Letters to the Editor

From the week of June 13, 2002


The Greening of Denver

Shed a tier: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Post Mortem," in the May 30 issue:

It's not fair to let Chuck Green disappear from your pages without recognizing his singular achievement: He was in the first tier of second-rate journalists in Denver.

What might be interesting is some research into how in heaven's name he briefly held the position of editor of the Denver Post.

Bob Feeney
Littleton

A glass of cheer: I have an interesting personal-close-encounter connection with Chuck Green that may offer some perspective on the guy and on the quality of his columns.

I live in what I guess is southeast Denver. In my little neighborhood there are two local bars everybody boomerangs between, because these two bars offer the two best attributes any bar can offer: earnest, mature drinkers and short, back-street drives home. So when I moved to this area last November, I gravitated immediately to these two watering holes. Imagine, then, my surprise when at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning I espy over my Bloody Mary the face of Chuck Green drinking down the bar from me. Hmmmm, methinks.

In the subsequent months Chuck and I keep running into each other in these two bars and I learn two distinct things about Chuck: He's a good guy to drink with, and I like him, and I notice everybody else does, too; and his columns unfailingly just blow.

I would see Chuck drinkin' with the homies one afternoon and read his column the next morning and think exasperatedly, "What is this dung blather?" And then it dawned on me: Chuck was living like an outlaw afternoon drinker but trying to impersonate a buttoned-down investigative journalist. Instead of choosing to write great populist Bukowsky bar-stool pieces that honestly reflected where he was at, he was handing in ill-researched investigative stuff that failed, because he was removed both personally and physically from the subjects. Chuck chose not to be faithful to himself and write cocktail-napkin manifestos, but chose rather to submit phony dispatches from the journalism front.

Years back, I got drunk with the late News columnist John Coit, and he told my friend and me that the only reason to write a newspaper column is to put yourself out there. Sadly, since Chuck wouldn't put himself out there, he was put out to pasture. Cheers, Chuck.

Ray Overfield
Denver

Editor's note: For more on Chuck Green's Thanksgiving activities, see The Message, page 18.


Take a Letter

Meow! Michael Roberts's May 23 "Letter to the Editor" was great, well-written and downright factual! I can't remember the last time the Post printed an article that really, really pissed off Bill Owens or Wellington Webb -- but I also don't recall Westword making too many enemies with Mayor Webb or Governor Owens, either (with the exception of Patricia Calhoun's recent "The Big Cheese"). It seems the tigers of the press have retired and been replaced with kitty cats.

Joyce Montabon
via the Internet

Bored to run: I just wanted to thank you for Michael Roberts's coverage of Denver's news media. As a former reporter at the Rocky Mountain News, I always look forward to Roberts's next article because it makes me miss a town blessed with great news stories.

I hope you realize how lucky you are, because I've worked in a few news markets and can tell you that other fields are so much more boring.

Name withheld on request


What's in a Name?

The value of free speech: In a letter in the May 23 issue, "Name Withheld" expressed concern over the departures of Holger Jensen and Reggie Rivers from the "marketplace of ideas" (Michael Roberts's "Three the Hard Way," May 16). Oddly, after saying that he didn't want his name printed to avoid attacks on himself and his family, he then suggests that others "...have the courage of your convictions, use our hard-earned freedoms, and write your own damned letter." Good advice.

But as long as we stay in the closet to protect ourselves, we're making our own contribution to losing those hard-earned freedoms. It's important to keep in mind that we are already under attack. I don't know how big the hole in the ozone layer has to get, or how severe a cancer epidemic we need to suffer, or how many prisons built (etc., etc., etc.), before we realize that decisions made for profit maximization instead of human needs constitute a clear and present danger to us all. Denial of uncomfortable facts and hiding from unwanted attention is exactly the sort of behavior that permitted Germany to be overrun by the Nazis. It's also the sort of behavior that rogue elements of the public-relations industry works endlessly to inculcate (see PR! A Social History of Spin, by Stuart Ewen, for the details). Philosopher John Dewey noted that, "democracy begins in conversation."

Through supporting independent journals such as Westword and community radio like KGNU, by advocating more funding for libraries, by pressuring the corporate media to provide a wide range of views, and so much more -- we can broaden the conversation that intellectual integrity demands.

Preston Enright
Denver

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