Fifth Ward has forever seemed hopeless in the eyes of "award-winning" reporters at the Houston Chronicle. Most of their vision and expertise, however, is the collective result of reading what was previously written and driving the Eastex Freeway or Interstate 10.
To the contrary, there are many, many youngsters in the Fifth Ward who, despite their many struggles, are not "seeds of trouble." Simply put, their stories never get told in the Houston Chronicle, and no diversity audit is likely to change that.
At least, not until the voice of Wayne Metz becomes loud enough to shatter the "cracker glasses" through which the Houston Chronicle views the Fifth Ward.
Harold V. Dutton Jr.
Editor's note: Dutton is a state representative whose district includes the Fifth Ward.
Sweating to the Zydeco
Thanks to David Theis for calling my attention to the plight of Doris McClendon and the Continental Zydeco Lounge [News, "Zydeco Blues," September 8]. The Zydeco Lounge is one of Houston's few remaining musical and cultural landmarks, and a bit of our heritage that deserves our protection and support. Please encourage your readers to skip the aerobics classes and the stair-climbers one night and exercise their muscles, as well as their senses, on the Zydeco Lounge's dance floor for a total body workout.
I enjoyed David Theis' article on Houston's Continental Zydeco Lounge [News, September 8]. As stated, it would be a shame to see the local landmark have to close its doors. The CZL's popularity could have been bolstered if the address and/or directions to the CZL would have been included in this piece. I also saw no listing for the CZL in your music section.
Normally I don't respond to music criticism, but Chris Smith's ignorant attempts at reviewing Dry Nod's performance at Emo's [Live Shots, September 15] demands a response.
His first complaint is "art." First, music is art. I don't care if it's fucking Hammer! It's art! The question is, is it good art or bad art? Perhaps what he meant was that Dry Nod were "pretentious." His examples of the pretentiousness of Dry Nod are their backdrop and use of a French horn. The backdrop (an instructional sign language poster with "diarrhea," et al) was, try to grasp this Mr. Smith, a joke! The second example makes no sense. Smith says the French horn was "out of place," then in the same sentence says, "I couldn't hear the thing." Please explain how one can judge the interaction of one instrument with others if that instrument cannot be heard.
Next he mentions "Indie Principles." This term means nothing! He cites a vacuous stage presence and a suitably droning sound as examples of this non-term. The former could apply to someone watching a Miles Davis show instead of listening. The question of stage presence is moot.What should be considered is the music's presence.
Finally he cites noise, saying that briefly it worked. Substitute "music" or "sound" and one gets the same meaning. But by choosing "noise," Smith suggests uncontrolled noise and flat out says it -- "It became painfully obvious that the band has yet to construct a full song." Here is where it is obvious that Mr. Smith definitely cannot buy a clue as to what is going on.
Now, dig this Mr. Smith. Dry Nod is one of the few bands in town that constantly reinterprets songs, pushes them to the edge and challenges the audience. Most bands play songs -- Dry Nod interacts with a song. Their music is organic, building layer upon layer. I've been listening for years to their brilliantly crafted songs and I, and many other local sound makers in Houston, are constantly amazed and inspired by their work, because, unlike Mr. Smith, we actually listen.
The "Best of Houston" [September 22] contained awards for the best places to buy, and use, a gun. I was disappointed that you would include this in your paper.
The Houston Press appears to be directed at well-educated, urbane, cosmopolitan professionals, the demographic group least likely to own guns. Your readers, generally speaking, do not tote guns, chew tobacco or live in trailers.
Jacob S. Wissler Jr.
Editor's note: While it is true our readers generally are urbane and cosmopolitan, many of the editors and writers here live in doublewides, pack heat and enjoy a chaw now and then.
This crap fell out of last week's Press. Please take care of it.
In case the above comment is lost on you, this is offensive, and at my age it takes a lot to piss me off.
Editor's note: Murdock enclosed three "Titty Bingoz" bumper stickers that were inserted in the September 15 Houston Press as advertisements for a rock band of that name. The editors and writers, many of whom live in doublewides, pack heat and enjoy a chaw now and then, had nothing to do with this egregious lapse of taste.
He's the Man
Thank you for your Best of Houston 1994 special edition. I was delighted to read your recognition of Michael Harris as the Best Talk Radio Host. I made the switch to Michael three years ago, and listening to his Person to Person dialogue has greatly enriched my life. I appreciate the issues he discusses, but most of all I am grateful for his patience and respect he shows toward all his guests and callers. Michael Harris is making a positive impact on our entire community.
Lorelei de la Reza
Your issue on Houston's Best was really quite wonderful. I must ask you, though, not to keep spreading word about the "charming, historic and fascinating" Third Ward. First thing you know, the yuppies will discover us and ruin it! SH-H-H-H-H!
Linda D. Lord
Cane the Bigots!
I'm a 75-year-old white male; and I pick up your paper Wednesday evenings at the post office at 4020 Broadway. I do not consider shopping at Randalls since they "censored" the Press. Now, I find it "missing" from Rice markets!
Last week's edition was censored by some BIGOT(S) from the post office! This is the second time for that! If I ever see them, I'll report their license! I'd prefer to put the dimwits in stocks and administer severe caning!
S.J. Wilburn Jr.
Caution: Falling Chips
Cole Schweikhardt, I'll keep my mouth shut if you will open your eyes and ears ["Silence, Please," Letters, August 18]!!!
My accolades to the Houston Press editorial staff and Mr. Fry were to their courage to print a four (4) frame cartoon depicting a crowd of thousands standing in downtown Houston, waiting over an extra hour while 100 persons succumbed to heat ills, 10 went to the hospital and three were kept overnight. All were waiting while one person prayed!!! I also added, this also takes place in the workplace by persons adjusting and giving up their lunch and rest breaks so someone can wash, get their rug and pray.
These persons are required to pray FIVE (5) times a day, and at certain times. The times I referred to were no. 2 and no. 3.
No. 2 is called Sa-Laa-tuz-Zuhr. Offered after midday (noon) but before the time the shade gets doubled.
No. 3 is called Sa-Laa-tul-Asr. Offered one to two hours before sunset.
I added that this is a Christian country, founded on Christian principles, and according to our Constitution we can permit you and other religious persons to pray when and where you want. But Christians cannot unless it is in silence, and disturbs no one else. To QUOTE your statement, "it is not necessary to affirm your particular faith by forcing others to listen to it or participate in it against their will."
I feel your statement also applies to giving up lunch and rest breaks so people can pray. Must we alone be silent, yet let everyone else be verbal? Let your statement apply to everyone EQUALLY.
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I did not wish to continue this confab, but as with many controversial subjects, there are many who engage their oral orifice before engaging their gray matter.
I write for the love of writing, not to stir up the many Honey Pots that exist in our wonderful society. I still feel that your editorial staff and cartoonist Michael Fry have set a good precedent to face facts, whatever they are; and wherever the chips may fall, keep up the good reporting.
Jacques Von Wunsch