The writer of the story about Miss Arkansas and Patsy Montana is a little mixed up on the mountain ranges of Arkansas.
Patsy Montana (Ruby R. Blevins) was born in Union Township in Garland County and grew up in Hope, where her father, Gus Blevins, worked with the Postal Service. In the 1930s, she sang with the Texas Playboys, a musical group, and in 1937, her song "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" sold more than a million copies (a national first) and this really established her as Patsy Montana.
Patsy's ancestors had lived in Pike County (now Howard County). All of these locations are in the Ouachita Mountains. You wrote that she was an Ozarks native.
Patsy's grandmother, Rebecca Frances Watson Blevins, was the sister of my great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Watson Westbrook. They were all from the Ouachitas, thus Ouachitans.
The real Tim Griffin
Congratulations, Mr. Dumas, for your piece on Tim Griffin. Thank you for directing our attention to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a group dedicated to outmoded and politically incorrect notions like truth and honesty.
There is really nothing special about Mr. Griffin. As we know, he does not want for company from either side of the aisle. But in a sense, Mr. Griffin is special, given interesting connections in the Bush White House and the fact that he claims to want to represent Central Arkansas voters in Congress. The burden is on him — as for anyone regardless of party stripe or "ideological loyalty" — to clarify matters. So why isn't he clarifying matters?
The first time that I heard the name Tim Griffin was when I first passed his office downtown over a year ago. From his poster out front I knew that this was a man who understands the power of persuasion (a blue-red poster with just a person's name plants the notion that the candidate is maybe a "centrist" or is "different from the rest").
But thanks to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and Mr. Dumas, Arkansans can start finding out about Mr. Griffin. Oh, and by the way, there is ample YouTube coverage of his exploits.
When people vote for someone on the basis of looks, a cool campaign poster, or flashy rhetoric (or in Mr. Griffin's case, the lack of rhetoric) and the candidate turns out to be not what was expected, they have only themselves to blame. I am tired of armchair citizens bleating, "oh but so-and-so promised us..." But they always seem to find an outlet (the latest media creation being the tea party). Or a scapegoat. But do they think for themselves?
Of course, well-informed and serious citizens can be deceived, especially in our employee-at-will, vote-flipping age. But let's make it difficult to happen! But that's up to citizens who want to take citizenship seriously. As Mr. Dumas shows, the truth is not always pretty and is often "boring" (which I reckon could be one reason why so little of it exists). But it is the truth all the same.
And if it is not the truth, then why don't people like Mr. Griffin explain why not? There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
North Little Rock
I strongly suggest you change Ernest Dumas' picture in the Arkansas Times. It makes him look like a very unpleasant person. My assumption is that he is, but that's not really fair. I should not come to that conclusion based on a mean-looking picture along with the vitriol in his essays. In person, he might be an absolute delight!
The same goes for Max Brantley. It's just that Ernest's picture needs more urgency.
May I humbly suggest, at least as a good faith try and as lame as it might be ... the photographer can simply request, "say cheese." If that doesn't work, try something we used to do with one of my boys, who, for whatever reason, refused to smile for any picture for any reason. Just before the picture is taken, someone can reach up and tickle from behind. If particularly ticklish, all the better! A smile makes everything more civil.
I read Robert Lee Williford's recent letter concerning inmates serving life sentences for juvenile convictions and have started writing letters to government officials on behalf of these young people. I am sickened by this travesty.
David L. Brandon
From the Internet
Submit letters to The Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include a hometown and telephone number.