Letters: Wednesday, June 12, 2003
Quarterly Cook Report

To the editor: You’re right, the Startlegram’s music section is a “steaming pile of shit” as you called it. But the Fort Worth Weakly’s is worse. HearSay has totally abdicated any responsibility to tell us about local music or national alternative bands playing in the area. Instead we are treated to ramblings about watching Wild on! and trying to buy women (girls, of course, in the Weakly’s jargon).

This lack of coverage is severely damaging the local music scene. I read an old Fort Worth Weekly in which Paula Felps, in one column, mentioned 15 bands that were playing in the area within a couple of weeks. That is more than HearSay has mentioned in the last three months, maybe six.

In March, when SXSW drew lots of bands to Texas, clubs like the Wreck Room and the Ridglea had quality touring bands nearly every night. The Weakly music editor was too busy talking shit to actually do his job and tell people about the bands. The result was that great band after great band played to empty rooms.

A cynical view of why the Weakly’s editor has allowed this to happen would be that they think that if local bands get no coverage, the clubs will have to double their advertising to get any attention at all. And the only thing worse for local bands than the no-coverage they’ve been getting would be to have [Fort Worth Weekly Associate Editor Anthony]Mariani start writing about them.

It is time to turn the music section over to Ken Shimamoto. He is the only person at the Weakly who ever actually tells us anything about bands.

Charles Cook

Fort Worth

Shimamoto’s response: Cook writes basically the same letter about every three months or so. The editors were busy driving the bus and let me respond this time. While it’s flattering that Mr. Cook likes my scrawl, he doesn’t really understand WorkingPressLand. The local focus of my music coverage has been totally at Anthony’s direction. Were it not for him, I’d still be hunkered in the bunker, going to three shows a year and writing 10,000-word rants about obscure Scandinavian or Australian musos on the internet for a couple of hundred people worldwide. Instead, Anthony hits me every week with a list of local acts to check out and write about if I think they’re worthwhile. (I almost always do.) With our space constraints, I really question what benefit our readers would derive from a recap in HearSay of the club listings that appear a couple of pages away.

Food Fight

To the editor: I am writing in hope of clearing the air of the smoke generated by this week’s cover story (“Food Fascists?” June 5, 2003). After reading the article, I think that it can hardly be debated that this piece was written with a negative slant toward PETA and a sympathetic ear to those who oppose the animal rights organization.

As a member of various animal welfare and animal rights groups, I know that when PETA decides to organize a campaign it is not unwarranted (something that the author glosses over in her attack on the organization).

After the “McMurder” and “Wretches” campaign, treatment of animals raised for food by McDonald’s and Wendy’s somewhat improved. This is what the KFC awareness campaigns and demonstrations are about. If enough customers are made aware of the abuses, then KFC will improve its animal welfare practices to a more acceptable and humane level.

As with most large-scale political, social, and cultural movements, there are extremists. But from my experiences, no PETA-organized event includes smashing windows or harassing people at their homes. When activists dress up, hold bright signs, and organize massive letter-writing campaigns, it presents others with an opportunity to open their eyes and rethink the information that they have been massively spoonfed — especially by seasoned PR people at large companies such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and March of Dimes, whom the author of the article quotes many times and seems to gulp right down without opening her own eyes.

Kristina Denapolis

Fort Worth

Editor’s note: Our story pointed out the effectiveness of the PETA campaigns. It also noted that PETA does not take part in violent actions, but that its leaders seem to endorse those who do.

To the editor: Sensationalism aside, good for PETA’s “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign for pointing out the connection between how we mistreat animals and how we mistreat each other.

Throughout history, the exploitation and slaughter of animals has been the model and inspiration for the exploitation and slaughter of people, most notably during the Holocaust. What we do to animals we sooner or later do to one another. The sooner we get rid of the idea that there exist in the world living beings not entitled to our empathy and protection, the sooner our world will be a safer and more humane place for all of us.

Charles Patterson

New York, N.Y.

Author, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust

To the editor: With respect to people or entities telling the truth about substances in our food supply (peta.com, notmilk.com, dorway.com, truthinlabeling.org) ... why does telling the whole truth make us “food police”?

Dave Rietz

Goose Creek, S.C.

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