Letters to the Editor

From the week of October 3, 2002

Goodwill hunting: As a contemporary hire of Alan Espenlaub -- we worked on many of the diorama exhibits now in question as to their continued existence and current "value to present board and administration" -- I have seen much change in the museum field on international, national and local levels. Change is necessary and unavoidable. However, communication of these changes and good people-management skills have not been high on the rating scales of past and current employees of the Colorado Museum of Natural History, the Denver Museum of Natural History or the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Frankly, when I go in to teach, I really do not feel that the majority of museum staff -- including and especially the administration -- understand what this department is and what the museum does for public relations and goodwill, as well as for future constituents of the museum (children growing up to become members, boardmembers, patrons and maybe staff of this, or some other, museum). I teach at the museum because I love teaching the kids -- certainly not because I feel valued. Teachers as a whole need to be very autonomous, self-directed and motivated. Many others are taught this or somehow learn this -- but most of us still really do enjoy working in a supportive and positive environment. When work environments no longer fulfill our personal needs, we move on.

When we were working on so many of the dioramas, at any one time we had an incredible, unpaid staff of volunteers, and we made great efforts to let them know they were valued. We tried to make a pretty boring job interesting and make the work environment positive and one they would want to continue to be a part of. We seemed to succeed in our goal, and we had very little turnover, all of which helped us to be more productive, as we had people we could count on to do a quality job with minimal training time of new unpaid staff/volunteers. Thus it can and does happen, but it takes a concerted desire and effort to achieve that end.

Thanks once again for Julie Jargon's long-overdue story. She said a lot, and, I think, in a well-balanced manner.

Name withheld on request

Call me Bwana: As with any human process, those who benefit from the outcome of a decision-maker's labors think benevolent thoughts about the process, while those who suffer do not. That's the way of the world.

What's not made transparent in Jargon's article is the exclusionary nature of the decision-making process at the museum under the current regime. I believe in my heart of hearts that, especially in publicly funded institutions, a healthy exchange of ideas and a tolerance for opposing values is critical to achieving excellence. And I believe the users of such educational institutions do not appreciate being patronized or Disney-ized.

Unfortunately, these qualities of tolerance and critical thinking have been "collected" like trophy-mounted heads of endangered species that once thrived at the museum. And the hunting down of opposing voices is not over. Jargon failed to answer this question: "Who's minding the bwana?"

Alan Espenlaub

Take a Hike

Dear God! Please tell Jamie Korngold -- profiled by Eric Dexheimer in the September 26 "The Spirit Moves Her" -- that the God concept was invented by ancient ruling elites in order to keep the masses passive, obedient and under control. It is the most powerful piece of propaganda ever recorded in human history. Billions have been fooled and manipulated. All of us have been brainwashed into accepting it as "normal." Fear holds it in place in the brain.

To break free from such powerful propaganda is the most difficult inward process any human can ever accomplish.

Patience and tolerance are required from all of us during this transition to the new secular order. Novus Ordo Seclorum -- it's printed on every dollar bill. And don't forget the Godless Americans' March on Washington, D.C., on November 2 (www.godlessamericans.org).

John Cassella

Mail Call

Get a job: What is Michael Roberts's absolutely perverse -- almost gleeful -- fixation with the Denver Post? Yes, it has problems and some employees who don't always make the most informed choices (especially those moles in the newsroom who scurry around dredging up Roberts's material), but it's no worse than any other company. And it's certainly a lot better than a lot of newspapers out there. But maybe Roberts hasn't worked at any major dailies to realize that fact.

It was definitely a major gaffe that personnel e-mail was sent out. But it was the height of irresponsibility for Roberts to republish it in Westword ("Getting Racked," September 12). The first scenario was a mistake. Using the Message column to apparently fulfill Roberts's agenda of besmirching the Post is the very definition of poor taste. He's crossed the line in his quest for...hmmm. Just what is it he is trying to accomplish with his venom? It's not as though his column in Westword is ever criticized or taken to task in the Post or the Rocky Mountain News. Perhaps he fancies himself something of a watchdog? But for whom? After all, if the Post really is that awful, how come his Westword co-workers keep coming to work here when they get the opportunity?

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