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been criticism of the Huntsville prison rodeo in the pages of the Joint Endeavor. A large source of the magazine’s funding is provided by advertising from Huntsville merchants, who prosper from the crowds coming to the rodeo. While TDC officials deny such allegations, it is, of course, easy to axe nuisances such as critical publications when making difficult budget cuts. The Joint Endeavor has published and nurtured the work of many award-winning prison fiction writers, essayists, and poets since 1973. It provides a cultural link among prisoners in prisons across the country as well as a vehicle for the public to understand the prisoner and life in prison. It is a means of rehabilitating its staff and contributors as well as rehabilitating public perceptions of the prison system, and, as such, serves a vital social function. It should not be shut down. First amendment rights extend into the prison cell. If the closing of Joint Endeavor is actually a fiscal decision, it is not the first case of censorship by the marketplace. But, in this case, the public benefits clearly outweigh the negligible costs and the Joint Endeavor should be allowed to continue. G. R. DIALOGUE Crucial Bond I got the issue of the Observer containing the legislative wrap-up at the same time I got Ronnie Dugger’s plea for more money to keep the enterprise afloat. I don’t know if it was intentional, but the timing was perfect. The wrap-up was the Observer at its best: informative, well-written, with the focus clearly on Texas politics from a liberal vantage point. It brought home to me once more how critically important the Observer is. As I told Ronnie a couple of years ago, it has become such a fixture in the lives of many of us readers that we take it for granted. But what if it folded? In my view, as one who has read it and written for it more than a quarter of a century, its demise would be a disaster for liberalism. Texas is a big state, and our forces are widely dispersed, often isolated, always difficult to unify. The Observer, by keeping us informed not only about the state but about ourselves, helps keep us together as the movement that we have been, now, since the 1940s. For progressives who are genuinely isolated in the Muleshoes, Romas, Dimeboxes, Marathons, and Winks of this state, as well as for those in the urban strongholds, the Observer is more than a journal it is a crucial bond between men and women of good will who refuse to be bullied and battered into the great reactionary consensus that Ronald Reagan is trying to build. We are living in difficult days, when our society is revisited with many of the horrors of the Depression, horrors which combine with those of the McCarthy period and the Vietnam years to confront liberals with a formidable challenge in this century’s waning years. If we and our children come through them whole in spirit, it will be in part because of grassroots institutions like the Observer. Enclosed is another check. Chandler Davidson Houston First Subscriber My contact with the Observer goes back to the state Democratic convention when it convened in Mineral Wells, Texas. I was sitting between Mrs. Randolph, original pillar of the Observer, and Lillian Collier, when Allan Shivers walked down the aisle. Both ladies poked me in the ribs with thin elbows, and Mrs. Randolph said, “When we get the Observer off the ground, the smile will disappear from Shivers’ face.” I inquired, “What is the Observer?” Mrs. Randolph explained, said she was looking for subscribers, and wondered if I would like to be the first. I handed her the money, and was proud to be the first to buy a subscription to a periodical that still serves its original purpose a Journal of Free Voices. Here is my small contribution to help keep the Observer “observing.” Ben L. Parker Pleasanton Macho Liberalism Let me tell you why I am no longer going to subscribe to your magazine. It is one thing to be “liberal.” God knows that Texas needs a way for an alternative point of view to be heard in the face of the overwhelming ignorant conservativism that is so much a part of our macho state. The liberal view is the enlightened, educated, more rational view that allows a broader perspective than individual self-interest. What your magazine has become is macho liberalism. Somehow you have taken to heart the definition of a left wing dissident scandal rag that your opponents might wish to describe you as. Principle and rational judgment has been replaced by a “we” and “them” attitude and the blanket acceptance of every anti-them, pro-us viewpoint. Just because it is a social welfare program doesn’t mean it is good. These aid programs are supported by singleminded lobbyists just as are defense contracts and highway projects. Just because I suggest that something needs to be done about welfare doesn’t mean I am a conservative. See, the point is that some rationality needs to be maintained to remain liberal without becoming radical, which is just as irrational as being ultra in the other or any other direction. Your magazine has no direction. It will print any radical and antibusiness, pro-minority, anti-establishment, pro-welfare, single-minded viewpoint presented. Your magazine has missed a chance at greatness. Texas, with all its military and big oil and anti-union labor and all its macho, needs a voice. There are a lot of highly educated people here and some of them are rational. They would be more than willing to accept a fresh alternative point of view. Less of them are radical. Curtis H. Rhodes Kingsville Sick of Objectivity You’re right, I don’t want my subscription to expire. I really value your magazine and the valuable information in it. I would like to see a little more subjectivity though. Think you could let a subjective editorial slip out just once in a while? I get plenty of “objectivity” in the local Republican Rag here in Midland, the Midland Reporter-Telegram, which claims to be a newspaper. The Democratic Party is growing here in Midland. We are now in the process of laying the foundation for a continuous source of finance. We’re computerizing 4 JULY 12, 1985