Letters to the Editor

From the week of August 9, 2001


Lost and Found Department

The joy of Saxonia:I found "Smelter Skelter," Stuart Steers's July 26 story about the lost town of Saxonia, very interesting.

Richard Boulware did a fine job researching Saxonia. My only hope is that vandals will stay out of the area until a Colorado historian or Colorado official can re-evaluate this latest missing town's history.

The story was most appropriately dated, too: a week before August 2, when Colorado celebrates its official entrance into the Union.

Name withheld on request

Was it good for you? "Smelter Skelter" was a very good article! Westword should publish more "good news" stories about the state we live in.

Heather Peyton
via the Internet


The Dean of Journalism

Rag, rag, rag: Michael Roberts's "Press for Success," in the August 2 issue, was interesting and well written (if too long!), but it was very obviously biased against Dean Singleton. In other industries, a smart businessman is rewarded with the cover of Forbes. In the publishing business, he is lampooned on the cover of a free weekly.

It is clear that Mr. Roberts wishes he worked for a real newspaper -- like the Denver Post -- instead of a rag like Westword.

Harry Sanders
via the Internet

The terror of Teeny town: I got a good laugh out of the "Teeny Weeny Deany" nickname for Dean Singleton.

Too bad that under the JOA, the Rocky Mountain Newsis becoming pretty teeny weeny itself. (Except for that Saturday monstrosity, of course.) And for that, we have Deany to thank.

Jackie Wells
Denver


Sermon on the Mountain

Small is beautiful: In a state dominated by industry giants such as Vail, it seems unlikely that a small place like Aaron Brill's could make it (Eric Dexheimer's "Risk-Ski Business," August 2). But the more you think about it, it is very logical. If there were a place to ski without intermediates in the way, I would be there in a second.

Good luck to Silverton Mountain.

Name wittheld on request


Things to Do With John Denver When He's Dead

Fandemonium!I commend Jonathan Shikes for his July 19 Off Limits item regarding the mountain climb in memory of John Denver. The climbers have accomplished a beautiful, extraordinary tribute.

I am also in full agreement with Shikes's usage of the words "rabid" and "cult-like" to describe John Denver fans.

I am devoted to continuing Denver's legacy through hosting the annual Celebration (this year's is the third, an event for those who truly appreciate what John stood for), held in Salida; through my international best-selling book A Mountain in the Wind -- An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver; and through my work bringing his music (and humanitarian help) to thousands in prisons, juvenile detention centers, orphanages, teen pregnancy programs, nursing homes and other places where people need help (peaceisuptoyou.tripod.com/ christine smith/).

I am someone whose life has been deeply touched by his music and message, but I am not a fan. "Fans" of John Denver are indeed as Shikes described: a rabid cult to be avoided like the plague. At one time I naively thought all proclaiming his name must be good people, but I was wrong.

Through time and painful personal experience with so many of them, I now see there is a distinct line between those who truly appreciate John Denver and those who are merely "fans" -- defined as those obsessed with Denver's celebrity for the reflected glory it brings them. "Fans" are those who chat endlessly about him, sounding like teenage girls swooning over their idol. "Fans" are overgrown, starry-eyed, immature people trying desperately to cling to something greater than themselves to feel a sense of worth. "Fans" are quick to quote lyrics, but their behavior shows they've not taken any of his words to heart.

Many "fans" gather once a year in Aspen, where they pride themselves on seeing "important people" and thereby (in their minds) becoming important people themselves. I have seen countless examples of their superficial appreciation, shallowness and deceit. They are a gang of hypocrites intent only on using his name to feed their egos.

"Fans" miss the point.

I have also met beautiful individuals -- quiet, unassuming and dedicated to John Denver's message, who are living it in their daily lives. As a result of my book and memorials for John, I have received thousands of letters from those who truly appreciate John Denver for the gifts he gave us. They do not seek recognition, although they may receive it. They do not think of themselves as better than anyone else, although they may accomplish much. They open their hearts and minds to truth and seek to love all. They are authentic appreciators of his music and message.

Many have expressed to me their desire that Denver's legacy forever endure. I believe it will, but it's not because of "fans." It will be in spite of them.

Christine Smith
Howard, Colorado

Rabid city:After reading Janet Jones's letter in the August 2 issue, in which she defends John Denver fans from being described as "rabid," I came up with an extra sentence to add to her motto. Her version, supposedly based on a Denver quote, goes like this: "You do what you can do, and I'll do what I can do, and together we can make a difference."

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