Stuart Eskenazi ["Rogue Elephant," September 3] both overstates Log Cabin's enthusiasm for Governor Bush and understates Governor Bush's very public jabs at anti-gay elements in the GOP. As a gay GOP precinct chairman, I can tell you Eskenazi is wrong on both counts.
Although most of us like Governor Bush and think his heart is in the right place on matters of basic fairness to gays, we have no illusions that he is going to be our most vocal champion in the near future.
Bush's broadsides against the religious right are not limited to his criticisms of the state party officials for their vicious attacks on gays. He also distanced himself from Senator Trent Lott's remarks that homosexuality is a "sin" by saying that it is not his job to decide who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. He also publicly criticized the social conservatives on the state Board of Education for disinvesting in Disney. Bush knows the difference between being a political leader and being a religious leader. He knows he was elected governor, not archbishop.
Tell your reporters to try to give their work at least the veneer of objectivity. It makes them sound more credible.
In his long opinion piece on the Log Cabin Republicans, Stuart Eskenazi gives hack journalism a bad name.
Parts of the article are just schizophrenic. Eskenazi digs up former Log Cabin members and quotes them fretting that Log Cabin is selling out to the religious right in the GOP. Then he quotes a single Republican consultant for the proposition that Log Cabin is threatening "party unity" with its opposition to this same religious right. So which is it? Is Log Cabin a lap dog or an attack dog? Eskenazi likes it both ways.
Eskenazi cites only anonymous Log Cabin sources for the idea that state Senators Jeff Wentworth and Bill Ratliff are our bosom buddies in the Legislature. Then he ridicules the idea that they are allies of gay civil rights. During an interview I, for one, directly contradicted such notions. But that comment didn't make it past Eskenazi's editorial pen.
Next time you decide to do a story on Log Cabin, please consider sending a professional.
Condemn the Consultant
Your slash-and-burn article on the Log Cabin Republicans quotes a Republican political consultant in Austin as saying that Log Cabin should not have protested its exclusion from the state GOP convention because such actions hurt "party unity."
As a former GOP precinct chairman, I am ecstatic that someone in the party is standing up to the vicious anti-gay attacks we have seen in the past few months. Such intolerance and hatred is what is hurting our party.
What would this political seer in Austin have advised blacks who were shut out of the Democratic Party in the South back in the '50s and '60s? Thank God they fought back and thank God gay Republicans are doing the same. It's high time that decent Republicans, like Senator Jeff Wentworth, come out of their political closets and stand beside them.
Miffed at Maxey
It is outrageous for state Representative Glen Maxey to suggest that all gay Republicans care about is their vacations at the expense of those suffering from AIDS. Although Maxey may not know it, because he apparently knows very little about Log Cabin, we have lost several of our members to AIDS. Others of us are living with it. The rest of us have cared for people with it. In Washington, especially, Log Cabin has effectively lobbied for drug-assistance programs and secured Republican support for such programs at levels above what even President Clinton has proposed. Maxey disgraces himself and his office with such intemperate and uninformed insults. I know he's in a tougher re-election battle this year than in the past, but that's no reason to take it out on those who have sacrificed and lost because of a disease that threatens us all.
And Disgusted at Dianne
In your recent piece on the Log Cabin Republicans, Dianne Hardy-Garcia is quoted with a remark strongly implying that Log Cabin does not respect "diversity" within the gay community. Her accusation seems a strange one, coming, as it does, from one who has so often used her organization to attack gay Republicans as political oxymorons.
Perhaps Ms. Hardy-Garcia could also benefit from some diversity training. Log Cabin recognizes that the gay community consists of people of more than one color, culture and gender, and welcomes help and support from any member of the gay community who offers it.
Sexual orientation may be genetic. Political affiliation is not. Winning souls over for social change requires evangelists of many political faiths. Gay Republicans should not be ostracized and vilified by the very people who will ultimately benefit from the changes they are working to bring about -- least of all by one who claims to be a leader in that movement.
Jeffrey L. Dorrell
I don't know whether to throw up at how ridiculous this whole article was ["PC Follies," Insider, by Tim Fleck, August 27], or make another dick joke ! Come on, everybody! Grow the hell up. If you saddle a celebrity with the nickname the "Big Unit" and then expect there to be no connotations or sexual innuendo related to that, you're either really naive or really ignorant. By the way, I loved the comment that to turn a proud nickname into something salacious is disgusting. Please!
I respect Randy Johnson. I think he's an incredible athlete. And believe me, I'm very happy he's now playing for the home team. But come on! I'm sure John Lopez isn't the only person to ever make a joke about his nickname. And I'm pretty sure he didn't mean any harm. Whadda you say we loosen that noose and let him off with a slap on the wrist?
Can we move on now?
On an additional note: I thought it was rather ballsy to print Judge Wittig's personal e-mail address. You guys have more guts than I do. Doesn't this sort of invite a lawsuit, by someone who is uniquely qualified to render it?
Y'all never cease to amaze me. Keep up the top-notch journalism. (Oh! I crack myself up!)
It is obvious to me that the Houston Press was desperately trying to fill space in "An Open But Shut Case" [by Steve McVicker, July 30]. But I don't understand why the story of Kelly Koch's tragic passing was used as a filler. Her death was not a murder, nor was it mysterious. Of course, if certain facts are omitted and you word it just right, maybe it will sound that way.
Your article left me standing in a bad light, appearing suspicious and uncooperative as well as elusive. I thank Mr. McVicker for sending me a copy, offering me a chance to tell my story.
I don't live in a trailer. She wasn't taken to a Conroe hospital, she was taken to The Woodlands. I gave a written statement when they asked for it, which was several weeks later, not days. You had the wrong telephone number and were calling some of my neighbors who live a couple of blocks away. I never received a message that you called, or I would have certainly called you back.
The Sheriff's Department investigated me thoroughly, and I cooperated completely. I voluntarily stripped, was photographed, and was questioned at the hospital, while my family waited for me. I waived my right to an attorney and allowed them to search my house without a warrant. There were a couple of more interrogations and numerous phone calls. I cooperated fully. I never once had a lawyer present.
Kelly, my wife of six years, went into the bathroom to take a bath. While she was in there, she shot up some black tar heroin, which was apparently a stronger-than-usual batch. My wife already had chronic asthma that sometimes gave her shortness of breath and made her feel faint.
After she shot up, she packed up her syringe and her drugs. Then she hid them carefully so I would not find them and become aware of what she was doing.
She then got into the tub, water running, and reached forward and turned off the hot water. This was the last thing she ever did. She slumped forward, unconscious: The cold water, still running, rose up to her face, stealing her last few breaths. Although the tub was (later) overflowing, she actually drowned in a couple of inches of water. This should explain to your unnamed "skeptic" why her body was positioned the way it was.
I opened the door, found my wife leaning forward, her face in the water, her arms floating in front of her, as water poured over the side of the tub.
I began CPR and called 911 (3 times). One of the paramedics asked me to turn the water off; another asked me to hold one of those bags in the air. I felt like puking, and I thought I might pass out.
Since my wife died, two good friends have also died (from heroin). Two close friends have been hauled to the hospital by ambulance. There are about four others whom I knew or who were friends of friends who have died.
If you've never done it, don't ever start. If you're doing it now, stop. If you can't, get help now! People are dying!
Kelly Jo Koch is survived by her nine-year-old daughter, Bonnie Francis Bayne.
Charles Kevin Turner
Editor's note: Authorities continue to list the cause of Koch's death as undetermined.
We'll Stick with Tabasco Trix
I think Lee Williams's review of Sordid Lives ["Texan Turnoff," August 27] was totally off the mark. Although it was poignant at times, I found the play extremely funny and entertaining. I'm a native Texan, and let me tell you, there was just enough exaggeration to make it funny. I thought the sets, costumes, etc., were very well done, especially for such a small venue.
As for the psychiatric scene: It was a little shocking. I believe it was intended to be and was quite effective.
I don't know where Ms. Williams is from, but maybe she needs to try a little picante sauce on her corn flakes.
I must respond to Lee Williams's review of Sordid Lives.
Where did this woman leave her sense of humor?
As a proud, self-respecting Texan, I loved the humor based on "stereotypes" as "familiar as weeds." People have always enjoyed an exaggeration of what is real and familiar to them. We can relate to something in the character or situation and laugh, or cry, as the case may be. It helps ease the dysfunction in all our lives, sordid or not.
I thought the play was wonderfully entertaining, as did everyone else in my group.
Please react to the following slightly modified quotation from a recent HP review of Next Stop Wonderland ["Crossing Paths," by Jean Oppenheimer, August 27]:
"It's a safe bet that only men in the audience will appreciate the remarks, which is a pity, given that women would benefit greatly from seeing themselves the way far too many of them are.... Kudos to ... [the female scriptwriters] for painting such an unflattering but honest portrait of their sex."
Sound a bit sexist? Switch the gender references and the sentences are Oppenheimer's. (Her parenthetical comment that not all males in the film are "schmucks" does not redeem these statements.) Sexism is sexism.
Craig Lindsey's sidebar recommended black comedienne and homophobe Sheryl Underwood's show ["Nasty Girl," Night & Day, July 30]. Regardless of Underwood's ability to turn a dick joke, it seems a stretch to refer to a woman who promotes anti-gay propaganda and the backassward remnants of her Arkansas religion as particularly "astute." If I want to laugh my ass off at this type of humor, I'll buy a ticket to a Promise Keepers rally instead.
In and Out-standing
Thank you for your in-depth article by Susie Kalil on the "In and Out" folk art exhibition at our Menil museum ["Raw and Wonderful," August 6].
Our city needs thought-provoking writing on the arts -- clearly, you all have taken the lead in covering the arts in Houston.
Kalil's sharp writing elucidates, in a way few writers have, the relationship of self-taught art to that of the mainstream art world.
Congratulations -- my only criticism is that it was so well done I wanted more.
Editor's note: Steen is a frame designer at The Menil Collection.
More Mutual Appreciation
The return of Susie Kalil to the pages of the Houston Press is greatly welcomed. Her thorough and intelligent reviews of exhibitions represent some of the finest writing on art in our city. Her observations are astute, her information well researched and her presentation both engaging and intriguing.
I hope you will persuade her to contribute on a weekly basis.
Editor's note: Winkler is the Menil's director and exhibit curator.
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