University Press Tells RALPH
To Remove Review
Says it is "disparaging to
rural and urban Texans alike."
From: Rankin, Jada
Subject: Removal of review of JAMES RIELY GORDON
You may remember a recent email discussion regarding the unauthorized use of a photo in RALPH's review of JAMES RIELY GORDON: HIS COURTHOUSES AND OTHER PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE, published by Texas Tech University Press. Jan P. Wilkinson contacted you to inform you a photo of the Lowry House in San Antonio was used from her blog without her permission. You responded that the photo in question actually came from the book. The author, Chris Meister, confirmed that not only was the photo not from his book, he had never seen it before the RALPH review. Additionally, the review itself is disparaging to rural and urban Texans alike. Considering the circumstances, TTU Press requests that you remove the review completely. Please let me know when this will be done. Feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.--- Best, Jada
Jada Rankin Marketing Coordinator
Texas Tech University Press Media and Communication
Lubbock, Texas 79409
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§ § §Hi, Jada Rankin:
The moment that we learned the photo of the Lowry House in your volume on James Riely Gordon was not a part of that book, and that it was not authorized by its owner, we took it down. We apologize for that error.
As you may show in your records, we sent you a hard-copy of this review sometime in March of 2012, more than a year ago. We received no complaint at that time. If there had been any, we would have corrected it immediately.
The review, as it stands, is, we think, fair: complimentary to James Riely Gordon's architecture and to Texas Tech University Press for putting out such a fine book honoring his memory and works. There is even the suggestion that readers should call up Texas Tech University Press to buy a copy.
You say that our review is "disparaging to rural and urban Texans alike." At the same time it is an honest expression of the honest feelings of a talented and honored writer. Indeed, it might possibly be a view of many people who do not live in Texas, nor relate to its colorful history and politics.
Further, I feel we would be doing a disservice to the ideals of free speech if we were to delete a review because it offended a reader. The same applies to your operation: I imagine that Texas Tech University, not to say your editors, would be insulted if outsiders demanded the censorship of a book because they found the contents "disparaging." It would would be even more grievous if TTUP were to withdraw a title because it was considered offensive.
As we look back at the years of RALPH online, we find that we have reviewed seven titles from Texas Tech University Press. We gave high marks to most of them, including Monte Aker's terrific Accidental Historian and Bogener and Tydeman's stark Llano Estacada. There is --- too --- the haunting Dachau: April 1945 that we reviewed (and praised highly) almost fifteen years ago.
With this contretemps over Chris Meister's book, perhaps you'll be demanding that we censor these reviews as well.--- L. Lark
RALPHGo to the review in question: