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 Robin Chotzinoff's "Our Town," in the August 16 issue:
The story of John and Ida May Noe was interesting. Today the Greenland Ranch is owned by the Oklahoma Publishing Company of Oklahoma City. This is the picture of many small farms across America. Farm policies, run by our government, have helped wealthy individuals and corporations eliminate small operators. Big farms are considered more efficient.
Farm owners today include such individuals as Sam Donaldson and Ted Turner, along with countless others, collecting millions in farm subsidies. How much is the Oklahoma Publishing Company collecting in farm subsidies?
If all the farmers of the Fifties were still in operation, we would see less unemployment and homelessness.
When government policies are ineffective, they should be changed. I don't see this happening, but when the taxpayers continue to fund them, we certainly need to be heard.
Join the Club
I really enjoyed Steve Jackson's "The Other Side of the Tracks," in the August 2 issue. It may be inevitable that Denver loses the Fraternal Club, but it would be a real shame if we were also to lose the history of these men and their contributions.
What a fine article--"The Other Side of the Tracks," by Steve Jackson, with photos by Q. Crutchfield. I was touched by this piece of history and real people. And no villains! How wonderful to read a long photo essay about Denver people and find no one to dislike! Thanks.
Better Dead Than Read
I've got to thank Michael Roberts for the great Jerry Garcia redux (Feedback, August 16). Michael's willingness to actually acknowledge historical context, to understand that the Grateful Dead phenomenon is as much cultural as musical, propels him to a previously unrealized intellectual stratum.
But I want to make a personal request, Michael. You made reference to your not-much-used copy of the Dead's Anthem of the Sun album. Please send it to me and I'll gladly forward you a swell recording of Little Feat's Greatest Hits. In addition, I'll throw in all the Kurt Cobain records I can find and, for that matter, any and all releases by other Generation X footnoters who had the good sense to blow their brains out. I'd get the better part of the deal.
Michael Roberts's "eulogy" to Jerry Garcia is precisely what we have come to expect of Westword: another smug, insular and smarmy attack masquerading as a musical critique. What makes this piece particularly reprehensible is the fact that the sad passing of Mr. Garcia--a significant musician held in considerable esteem by millions for three decades--has been reduced to yet another vehicle for Roberts's glib mean-spiritedness. Why Westword would print this tripe is a mystery.
Roberts's hatred of music speaks for itself. Week by week he keeps us informed about the music and the musicians, old and new, he dislikes. Aside from the occasional "rap" banality, this includes virtually all music. Why Roberts is retained at Westword despite continual pleas by readers that he be returned to the typing pool and replaced by someone who actually enjoys music is the greater mystery.
Might Westword be equating the ongoing public outcry with the notion that Roberts is therefore controversial? While many adjectives come to mind in describing Roberts, "controversial" is not one of them.
Like Roberts, I, too, was compelled to listen to the albums of the Grateful Dead by friends espousing the band's virtues, and I, too, found them only passably enjoyable. I went so far as to attend a couple of shows to find out what all the fuss was about and, again, was unimpressed. The third time out, however, was a different story. What I saw on July 7, 1978, I had never witnessed in all my days of concert-going and have yet to see outside the Dead arena since.
Frankly, the Dead are usually only marginal in concert (I've seen fifty). But every once in a while, there was a jewel that (for me) surpassed everything else. The difficulty in having anyone who hasn't experienced this understand the power and the fantasy of a great show is the inherent inability to translate an epiphany into something resembling the moment itself. The fact that the band is the highest-grossing tour band of all time and that the Dead toured for years without releasing an album are testaments that the band was driven by what they did best--perform live. If you weren't there, you didn't get it. You won't get it now, so don't even try.
That some would slur Garcia's name or question his impact because they did not understand him or his music is somewhat akin to my blasting a baseball great for his habits because I do not understand the allure of hitting a ball with a stick and running around in circles. That some would belittle the Dead's followers because of the style of clothes they wear, the vehicles they drive or their grooming habits is nothing short of a discrimination based on appearance rather than a judgment based on character. No mention has been made of the Dead's Rex Foundation, which donates to worthy causes worldwide. Perhaps that's because nobody asked.
Following the Dead for some 23 years, I've learned a few things from the band's music and my fellow Deadheads. Among these are compassion, generosity and tolerance--something Garcia's detractors apparently don't understand, either.
Of all the dumb (as opposed to vicious) things written about Jerry Garcia last week, the prize must go to Michael Roberts. He gets the "Tin Ear of the Year" award for describing Garcia as a "limited guitarist."
Perhaps Roberts's hearing capacity has been blown out from listening to the musical footnotes he seems to adore.
Meanwhile, Bob Dylan (who has a way with words) said of Garcia, "He really had no equal. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There's no way to convey the loss."
Thanks to technology, Garcia's music will endure and expand its reach, and there will be new releases from the archives from time to time. But Roberts reveals how uninformed he is by suggesting that the Grateful Dead will go on without Garcia, when every Deadhead knows that's unthinkable. And none of us expects the survivors to exploit Garcia's image in the way Roberts suggests. Instead we hope to see them in new configurations from time to time as they, like us, get on with life--a little sadder because the unique experience of being with Jerry Garcia and hearing him play is no longer a reality.
Michael Roberts: The way I see it, you have screwed yourself into a position this time from which there is no escape. You say that Elvis Presley and John Lennon were giants among a handful of the finest, but not Garcia? Let me tell you, Jerry Garcia was the finest! Never have I seen or even heard of such a man who would give everything he had to millions and millions of people night after night just for the sake of loving his music and his fans. Not to take anything away from Lennon or the King, but what made Garcia different was that he gained the complete and total respect, friendship and, yes, even love, of everyone and anyone who ever saw him perform or performed with him. This, by the way, is why people are so saddened by his loss--because he gave all of us everything he had when he played. What means the most is that I don't know if anyone like him will ever come around again. But you, Michael Roberts, have your very own narrow-minded view of the situation that is now taking place when perhaps the most beloved musician ever is being mourned by people all over the world.
You couldn't see how people would like to hear the same songs being played since 1967. It wasn't really what the Grateful Dead played at their shows; it was how they played it.
When you play all over the world for thirty years and still sell out every performance, I don't call that redundant. I call it legendary.
Just as with love, true friendship, great sex or even an acid trip, you can either say that you have experienced it or that you haven't. The same goes for Garcia's and the rest of the Grateful Dead's music.
Michael Roberts, you have all of the sympathy that I could possibly give to a man who has written an article about a topic of which he has no real knowledge, therein revealing the true ignorance that you possess. For this has made you look like a complete ass to me and anyone else that knows just how much Jerry Garcia really meant to music.
Good news for dummies! Eric Dexheimer's article about the Evergreen "ethnic intimidation" case ("War of the Words," August 9) identifies several occupations where stupidity is not a handicapping condition--namely: district attorney, newspaper reporter, cop, state legislator, housewife, Anti-Defamation League director, etc.
The basis of the case (ethnic slurs used in private conversation, unaccompanied by action) should no more be prosecuted than blasphemy or common crudity. The rationale for increasing the penalty for a crime when words such as "nigger" or "kike" are spoken during its commission is bad enough (each crime already carries an appropriate penalty), but the attempt to criminalize speech alone is the work of would-be totalitarians. They use the same principle the mullahs of Iran employ when they tell the faithful to kill Baha'is and other heretics. The difference is one of degree.
If racism and ethnic strife are serious problems, it is largely due to pot-stirring and efforts by the politically correct to impose a ghastly orthodoxy on us. Their movement is on the way out, but as the Evergreen case illustrates, not fast enough. One way to push it along is to flaunt their pious rules--be insensitive, use "bad words," tell them to go to hell.
Eric Dexheimer's report on the Aronson-Quigley feud seems pointless given the fact that "the families and their attorneys... declined to be interviewed for this story." The article lacks basic substance, historical perspective and insight. It marginally belongs on an editorial page.
The Quigleys apparently committed no crimes and ultimately were vindicated from all charges by a fair legal system. Their disgusting references to the Holocaust that became a part of the feud's recorded history seem to confirm that there is at least some degree of anti-Semitism in their words, if not their minds. That this type of thought was exposed to public scrutiny is certainly more newsworthy than, say, a former U.S. attorney general candidate's love life. The Quigleys at least deserved their self-inflicted bad publicity. And now they can capitalize on it by initiating a lawsuit!
After a generation of genuine remorse at the slaughter that occurred in Eastern Europe and Nazi Germany, our well-tended next generation has lost touch with the realities of history. Twenty-five million people were destroyed in Europe during the World War II era. Millions of people were displaced, and over 6 million were penned up like animals, subjected to forced labor, starved, tortured and massacred in concentration camps. And yet I have heard my contemporaries employed in business administration state a respect for the leadership skills of Hitler (while "naturally" abhorring the actions of the greatest mass murderer in the history of mankind). It is as if it were a fashionable point of view that there were admirable qualities to the management organization overseeing the systemic brutality in Nazi Germany. This position, as with Dexheimer's article, trivializes the anti-Semitism and racial hatred that fueled this "respectable" leadership.
The Anti-Defamation League is an organization that would have no purpose for existence if not for people like the Quigleys. The organization is funded to disarm racism of all types by making Americans aware that ethnic and racial bias infects all classes of society like a parasite. The infestation can only be contained if it is exposed. In using the judiciary system rather than violence to make a point, the ADL should be commended, not condemned, for its approach to problem-solving. The only way to defeat racism is to confront it; otherwise, it grows silently, like a cancer.
For me, the most shocking part of Eric Dexheimer's story was not the admittedly horrifying language used by the Quigleys but the fact that the Jefferson County DA's office charged a woman who had been "misidentified" and was completely innocent! I remember reading about the charges being filed against Joy Mudd; until this story, I don't remember reading about the charges being dropped. That is a travesty.
Okay, 6 million Jews died in a Holocaust that was started by people in Germany snickering on their telephones about Jews in their neighborhoods. The Jews did not stand up for themselves against their neighbors. This time they (the Aronsons) did. Why on earth should we feel sorry for the Quigleys, obvious racists, and blame the Jewish victims? Your article was yet another example of anti-Semitism.
I admire your newspaper's courage, interest and effort in taking up issues in which some powerful lobbying organization might be involved. To report even impartially about an issue in which a forceful organization with many influential ethnic links, such as the ADL, is involved takes a great degree of independence which your newspaper has demonstrated to me numerous times. I live in a small town in Idaho, and I wish that my local newspaper would learn (and would be willing) to display some of your journalistic independence. Please keep up your excellent work.
Idaho Falls, ID
Center of the Storm
Thank you for Michelle Dally Johnston's superb report on Clare Haynes-Seman and the Kempe Center ("Do You See What I See?" August 2). Her extensive, transcontinental, thorough, devastating research and precise writing may add up to 1) the finest piece in 1995 for Westword among dozens of splendid reports; 2) a major award for Westword and her; 3) lots of threats and whining from Haynes-Seman; and maybe even 4) overdue action from Dr. Richard Krugman and others who have condoned her work all these shameful years.
Bless you, bless Ms. Johnston.
While Michelle Dally Johnston's article certainly brought to light the point of view of a few accused child molesters, a more balanced understanding of Dr. Clare Haynes-Seman's important work at the Kempe Center can be achieved by informing your readers of the following:
1. In the article, Dr. Haynes-Seman is criticized for observing the child and accused together as part of her assessment process. However, the guidelines for child-abuse evaluations promulgated by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry include observing the child with the alleged perpetrator because meaningful nonverbal behavior between the two can often be detected.
2. The above guideline is scoffed at by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, whose ideologues are liberally quoted in the Westword article.
3. A number of child-protective services throughout the Rocky Mountain area, including departments of Social Services, police agencies and courts, have historically referred their most difficult cases to Dr. Haynes-Seman because she is recognized as one of the region's most objective and qualified experts in the field.
4. An impressive number of people in child protection have written glowingly about Dr. Haynes-Seman's expertise and contributions in the area of child-abuse assessments.
5. The foreword to Dr. Haynes-Seman's book is written by the eminent Dr. Brandt Steele, one of the nation's earliest pioneers and foremost experts in child-abuse work.
6. If the data so shows, Dr. Haynes-Seman often finds that "no" abuse has occurred or that the suspected perpetrator is not the actual miscreant, thereby sparing someone the moniker of "child abuser."
7. Dr. Haynes-Seman does not receive a dime from the fees paid in any case; all of the money goes to the Kempe Center.
8. Nearly all of Dr. Haynes-Seman's Westword critics are persons who have been hired by the accused, or other self-serving individuals, to testify in court against the doctor's findings. Contrarily, none of the persons who have been assessed by the doctor are her clients. She represents no special interest except that of objectivity.
9. One of the above critics, Ralph Underwager, is often referred to as the "hired gun" for the defense in child-abuse cases. His self-purported academic brilliance was the subject of an expose by another professional in the field who was sued by Underwager for defamation. Underwager lost.
10. Dr. Haynes-Seman does not decide the outcome of any case in which she testifies. Judges do.
David B. Savitz
I must commend Westword and Michelle Dally Johnston for your work in exposing a tax-supported evil such as the Kempe Center.
A horrible fact: There is child abuse. It is also child abuse when overzealous professionals disregard reasonable and common-sense rationale to conclude that a child is abused.
I am familiar with numerous families ripped apart and destroyed by these same "hocus-pocus" assessments.
One family had contacted the Kempe Center (it being identified as the "expert" in child-abuse identification) to defend themselves against a false allegation in a custody dispute. The Kempe Center's response to the request for an assessment was, "We don't usually do evaluations for that side of a case." In other words, if you are evaluated by the Kempe Center, you can be sure the assessment will be that the child has been abused.
These are the "experts" providing the training in recognizing child abuse for the Department of Social Services and Child Protection. Social workers, teachers in public schools, psychotherapists and psychologists are being trained and presented with this same dangerous literature that has no scientific basis--only their own twisted theory and opinion.
I believe all are horrified when a child is abused. We do not need another abuse to children and families by self-serving agencies unethically identifying abuse for their own self-serving existence. What must these "professionals" have in their backgrounds to have such distorted logic? It's no wonder the child-abuse industry is out of control and under scrutiny. Children are suffering another form of abuse when they are needlessly separated from parents and placed in therapy for abuse that never occurred.
Hopefully, our legislators, the Department of Regulatory Agencies, the State Board of Mental Health Professionals and the State Board of Psychology will recognize the need and importance for enforced laws and review to hold this area of mental health responsible and accountable. Without any controls there is no accountability. How can our tax dollars continue to flow to agencies with no regulation?
Thank you for the investigation of the Kempe Center, which specializes in teaching scenarios to children!
Request that the Colorado Attorney General investigate county social services, in particular in Weld County, where it is claimed that lawyers must obey the law, but Social Services doesn't! They ignore the law, make decisions prior to hearings, display gender bias and are sadly incompetent.
Request that the Colorado Bar Association take action against judges, prosecutors and guardians ad litem, who regularly violate the Constitution by reaching decisions prior to hearings and who threaten that you will never see your children unless family members perjure themselves to agree with flawed conclusions of psychologists who fail to investigate facts.
Don't confuse children by assuming they are lying or telling the truth. Usually they do not know the truth in abuse cases but fantasize input from dozens of sources to make statements to please caseworkers.
Protect the children--not your egos and pocketbooks! Protect the family--do not hurt them emotionally, financially and physically.
My response to the Kempe Center article is that hell, obviously, hath no fury compared to a family under attack by a functional(?) therapist given full rein to do analysis, in any manner, that is fully sanctioned by an agency within an unaccountable child-abuse system/industry with deep pockets of taxpayers' dollars.
Who coined "Believe the Children," often seen on bumper stickers? Wasn't it the therapists, social workers, the so-called child savers? Clare Haynes-Seman obviously doesn't "believe the children."
Don't you just weep for the children in the story? Is this what we call child protection? Don't you just weep for the parents and grandparents? Is this what the "system" calls family preservation?
In 1980 Congress passed Pub. Law 97-272, which was written to protect children from system abuse and abusers in the system. The Kempe Center has been around since the early Seventies; Haynes-Seman has been around since the early Eighties. Some twenty years or more have passed, and today we read an article such as "Do You See What I See?" that clearly states how our system of abuse and abusers has gone amok.
The solution to this is for the 1996 Colorado General Assembly to enact laws holding the child-abuse industry (i.e., dysfunctional agencies and personnel) fully accountable for their abusive injustices against family (i.e., children/parents). It is time to stop funding dysfunctional therapists, social workers and the agencies that have hit an all-time low in their manner of protecting children and preserving their families.
Colorado Coalition of Concerned Families
Please accept my and the children's gratitude for publishing our story in "Do You See What I See?"
I was sickened that Bruce LaBute pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, which were approved by the judge and district attorney. What were LaBute's crimes? He hung my son upside down by his scrotum, by his neck. He stifled his screams with a pillow. LaBute sexually molested my daughter. Not only did he accuse me of such crimes, he accused the kids, too, saying a seven-year-old girl seduced him and assaulted her brother. He got a three-year jail sentence. He will get out in two years. I suppose he will be put on home detention even sooner. The children spent more time in foster care. Justice is foiled!
And they continue to accuse and suspect me and deny a father's right.
What can I do except damn everyone involved? The judges, Social Services, lawyers and psycho-babblers. The University of Colorado's Kempe Center, the state and a governor who ignores Colorado families subjected to these abuses. In Jefferson County District Court, truth is a fugitive, justice is a stranger and honesty is a leper. The child saviors at the Jefferson County Department of Social Services destroy innocent families, fathers, mothers and children in their misguided and incompetent haste to manage a welfare state. It can happen to you or your neighbor. And the taxpayers get the exact opposite of what they pay for...a system that abuses kids.
Regarding John Jesitus's "Jill Out," in the August 2 issue:
Only in the sexually correct Nineties could a female singer come out (pardon the pun) with a song named "I Kissed a Girl" and then complain, with support from outraged columnists and readers, that journalists are inquiring, as Jesitus so pompously puts it, into her "personal affairs." Instead of puffing about "voyeuristic" journalism, it would be more interesting to note how Jill Sobule decided, apparently correctly, that the quickest way to generate interest in her singing would be to take a page from the book of Etheridge and exhibitionistically hint at lesbianism in one of her songs. "I kissed a girl, and I might do it again."(!) Gosh, Jill, be sure and keep us posted.
Cassettes R Us
If Michael Roberts ever finds out the answer to his August 9 Feedback question "What would a review column be without a fresh cassette from the R Band?" please let us know. He seems to have fixated on this facile rhetoric. It's not a very creative squib. Maybe it's one of those subtle signs of burnout associated with the execrable biz of writing weekly critiques about local low-budget recording projects. Westword probably has him doing all sorts of demeaning jobs for a paycheck. Give him a break!
This is in response to Mr. Boyd's trashing of Green Day in the July 26 Letters column. Because Billie Joe has an eerie resemblance to Joe Strummer, people tend to think they're a rebirth of the Clash, which is crap. The members of Green Day have admitted they were influenced by the Clash but were also influenced by the Knack, cow punk, 999 and the Pogues. Frankly, it's a far cry from the copycats and the reiterated bands Denver has to offer. Green Day's latest album, Dookie, is all about survival, taking the one life you have as it comes and dealing with it. Although I have not bought any of the other artists Mr. Boyd refers to as crap, I do know he has not bought any Green Day, or he would not be inclined to trash them. So, Mr. Boyd, what apathetic, nihilistic, whiny band are you in, if any?
Name withheld on request