Letters to the Editor

From the week of November 22-28, 2001


A Hung Jury

Read it and weep: I remember when libraries were repositories of great literature. Judging from Patricia Calhoun's recent columns, they are now institutions devoted to the hanging of penises ("How's It Hanging?" November 15) and the consumption of cheesy philosophy ("Cheese Wiz," November 8).

Doesn't anybody read anymore?

Hal Masters
via the Internet

Penis de mileage: I'm not sure what Penis-Envy-Patty's point was in her latest lambaste against the city of Boulder, other than it gave her a chance to throw in some limp-dick jokes. Has the war of words by LoDo's martini liberals against Boulder's champagne socialists left Patty without a real climax, so that she has to fake some facts?

Since when does one city librarian represent the will and wishes of an entire community? Some people asked to put up yet another U.S. flag, she said no and gave a foolish answer, they protested, she relented, and we have another flag. That was easy! You have to learn to let go: One employee does not represent an entire city any more than thousands of rioters looting shops after another Broncos/ Avalanche victory represent you. (Did you ever get that tear-gas smell out of your offices?)

What's up with accusing the people of Boulder (nearly all 100,000 of us) with not wanting the JonBenét murder case solved? Yes, plenty of us feel the police botched the investigation with an unprepared, inexperienced officer. Yes, a Denver solution might be to fake some evidence, burst into an apartment and mow down the unarmed Mexican occupant, but we don't feel comfortable with that. A grand jury was convened, the evidence was reviewed, and nothing was decided. Any suggestions?

Finally, has Westword become a champion of censorship? What does Calhoun expect will become of the poor child who is exposed to a string of gaily painted penises? An affinity for chili lights that adorn so many of those overpriced hangouts by Coors Stadium? Perhaps a degree in journalism and a job at Westword?

D. Klamann
via the Internet

The eye of the beholder: Thank you for the article about the so-called art display at the Boulder Public Library. It truly annoys me when people assert their right to freedom of speech without acknowledging their responsibility of speech as well. Patricia Calhoun's column quoted "artist" Susanne Walker's statement: "If you want to attack me or my artwork, then confront me with discussion...that is the purpose of this type of art." I would like to do this.

Just as we cannot passively allow things such as domestic violence to go unchecked, we also cannot allow moral attacks to go unchecked. This display is nothing less than that.

Matthew Bergman
via the Internet

Root cause: Susanne Walker obviously believes that penises are responsible for domestic violence. Never having owned one, she would have a hard time proving her point. If a deeper study is possible, I suggest the mental state of an individual would be the cause of violence of any kind.

Freedom of expression is a privilege, but it should be factual!

Maymie Rolfs
Denver

Minding your p's and q's: Patricia's peckish penis posturing positively perplexes!

Calhoun hitches Westwordto the usual media Boulder-bashing bandwagon without actually addressing any significant issues of the recent penis-sculpture brouhaha. Talk about premature ejaculation! Given time to think, Pat might have had something significant to say about:

1) The ever-shifting legitimacy of "community standards" (which conservatives embrace when limiting liberal free speech but won't accord a community that supports speech they dislike);

2) the infantilization of adult audiences (and information) under the banner of protecting families and children;

3) the penis pilferer's successful goal of denying me (a fellow taxpayer) the experience of evaluating this "art" for myself, substituting his notions of propriety, aesthetic taste and free speech without according me the ability to verify his assessment; and

4) the fact that few complaints were received prior to the theft, which just might indicate a higher level of family maturity and/or parent/child communication about human anatomy, sexuality and the thought-provoking nature of controversial art in the People's Republic of Boulder.

Since Westword now embraces a "shield children from reality at all costs" philosophy (at least for publicly funded entities), perhaps it will cease wearing its virtue on its sleeve and set a good example by dropping its lewd (though highly entertaining) Savage Love column, discontinuing its prurient (though highly lucrative) sex-and-romance advertising, and limit its intellectually stimulating (thought hardly essential) art, movie and theater critics to discussing pablum suited only for the IQs of infants. America will be a better (if dumber and less interesting) place for it.

E pluribus infantalia unum!

John Wilkens
Boulder

State of confusion: Things a bit bumpy there in Colorado over the past few years, eh?

It was bad enough seeing the rapacious treatment of the mountains, what with those "world-class" resorts popping up all over the slopes. Things are getting a bit tight for the wildlife, we hear.... And you had those pesky problems so well-documented in Westword but "forgotten" by the Boulder Camera and the Denver Post, et al.: homeless profiling, stadium skulduggery, parking bans.

Then the image problem(s), so well summed up in one word: Columbine. Seems the provocative story of young people adrift in plasticized subdivisions and athlete worship at the schools never saw light of day in the mainstream media there, either. But we saw it in Westword, by golly! Now, we all know the police in those little 'burgs are the epitome of professionalism -- goodness, let's not even go there with JonBenét.

You see, those pesky little problems all add up, and it was a shock when we outsiders read about the manner in which political correctness had invaded the local art/museum scene there in Boulder. No, no, don't get the wrong idea: I wholly agree that the American flag can be provocative. But that little tidbit about woman-as-victim hanging male organs out to dry! Then the comments of the "artist" and the library director -- those were a hoot!

We wouldn't know what to do for a laugh way down yonder here if it weren't for Colorado -- and good ol' Boulder at the epicenter.... Urbanization of the pristine mountains and the wallow for "world-class" status (with concomitant obscurantism by media) and PC "diversity" ain't all it's cracked up to be, huh?

Keep it up! We'll be watching the yokel media there with bated breath...and checking Westword now and then, just for accuracy's sake.

Chris Long
Chattahoochee County, GA


The Next Chapter

Making book: I read Patricia Calhoun's November 8 column about the Denver Public Library, "Cheese Wiz," with great interest. It is certainly time for someone to take a good, hard look at the library and Rick Ashton's "The Next Big Thing," "Your Library in a Changing World," or whatever he is currently calling it.

There are a lot of changes being made in the branches as well as at the Central Library. I have worked in one branch for a number of years and have seen many changes during my tenure there. (No, I have never "struggled" to adjust.) Current changes, however, are disturbing: I feel that both the staffing and the stocking of library materials is being heavily impacted, and not in a positive manner. I find the current waste of staff time, library materials and library funds appalling. The branch libraries have been instructed to eliminate a lot of books to make room for greatly expanded collections of videos, CDs, computer games and, soon, DVDs. At one larger branch, the book collection has been reduced by more than 20 percent.

Restructuring of branch management and staffing has been pretty drastic, and not particularly successful. The branches have been organized into "clusters," each managed by an individual who is expected to oversee as many as five libraries. Onsite management has been reduced drastically and is often nonexistent. Dr. Ashton expressed his concern about a "certain level of divisional focus and loyalty" among branch staffers; what he was referring to is the fact that many branch staff members work where they do because they are comfortable with the neighborhood and understand the nature of the patrons they serve. The patrons have come to rely on these people. Now many staffers have been moved or are expected to travel between branches on a regular basis, often in one day. The waste of staff time, traveling expenses and continuity of service is disturbing and unnecessary.

I am not a "disgruntled" employee. I love the library and have always been proud to be a part of something that has given so much to my city. But in short, I believe that it is time for the Library Commission and the taxpaying customers to take a close look at what is happening to their wonderful library system.

Name withheld on request


Going, Going, Gone

The end's in sight:After reading David Holthouse's "This Thug's Life," in the November 8 issue, it seems that Frank Lontine ended up right where he wanted to go. And he would have ended up there sooner or later -- the sooner the better.

Hindsight's always better than 20/20.

Vern Newsom
Lakewood


Garden Plot

A friend in need: I read with interest Julie Jargon's most recent articles about the continuing questions involving the Denver Botanic Gardens ("Reap What You Sow," November 15; "Growing Pains," November 8). As a former employee and a member of the Friends of DBG, I would like to thank this trustee for speaking the truth. The allegations put before the board by the Friends of DBG were found to be true, and I was greatly disappointed that the board decided not to act. If Brinsley worked elsewhere, I can assure you he would have already been terminated. Thank you, Julie, for keeping tabs on the Gardens.

Name withheld on request

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