By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
For Adults Only
It upsets me that your recent covers--the December 31 Year in Review and the January 7 issue--have been so vile. You have a right to print whatever you like, but surely parents have a right to go out to dinner with their kids without this stuff at kids'-eye level everywhere!
Name withheld on request
Eric Dexheimer's January 7 cover story, "A New Dress for the Old Gal," was vintage Westword--just like the Airedale building is vintage Denver. Impressive structure, even if the subject is a tad unsavory. Congratulations on another fine edition. I hope the city realizes what treasures it has.
The Same Old Story
Hooray for Stuart Steers's "Nursing a Grudge," in the January 7 issue, about indifference toward the elderly. What can we do? Perhaps school tags should be worn by employees of nursing homes. A school tag has a number on it that tells how far the wearer went in school. Of course, school tags could be used in other places, also.
I've heard so many people express hope that our new governor, Bill Owens, might breathe some fresh air into the state government that may be good for us. However, I already see the mistake we voters made. Stuart Steers's article on Meridian nursing homes and their owner, Trish Nagel, shows that Owens is willing to pander to business over and above the interests of the patients. What a sorry situation to appoint someone like Nagel to his transition team. What a sorry choice the voters made for governor. Too bad. Business as usual.
The Heart Remembers
Three months ago, you could not pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about Matthew Shepard. Today his name is rarely mentioned, and the issue of gay rights is discussed even less.
So I want to thank Patricia Calhoun for her January 7 column, "The Long Road Home," and for remembering that what is important to a community is not just what is in the news for a few days. I pray the Denver police find out what happened to Steve Heyman. I'm sorry that they had to be reminded to do their job. And for all the victims of such hate crimes, I light a candle.
via the Internet
Calhoun hit several sore points with her column on gay-bashing.
As a person who is liberal on some issues and conservative on others, I would like to recommend to every gay person and, indeed, every person who feels in danger when walking down a dark street that they support with every fiber in their bodies all legislative efforts to allow the carrying of concealed firearms in Colorado. Despite all the noble-sounding Gandhi crap, Christian cheek-turning horseshit and media gun-bashing, there is nothing better to discourage a xenophobe from picking on you than the mere fear that you might have a hefty, big-holed handgun in your poke.
Lemme tell you about the Dick Valentine Theory of Crime Reduction: Issue a military surplus .45 semiautomatic pistol and 500 rounds of ammo to every non-felonious citizen in the state. Give these citizens training. Let them carry the concealed firearms. Yes, the crime rate would skyrocket. For about six months. Then it would drop to zero.
Now, that would be real freedom.
One of our greatest writers, Robert A. Heinlein, once wrote in Beyond This Horizon that "an armed society is a polite society." True. Very true.
I am always saddened when a person who fights bigotry reveals herself to be as bigoted as the rest of us. Patricia Calhoun did so in her January 7 "The Long Road Home" when she endorsed Time's description of cowboy country as "rednecks and other yahoos." It's clear she sees Denverites as culturally and morally superior (genetically, too?) to rural folk. Such urban arrogance is one of history's oldest prejudices.
I also find the ongoing use of "redneck" to describe bigoted, boorish people interesting. The term originally described farmers, especially downtrodden tenant farmers, because their lengthy labors outdoors prompted the back of their necks to become permanently reddened by the sun. That the oppressed and downtrodden are now synonymous with bad white guys reveals a class bias as well.
I hope Denver media country, with its blondes and other yahoos, starts practicing what it preaches in the fight against bigotry.
Great work by Calhoun (as usual) in pointing out the hypocritical coverage of the two deaths: Matthew Shepard and Steve Heyman. Yes, homophobia is alive and well in Denver as well as out there in cowboy country. Please keep us informed of any developments in the Heyman investigation.
via the Internet
For Dan Savage: Wow! It's January 7, 1999, and I just watched Vicki Gabareau--Live, and one of her guests was you. You were amazing! And this isn't one of those "I-saw-you-on-television-now-I-have-to-show-every-sign-of-obsessive-compulsive-behavior-toward-you (by-the-way-can-we-fuck?)" people. I barely know what obsessive/compulsive behavior is! I'm sixteen, and yes, the only reason I happened to catch that episode of Live was because I took the day off from school. Hilarious, isn't it? Oh, I'm such a kid.
But, to the point of this letter, I think you are great! Open and to the point. I'm sure you have a large league of adoring fans, which you certainly deserve. Now you have one more.
Name withheld on request
Greetings again from the vast right-wing conspiracy! This is in regard to the views of Dan Savage and others of his ilk who remain in denial about their hero, Bill Clinton.
Confidential to Dan Savage: Henry Hyde, Ken Starr and others have been forced into the unenviable position of prosecuting a most uncommon criminal. The impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton has been a long time coming. Congress, in going against the polls and actually doing the right thing (for once), gives me hope for this country. Perjury and obstruction of justice are merely the tip of the iceberg. Dan, your boy Bill is, as Thomas Sowell wrote, "a thoroughly corrupt man."
Every day that Bill Clinton remains president hurts this country and is an affront to every decent person who reads this.
By now, I'm sure the city has tarred and feathered Bill Gallo for his assessment of the Broncos ("Season's Greeting," January 7). If the team doesn't win the Super Bowl--and they won't--will the voters take Pat Bowlen's stadium away from him?
via the Internet
Now, let me think: There has been no mention of disliking the new Broncos uniforms in over a year. Since I moved here six years ago, the number of Bronco-fan wannabes has increased tenfold, and to show what a great sport city this is, we boo our teams when they have a bad day/season. I noticed that the Broncos clinched their division, but their "fans" did not notice or care.
Maybe you were all too busy expressing your greed in wanting another Super Bowl win. The same greed Mr. Bowlen expressed in his not-so-veiled threats to move the team unless you paid for a new stadium. There are winners and losers, fools and foolers: Denver sport fans, which are you? Remember, ignorance is learned--not born.
via the Internet
Shame Is the Name of the Game
Bravo to you for including the ex-gay movement's recent ad campaign in your December 31 Hall of Shame.
Recently, the American Psychiatric Association expressed similar sentiments and finally took a stand on the ex-gay movement. The APA board of trustees unanimously voted last month that "reparative" or "conversion" therapy--the idea that a gay man or woman can be "cured" and become straight--is dangerously misguided. That means that it is now considered unethical to practice that kind of therapy and that if a psychiatrist does, he can have his license taken away and can be sued by his patients for unethical behavior. The APA says that the potential risks of this therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.
So the next time the religious extremists want to place full-page ads in newspapers, claiming they can "cure" gays, I trust the newspapers will politely turn them down.
St. Louis, MO
Not a Laughing Matter
I was surfing the Net for news stories that are ongoing, and I could not believe that Westword actually has a JonBenet trivia contest. Do you have no morals, or do you think this young, helpless child's death is some sort of a joke?
I am sure you have some good content on this site, but whoever thought up a trivia contest with regard to this little girl's very sad death is one sick puppy! I plan to let some people know about this, and you can count on some negative feedback. You should be ashamed!
via the Internet
Editor's note: Oh, we are. And if others want to share in our shame, the contest runs through January 19 at www.westword.com.
He Was Floored
I was extremely impressed by Alan Prendergast's December 10 "The Killing Floor" and would like to thank Westword once again for getting to the bottom of this important issue. One important fact people need to know about Colorado's supermax prison is that any Department of Corrections client can be sent there for any reason or for no reason at all. Many inmates are labeled gang members and end up in CSP for something as simple as wearing the wrong braids in their hair or because certain drawings or words were found in their possession. I have been threatened with being sent to CSP for writing rap music that was first labeled gang-related and then confiscated and labeled a security threat. From my firsthand observation of DOC, I have noticed very few real dangerous criminals, and the majority seem to be here for petty crimes. Basically, the road from DOC to CSP gets shorter every day.
Bent County Correctional Facility
In Michael Paglia's December 17 "Focus Group," he criticizes the new Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver for not showing the work of Colorado photographers. Perhaps Mr. Paglia should get out and around more. Perhaps he should use the telephone, too. In any case, had he wanted to be accurate, he would have noted our all-Colorado photographers show last spring or found out that MOCA/D is firmly committed to devoting 50 percent of its space and time to regional work.
Kenworth W. Moffett, executive director
Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver
Michael Paglia replies: The only reference to MOCA/D in my December 17 piece was this sentence: "Rarely are Colorado photographers seen on the walls of the Denver Art Museum or the Colorado History Museum, or even Denver's upstart Museum of Contemporary Art." But the museum's admittedly short history speaks for itself: MOCA/D considered "Landscapes: 4 Views" so important that it presented its "all-Colorado photographers" show in an ad-hoc space in the lobby of the Acoma Center, not the museum's official (if temporary) space, which until January 9 was filled with the work of Slovak photographers.
After a well-deserved holiday break, my column will return next week--with an almost-all-Colorado edition.
While flipping through the December 24 issue, I stumbled across Michael Roberts's best CDs of 1998, "Year-End Close-Out." I looked through the article and was appalled to find no albums that contained music "heavier" than Slayer's Diabolis in Musica. I do realize that nobody can listen to everything, but to include Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe as one of the better hard-rock albums of '98 was horrifying to me. Cannibal Corpse's Gallery of Suicide was not on the list, and that band makes both Rob Zombie and Monster Magnet sound like Bow Wow Wow. I would hope in the future that you would take the time to distinguish metal from hard rock and also include a better selection of albums. It is hard for me to believe that Rob Zombie and Slayer beat out Cannibal Corpse, Nile and Mortician.
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