Much as I enjoy reading your paper, I have never taken the time to write a letter. After reading Lisa Gray's story "Ashley Yount Can't Hear You" [January 16], however, I was literally moved to tears. Every parent can identify with the Younts' desire to want the best for their children. Although I'm sure you will get letters from members of the deaf community who believe the author was endorsing cochlear implants, Lisa did a fine job focusing on the true issue here, which is that parents have to do what they think is right for their children.
Bravo to the Younts for listening to both sides of the story and then having the courage to do what they thought was best! Ashley is a very lucky girl to have such loving and mature parents. Kudos to Lisa Gray for a well-written story!
I just read "Ashley Yount Can't Hear You" and want to compliment Lisa Gray on a very, very informative and very, very moving story. She is an excellent writer who has made a contribution to understanding the "world of the deaf."
At the end of her article on Ashley Yount, Lisa Gray declares confidently that Ashley was "on her way to a life among the hearing." Biased reporting is one thing, but reporting the future is a bit over the top. Gray's confidence might be understandable if she had offered examples of older children and adults who have cochlear implants and "live among the hearing."
She might have shared stories of deaf people who view their cochlear implants as an infliction. She might have interviewed teachers at T.H. Rogers school who work with children trying to "hear" with cochlear implants. She might have provided some information -- any information -- on the language skills of older children with cochlear implants.
Instead, she portrays the deaf community as an outrageous group of angry and dangerous people trying to steal deaf children from their hearing parents. I can't imagine this kind of bias being shown toward any other minority. I cannot imagine anyone celebrating that a Spanish child would never learn Spanish in the way the article celebrates deaf children who never learn American Sign Language. The stories and words of deaf adults are missing from her article. It's a shame.
According to my husband, a trial lawyer who has had no dealings with John O'Quinn, adversarial or otherwise, but who has watched him in the courtroom, Mr. O'Quinn's skills as a trial lawyer are just phenomenal ["O'Quinn Unzipped," by Mary Flood, January 23].
I wouldn't care if he ran cases or not (and with his business, why would he need to?). I wouldn't care if he is a horrid person or not. I would go to him in a heartbeat if I had a legal problem because he gets good results for his clients.
If the State Bar of Texas wants to protect the public from unethical lawyers, there are plenty of them out there who are an embarrassment to the profession (one or two of whom are named in your article). Leave the guy alone. He is an extremely effective advocate for his clients. Isn't that the point of being a lawyer?
Name withheld by request
Bad Hair Day
Oh, if only we had known... We were only unsuspecting aging hippies hoping to recapture our youth, trying to hum indistinguishable tunes and appalled at what these kids had done to our Hair [Theater, "Tangled Hair," by Megan Halverson, January 23]!
But who actually is at fault for our disappointment and loss of $35? Does UH check out the renters of Cullen Performance Hall? If the group was suspect, we would have liked to have known. Did a media critic attend a performance (that is a loose description) and find it so awful that they scrapped the review?
No, It Was a Painful Hair Day
I appreciated the article on the ill-conceived production of Hair put on last month at Cullen Performance Hall. I've seen the original on Broadway and two other road shows, and this production was definitely a disappointment and embarrassment. Most of the performers, especially the men, could not carry the music. It was painfully obvious this was little more than a college production, even at $35 a ticket.
The theater on the night we went was extremely uncomfortable because there was no air conditioning. I'm not sure how the performers were able to deal with it, other than they occasionally were fortunate enough to doff their clothes. The acoustic system was also inadequate for a musical of such depth.
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Reread That Second Paragraph
I was surprised when I stumbled upon a glaring racial slur in Peter Rainer's review of Woody Allen's new film, Everyone Says I Love You ["Manhattan Melodies," January 16]. In the second paragraph of his review, Mr. Rainer asserts that Woody Allen's movies inaccurately portray New York City because they omit all of the unpleasant realities of urban life such as garbage in the streets, subways and noise. Amazingly, he adds "black people" to this mix of omitted urban ugliness! Regardless of Mr. Rainer's intentions, the negative implications of this association are, at the very least, quite disturbing. Why mention, specifically, black people when discussing such a culturally diverse city? Even worse, why list black people among such obviously negative urban elements?
Mr. Allen's films may appear to be "sanitized." However, his movies are about people who live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan: a very posh place that is, after all, a largely white, stuffy and homogeneous neighborhood. Personally, I've always preferred the alluring diversity of the Village to the sterility of the Upper East Side. The Village is charming and contains a fascinating mix of cultures and people from all walks of life. It never occurred to me that the Village seemed more genuinely "New York" because of the garbage, noise, ugly subways and black people.
Gary M. Freeman
Editor's reply: Rainer did not use the phrases "unpleasant realities" or "omitted urban ugliness" in inventorying the things that are nowhere to be seen in Allen's new movie. He did write: "You have to be a true obsessive to keep Manhattan this time-warped." That might explain why you won't find long lines of African-Americans queued up to see Allen's movies.