Red, White and Jew
Regarding Ward Harkavy's "Out of the Norm" in the June 15 issue:
It is an outrage that Norm Resnick can say the things he does on the radio and still pretend that he upholds Jewish traditions. A man is known by the company he keeps. Resnick should be ashamed.
In a photograph that appears with the story about Norm Resnick, the good doctor is seated beneath a U.S. flag that is hung improperly. Sorry, Dr. Norm. How can you describe yourself as a patriot if you have so little regard for the red, white and blue?
Another one bites the dust.
Where There's Smoke There's Ire
After reading Patricia Calhoun's June 15 column, "Smokin' in the Boy's Room," all I can say is, Yow! When they're handing out that Midol, they'd better remember to give a dose to Westword's editor.
Patricia Calhoun: As a newcomer to this area, I have been continuously disappointed at what I thought might be an interesting rag, your paper. As I read, I realized that Denver was in need of fresh blood. This malady is not restricted to your column; it seems to be an absolute--Ward Harkavy's articles aside.
I do hope you are still with me, 'Tishy, because I want to help you. Indeed, you and your career, as well as the people of the great state of Colorado. I cite your June 15 outburst, masked as an editorial, "Smokin' in the Boy's Room." Who the fuck are you writing for? Fuck the Rocky Mountain News!! They are too pathetic to waste even my abundant time. As for your well-intentioned, forward, feminist rhetoric: Fuck it. Save it for your womens' studies professor. Equality for all, I say, but you can't bore your readers with your personal bitches (yes, I do understand the concept of an editorial). I can only imagine that the RMN has bitten your ass once or twice before. Too fucking bad. Let it go.
The Sound and the Fury
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's June 8 column, "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee":
First, let me make this statement: Sound Warehouse is a music store, and this, last time I checked, is the Nineties. Okay, now on to more important issues.
Why are some people still missing the point? I'm referring to the letters/comments I've been reading/hearing concerning the new dress code that Blockbuster Entertainment has forced on Sound Warehouse employees. This issue is not about whether a company can require "employees to meet a certain standard of appearance." It's about discrimination and, in my personal opinion, breach of contract.
Male employees should have the same options as do female employees if they do so choose, i.e., long hair and/or earrings. Women now have equal rights in the workplace, so why can't men? Furthermore, when these males were hired, long hair and/or earrings on men were acceptable. They agreed to work there under these conditions. Now, with the new dress code, the company has broken its end of the agreement.
Last but not least, some of these employees that were fired or forced to quit were the best in their field. This doesn't matter to Blockbuster Entertainment because they're now saving money by replacing these people with "virtual-reality sales clerks" and new computer systems. Welcome to the future.
Les Porambo, former Sound Warehouse
I'd like to direct this to the person who wrote in last week saying, "Sound Warehouse has every right to impose a dress code on its employees." If we don't like it, we can work somewhere else??? Excuse me, but when a person has been working for the company for over three and a half years, like me, the last thing we want to do is quit and go looking for another job.
Do you go into the music stores to buy Michael Bolton CDs? Or Kenny G? Or Yanni? Well, according to policy, their hair is not acceptable!
Besides, if a person is hired with long hair and earrings being acceptable, they should not under any circumstances be fired for those same things. We'd like to look like individuals, not carbon copies of each other. Obviously, the woman who wrote that letter has no concept of individuality--or working. Perhaps she should get off her ass and start looking for a job, instead of writing letters to Westword.
A very ticked-off Sound Warehouse
In his June 15 letter, Scott Purman writes: "Intolerance should be illegal. So should a lack of a sense of humor. Anybody whines or complains too much, cut out their tongue."
Wow. Now that's tolerance, man.
Notes From the Underground
Regarding Michael Roberts's June 1 Feedback:
I must admit that I have always held a grudge against your newspaper. In the fifteen years I have lived in Colorado and been involved in the underground music scene, Westword has failed miserably, with few exceptions, to do any justice to the bands, 'zines and people who make the scene function. But I still couldn't help but get a bit excited to see the Rocky Mountain Arsenal compilation get a mini-review...until I read it, that is.
Michael Roberts wrote as if he had half a clue about any of the bands on the record. But in praising Cavity for its Leslie Gore cover, Roberts also mentioned the band's political nature, as evidenced by its AIDS plug at the end of said song. Not to pass any judgment on Cavity, but it is very, very far from either the political or feminist band that Roberts seems to think that it is. If he had ever seen the band live, he would surely know this. On the same note, if he had ever seen Dead Silence, a band also on the record and the one responsible for the AIDS ad, he would have known that it is much more likely to do something like that.
The point is, the real alternative scene in Colorado seems to be too elusive for the mainstream press, Westword included, so would you and others like you please stop pretending to know what is going on in this area of music? To those readers who don't know any better, I suppose you can pass off mistakes such as this one without much dissension. To those of us who do know better, your ignorance never ceases to amaze us. Stick to "alternative" bands (you know, the ones that claim to be underground until someone offers them big money) and leave the real alternative scene to the rest of us.
The Black Bored Jungle
I liked Steve Jackson's article about the treatment of Kinshasa Sayers at events prior to his disruption of Manual High School's graduation ceremony ("A Matter of Principal," June 8).
This is an example of a fine black youth who repeatedly took a stand for what he believed was right. But he was denied a fair hearing and concerted action to reduce the number of black Manual High School dropouts by racist parents, students, teachers and school administrators. Only after he was labeled as a "troublemaker" and was shunned as the "enemy" did he act out of desperation and disrupt his secondary school's graduation ceremony.
I believe Kinshasa Sayers has a point about African-American youth often being discouraged to aspire and achieve in school systems. Much ought to be done to change the philosophy and design of Eurocentric curriculum and to identify, counsel and even remove adults who seek to thwart the efforts of hardworking black youth to succeed at the local secondary school.
Still, we live in a racist society. Black youth may join gangs and abuse themselves and others, not only because of poor role models in their troubled homes, dangerous neighborhoods and conflicted schools, but also because of denied education, training and job opportunity determined at the state and national levels.
Kinshasa Sayers has his work cut out for him.
Racists fear schools that are responsive and reflective of the larger American society. When they argue for a "back-to-basics approach," they usually are trying to keep high schools, colleges and universities insensitive, exclusive and monocultural. When they argue for "familiar family and corporate structures," whites usually are concerned about the number of poor, disadvantaged and disenfranchised that might enter their corporate boardrooms, government chambers, industrial laboratories and elite educational institutions.
In order to be effective in getting black youth to aspire and achieve at the local secondary school, Kinshasa Sayers also needs to consider the efforts of racists at the state and national levels of government to deny education, training and job opportunities to people of color.