Letters to the Editor

From the week of August 18, 2005

Porn Again

Big talk: Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario last week was the meanest -- and funniest -- thing I've ever seen. But I think he drew those talk-show hosts' "mikes" too big.

Sarah Morris
Denver

Sex ed: The real problem with the comic books is simple: Some people just can't stand the idea that Spanish-speaking comic-book characters have a better sex life than they do.

Steven Divide
Denver

Cover boy: Congratulations to Peter Boyles, who has been successful in banning Spanish-language popular novels from the Denver Public Library. In doing this, he has shown himself to be a nattering nabob of negativism. He has cast the "P" word and succeeded in ridding the DPL bookshelves of these popular novels. For someone who claims to be a "reader," he has accomplished this all without reading a single one of these books. He doesn't read Spanish, so how can he possibly know what they are about? He looked at the pictures! These novellas are not pornographic. They are not graphic; there is no depiction of genitalia, nor is there penetration. Yes, they are racy, but they are not pornographic.

These are certainly interesting times that we live in, when a DJ can influence decisions in municipal government. Do we citizens of Colorado need to be told how to think by the likes of Mr. Boyles, who is running a virtual on-air campaign for Tom Tancredo? Mr. Boyles decides that whatever doesn't go with his decor must go. This includes Ward Churchill, John Hickenlooper, Rick Ashton, people who want to help the homeless and -- oh, yes -- his standby whipping boy: Mexicans. The only callers who can get through to this on-air poobah are the ones who fawn over him. If callers don't agree with the Boyles line, they are quickly dispatched with his bullying tactics.

What is the saying? "You can't judge a book by its cover." Mr. Boyles can.

Guillermo Lazo
Littleton

French farce: I would simply like to clear up some "facts" and falsehoods that have been presented by Peter Boyles and the Caplis and Silverman show in the recent Denver library porno non-debate. Comparing the Spanish comics to kiddie porn is simply laughable and a conversation-stopper, much like how Boyles complains "racist" is a conversation-stopper in the illegal-immigrant debate.

Silverman states Bruce Willis is raped in Pulp Fiction. No, Ving Rhames was raped. Only one brief shot conveyed the violation. A better example would be Ned Beatty getting raped in Deliverance. Silverman goes on to say that French films aren't subject to American ratings, so they can do anything and have it in the DPL. Wow, does this guy know anything about films and distribution? French DVDs won't play in U.S. DVD players due to format incompatibility!

These radio guys seem to think that the world of cinema consists of only the suburban multiplex or the Colfax porn shop. There's a whole world and a hundred years of cinema out there.

Jason Spear
Denver

Me? I'm a man: In last week's "Comic Relief: Are you a man or a mouse?" Patricia Calhoun, with her usual wit, has a great many things right. Protesters reviling the Denver Public Library for its inclusion of racy materials in Spanish, in some attempt to protect women and the American Way, are doing neither. Their hypocrisy speaks for itself. And she is also right to portray the library as an embattled institution, reeling from many controversies, most of which stem from the library's attempt to reorient and redefine itself as it entered the 21st century. My complaint, then, is not with Ms. Calhoun, but with the atmosphere surrounding the library, of which her article is only a small part.

The Denver Public Library has undertaken the steps included in "Your Library in a Changing World" (many of which I disagree with as a librarian myself, as a patron of the system and resident of Denver, and as a former employee of the DPL) because it is a good institution. The administration, particularly City Librarian Rick Ashton, did not make these changes for fame or glory, profit or greed. They did it in an attempt to better serve the people of Denver, to make their institution that much more relevant in the lives of their constituency. The staff and volunteers who bemoaned the changes when they suggested they were an attempt to fix what was not broken were right in that regard: It was not broken. But it was not broken specifically because it has always tried to redefine itself, to change with the times, to be on the forefront of the public-library services in America.

The DPL's mission is to "help the people of Denver to reach their full potential." Why bombast an institution with a mission statement like that? There are plenty of organizations in the Denver area more worthy of negative press. Instead of criticizing the library for its shortcomings, we should seek to restore its appropriate level of funding by petitioning the mayor, or our fellow citizens, to include a referendum on the soonest possible ballot to create a mill levy for the library's funding. I am of the mind of Carl Sagan: "I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries." This makes me very concerned for Denver's well-being.

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