Off Limits

Couched comments

Andy Warhol quipped that in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes -- but he didn't explain how to make it happen. The following makes a good first lesson.

On April 1, the Boulder Daily Camera ran a story previewing an April 3 Boulder City Council meeting at which a possible ban of upholstered furniture left outside would be discussed -- the theory being that old couches can serve as fuel during a riot. The article got the attention of Boulderite Charlie Richardson who, in the spirit of April Fool's Day, wrote a letter decrying the idea. "No longer can we sit around on our behinds on our porches while Big Brother moves in and tells us where we can and can't lounge," he expounded. Then he and several neighbors, including former Colorado Daily staffer Leland Rucker, signed the letter "Rocky Mtn. Backside Enthusiasts" and faxed it to the Camera.

An obvious joke, you say? Sure -- but that didn't stop local media types from jumping on it like a rain-soaked hide-a-bed. On April 2, KBCO's Bret Saunders read the letter on the air, and the Camera ran a surprisingly straight-faced brief about the Backsiders that was reprinted in papers like the Chicago Sun-Times. The following day, after the Rocky Mountain News published quotes from Enthusiasts "spokesman" Chris Holloway, Denver TV stations got interested. Holloway and Rucker (who penned the tune "Don't Take My Couch Away" for the occasion) eventually appeared on channels 4, 9 and 31. When Channel 9 returned to Boulder the next morning for an update (the city council decided the idea needed further study), reporter Lorie Hirose read some of the Enthusiasts' objections, prompting anchor Gary Shapiro to say, "Did you make those up?"

No, but somebody else did. Asks Rucker, "Is this a great country, or what?"


Tancredo in 2004? The topic of the April 4 edition of CNN's The Spin Room was the continuing standoff in China -- and according to bow-tie-wearing conservative co-host Tucker Carlson, the "most insightful" comment on the issue was delivered by Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo. After playing a sound bite of Tancredo saying, "They want an apology? I've got an apology for them. I'm sorry we ever passed PNTR [Permanent Normal Trade Relations], and I'll do my best to take it back," Carlson announced, "There's a man who ought to be running for president." Spin Room liberal Bill Press responded by declaring, "That man should be nowhere close to the White House." But Press probably said the same about George W. Bush.

 
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