No More Pours at the Panther

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Posted March 19, 2008 by Static in News

Over the weekend, the Panther City Coffee shop closed down. Yet another cool, independent coffee shop has fallen prey to the Fort’s insatiable need to strip every little bit of character off the map.

The Four Star Coffee Bar shut down its original 7th Street location last month, due in part to a dispute with their landlord (a downtown location remains open). In Panther City’s case, the culprit was the newly rebuilt TCU bookstore, which, in a cruel bit of irony, houses a Barnes & Noble Starbucks across the street from the small Berry Street coffeehouse.

In both cases, construction hampered people’s ability to get to the place and/or park. And in both cases, a corporate coffee giant set up shop in close proximity to the much smaller business.

Panther City was a different kind of animal here in F-Dub though – very much in the classic young bohemian style of java joints that Kerouac wrote about. The coffee was great, the staff was appropriately snobby about coffee, and the décor was a cluttered landscape of couches and far-out art work. The service wasn’t always as fast and it lacked the kitschy jargon of some of the chains, but what it didn’t have in gimmicks and (sometimes) efficiency, it more than made up for in character and an effortless sense of cool.

The closings of Panther City and Four Star raise some serious questions about whether or not this city can support businesses that aren’t traded publicly – especially a business that has an average ticket price of less than $4 and sells the idea of just coming in and hanging out for a while.
Static is sad to see Panther City go, though admits to being one of the many who helped kill it – sheepishly shelling out $5 per latte at the evil coffee empire.
Mea cuppa.

FOX Gets Trigger-Happy
This just in: FOX 4 News, in a bold display of cowardice and contradiction, throws one of its veteran news reporters under the bus … again. Rebecca Aguilar, who was suspended in October after a controversial news report, has been officially fired from the KDFW-Channel 4 news team. Contacted by Fort Worth Weekly, Aguilar said she preferred not to speak publicly while she is considering her legal options.

Aguilar’s crime? She was tough while interviewing James Walton, the Dallas machine shop owner who shot and killed two burglars in separate incidents last year. Walton had been shopping for a new shotgun (Dallas police confiscated his other one) when Aguilar approached him for an interview. Walton, new gun tucked under his arm, climbed into his car and was sitting behind the wheel as Aguilar stood beside the car door and asked about the shootings.

The 70-year-old man began crying. The camera showed his hands shaking. So, there she was, standing over an elderly man, questioning him while he sobbed. Viewer reaction was swift and decidedly pro-old guy. Some saw her as a callous reporter bushwhacking a senior citizen who had only protected his property; gun advocates called her report a thinly veiled attack on the right to bear arms. Others, pissed at seeing a Hispanic woman grilling an old white guy, turned it into a racial issue.

Aguilar, who has developed a reputation as a hard-nosed and aggressive reporter over the years, suddenly became everyone’s favorite punching bag. Even local reporters piled on. It takes a team of producers, editors, and reporters to create news reports, but Aguilar found herself facing the corporate firing squad alone. Despite the large number of angry viewers, Aguilar’s firing was uncalled-for. She did her job. She posed questions to a guy who had twice shot and killed people for what amounted to minor crimes. People who catch a bum stealing a rake or a wrench from their backyard have every right to take action. But if you shoot to kill, expect questions from police and reporters.

Just because Walton is old, white, and prone to tears, and Aguilar is young, brown, and prone to abruptness, doesn’t mean her report was out of line. Even if it was, there are many punishments short of firing that could have been meted out.
Static should do something to show solidarity, but what? Unfortunately for the cause, FOX boasts the best animated TV shows around – and life without Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad, and King of the Hill would be no life at all. So Static will firmly continue to not watch FOX news programs (no animation there yet) – and wish Aguilar good luck in her job search.


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