What a treat to read Joe Leydon's review of the movie Smoke [Film, "Smoking Out a Story"] in your June 15 issue. Let's read more, maybe? No one else in Houston can give such a clear and on-target opinion on film than ol' Joe. I would hate to see him leave town for greener pastures ... or just the green!
I read Susie Kalil's article "Stupid Is As Stupid Does" [Art] in the June 15 edition of the Houston Press. I wish to compliment you for using a rational point of view in critiquing the Art Guys exhibit. But specifically, I was moved by Kalil's remarks about teenage culture: "There's little doubt that we're all increasingly seduced by the culture of idiocy. In recent years, the mass-marketing of teenage sensibility has had a depressing effect by exalting a detachment so profound that it often crosses into stupidity." While the beauty of youth has proven to be a profitable marketing tool, I too am disheartened by the glorification of adolescent mediocrity in exhibits such as the Art Guys and television shows such as Beavis and Butt-head.
I attempt to keep an optimistic point of view about the future of today's young people, but I feel the "culture of ignorance" is largely responsible for the perceived shortcomings of the public education system. However, it is sometimes dangerous to engage in generalizations. While young people of the 1960s are stereotyped as "flower children" and young people of the 1970s as disco dancers, I sincerely hope my generation will not be remembered as characters like Kurt Cobain and Beavis and Butt-head.
Re: "Mad Dog's Demise" [By Steve McVicker, June 15]:
Only in Houston and El Salvador do people commit suicide by shooting themselves in the back of the head.
Editor's note: As you've probably heard, the Fort Bend County jury that conducted an inquest into police Lieutenant Alan Mabry's death determined it was a homicide. Investigators, however, still had no suspects as of this writing.
Hats off to the Press for running "This Modern World" on May 18 and to Tom Tomorrow for having the guts to tell the truth about the school at Fort Benning run by the Pentagon to train U.S.-backed, CIA-installed military dictatorships in the fine art of state terror. One hundred and ten thousand murdered Guatemalans deserve an epitaph -- even if by a comic strip penguin.
In June 1984, with an average of 100 political murders and 40 disappearances per month in Guatemala, and despite the well-known murders of all organizers of previous such groups, the Mutual Support Group was formed by desperate mothers, fathers and lovers of the disappeared. On March 30, 1985, the group's leader, Hector Gomez Calito, was blow-torched to death after having his teeth kicked in and his tongue cut out. On April 4, 1985, the body of another leader, Maria Rosario Godoy de Cuevas, was found in a ravine with the bodies of her brother and her son. They had all been tortured. Her son -- two years old -- had his fingernails pulled out. Good work Fort Benning. Good work CIA.
And by the way, thank you Michael Fry for your "No Bull" cartoon lauding George "Guts" Bush. Mr. Bush's sensibilities were offended by the NRA's impolite remarks about a certain federal agency's bully boys. Maybe the fact that George was director of the CIA might somehow be related to his brave stand for decency and honor. Good work, Fry.
Ivan K. Scheffler
Squaw Faux Pas
If we can forget for a moment any raging debate by politicians about politically correct language, we hopefully can agree that a paper with the political stance of yours does not want to carry racially insulting terms. "Wetback" doesn't appear offhandedly when describing Mexican-Americans, and the last time I looked "colored" was not flippantly used, either.
So critic Peter Szatmary should not use "squaw" when he seeks a lively term to use for an Indian or Native American woman, as he did in reviewing The Kentucky Cycle [Theater, "All In the Family," June 8]. "Squaw" was a chattel-related term used only by whites.
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As the son of a Mohawk woman and a writer who has covered Native American issues in the past, he's just going to have to trust me on this one. A quick look at a Webster's New Universal didn't denote the derision voiced in either squaw or wetback, so the respective cultures become the key.
The press in Canada has long considered squaw to be an offensive term, but then Native peoples are more integrated into the fabric of Canada. Here, reservations tend to be out of sight unless the residents are selling something to visitors, a relationship that encourages not correcting people when they have their wallets out.
The date of the burning of the Branch Davidians' compound was misstated in the story "Slouching Toward Impropriety," which appeared in the June 22 Houston Press. The correct date is April 19, 1993.