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From the week of February 3, 2005

Fetal Attraction

Truth decay: I must confess, I wasn't shocked when Kenny Be ran "attention-getting funeral announcements" for cremated remains from a Boulder abortion clinic in his January 27 Worst-Case Scenario, "EmbryObituaries & Immemorials." I was shocked, however, that he had the intellectual dishonesty to only write his cute "obituaries" for tiny little embryos that the average reader wouldn't recognize as a human being. Why stop with embryos that are only a few weeks old? If Mr. Be were the true foot soldier of the pro-abortion movement that he pretends to be, he would draw unborn children that are two months, six months, even nine months old and poke fun at them also. After all, a woman's right to choose should be honored right up until birth, right? Or could it be that even Kenny Be draws the line somewhere? Maybe it is because when you start drawing those two-month-old "cellular masses," they kind of look like people.

I am a regular reader who enjoys much of what is published in Westword, including the creative work of Kenny Be. I am not writing to complain about or criticize Mr. Be's right to write or draw whatever he wants. I am a firm believer that in a free marketplace of ideas, bad ideas fail and good ideas eventually succeed. I am willing to openly state that I believe life begins at conception and abortion is killing a human being. Since Kenny Be has chosen to use his forum to push a political agenda, then what, exactly, does he believe to be the truth?

Scott Miller
Lakewood

Waste watchers:Kenny Be's "EmbryObituaries" was the perfect antidote to last week's media frenzy over Crist Mortuary and the Sacred Heart Church. I'm tired of the mainstream media giving considered attention to crazies who collect, baptize and bury medical waste. These people are on the very fringes of the American political spectrum, and their political "actions" are nothing but cheap stunts.

Thank you, Kenny Be, for highlighting just how ridiculous they are, and for fighting absurdity with absurdity.

Gwendolyn Betty
Denver

Dump trick:The practical reason to process recognizable human remains via mortuaries is to avoid the awkward appearance of body parts in landfills and dumps. Such events necessitate costly criminal investigations to determine the cause of death.

What Kenny Be has sketched are the products of early abortions, not late-term abortions -- which are the remains at the heart, so to speak, of the current clinic/mortuary/church controversy. Kenny Be would not have room to sketch four aborted fetuses, actual size, in his cartoon strip.

One can just imagine his angst when he went to the medical books and found that if he were to illustrate the actual size of the actual aborted fetuses, he would be drawing, gasp, dead babies. Curses, foiled again!

Joanne Marie Roll
Denver

Birth of a notion:What is with you folks, and how can you possibly tag Kenny Be's garbage with "Farewell...to any chance for a choice discussion"? What's there to discuss in this situation? These fetuses were already aborted, and the people involved in the services at Sacred Heart of Mary were simply doing what they believed was the right thing. They were simply following their consciences and hearts.

The pro-life/pro-choice discussion will go on and on, but do you truly believe that this kind of nasty mockery adds anything of value to the discussion? Is it so hard to just say "I don't agree with what they are doing, but I respect that they act on their personal beliefs"?

And frankly, what harm was done to anyone? The fetuses had been abandoned. Or have we gone so far today that acting on one's pro-life beliefs -- if it bothers anyone for any reason -- must automatically be "harmful" in some manner?

Peter W. Schlesiona
Niwot

The rights stuff:Thank you, Kenny dear, for the badly needed perspective on abortion. I remember having a miscarriage years ago, when I was two and a half months along, and I guaran-damn-tee you that what was coming out of me was not a baby. They cleaned up the rest at the ER, and I cried afterward, but I cried because it was a failure, not a baby. I never dreamed of holding services!

Focus on the Fetus (like it?) needs to turn its logic around for a moment, thusly: To deny a woman this procedure is to force her through the power of government to carry and give birth. It needs to be pointed out that any woman who decides to carry to term is putting her life on the line. Countless millions of women died and still die in childbirth, pumping out their heart's blood in dark rooms after a failed attempt to bring forth another generation. The nobility, the humanity of that should not be clouded by legislating it. No government should claim the power to compel pregnancy or childbirth. The risk, the glory, the decision, is hers.

S. Williams
Lakewood

Mass hysteria:I'm not medically trained, but I believe that Kenny Be's "Worst-Case Scenario" carried some anatomical mischaracterizations. A four-week-old embryo is certainly not a "yolk sac." It is a developing embryo. By the seventh and eighth week, it is said to be a "fetus," with all the internal organs present but not fully developed. This was the stage at which one fetus was referred to as a "cellular mass." I believe that the embryo in the second week of development could be described in that way.

Maybe Kenny could try a little harder next time. He's not doing anybody any favors by publishing inaccuracies.

Matthew Brandon
Denver

Grave reservations:I can't believe the cartoon making fun of the Catholic church that buried the embryos. This is a new low, even for this lefty paper. I was just shocked at the complete lack of respect. I cannot imagine anybody finding this funny. I am completely ashamed to say I was ever a reader of Westword. I have no idea why the editors would have allowed this distasteful cartoon to ever make it to press.

Curtis Gardner
Denver


A Few Bones to Pick

Where there's smoke, there's ire:Lord knows the mile-high public needs clear directions to a favorable restaurant. By extension, the discerning restaurant critic becomes even more necessary. Jason Sheehan's recent tip toward Brooks Smokehouse, a good barbecue joint ("Only in America," January 20), is appreciated. His garrulous pride in "the true mark of obsessive American ingenuity" is detracting.

The philosopher Simone de Beauvoir published an account of her expatriate travels in the U.S. shortly after World War II. A liberated Parisienne, she approached American culture a bit wide-eyed, optimistic and determined to quiet the European disdain for our boorishness. Unfortunately, several months here tempered her enthusiasm. She found our reputation for vapidity and the unfounded boast hadn't been exaggerated. None was so apparent as our pride in the one gastronomical contribution, that truly Midwestern dish: barbecue. Which, Ms. Beauvoir discovered, although quite tasty, was simply meat smoked over fire. In other words, the elemental and most common way of cooking meat.

Sheehan knows better than most that the only culinary tradition we export begins with processed cheese and Pepsi.

Douglas Wilson
Denver


Dance, Fool, Dance

Ugly is as ugly does: Michael Paglia is so right on (Artbeat, January 20). Those massive dancing sculptures are so hideous and disgusting. Every time I drive past them, I just want to cry and scream: Why? Why? It's such a waste of money, of time, of sight. And now, of future sculptures. The only thing they are not short on is puke-ification.

Julia Brown DeThomas
Denver


Baaa Bravo

The nanny diaries: Juliet Wittman's review of Curious Theatre's production of The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?was delightful ("Home on the Mange," January 20). I saw the show on preview night and felt that it was one of the more exciting productions I've seen in Denver in years. Juliet's insightful review addressed the difficult social, moral and artistic questions of the show with great wit and precision. Thank you.

Darren R. Schroader
Denver


Hyphens and Lows

Parade rest:Usually when I read moronic banter like that which Neil Haverstick wrote about Tom Tancredo in last week's letter about the January 20 On the Record, I just have a good laugh. But since I live in Lakewood, I had to speak up. Most people in Lakewood are not hate-filled "inflamers" like Neil. I wonder how Neil would react if some "Italian-Americans" spoke out against the gatherings that the "Native American" community holds around Denver on a regular basis. Would it be the same reaction that other proud Americans and Coloradans have when Native American community leaders call the Columbus Day Parade a "celebration of hatred"? That was just ludicrous; I seriously doubt that anyone who attended that parade did so out of hatred, except for maybe the protesters.

In case Neil has forgotten our history, there have been plenty of "European-Americans" killed by Native Americans. When it comes right down to it, we're all Americans -- with no hyphenated prefix. We all have a common history that none of us can change. We all have unique cultural backgrounds. We should embrace and celebrate all cultures equally. When any group takes a stance based on hatred and lashes out at another group, we all suffer. Instead, we ought to take advantage of the opportunities we have to move Colorado forward to a place where different ethnic groups mix so well that the rest of the country is jealous!

Ben Campbell and Tom Tancredo both are great Coloradans and great Americans, and both have served this state and country well. Neil, the democratic process is open to everyone. So instead of sitting on the sidelines pointing your inflammatory finger of hatred, why don't you run against Mr. Tancredo in the next election?

Mike Triplett
Lakewood

Made in America:With all due respect for Neil Haverstick's musical talent, what exactly does he think North America would look like today if Europeans hadn't developed it?

P.S.: Kenny Be is hilarious!

Brian Moriarty
Arvada

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