The events of the week form themselves into a kind of poetry.
Council term limits, as with the ridiculous $100 campaign contribution cap, are ludicrous, anti-democratic reforms aimed at solving no existing problem. The whole notion that "reform" is an inherently good thing makes no sense, especially when it is not in response to any corruption. Ironically, Beverly Griffith, the least capable of the three candidates currently attempting to gather signatures so they can run for re-election for their seats (Daryl Slusher and Jackie Goodman are the other two), has gotten the furthest along. This is because she has the deepest pockets and was able to hire Linda Curtis, the poster child for meaningless reform, to organize her drive. Evidently, Curtis thinks money pollutes elections only when it's going to someone besides herself. This is a sad travesty. We should be able to either elect or defeat these three on our own and not have our choices fed to us by laws that sound good but do more harm to the body politic than any ill at which they are aimed.
Bush enthusiast and Statesman columnist Marvin Olasky's self-hating Jew, born-again Christian, self-righteous schtick used to drive me crazy. But it is so hypocritical and morally corrupt that I've now decided this is simply performance art. This guy couldn't be serious; few folks are that openly pathetic. This must be some kind of joke. On that score: Good going, Marvin.
Great restaurants, as with most institutions, usually boast great stories. Clay Smith tackles the Fonda San Miguel story this issue, which makes for great reading (accompanied by former San Miguel employee and current Chronicle Food Editor Virginia's B. Wood's chronology). Fonda has always been a must-visit on my list for out-of-towners, and it was great fun to read the whole story.
I'm going to go into this more at some other time, but the general contempt for the "masses" on the part of progressives/liberals seems to me to be missing the whole point. To believe in "power to the people" but think they need to be re-educated in order to handle it strikes me as a kind of egotistical fascism more than a profoundly democratic belief. I genuinely believe in the genius of the masses (which is why I have such a deep respect for television), but find this is an increasingly isolated view to which almost no one subscribes. Bizarrely, the left thinks the people are as misguided as the right does. They want to give them power, but then they want to change everything about them. Sounds like the bedrock of many an awkward marriage.
SXSW, the Austin Music Awards, the Texas Film Hall of Fame, and the general fun and mid-March mayhem is only four weeks away. As you read this, Austin Music Poll ballots are feverishly being counted. Between 4,500 and 5,000 ballots were submitted, though some of those were either clearly fraudulent or uncountable for one reason or another. Still, they were overwhelmingly legitimate, making this the largest turnout (or turn-in) in Music Poll history, continuing the trend of the last couple of years. The results, of course, will be printed in the special Chronicle Music Poll/SXSW issue, dated March 15.
The Awards Show will be at the Austin Music Hall Wednesday, March 13, beginning at 7:55pm sharp. The bill includes Supergirls (an Austin Lesbian All-Stars spectacular), the Snobs with special guest Biscuit, Spoon, Sixpence None the Richer, a well-deserved and most necessary tribute to Champ Hood, and a special end-of-the-evening set honoring Ray Benson, musical superstar and all-around great guy, featuring Asleep at the Wheel and special friends.
Expect to read a lot more about impending events in this column, but for now, the letters are really stacking up, and I want to clear some extra space for them.