Chronicle Kills Poster Art
Twice now the Chron has had articles decrying "The Death of Poster Art." This article ("Violators Will Be Punished" [Vol.17, No.2]) correctly pointed out many clubs' dependence on their Chronicle listing as one reason they felt no need to create/support poster art. The article also mentioned the strange juxtaposition of the city's "Poster Artist Day" and simultaneous creation/enforcement of the anti-poster ordinance.
Has the Chronicle had any part in the decline of poster art? It's possible.
Within a few months of receiving a "Best of Austin" critics choice (thanx Kate) for "Best Thing On Wheels," the Chronicle cleared their front lobby of all posters, handbills, brochures and alternative free publications. I felt some of that weirdness that Hardy felt after his limousine ride on "Poster Artist Day."
At the worst the Chronicle is denying an outlet for information that rivals their own. As well, they are denying poster artists a legal and effective location for their art. At best the Chronicle is losing some of the "funkyness" and community "connectedness" that they once had. Sure, their lobby is cleaner and more attractive in that antiseptic, corporate kind of way. It is most certainly their perogative. However, in my own impromptu and incomplete poll of staff (front end folk, classifieds/personals people, writers etc...) no one knew why or who exactly made the decision, nor did they personally agree with it.
Though I appreciate the content of the Chronicle and continue to run a very effective ad on the Back Page, I wonder what direction the leadership is taking it. Most recently I was banned from using their recycling bin (after being invited to use it 4 years ago (thanx Deborah)), by a man who neither introduced himself nor asked me my name.
I have: performed with Bryce, given a lift home to Stegall, partied with Moser, taught the children of Messer and Spike, babysat for Ric, been scowled at by Black, waved at by Nick and bumped into the hardworking Chronicle distributors while on my route. I always thought I had a neighborly connection with the Chron even before I began taping flyers on their old just-off-Guad office windows eight years ago. But recently I have begun to wonder if the leadership of this big funky-cool boat called the Chronicle is on a tack away from the heart of their hometown.
Fritz the Motorblade poster dude
Who Are You Calling Young?
To the Editor:
Ah, Austin!: sun-drenched land of the over-educated!
I was disappointed to read Mr. Lieck's recent opinions regarding MTV's Austin Stories ["Dancing About Architecture," Vol.17, No.3]. As he so clumsily painted it, "the constant barrage of familiar signs and locations" during the show is exactly what makes it so appealing + distinctive. It is well written, to boot.
Somehow, Ken-mon's notion of "the spirit of the city" was not (after one bleedin' episode) revealed to him. Too bad. Those boldface music gossip yammerings about it only devolve the Chronicle's exalted status as alternative organ of record.
Y'all, in yer rush to condemn, come off sounding like wizened young farts. Lighten up. It's just a dang TV show.
Steven R. Mignone
Give Lieck a Chance
Well, once again the theory that Chronicle writers are spoiled snobs rings true. Although I was impressed that Ken Lieck ["Dancing About Architecture," Vol.17, No.3] asked readers to give the MTV series Austin Stories a "chance," I was not surprised to see the complaint I was waiting for, that the show doesn't show the "real Austin." I knew that someone here in town had to complain because their version of what Austin is about isn't the focus of the show. Well, just remember, the show could be focusing on some UT frat rat and his sorority bimbette, or on the pathetic waste of DNA that is Westlake or Bee Caves. Now I realize that having a TV series based on the city you live in is a little weird for local longtime residents, but I lived in Miami, and as you can guess, I got used to having my town stereotyped to death in various TV shows and movies, and to date, I have never seen one that portrayed the Miami I lived in. In actuality, Austin Stories is rather accurate. I hope it does well, and it sticks around for a few seasons. Maybe it will help keep the yuppie types out, and let the freak population get a little larger; we would be better for it.
In response to your piece on psychics ["Psychic Friends," Vol.17, No.1], there are many forms of intuitive arts, with every individual practicing differently. There are some of us who focus on the present and immediate future, while others can go many years out. Some specialize in love, business, personal issues, or other choices. Psychics receive information in various ways. However, it is the way that the information is communicated to the client that is most critical. If the client does not clearly understand the message then the psychic has failed. It is the intention of most psychics to help and add value to the lives of the clients who patronize them. Yet, the client has an obligation to make sure they understand the message in the way it was intended. Although it is possible that the psychic can simply be wrong, it is more common that the interpretation of the message is wrong.
Although good information can be received in the short 15-20 readings offered at psychic fairs, the best use of the fairs is to establish a solid connection with a psychic that you can work with in the future. No reading is as good as a private one. Good communication between the psychic and the client is essential. When shopping around for a psychic, your reader should ask what the psychic specializes in, how they work, and what they charge for how long up front. Then pick the one that intuitively feels right. Although there are those with questionable ethics, most of us operate with integrity and good intentions.
To the Editor:
I was chatting with a woman (UT student) who was considering placing some stickers on her car. One read "Against abortion? Then don't have one." The other said "Meat Stinks." I told her that I could sorta see the reasoning behind the idea of not having an abortion if you are truly against it, but doesn't it follow that if she is against eating meat she should just not eat meat and leave everyone else alone to decide for themselves?
No, she said, first of all meat is not good for you. But, I countered, shouldn't that be my worry and not yours?
But also, she pointed out that eating meat leads to the mass killing of living things.
I said yes, but doesn't abortion do the same thing?
Well she disagreed, and I'm the first to admit that my logic leaves something to be desired, but one thing I would bet the rent on, that no one who thinks that meat stinks has ever been to Sam's Bar BQ on a Friday night.
Surprised by Our Sincerity
I was quite surprised by your article on Princess Di. I assumed the cynical Chronicle would not have anything at best and something negative at worst. I was pleasantly mistaken. I found your responses to Diana's death similar to my own. Of course, knowing that others are having the same feelings is always nice. I guess the reason I'm writing is simply to thank you.
James C. Oberkrom
Save Your Breath
To the Editor,
I am frightened and appalled to hear that our Clean Air Standards are under attack in Congress. A bill is currently pending that would greatly decrease new health standards for monitoring air pollution. We must protect our Clean Air Standards by showing Congress their voting citizens will not stand for this disregard for our health and quality of life. Therefore, I encourage all to write our local politicians about this crucial issue.
We live with smog and soot. Almost every day in Austin is tainted with an ozone warning. This is especially sad because health experts warn young children, people with heart and lung problems, and the elderly to stay inside on ozone days.
It is time to fight for our air quality! The EPA's updated standards will keep big polluting companies in check by forcing them to upgrade their practices. In addition, the American Lung Association along with other health officials predict the new standards will prevent 350,000 cases of aggravated asthma and one million cases of decreased lung function in kids every year. They are also estimating that the new standards would prevent 15,000 premature deaths each year.
Life is breath. As a country, our breathing is becoming more and more difficult. We have the power to stop this and to save lives! All it takes is a letter to your representatives and senators urging them to vote no on this bill that compromises our lives.
Hurrah! for H.E.B., Albertsons, and any business that will follow their example, by the cancelation of tabloid sales in their stores. Freedom of press is a constitutionally given right. However, slander, harassment, invasion of privacy, and erroneous speculative journalism are not a constitutionally given right. Both the media and the press have enjoyed many years of unrestrained reporting, ignoring the possibility that their story might be slightly inaccurate, in order to highlight and sensationalize the story of the day. Ultimately, on many occasions, inaccurate reporting and speculation has resulted in the unjust destruction of character to many people. It's time we got back to the basics of journalism. Webster's dictionary defines journalism as, "writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation." The Princess Diana's death was terribly tragic and unfortunate; however, just maybe some good will come from it, as she would've wanted. This being ending media harassment, and their invasion of our private lives. When in public our lives are public, when in the privacy of our homes, it's no one's business!
Pot Calls Kettle Black
The recent statements by Lino Graglia of the University of Texas brings a sad page to Texas history for present and future generations. Comments such as those quoted by your newspaper as coming from Graglia can only exemplify a prejudice and any racial prejudices by a sitting professor can only ill-serve his students. And, after all, the students are there to learn and what they are learning is not how this country can move forward in racial harmony but rather how it can regress to the thinking of a time when blacks were looked upon with disgust by a vast majority and were the targets of lynch mobs at worst and frequent "hosings" and derogatory racial slurs at the very least. And let's not forget the "No Mexicans Allowed!" signs found at many places at that time also.
Under the circumstances, to find support for Graglia under the auspices of his speech-protected rights is a remarkable parallel to the kind of subjective justification of the Fifties espoused by whites for their continued injustices. Shame on this kind of continued prejudicial mentality. Shame!
Racial intolerance should not be tolerated! And let's not forget that Graglia says he is Italian. It is a very well known fact that an Italian is just as Latin as a Frenchman, a Spaniard, a Romanian, or a Mexican-American. So why is the pot calling the kettle black, I just have to wonder?
For a professor of a leading university to make a broad statement denigrating African-Americans and Mexican-Americans is to indict the entire minority community. If Graglia thinks Mexican-Americans are not intelligent enough or competitive enough he need look no further than U.S. Representatives Henry B. Gonzales and Kika de la Garza and Attorney General Dan Morales. Likewise, General Colin Powell. And let's not forget the accomplishments of our deceased friend, Justice Thurgood Marshall, among many others currently living and at rest. And if Graglia thinks he's so smart about racial issues, why isn't he preaching his rhetoric from a federal bench today, I further wonder!
For the University of Texas to continue to coddle this professor who professes such racially denigrating rhetoric is nothing short of reprehensible and should be addressed as such as if UT officials are truly to be perceived and seen as being impartial to people of different ethnic backgrounds. Until this happens, we're still at square one.
Rev. Lance Winters,
D.D., RM, Ph.D. Cand.
I'm discouraged to hear people call Professor Graglia a racist. The man has a right to speak about race as does everyone. I disagree with some of things he says, but I do not think he should be admonished for his explanation why minorities don't perform as well in selected schools around the country. I talked to a student of his who explained that Graglia is concerned about minorities and tries to explain why African Americans and Mexican Americans tend to fail more often than white Americans. Granted, Graglia could be talking out of his ass and generalizing, but so does everybody.
You cannot prove that all races are equal in the classroom. It is just not true. For some reason, rich, white children continue to outperform others. Nobody knows what the reason is. There are so many factors involved. Individually, anybody can do anything, but if you're part of the underclass, your chances to succeed in life are not good. Unfortunately, many minorities in this country are part of that underclass. Anyway, nothing is for certain. So how can Graglia be a racist for trying to explain why one race is doing poorer than the other.
Renea Fisher's letter about the "white, good-ole boy network" in this country offers one explanation. History shows that white guys have passed their legacies on to each other, and have excluded all others. Thus, white males prolong the hardships of the underclass. An underclass which included Professor Graglia as a child to Italian immigrants.
So please, make sure you consider the context of what was said. I'm ignorant of the context (because the Statesman continues to misquote him), but I do have an open mind. We should concentrate on reforming the racist educational system in this country rather than censoring one man's opinion about the effects of this racist system.
So what race is a guy with the name of Lino anyway? I would think that he's not exactly a John Smith? So wouldn't you think he is painting himself along with the same paintbrush he's painting all minorities as Sen. Truan puts it? I do feel sorry for Lino, such an intelligent man making a public ignorant statement. Evidently what he was trying to say did not come out as what he wanted to say. I am a Mexican American who was raised with limited goals in mind. My parents wanted more for me than what they had, which was a high school diploma. But success was stressed, therefore I was a successful clerical worker for many years, until a white male supervisor saw my potential as a manager and I was able to use my skills and abilities to their fullest.
I can speak only for the Mexican American culture and my experiences. In my case our own educators knew our parents were poor and did not encourage us to enroll in the college-bound courses needed. They did not mentor us, nor did they think it worthwhile to bother with the poor Mexican American children. This is when I saw it was up to me as a parent to see that my children did succeed in their goals. And wanting more for my children than what I had, of course I encouraged them to attend the university of their choice.
Mexican Americans, Blacks, and any other race can compete academically given the opportunity and chance.
Corpus Christi, Tex.
In the Basement
I read Renea Fisher's letter to the Editor ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.3] in the September 18 edition of The Austin Chronicle. I offer a few adjectives to describe her banter: narrow-minded, misguided, and outright insulting. Ms. Fisher's version of affirmative action is the "exclusive, preferential treatment extending by white men to white men." I must be a complete idiot because I'm white, college-educated (having graduated summa cum laude), and unemployed. Where is this fraternal network of white men, this "kindred connection"? Could Ms. Fisher perhaps tell me so that I may find a job?
Ms. Fisher also refers to us white men as the "heirs of slave owners who refuse to recognize the historical effects on our present conditions." This comment comes as another shock to me. Last time I checked, I was the heir to two dirt-poor white families who begot children who clawed their way out of poverty and despair, with hard work and perseverance. No one ever offered my parents or grandparents a break. There was no welfare; there were no tax breaks; there was no inheritance. Ms. Fisher, my parents and grandparents worked hard; they took pride in everything they did; and the rewards came not because they felt entitled to them, but because they earned them.
I suggest that Ms. Fisher and others who feel the need to generalize and write disrespectful comments take a good long look at history, and they will find that no one group has a monopoly on persecution. I can look at my own ancestry and find that each group from which I have descended, be it Catholic, Native American, or Irish, has had its own battles with oppressive forces. I am not implying that racism does not exist in present-day America. However, in my experience, I have seen racism flow in both directions.
Ms. Fisher, affirmative action is indeed wrong, but not in the way in which you describe. No one in the United States today has the right to own you, oppress you, or tell you what you can or cannot do with your life. I assume that most of us are not the heirs to great fortunes, so we may have to work a little harder, but it is the struggle that brings the greatest rewards. We should be proud to live in a state like Texas that has said there will be no preferential treatment. Let this fact be a challenge to rise above.
Scott Alan Gamblin
A Proud Russian-American Responds
Miss Renea Fisher states the white males have a "network" of affirmative action that goes back centuries. (Networking has been for a million years. It's called ethnocentrism.) She further states that white males today gain from slavery whilst blacks are still harmed. Hey, slavery is as old as dirt. But it's over now, for you, so p--s on it and go forward. Festering old wounds hurts only the festerer. Opportunites for blacks have exploded since 1954, so if you reject your piece of the dream, blame self only. Don't hold every setback as a collectible.
I was born 50 years ago to poor white farmers, and I have not known any such network. All through high school, seven years of college, and since, I have been the one to reach out to other colors. Under no circumstances would a person of color reach out to me or allow me to enter their "network." (Believe me, minority networks are far tighter than any percieved "white" networks.) I am the rejected one, always.
My family gained from slavery? No. All we did was give up our land and wives and children and walk 900 miles to pay the ultimate price, free slaves. I should be ashamed? Just what the hell more can we give? Money? Apology?
I have been badly hurt by affirmative action, but do I cry? No. I have given my heart and soul to anyone in this country, only to be snubbed and ridiculed. If I were called a redneck, I would be flattered. I made my life from great hardship, I invite others too. Carry 200-year-old garbage in a backpack? That's Masochism. My best buds are not white, like I care. You cannot imagine the hell they've been through, in other countries, yet they love the dream.
If Miss Fisher gets the honor of being called an African-American, how come I don't get a similar honor, like Russian-American? Cuz of double standard. Anyone who is non-white-male gets a honor pre-name. Duh. The key to the dream is an alarm clock. No excuses.