The Art of the Deal
Regarding Michael Paglia's "A Site for Sore Eyes," in the March 8 issue:
Bravo to Westword--Michael Paglia unmuzzled! To those of us who stopped reading Westword three articles into your former art reviewer's mush, it is the honest, stinging, insightful prose of Paglia that marks my return to your readership. I have rediscovered the rest of your great newspaper to boot!
John B. Woodward III
Like Michael Paglia, I found myself moved to tears by the art at DIA. All that money for all that mediocre (to be kind) art! So far, the only redeeming factor is your new reviewer. When I read Paglia's piece, I cried again--but only because I was laughing so hard.
Hope the hits keep on coming.
I write to you only after reading Steve Jackson's "Taking His Medicine," in the March 8 issue, and feeling I had to respond. (I also read Jackson's "Bad Medicine," in your July 27, 1994, issue). I am a full-blooded Navajo, born and raised on the reservation in Arizona until I moved to Colorado in 1991.
I find these articles about medicine men, sweat lodges, etc., preposterous. I was taught that in our tradition, the spiritual healing in a sweat lodge or going to a medicine man is done within the four sacred mountains of our reservation. Taking it outside, into the white man's world, is to weaken your powers with the spirit world--if you are a real medicine man. If I need to see a medicine man, I'll go back to the reservation to see one, but I'll never go see one in a city.
Maybe Kayla Moonwatcher needs to go for some psychological counseling or start writing Harlequin novels. As for Brave Eagle, you got what you deserve--grief--and you are a disgrace to your Lakota people.
Shame on you both.
After your recent objective articles about the patriot movement, I was surprised at your lambasting of state senator Charles Duke in the March 8 Off Limits. You seem to ridicule him as a "crackpot" and doubt his assertion that the daily newspapers "are going to tell you the truth" about the patriot movement. One only has to read the Denver Post's recent patriot "expose" to know he is correct. In the article, the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, the Libertarian Party and the Fully-Informed Jury Association were associated with the Ku Klux Klan as being part of the "radical right." The Post is promoting this confused nonsense that anything not liberal (or, more correctly, socialist) is radical, right-wing and, well, just icky. Westword, please don't fall into this trap.
The essence of the Tenth Amendment Resolution and the follow-up legislation that Mr. Duke sponsored and the Colorado Legislature passed is that the federal government has become too large, too intrusive, too inefficient and takes too much of our money. This is manifest in issues of both liberal (e.g., search-and-seizure and drug prohibition) and conservative concerns (e.g., business regulation and property rights). To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, people are realizing that a government big enough to give you everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The current political trend is libertarian (and antisocialist) in nature, supporting a return to the basic principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The game is changing, and most of the media just doesn't have a clue. I'll bet you can get one, Westword, if you try.
Regarding your comments on Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell: He was essentially forced out of the Democratic Party because he is an independent thinker who did not always vote the party line. It's like Southern Democrats who have switched parties and local Democrat Paul Danish--they find themselves ostracized when, in good faith, they support such causes as gun rights. Campbell wavered on this and other issues in the last session. He caught hell from his traditionally conservative rural constituency and received little support from Democratic bigwigs. The Democratic Party is self-destructing because, sadly, it doesn't have a clue as to what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are really about.
A lot of us out here still cannot stand Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and his betrayal of our Constitution and the folks who voted for him.
As a longtime Harley rider, I voted for Campbell because he seemed to be one of us--supporting our issues and tuning into our concerns. However, as a responsible gun owner (liberals say there's no such thing), I can no longer support his continued attack on the Second Amendment. Regardless of party, Campbell is bad news and doesn't belong in any elective office.
Now to Charlie Duke. Leave it to Westword to put down a man for being (horrors!) a "patriot." He supports smaller government, supports our Constitution and tells the truth about both "Newthorse" and "Slick Willie." As for crackpots, our esteemed Democrat delegates Pat Schroeder and David Skaggs could write several volumes of idiot quotes from notable not-with-it politicos.
As for Karen Bowers's story about Stephana Major in the same March 8 issue ("Who's Who?"), everyone seems to miss the point. Her various personalities reside in her own body. If she is guilty of these crimes, her body and personalities need to be shipped off to the penitentiary like anyone else.
Thank you again for keeping up the heat on DIA, our monument to graft, greed and corruption. We will always agree on that issue.
Regarding "So Fur, So Good," by Robin Chotzinoff, in the March 1 issue:
It appears that Westword is setting a trend for itself: enshrining furriers. This is the second time in recent years that Westword has done a cover story on a local fur retailer. It seems to me that your reporters are enamored by the "old money" facade of Mable Mauser and Richard Kaye. But what are we talking about here? It is the hair of dead animals and the wealth and status it brings its human wearers. Even with the price of fur coats low enough for the middle class, it means the same. Why do these two merchants deserve to be treated with such reverence? They have become rich through the suffering and deaths of thousands of other living beings.
Now that you have done two huge advertisements for the furriers, I suggest that you do some investigation into how they make their blood money. Do a front-page expose on: (1) how fur-ranch animals exhibit repetitive movements, self-mutilation and cannibalism; (2) the manner of death dealt these animals, including genital electrocution and weed-killer shots; (3) how trapped animals suffer prolonged deaths unless the trapper returns promptly to bludgeon them or stand on their throats until they suffocate; (4) how many animals it takes to make a coat; and (5) how many unwanted animals (including dogs and cats) are trapped each year.
There is a lot to the other side of this story. It's not about animal-rights activists. It is about the animals that the fur industry would like everyone to forget. Wearing fur coats is the height of superficial gratification. There is no excuse for it, and people should stop pretending that this so-called fashion choice is no different than choosing the color of one's socks.
To the woman who wrote last week, all I have to say is this: The day you can prove that you never touch leather is the day I'll start listening to your complaints about the fur industry.
Until then, I say: Make mine mink.
I would like to second the opinions of Jeff Bonanno, whose letter in the March 8 Westword talked about Kyle Wagner. She is an excellent addition to your paper. Her reviews are the first thing I read each week, and I especially enjoyed her February 15 cover story, "Would You Buy a Used Restaurant From This Woman?," as well as her review of the Diamond Cabaret ("Pleased to Meat You") in the same issue. The next time she goes there, can I go along?
Only kidding. Kyle is just excellent--real "food for thought," as they say.
Kiss-off the Blarney Stone
Regarding "Blarney: The Sequel," Bill Gallo's review of The Secret of Roan Inish, in the March 1 issue:
Perhaps, Mr. Gallo, you are missing the point of the "innocuous," "Irish charm school" film. The mystical, naturalistic, "magic realism" elements to which you refer are merely recurring ideas in Celtic art/culture since the La Tene or Hallstadt periods of Celtic civilization, dating back almost 3,000 years. Ireland (particularly the west and northwest of Ireland), being one of the only surviving extensions of the early Celts--who at one time or another occupied almost the entirety of Europe, including Rome for a short time--has deep cultural ties to the art of storytelling, mysticism, folklore and nature. It is only logical that these elements come to light in the film and art of Ireland today. From a country where today they teach storytelling on the university level; where, in some areas, people still use the horse and buggy for transportation; and where some farmers continue to ritually bless the soil--a tradition from the old Irish pagan days--labeling these qualities as stereotypes would be like labeling the occasional ill-informed American movie reviewer as a stereotype. The use of historically Celtic themes, Irish song (sung in Irish) and "fairy tale"-like elements gives this movie a traditional Irish charm. Perhaps it is just in their nature.
More Ill Will
I'm responding to the letter written by Lois T. in the March 1 Westword.
Thank you, Lois, for your touching concern for those of us infected with the hepatitis C virus. Did you ever happen to think that maybe good people make mistakes as they go through life and that these people can change and grow for the better from their mistakes? Long before I contracted the hepatitis C virus, I signed the paperwork necessary to donate my organs to anyone who might benefit from them if I were to die. Who knows, Lois? That someone could have been you or a loved one.
It was nice how you threw in those people infected with the AIDS virus. Of course they also deserve to die, don't they, Lois? Yes--perfect, upstanding people like yourself shouldn't have sympathy for those unfortunate people who have that virus, either. By the way, Lois, who gave you the right to say that we are any less worthy to live?
Why don't you stop by and see some young man or woman fighting to stay alive while battling these viruses? Maybe then you'll add an exciting new word to your vocabulary: kindness. You won't give me your sympathy, but you have my sympathy, Lois, for you have the worst disease of all--hate.
Regarding hepatitis C, it is possible to contract the disease through blood transfusions, as I did, as did many others. If you read Steve Jackson's article ("The Hep-C Generation," February 8) carefully, you will remember that they were not screening for hep C before the late Eighties. I had a series of blood transfusions in 1973 but was not aware of anything called hepatitis C until August 1993, when I was preparing for hip-replacement surgery.
University Hospital refused to accept my blood to be used for me, and me only, if I required a transfusion. The reason for this refusal was that there is margin for error, so the safest way was not to allow my blood into the hospital. Lois T., if you enter a hospital that doesn't have such a policy, you, too, could contract hep C. I was a blood donor for years without even knowing I had hep C. You, your family or many innocent people could have contracted hep C from millions of pints of untested blood. Do these people deserve not to have research done to find a cure?
It is ignorant to assume that promiscuous sex is the cause of hep C.
Excuse me, Lois T. It's obvious you've had no one close to you die of AIDS or hepatitis C. And when that unfortunate day comes (and it will), maybe you'll wise up and realize what we're dealing with is a "viral thing," not a "judgment thing." Case in point, Lois: The AIDS and hepatitis virus would be just as happy living in your heterosexual body as in my own homosexual body. News flash, Lois: Neither the AIDS virus nor the hepatitis C virus discriminates on the basis of color, gender or sexual orientation. So beware, Lois!
Should I be as cold as you and let you die because you had unprotected sex once or twice in your life? Or in a crazy period in your life you injected drugs? I think not. Then again, maybe I don't approve of your lifestyle, Lois.
Attention, Lois T.!! If you read the hepatitis C article, you may remember the accompanying story by Steve Jackson, "This Is Only a Test." I'm the guy who had a "false positive" test result after donating blood products at Belle Bonfils Blood Center. Since that false positive test, I've educated myself about the virus. Maybe you should educate yourself before you condemn others as evildoers. In my search for factual information on the topic (undertaken while I was not yet confirmed as a false positive and thought I could possibly have the hep C virus), I learned that most cases of the virus involve heterosexual contact between heterosexual people, not IV drug users or homosexuals.
You have no idea how devastating it was for me to think that I might have the virus. I'm very thankful I don't have it, and I learned a lot in the process. I'm not an IV drug user; I am a monogamous, heterosexual male who has tried to help my fellow inhabitants on this ball of dirt we reside upon by donating something of value--my blood.
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Lois, maybe you should try educating yourself...then go out and help your neighbor instead of peeking into his windows and condemning him for being on "top"--of a list for a liver transplant. You have my sympathy.
Dennis L. Sportsman
The complacency of Lois T.'s rationale that one's lifestyle or behavior makes one deserving of death from AIDS or hepatitis C is another fine example of the bigotry that cowards "with no last name" use. Assuming that her reasoning was meant for both gays or nongays, then she would believe that those who smoke deserve to die of lung cancer. Perhaps Lois T. also feels that those who don't use their turn signals should get into a fatal car wreck, or that a child who doesn't look both ways before crossing the street deserves to be hit and killed by a passing car. Like she said, "they all lived a dangerous lifestyle" and it's all about behavior. As a teacher, parent, husband and Christian, the only thing that I have sympathy for is God's excuse for creating such a disillusioned, pathetic hatemonger like Lois T.