Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 27

Officer Bruce VanderJagt's widow could tell you that.
Patty Ross

What is it with you, Jay Hanley? The people at Westword met a woman who, through negligence on the part of the Aurora Police Department (the APD being unable to distinguish a criminal from a hot rock), lost a good son to one of Aurora's "bad boys." Justin Berton did not go to bat for Aurora's bad boys in his "Left for Dead," published in the March 9 issue; he exposed the actions of the APD in dealing with them.

Alan Conner was not a bad boy, as Mr. Hanley so ignorantly implied. I hope Alan's killer's jury is able to reason better than Mr. Hanley can read.
Steven Weber
via the Internet

Science Friction
John Travolta has more talent in his little finger than all of your Westword writers combined. Your jealousy may excuse the fun you made of him in your April 13 Off Limits column, but to also mock Scientology was uncalled for.

Travolta, like millions of Scientology followers around the world, is very sincere in his beliefs and his desire for a better world.
Andy Martin

Three weeks have passed since F.A.C.T.Net, a nonprofit organization, broke the story surrounding allegations that the movie Battlefield Earth, starring John Travolta and distributed by Warner Bros., may contain sophisticated subliminal advertising designed by the cult Scientology to recruit viewers into their cult and influence them to reject psychiatry and other mental-health organizations. F.A.C.T.Net posted a formal request in numerous public forums, the original of which was sent to Warner Bros., asking them to make a public statement on the Battlefield Earth subliminal-advertising allegation as well as other serious allegations surrounding the film's release. Warner Bros. has remained publicly silent.

Lawrence Wollersheim
F.A.C.T.Net Director

Raiders of the Lost Art
While his point about the loss of Denver's character due to growth is well taken, Michael Paglia's gross oversimplification and mischaracterization of the new urbanism in his April 20 "Against the Grain" bears correction.

The new urbanism is a community-planning discipline that encourages pedestrian-oriented lifestyles and a mix of building uses; it has little, if anything, to do with the facades and "meaningless ornaments" he describes. In fact, a crucial tenet of the new urbanism is that it seeks to redevelop urban areas and save historic structures.

With the online resources available for research, there is no need for these sorts of inaccuracies. Please ask your writers to do some research before they launch into vague, hypercritical generalizations.
Brian Brodrick

Tell Paglia he forgot the beautiful fish mural Westword needlessly destroyed on the side of its new building.

Scott Lyon
via the Internet

Michael Paglia replies: The philosophical underpinnings of new urbanism are irrelevant, given how it's being expressed in urban environments by greedy developers and dim-bulb planners. How is Lowry, billed as a new urbanism frontier, different from Highlands Ranch? And for the record, the mediocre fish mural was gone long before Westword signed a lease at its new building.

Living as Fine Art
Rodger Lang, professor of art at Metro State College, died April 12.

Rodger and Me have first names that a lot of people cannot spell (although Michael Paglia was correct in his April 20 Artbeat). Rodger taught at Metro State for thirty years, and the damn school paper couldn't get his name right in its obituary.

But the slip of clarity in thought, comment and performance that have followed the declines in our lives and environments never got to Rodger the way they have to many of the rest of us. Rodger watched the tides ebb and heap and overflow -- and let them. Rodger was a benevolent being with a sweet, chubby, innocent face who gave his time to all of us, and especially our students, patiently and quietly, without arm-waving or flamboyant mannerisms, nurturing and nudging without provoking or discouraging.

If you were planning on taking a ceramics class with Rodger in the fall, I'm sorry for you. You missed out, a significant loss. Rodger was everyone's Morrie. I'd see him for ten, maybe twenty minutes a week and always feel better about myself and Metropolitan life when I left his company. Are there people who make you feel that way? Let them know.

We knew a good man, a significant artist and an exceptional teacher. I think his spirit will continue to visit us, even as his soft-white footprints are disappearing from the art-office carpet, and we will remember him in the way that we remember the very best people who touch us and make life bearable and frequently inspiring.

Please join us for a celebration of his life at Artyard, 1251 South Pearl Street, at 6:30 p.m. April 28.
Craig Marshall Smith, art professor
Metropolitan State College of Denver

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