By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "The Mind Is Reeling," in the December 21 issue, I can only respond: It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
In keeping with Calhoun's theme, it's obvious to me that the Westword staff gets its inspiration from old episodes of Lou Grant.
I am writing in support of the vice principal of Horace Mann Middle School, Ruben Perez. What has come out of this whole thing is the lack of skills that the Denver Public Schools system has in dealing with the problem. This man has pointed out a drastic measure that someone had to take.
In today's world, kids are automatically taught that a parent's hands-on approach to discipline is "child abuse." As they enter school, they are quickly instructed that if a teacher touches them, they can scream bloody murder or sexual harassment, and chances are the school system will rule in their favor. Then they finally make it to the real world and they are young adults, and what do they learn? You guessed it--if you do wrong and the police even lay a hand on you, just yell "police brutality." Never mind that what you did was wrong. They have rights.
I say promote this guy to principal, let him run the school his way, and if the results are not favorable, that will be the time for the school district to say, "Be on your way, Mr. Perez. Your way is not the way."
What a Pain!
Your December 14 article on Dr. Stjernholm (Eric Dexheimer's "A Pain in the Neck") was great. It portrayed the man as he is--brilliant, caring, building on the attributes and healing capacities of man, who was created by God. The IRS overstepped and Dr. Stjernholm interrupted it, as he has done with Jefferson County and others. He knows the law and simply uses their own arguments against them. Great article!
Then you dirty your whole accomplishment with Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario in the same issue, "Masturbation Reform Bill." The community does not need that off-color, slimy, denigrating junk--and you used a half a page for it. Why not play the straight man for one whole issue?
A Bad Rapp
After last week's letter from Dan Hilbert about "A Real Class Act," in the December 14 issue, I feel I have to counter his bombastic diatribe with a dose of reality.
I am a heterosexual white male. Though I am an artist and lean toward the left, I enjoy football, aggressive guitar rock and other things masculine. Some of my artwork has been mistakenly perceived as misogynistic by some feminists. Sometimes I slip up and refer to women as "chicks" and "babes." According to your letter, Lisbeth Mullin would probably want to have me castrated and have me listen to the Indigo Girls whilst I bleed to death! Well, guess what, Danny Boy: Lisbeth and I are buds; we've been friends for about a year. This certainly doesn't sound like the "viper" you refer to who has "animosity toward men."
In her work with battered women, Lisbeth has seen men at their worst. She is committed to bringing these issues out in the open so we as a society must confront them. Sexual harassment is a loaded issue; it is our task to differentiate between dating rituals and bona fide harassment. Problems arise because we have yet to reconcile those distinctions.
As to your letter, you seem dubiously guilty of the same reactionary ballyhoo that you so brazenly accuse Lisbeth of. Judging from your columns, it is you who has the angry bias against the opposite gender.
My job as advisor to the Rapp Street Journal, the student newspaper at Arapahoe Community College, is rewarding and worthwhile work even when it gets ugly, as it has lately. That's when a teacher can hope his students will benefit most and learn something important.
Dan Hilbert, former RSJ columnist, wrote a letter in the last issue of Westword accusing me of "imprudent and irresponsible journalism" for allowing current RSJ columnist Lisbeth Mullin to publish opinion columns that threaten his frail self-image as a male. He misunderstands what college media advisors do (and what they do not do, if they have integrity). The best advisors do not censor students; they educate and advise them, help them through rough spots when they fail and defend their rights when people like Hilbert would gag them. Advisors do not fire staff, approve or remove copy, or edit content. They protect, with equal vigor, popular and unpopular editors, reporters and columnists.
I assert the rights of all my students--including Lisbeth Mullin and Michael Simpson, who are currently at odds over a personnel issue not related to their journalistic endeavors. Hilbert suggests that Mullin hates men and that I'm at fault for not silencing her; even if it were true that she did hate men, that wouldn't eliminate her right to publish her opinions, and I would take no part in suppressing her speech. For Hilbert to suggest I should censor her only proves how little he learned as a student of mine.