The Pen Is Mightier Than...
The Masters of Defense wasn't a European phenomenon ["Swordplay? No Way!" by Lisa Gray, March 2]. It was a group of mostly middle-class citizens of London. There were academies throughout Europe that taught hundreds of styles and methods, but they had many different names and many different reasons for existing.
If any of the Masters of Defense wrote manuals, I really wish John would share them with the rest of us. No one has been able to come up with anything the London Masters of Defense might have written, at least not to my knowledge.
Hank was not one of the primary founders of SCA. There were no sorcerers in the SCA in the '60s. I highly doubt that you could find a "sorcerer" in it today.
There are knowledgeable people in Creative Anachronist and RenFest that John could learn some things from. John does manage to alienate many people, but mostly because he comes off as a self-important, close-minded jerk who won't admit that he may not have all the answers.
There are many individuals who explore historical swordplay as a martial art. John is not the first, or the most knowledgeable. He is simply the loudest.
I read your neat article on John Clements and European swordsmanship and thought it was great. As someone who's interested in martial culture from around the world, both reading about it and practicing, I was more than happy to see the "genuine" stuff get some decent general press coverage.
Really enjoyed your article on our Pat Robertson of the medieval/Renaissance sword. You pretty much captured the essence of that personality. Check out my Web site at www.twoswords.com.
I enjoyed the article about Jason Nodler and Infernal Bridegroom Productions ["Kicking A," by Lee Williams, February 24]. But what's this obsession with the gutter? Yeah, sure, Jason spent his teens in the gutter of West University. Poor Dad was a lowly CPA/insurance guy and Jason had to suffer the indignity of attending HSPVA. I'm glad to hear that having a secretary hasn't gone to his head -- thankfully there is still some gutter in him.
Maybe I'll run into Jason at Rudyard's or some other place he goes to get his gutter fix. Let me guess: Having some gutter in him gives Jason some kind of credibility. Keep up the good work. Jason, congrats and best wishes to you.
Just the Ticket
In response to the phenomenon of the invasion of the megaplex, it seems the older theaters just don't care anymore ["Battle of the Megaplex Monsters," by Richard Connelly, March 2]. I used to go to the River Oaks 12, until they never had more than one ticket window open when there were 100 people in line, before they let graffiti ruin the main screens, which they have never repaired, before they let huge discoloration and spots ruin the picture, before they closed the upstairs concession stand, and before the sound became a muddled whisper from broken speakers.
Gee, it seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy here. They let the place rot and then wonder why they can't afford to remodel.
Certainly in this economic prosperity the River Oaks 12 could become the first VIP super-luxury theater in Houston. I and many thousands of others would be willing to pay $15 to see a movie in a luxurious environment. Maybe that line would take only two minutes, not 20. Wow, going to the theater might be better than staying home to watch movies after all.
Now if the megaplexes could just get people to turn off the fucking cell phones, I would be a happy camper.
While I appreciate that kids need a good cheap movie theater, I also welcome the coming of movie theaters where I don't have to park my 24-inch-wide fanny on the front two inches of an 18-inch-wide seat and suffer miserably just to see the latest flick.
All for Alien-ation
Dylan Krider's article about NASA's UFO exhibit was hilarious [Night & Day, March 9]. I greatly enjoyed the concise report catering to every aspect of this display, despite what NASA might have intended. Keep up the good reporting.
I come from Australia, and the cheerleading/ drill-team world is completely foreign to me ["The Scrunchie Skirmishes," by Brad Tyer, February 24]. The events of the article were hardly surprising, though. Once again women are being valued for their bodies. I'm sure this situation is not exclusive to Cinco Ranch High School.
Acceptance and peer recognition are so important during adolescence. It's unfortunate that young women attempt to satisfy this need in the narrow role of a drill team member or cheerleader. Years of social conditioning handed down from generation to generation set up those girls who didn't make the team for a great sense of failure. It would not have mattered what was in those letters; our Western culture needs to develop a broader range of roles for young men and women to express and define themselves and feel valued and liked.
It seems you would research your information before you run an article. Your statements and facts are one-sided and false. If you ask any other member of the dance team, they will tell you how great Mrs. Hankins is and how she is tough but fair.
In your article you are slamming her and the girls who worked their butts off all year. Implying that the silver scrunchies was a factor speaks badly of the judges.
When you stated that Katie feels she's being punished for being injured, I laughed. Do you think it would be fair for Katie to go the remainder of the year with an easy grade? What would that teach her?
You also mentioned weight being a factor. That is very disrespectful to the girls that train and work very hard to remain competitive in dancing. You may not realize this, but there is a difference between physically fit and thin.
Name withheld by request
After reading "Scrunchie Skirmishes," I could not resist responding.
I was actually outraged. There were several things that got my blood boiling, as a proud mother of two young girls. Above all, I firmly believe size and weight should never have anything to do with a person's ability to perform. The fact that the previous members wore silver scrunchies to be identified moved me beyond speechless. This type of thing should never happen, especially in high school. There's already a lot of stuff young people have to go through when entering high school, let alone this type of dejection.
Boom to Beasts
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I've read caustic reviews by the indefatigable Houston Press before, and it seems the sybaritic reviewers themselves are frustrated writers who can only punch Buick-size holes in other people's work while trying hard to establish for themselves the title of "smart, hip, petulant movie critic" ["Writer's Blah," by Gregory Weinkauf, February 24].
It seems portentously obvious to me that the writer of the Wonder Boys review is a Gen-Xer who can't stand any expressions of the "boomer" age and takes every opportunity to slam the Thinking Generation to the mat through scathing malignment, trying desperately to wound the Old Beast sufficiently that it will just go away and leave the world to the real artists.