Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "The Mind Is Reeling," in the December 21 issue, I can only respond: It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
In keeping with Calhoun's theme, it's obvious to me that the Westword staff gets its inspiration from old episodes of Lou Grant.
I am writing in support of the vice principal of Horace Mann Middle School, Ruben Perez. What has come out of this whole thing is the lack of skills that the Denver Public Schools system has in dealing with the problem. This man has pointed out a drastic measure that someone had to take.
In today's world, kids are automatically taught that a parent's hands-on approach to discipline is "child abuse." As they enter school, they are quickly instructed that if a teacher touches them, they can scream bloody murder or sexual harassment, and chances are the school system will rule in their favor. Then they finally make it to the real world and they are young adults, and what do they learn? You guessed it--if you do wrong and the police even lay a hand on you, just yell "police brutality." Never mind that what you did was wrong. They have rights.
I say promote this guy to principal, let him run the school his way, and if the results are not favorable, that will be the time for the school district to say, "Be on your way, Mr. Perez. Your way is not the way."
What a Pain!
Your December 14 article on Dr. Stjernholm (Eric Dexheimer's "A Pain in the Neck") was great. It portrayed the man as he is--brilliant, caring, building on the attributes and healing capacities of man, who was created by God. The IRS overstepped and Dr. Stjernholm interrupted it, as he has done with Jefferson County and others. He knows the law and simply uses their own arguments against them. Great article!
Then you dirty your whole accomplishment with Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario in the same issue, "Masturbation Reform Bill." The community does not need that off-color, slimy, denigrating junk--and you used a half a page for it. Why not play the straight man for one whole issue?
A Bad Rapp
After last week's letter from Dan Hilbert about "A Real Class Act," in the December 14 issue, I feel I have to counter his bombastic diatribe with a dose of reality.
I am a heterosexual white male. Though I am an artist and lean toward the left, I enjoy football, aggressive guitar rock and other things masculine. Some of my artwork has been mistakenly perceived as misogynistic by some feminists. Sometimes I slip up and refer to women as "chicks" and "babes." According to your letter, Lisbeth Mullin would probably want to have me castrated and have me listen to the Indigo Girls whilst I bleed to death! Well, guess what, Danny Boy: Lisbeth and I are buds; we've been friends for about a year. This certainly doesn't sound like the "viper" you refer to who has "animosity toward men."
In her work with battered women, Lisbeth has seen men at their worst. She is committed to bringing these issues out in the open so we as a society must confront them. Sexual harassment is a loaded issue; it is our task to differentiate between dating rituals and bona fide harassment. Problems arise because we have yet to reconcile those distinctions.
As to your letter, you seem dubiously guilty of the same reactionary ballyhoo that you so brazenly accuse Lisbeth of. Judging from your columns, it is you who has the angry bias against the opposite gender.
My job as advisor to the Rapp Street Journal, the student newspaper at Arapahoe Community College, is rewarding and worthwhile work even when it gets ugly, as it has lately. That's when a teacher can hope his students will benefit most and learn something important.
Dan Hilbert, former RSJ columnist, wrote a letter in the last issue of Westword accusing me of "imprudent and irresponsible journalism" for allowing current RSJ columnist Lisbeth Mullin to publish opinion columns that threaten his frail self-image as a male. He misunderstands what college media advisors do (and what they do not do, if they have integrity). The best advisors do not censor students; they educate and advise them, help them through rough spots when they fail and defend their rights when people like Hilbert would gag them. Advisors do not fire staff, approve or remove copy, or edit content. They protect, with equal vigor, popular and unpopular editors, reporters and columnists.
I assert the rights of all my students--including Lisbeth Mullin and Michael Simpson, who are currently at odds over a personnel issue not related to their journalistic endeavors. Hilbert suggests that Mullin hates men and that I'm at fault for not silencing her; even if it were true that she did hate men, that wouldn't eliminate her right to publish her opinions, and I would take no part in suppressing her speech. For Hilbert to suggest I should censor her only proves how little he learned as a student of mine.
To hell with censors. Long live the Rapp Street Journal and the right of free press on all college campuses.
People Who Needle People
I am writing in response to a portion of Michael Roberts's December 7 Feedback column. I only hope that the organization named P.E.C. (People for Ethics in Colorado) is a farce, because the idea of a group like this in Colorado deeply angers me. These ultraconservatives need to feed their starving ignorance by stopping the generalization that these bands invoke "unprotected sex, mind-altering drugs and total anarchy." Ever since the commencement of this "censorship era," which ironically includes the idolized Elvis Presley, there have never been specifics, support or evidence to back these irrational claims. These accusations are not founded on what makes sense; they simply serve to satisfy a reaction/opinion that a certain group has.
Let's say, God forbid, that these bands do include these argumentative messages through their music. Since when have musicians ever been regarded as great role models in our society? They may portray their particular point of view, but it certainly does not mean anyone has to condone, understand and/or emulate it. Everyone should take responsibility for themselves.
For the most part, music, as well as the other bodies of art, is presented for people to appreciate and admire. It is not offered to be of ethical concern or worry in everyday life. In conclusion, it is a shame that all this force is directed toward something so futile; instead, these people and/or corporations should be fighting for freedom of speech, not denying it.
I feel obligated to begin this letter by thanking you for spelling our name correctly. No one in our organization has any connection with the "missive" submitted by the P.E.C. (People for Ethics in Colorado).
In addressing the contents of this missive, I am not sure where to begin. In regard to the "messages" represented by our existence:
A. "Total Anarchy": Everything in Moderation is our philosophy. The word "total" implies excess, or worse, obsession. Obsession is the very core of all modern problems, be it obsession with money, sex, religion/ ethics, drugs or the Ty-D-Bowl man. Tempering one's life studies with moderation is the key to tolerance, unconditional love, the world of knowledge and everything good and desirable. A little anarchy goes a long way.
B. "Unprotected Sex": Ridiculous, outrightly dismissible. Each and every member of the crew keeps a well-maintained, loaded firearm nearby at all times.
C. "Mind-Altering Drugs": See explanation A.
The charges of satanism are hopefully a simple misunderstanding. The rumors of sacrificial gatherings are greatly exaggerated. We did D-CON some mice, but the fried-cat incident was the unfortunate result of a language barrier at an overeager resort restaurant. Personally, the worst evil I have ever experienced is that which I have observed in the hearts of my fellow man.
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Which brings me to the P.E.C. Not since the Spanish Inquisition have such lip-lathering, pulpit-pounding fundamentalist ravings been given so broad an accounting. That the moral majority is of the same self-deluding philosophy--that everyone be, act and do the same--as the ill-fated Communist doctrine is among the dearest of my comforts. Their claim of "re-emerging ethics" is, at the very least, unfounded rhetorical propaganda; at worst, it is another rabid lie.
The fact that "a number of original music clubs in Denver" have failed over the past several years is in and of itself a monument to the booze-selling "bar-owner mentality" mindset of the clubs themselves. Indeed, in the infusion of coastal refugees recently inflicted upon Colorado, I predict there are a number of forward-thinking entrepreneurs who will take Denver into the Nineties and beyond. Replacing simple booze merchants with people who know entertainment will bring in lots of tax dollars, the bane of existence for all "for your own good"-ers (i.e., P.E.C.).
This, coupled with the fact that most local booking agents don't seem to know a "band" from some fool with a half stack and a stomp box, has put the chances of original entertainment deep in its own end zone and its future squarely in the pocket of some new blood.
Other than that, I really liked your article.
Doc Ross, RMPM