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Dialogue/ The remark about Goldstein was thoughtless, and probably meant as a macho compliment. It is the kind of remark that is inherently incapable of verification. The point could have been made just as effectively without the insertion of a name. . . . Come to Tyler So Dick J. Reavis used to be a left “radical.” I know it is so for he continually tells me so in the course of trying to convince himself. Yes, Dickie has grown tired of the left. The work was difficult; the return was not comparable to the investment. Tsk, tsk. He cavorts with Mario Cantti, William Kuntsler, Lee Otis Johnson, and others of national repute. We know you’ve been around, Dickie. We also know that the required sacrifice is not nearly as profitable as heady liberals of aspiring ilk are accustomed. It thus becomes necessary to sell your egocentric wares publicly. There are many among us who realize where Dickie has been and where he is. And we prefer that he wallow there privately. His brand of first person singular journalism may hold a place in Maileresque mentality, but not with those of us who are still attempting to contribute. As a faithful subscriber, I request that in the future you not dignify such scurrilous political plummets; let Dickie moderate himself in forums of less commitment. Oh yes, and if Dickie is still looking for someone to “step outside and settle a grievance” with, he should come to Tyler. There are those among us who would accommodate his self destruction. We’re not really looking for a fight of course; just a demand on his soul. Joe K. Crews Tyler Objects to Reavis After reading Dick Reavis’ story on Mario Cant\(‘ in the July 25, 1980 issue of the Observer, I felt that I must write to express my objections to the piece. Mario Cantti and Dick Reavis can be praised as reflective, independent men. I have long respected Cantti for his years of support for the California and Texas farmworker movements. Reavis is a talented, compelling writer whose work reveals a dimension of reality far beyond the grasp of most young writers. In deference to Reavis’ talent and originality, I am tempted to overlook or excuse his excesses. However, his compulsive reexamination of his radical past and revolutionary acquaintances contain a number of disturbing elements that should be criticized. In writing these lines, I am thinking not only of his recent Observer piece, but also the article on Lee Otis Johnson that appeared in the June Texas Monthly .. . Both articles reveal Reavis grappling with dilemmas that concern personal loyalty, obedience to authority, and respect for the truth. In both articles, he shows himself caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare, where his only choice is to aid the authority of the state he has spent so much of his life resisting. He must also unwillingingly harm the interests of men he once considered friends. The process gives him an opportunity to write beautifully about alienation, the ironies of life, and moral courage. Much attention is paid to the denouement of these relationships, but very little is accorded to the dynamics of the approaching crisis. Reavis portrays himself as a victim of unusual circumstances. However, I think it more likely that he actively participates in the creation of these moral dilemmas, and then blames his course of conduct on his lack of choices. He likes to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When things get weird \(like the development of forseeter Mitty just bumbling by, amazed at the crashing events around him. There is a lot of verbiage about issues in Reavis’ political pieces, but basically they are studies of character. His interest in character is one of his appealing qualities. Very few contemporary writers study character to the depth Reavis does. Generally such detailed character developments are attempted by novelists rather than journalists. Now that the lines between journalism and fiction have become blurred, it seems merely contentious to quarrel with Reavis about his choice of medium. My oldfashioned regret is that Reavis has chosen to be a journalist rather than a novelist. He has rare and subtle qualities that could make him a promising writer of fiction. In his study of character, he is weakened with a preoccupation on traditionally defined masculine traits. This is one of the most obvious flaws in his writing. An outstanding example is the final comment on Mario Cantu, where Reavis concludes that not only is Cant\(‘ a man of principle, but more importantly, is a man. In the sense of Gary Cooper in High Noon. Kernels of the same kind of thinking are scattered through both pieces .. . Reavis’ casual remark reveals a disdain for making distinctions between lawyers and their clients, or lawyers and their rumored clients, or lawyers and their imagined clients. What was probably intended as a backhanded compliment is in reality an openhanded slap. Goldstein takes it from the right from Reavis, and then Reavis nimbly leaps to the other side to hurl the old sixties Left insult at MALDEF attorneys: you lousy liberals. Reavis confesses to disliking lawyers. Goldstein and MALDEF are just random victims of a personal prejudice. This is unusual reading to find in the Observer. One more bone to pick with the editing job: effusive, romantic forewords, such as the one written by Rod Davis for Reavis’ piece, only encourage and compound the problems in Reavis’ writing. Reavis really can write. He should be published and encouraged, but not in this genre. The confessional is compelling only for very brief periods of time. If allowed to run on for too long, it becomes boring and then embarrassing. Reavis is pushing it. He should be given broader topics. However, an insensitive editor might only care about the readership such notorious articles bring. Like Oscar Wilde, Reavis is being read. Sarah Scott Houston I am reproached because I say I don’t like lawyers. Well, lawyers don’t like me. To date, Aug. 7, I have received three letters critical of my Cantu article. All three were written by lawyers. In 1969, I enrolled in law school and was flunked out. All my professors were lawyers. If they had flunked all my critics, my critics wouldn’t like lawyers either. Really, folks, some of my best friends are lawyers. My little brother is a third year law student. What if he loses his sense of humor like you have? No wonder judges are stern they used to be lawyers. I advised Mario Cantu to hire Gerald Goldstein because as readers point out, Goldstein is one of the best liberties lawyers in the nation. However, Goldstein has defended some clients whom contemporary folklore identifies as Mafioso. At least, these people are from New Jersey. That’s why I said he is a THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23