Voices From The Bubble
As a professional nanny in Dallas (previously in Highland Park), I found “Trouble in the Bubble” (June) to be right on target. It seems to me that many of these parents feel that lavish trips, extravagant birthday parties, and an exceptional education are the things, which will give their children a positive self-esteem. To the contrary, it is only time with and attention from their parents that so many of these children long for (even if it is only a ski trip without their nanny!).
I also agree with the statement, “Every six months brings a new nanny and a whole new set of rules and expectations. The result can be serious emotional problems. ” It is for that reason that so many of us professional nannies try so hard to stay in positions which are less than acceptable.
Thank you for printing this article. Although it has without a doubt stepped on many toes, I certainly hope it opens the eyes of a few Park Cities parents.
Glenna Whitley portrayed Park Cities residents as cold, uncaring, materialistic individuals who appear to be success-oriented at any cost; I have a completely different view. I have found them to be decent, committed, involved people who continue to make substantial contributions to the Met-roplex in both time and money.
I grew up in the Park Cities and recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in special education. Having been raised with advantages and experiences that I might not have had otherwise, I do not feel I have come away with a selfish interpretation of my role in society as an involved citizen. As a special education teacher, I have chosen to work with children who have severe disabilities. I am no less aware of the needs of others because I am a Park Cities resident than someone who was raised in another suburb.
WHITNEY L. BURNETT
Your tale of life in the Park Cities was right on the mark. My family moved from one of the poorer sections of Oak Cliff into University Park just as 1 entered high school. Talk about culture shock! I’ll never forget the expressions of blank incomprehension on the faces of some of my new friends when I told them about this buddy of mine in junior high whose family was so poor they couldn’t come up with the $5. 95 necessary to buy him a letter jacket when the season was over. I think they thought I was lying.
The comments in the article about the Park Cities being a “bubble”-an isolated and insulated location and a state of mind having litlle to do with the real world-are absolutely accurate. Some people are born there, grow up there, go to high school and college there, get married there, have children and grow old there, and die there without the rest of the world ever being anything more than an abstract and rather unpleasant concept. I suppose it’s one of the few places left on earth where people can still die with their innocence intact.
The image of the two squirming boys in the bubble used to illustrate your piece about Highland Park was quite haunting and reminded me immediately of the work of poet/ author Paul Zweig. Writing about his life in Three Journeys: An Automythology (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1976), Zweig evokes a similar image, and describes quite powerfully the consequences of living within its confines:
“I think of the human figure in Hieron-ymus Bosch’s landscape of Purgatory, sealed inside a silvery globe. An unearthly succulence surrounds him, but it is oddly without emotion. Its clarity is slightly insane. “
In his final book. Dispatches, written shortly before he died of cancer, Zweig reveals the incident which undoubtedly led to his fascination with the silvery globe of Hieronymus Bosch:
“One morning I woke up with the impression that I was locked under a thickness of glass. The impression was so strong, I could virtually see the glass a few inches from my face… “
By dealing with this image so directly, Zweig does us a great service, for he shows us that it has contemporary personal relevance. We may now say, with both Zweig and the Highland Park kids, that this phenomenon is very real, that it is here, and it is here now, and that if we do not choose to deal with it at its root (which evidently lies in the very principles by which we “live”), then the results, for all of us, will be cataclysmic.
Your article was grossly incorrect and unjust in regard to Father Michael Wallens. In no way is his departure from St. Michael and All Angels Church due to his being “fed up” (your quotes).
To begin with, Father Wallens is a very caring person-as demonstrated during his tenure by his success in handling the youth programs, counseling those in need, and his patient understanding of the elderly.
Most people in any walk of life, when offered an opportunity that is rewarding and challenging, give it serious consideration and justly so. Such is the case with Father Wallens. After carefully weighing the offer, he decided to accept the proposal. The situation offers great possibilities for him and his family to expand their horizons.
He has made many friends here and shall be greatly missed. We send him and his dear family off with all good wishes and God’s blessing.
FRANCES ORAND WELLS
ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS
On February 12, I was interviewed by Glenna Whitley. In that interview, which lasted about an hour, we discussed the problems related to “teenagers in the fast lane. ” We discussed general symptoms, We did not discuss specific teenagers from a specific area of Dallas, namely the Park Cities. In fact, during the discussion I specified that these characteristics apply to teenagers in general and not just the Park Cities or Dallas teenagers. What I did specify was that 1 did not want my sons to have to deal with certain pressures that I considered unhealthy.
My anger and distress occurred when I realized that this article was slanted in such a way as to make my comments and observations appear negatively pointed at the children and teenagers and parents of the Park Cities. It is obvious that in the process of writing this article, Ms. Whitley lifted, twisted, and took out of context the statemerits I made to fit her own bias.
In addition to the above, the writer fabricated the reason as to my leaving St. Michael and All Angels Church and the St. Michael School. A( the lime of the interview, I was not yet planning to leave nor had I had any job offer to consider! Furthermore, now that I have finally decided to leave, my reasons have to do with the opportunity to do more of the same kind of ministry I do now.
There is no anger or frustration in me that has anything whatsoever to do with leaving my present position. There is considerable, anger, frustration, and disgust with the article’s assumptions about me and my specific thoughts and feelings about Park Cities teenagers.
THE REV. MICHAEL G. WALLENS
ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS
Why is it surprising that ASCAP would monitor those small entrepreneurs who might benefit from “pirating” others’ creative efforts (“ASCAP Flap” June)? If it were possible to monitor these thieves totally, there might be 90, 000 profiting members of ASCAP or BMI. A thief is a thief, no matter his size, age, or (omygawd!) location.
Petty, hell! A Scud upon all “pirates, ” and all thieves of others’ creative efforts.
ASCAP and BMI and the American Federation of Musicians have done too much in support of music and musicians to ignore your [magazine’s] cavalier assessment of ASCAP and BMI. Are you related to Bonnie Itzig?
Lastly, is not this article just another form of union busting? Even in non-union Texas, compliance with these requirements would help those individuals and members of groups who depend on their own and others’ creative efforts for their own living.
A Fan’s Notes
I’m not the biggest sports fen in the world, but after reading Dan Baldwin’s story (“Life After Hitzges, ” May), I figured I had to give Mark Elfenbein and Steve Shapiro a listen! They really are entertaining and fun to listen to! It is just great to see regular people get jobs like this and do well at them! Now that I listen to KERA’s Saturday Morning Sports on a regular basis, I’ve spread the word to my friends, and now we all get together for breakfast and listen to Mark and Steve every Saturday morning! Thanks again, D Magazine, for introducing us to them!
Congratulations on “Why We Love To Hate Lawyers” (May).
It is high time the legal consumer begins to rise up against the legal profession in genera] but the Texas Bar Association in particular.
Through my own misadventures-a divorce 10 years ago and recent foreclosure on my home-I can clearly attest to the legal malpractice of the fraternity of lawyers. I have personally overheard deals being made behind closed doors between lawyers and judges which abrogated the legal process. I have had a lawyer who is now a judge ask me to gain a confession from a suspected felon with the intention of placing this criminal in a mental hospital to avoid prosecution. Finally, a lawyer-then chairman of the bank holding my home mortgage-offered to rewrite my business if I would pay $1, 800 toward the debt. Once I paid the $1, 800 he denied his proposal and foreclosed on my home.
Forget filing a complaint with the bar association. As your article indicated, this is a laborious process for the complainant which only creates a paper chase boiling down to your word against the lawyer’s.
The average person does not have the resources to hire an attorney to file malpractice. The only people who gel decent legal representation have money to spend to “hide” or protect their remaining assets.
Linda R. FlecHtER, R. N.
You’re right to condemn lawyers when they take advantage of clients. You’re right to demand the bar take these cases more seriously. You’re even right to spur reform with public criticism.
But you’re very wrong to condemn lawyers when they represent clients. In one article, you complain that injured Americans bring malpractice suits 30 times as often as the British, and products suits 100 times as often. Yet in another article, you notice that we (unlike the British) have “exactly nothing in the way of a national health policy, ” not even no-fault national health insurance.
If we make personal injury a lottery, what else can victims do but play?
DAVID N. EVANS, J. D.
If D Magazine had any desire to give at least a partially balanced piece, you would have taken the time to talk with some former members of the local grievance committee. You carefully left out that one-third of the committee is made up of non-lawyers. You could have investigated your statement that grievance panel members could be “influenced by friendship, expediency, politics. ” You would have found out that simply doesn’t happen.
Your global comment that “you’ve also got Johnny Walker and Jack Daniels on your case” is unwarranted since you had just stated that as many as 30 percent of lawyers have drug or alcohol problems. How did you get from 30 percent to your global statement? The legal profession is meeting the substance abuse problem head-on, which is more that 1 can say for you or your editors about your writing.
Your unprofessional approach to the article is shown in a small but revealing bit of lazy work. The law firm on page 68 is Jenkens & Gilchrist, not “Jenkins & Gil-crist. ” You could have at least let “D’s own libel attorney” read the piece before press time, even if no editor read it.
DANIEL E. MCDONALD JR.