Our readers talk back.
Blue Buddha Feeling Blue
My name is Daniel Perlaky, creative director of Blue Buddha Design House and I just picked up this week's issue of the Chronicle with the poster art as your feature story ["The Smell of Success," Nov. 22] -- I must say that I was rather disappointed to see very marginal coverage of the poster art "revolution." I have been doing poster art for four years here, even when nobody wanted to pay for poster design, just to feel the impact of my work on the streets. Not only were I and other small design studios never considered, but one of the best, LatinWorks, was also omitted, and they are responsible for the "Vision" poster for Cine Las Americas which (almost a year after the fact) is still to be found around town and has had a hundred times the impact on the city that anyone in your cover story has achieved.
I generally trust the accuracy of the stories in the Chronicle, but the lack of research on your poster art cover story makes me question the thoroughness of your articles.
Carroll Helped Save SIMS
Dear Austin Chronicle,
I wanted to thank you for the excellent article on SIMS and its history ["Managed Health Care," Nov. 29]. I am happy that at this point the story has a happy ending, and as you'd imagine, there are many who help to produce the KGSR CD that has been SIMS' lifeline. Look for them in the liner notes.
I must, however, specifically acknowledge the help of Jeff Carroll of LBJS Broadcasting in keeping SIMS alive. When I was ready to look for another beneficiary for Broadcasts Vol. 10 because SIMS was in disarray for a while, Jeff personally got in the fray and assessed SIMS's state of affairs and helped mediate problems between the board and its directors and helped to get the organization back on its feet. He is too selfless to take any credit, but I feel the need to give him his due.
KGSR Program Director
Imagine Art Needs Your Help
To Ryan Blum-Kryzstal:
I understand you elected not to weigh St. John's down with your graphics skills, despite Toby Futrell's ipsilateralism in re-instating you ["Double Jeopardy," Nov. 29]. Based on the ideas you had for furthering disadvantaged children, I think your not accepting her offer, despite how the bureaucracy treated you, or might have looked on you for returning, or presumably had no need, i.e., apply later b.s. ... well there's a loss there.
So if that idea is still with you, here's another avenue I chanced upon Friday, while hanging up fliers for my own art show, "Imagine Art." They are a nonprofit, volunteer-run gallery downtown, which houses a free space for artists to work. While the gallery is for all artists, their nonprofit statement ostensibly includes a mentally/psychologically disturbed component, i.e., some of the artists/children are that way.
In speaking with a curator artist, she spoke to me of her interest in taking her artwork and digitally rendering it at various sizes, which would require .PSD files and a grant from Adobe Photoshop for the software. However, she will need help to make this happen. Contact with Adobe would have to occur to request software for the nonprofit, and training would be needed. In return, you could get space for displaying your graphic artwork, and the ability to provide the "social change" you were looking to enact. Your pay would be in seeing others' dreams come true and your own in selling your own artwork. For example, I know that recently a bunch of children created self-portraits at Imagine Art. Imagine Art staff then hung the work up in the gallery and the kids came in and had their own art showing. You can imagine the amount of self-actualization occurring there. As far as sales, they sell many different media of artwork, even to the point of handmade jewelry and mobiles.
You could even tie back to St. John's with shared programs between them. This could even be done on weekends as I think they are looking for volunteer curators, including on weekends.
"Imagine Art" is at 103 W. Fifth, Austin, TX 78701, 448-1840, if anybody needs some space, head on over! I hear they even have chai on hand, over and beyond the coffee, but you will have to see for yourself ...
Marijuana Laws Outdated
The firing of Ryan Blum-Kryzstal from his job at the St. John's Library and Community Center for rolling a joint seven years ago reveals the fundamental fraud of marijuana prohibition ["Double Jeopardy," Nov. 29]. Everyone knows that smoking a joint is not a criminal activity, but no one has the courage to change our moronic marijuana laws.
The only excuses for keeping cannabis illegal for adult use are worn-out lies that no sensible person believes, like:
"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana can cause white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."
"The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."
"Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at a white woman twice." (Hearst newspapers nationwide, 1934.)
"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality and death."
"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."
"[Smoking] one [marihuana] cigarette might develop a homicidal mania, probably to kill his brother." (Propaganda to Outlaw Marijuana.)
The lies used to outlaw marijuana are so ridiculous that the proper response to the term "marijuana crime" would be gales of hilarious laughter aimed at any other proponent of marijuana prohibition, except for the fact that putting people in jail for "Reefer Madness" is no joke.
Pretending that a marijuana violation is a great crime when no harm occurs is a delusion that should be ended.
Drug Testing Is Bunk
Lauri Apple's article ["Double Jeopardy," Nov. 29] illustrates the state of affairs at too many employers, especially municipal governments. In the quest for the mythical "drug-free" work force, many companies ignore the glaring fact of employee tobacco use and those who arrive at work with a hangover from alcohol use the day before. Additional workers may well be impaired due to use or misuse of prescription pharmaceuticals.
Of course, a positive drug test does not indicate whether an employee was impaired or intoxicated on the job, nor does it indicate whether an employee has a drug problem or how often the employee uses the drug. Thus, most tests do not provide information relevant to job performance.
The good news is that more employers are following the example you cite of the city of Austin. While drug testing in the workplace increased dramatically in the Eighties, in 1992 it leveled off at 52% of companies doing testing. Much drug testing in American industry is due to government mandates requiring testing, not due to the business judgment of employers. Thus, the overall percentage of companies testing in 2000 was down to 47%. Obviously, more companies are judging their people by the content of their character rather than by the content of their urine.
(member) Drug Policy Forum of Texas
Thirty-seven year native of DFW, now residing in Clearwater, Fla.
Ventura's Voice Stands Out
I'd like to give a quick but heartfelt thanks to The Austin Chronicle for the article "Iraq's Waking Nightmare" in "Letters @ 3AM" [Nov. 15]. This story is a rare piece of gold. That kind of serious, damning criticism of U.S. foreign policy is practically impossible to find in any mainstream press, so kudos to Ventura for writing it and to you for allowing it to appear. If any of the national papers had the gumption to print pieces like this on anything like a regular basis, we might live in a somewhat different country; but maybe I am reversing cause and effect. Although I feel that a story about U.S.-led genocide and exposure of our troops to nuclear radiation is more front-cover-worthy than the bit about "Between Round Rock and a Hard Place," I applaud you nonetheless. Now I'll just sit back and wait for this story to appear on the front cover of The New York Times ...
What Really Happened to Shigemitsu's Leg
Hi. In the article on David Douglas Duncan at austinchronicle.com/issues/vol18/issue34/arts.duncan.html ["An Eye for History," April 23, 1999], Duncan says that Mamoru Shigemitsu, the Japanese Foreign Minister, lost his leg during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. To wit, "He was in black-and-white mourning clothes, limping across the deck of the battleship because he'd lost a leg in the war with the Russians in 1905, I think it was ... a famous incident."
Shigemitsu, 1887-1957, lost his leg during an assassination attempt in 1932. See, for instance, www.kimkoo.or.kr/kimkoo/assassination/as-49071101.htm .
Tackling the Chomsky Challenge
In response to Eric Campbell's Nov. 29 "challenge" regarding Noam Chomsky ["Postmarks"]: At his talk at UT, Chomsky calls Israel an "offshore U.S. military base." He compares Israel to countries like Turkey, calling them "cops on the beat" keeping the Arabs in the Middle East down.
Are U.S. troops stationed in Israel? No. We have troops stationed in Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. Why doesn't he call them "offshore U.S. military bases?" So we sell weapons to Israel? We sell weapons to countries all over the world, including Mexico. Why isn't Mexico an "offshore U.S. military base?"
As for Israel being a "cop on the beat": Israel is the only country in the Middle East with complete freedom of speech and press, where anyone, Arab, Muslim, or Jew, may criticize their government without fear. Israel has the only independent Supreme Court in the Middle East, which has found numerous cases in favor of Palestinians against the Israeli military, government, and citizens. It's also strange that Israel is accused of oppressing its Arab population when just two years ago, it offered Palestinians their own state. People can debate the merits of Ehud Barak's offer all they want, but it cannot be denied that Yassir Arafat is the one who walked away from peace talks to engage in violence. His own deputy and numerous Palestinians are now questioning Arafat's starting the Intifada.
As for Chomsky himself, he's defended the "findings" of Robert Faurisson, a notorious Holocaust denier. Faurisson has said, "The Jews were responsible for World War II." Chomsky claims he saw "no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson's works," including his denial of the Holocaust. Chomsky claims this is based on "extensive historical research." Chomsky has even written an introduction to one of Faurisson's anti-Semitic books.
That good enough?
The Genealogy of a President
In his Anglophobic vent ("Postmarks," Nov. 29), Todd Alan Smith refers to the crowning of George Sr. and his royal sons. Smith may be interested to know that George Walker Bush does indeed directly descend from Robert II of Scotland in the 21st generation, Edward I of England in the 25th generation in one line and the 28th in another, William I of the 29th generation (Gary B. Roberts, The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants, pp. 92, 211, 234, 267, 333, and 362 for the ancestries and sources). In noting this, I in no way endorse any acts of President Bush. It is embarrassment enough that he and I are 23rd cousins three times removed.
David L. Kent
Please, Respect the Turkey
I was watching TV with the sound off last night, something I find myself doing more and more, when I witnessed the video portion of a local news story. Something to the effect of "bowling with turkeys" or some such. Local citizens hurling the frozen carcasses of these holiday treats down a mock-up bowling alley. Normally this sort of "Lettermanish" style of entertainment is mildly amusing on some level, and it may very well have been accomplished to the benefit of a worthwhile charity, I simply do not know, but something about this particular whimsy stuck in my craw. I think it goes back to the allegory of commitment regarding a plate of ham and eggs. The chicken was involved, but the pig was committed. I am by no means a vegan nor could I be considered a champion of animal rights. I would not even disagree with the belief that (for now) human beings hold dominion over the world and it's creatures, although that has not always been and quite probably will not always be the case (see cockroaches). Speaking strictly for me there is just something slightly obscene in this demeaning portrayal of our Thanksgiving symbol (see bowling ball).
Perhaps I'm suffering from a misplaced sentimentalism for this anonymous bird, whose short life was only lived to serve at our pleasure. Surely if only for that reason the animal deserves more respect than this. Ben Franklin once nominated the wild turkey to be our national bird, I think I read that in a whiskey ad, but today I hope more than ever that it is the truth.
What Would Coach Do
If Coach Cotton was still around I'll bet he'd ask why it's OK for Nancy Pelosi, the minority House Leader from San Francisco, to attend a private all-girls college (Trinity in Washington, D.C.) but it's not OK for a bunch of rich boys in Augusta, Ga. to have their own golf course and social club.
Coach might wonder about the cork up the ass of hypocrite termagants who have nothing better to do except stick their shrew beaks into other folks' business. What with all the hysterical weeping and wailing of late you'd think maybe those corks would have popped out, even after all these years. The ol' Coach might drop a line to Tiger Woods reminding him that the slavery and indentured servitude days are over and that nobody has to be a politically correct shill for far-left malcontents (who never fail to warn us of some backlash if their PMS agenda isn't met).
Coach could have reminded us not to mess with golf if you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground. A cork is one thing, but a three-pack of Titleist ProV1's is ... well, progressive.