Don't Slam the Door
Do I hold the record for generating the most indignant and irate replies to a letter?
It is truly gratifying to find that you have such a righteous readership (Letters, May 10 and May 17). You may let them know I am leaving Los Denverles forever and moving back to Redneck, Nebraska.
Also, I thought that Patricia Calhoun's column on Fun City ("For Your Amusement," May 17) said it like it is. It describes very well another reason why I am out of here.
Other Amusing Places
Patricia Calhoun's "For Your Amusement" article on Elitch's dealings with the City of Denver was amusing but not as informative as it could have been. While it is true that the park's policy toward its patrons is greedy and mean-spirited, Ms. Calhoun fails to provide dissatisfied patrons with a realistic alternative.
There is another amusement park that offers its patrons the chance to picnic on the property. From its art-deco ambience to its tree-shaded pavilions, Lakeside has been a Denver institution nearly as long as Elitch's. Its ancient carousel continues its timeless journey amid the tunes of yesteryear. Its genuine steam railroad continues to circumnavigate the lake, the popcorn pops and the cotton candy spins. There is plenty of parking, and it comes included with the price of admission.
Every year, the media jumps like frogs in a dynamite pond when Elitch's proclaims opening day or gets a new ride. Almost all news reported about Lakeside relates to its status as a "private" city.
If Elitch's finds itself in such a strong position that it can afford to treat patrons with contempt and disdain, it did not achieve this status unaided. Ms. Calhoun's failure to direct disappointed Elitch's patrons to a viable alternative is a disservice to the many readers who may be unaware that Elitch's has competition.
I think you missed the point completely in Michelle Dally Johnston's "Muscle Bitch Party," in the May 10 issue. It's a shame you have no ethical code guiding what you print. While the article seems to serve primarily as a personal attack on Representative Pat Schroeder, as evidenced by the irrelevant and unprofessional remark that she "lifts nothing heavier than Snickers bars," the article ignored some key points and, adding insult to injury, was accompanied by an offensive headline and illustration. I congratulate Westword for being such an excellent mouthpiece for the "anti-women's movement." Personally, I find your irresponsible journalism offensive.
It's a good thing the Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonprofit group, since it seems unable to efficiently prioritize its efforts. On what basis is the upper-body strength study such a hot target for this group? Obviously, it's something other than the money issue. After all, the $140,000 study budget represents a whopping 0.00006 percent of the Department of Defense's and 0.00023 percent of the Army's budget for fiscal year 1995. If differences in upper-body strength limit the types of jobs women can perform as well as their male counterparts, which as a result limits job opportunities, then any effort aimed at giving women the means to overcome this obstacle should be applauded. The military has been a forerunner in our society in promoting occupational equality, and results of test programs, such as the one in question, are often used by agencies outside the Defense Department.
It's unfortunate that you misuse the First Amendment as a license to label military women--or any women--as "bitches." The headline, "Muscle Bitch Party," is a clever double entendre that, at best, shows extremely poor taste, and judging from the illustration that accompanied the article, I don't think the double meaning was unintentional. If a military person had been responsible for allowing such a headline to be published, he or she would be making a sudden career change.
You really outdid yourselves by using such an outrageous illustration with the article. The image of two disproportionately developed military women pumping iron demonstrates your ignorance about military women and women who lift weights. And it's a shame that you so willingly accept the archaic chauvinist attitude that women who choose to pursue traditionally male career fields are excessively "manly" or otherwise unfeminine. It's ironic that the press, an institution that prides itself on exposing injustices, displays such sexist attitudes and promotes negative stereotypes of women.
What I think is most tragic is that you would probably know it's wrong to depict an African-American woman using an "Aunt Jemima" figure or use the image of a grinning Mexican in a sombrero eating a taco to represent members of our Hispanic community. However, you don't realize that your depiction of military women is equally inappropriate. Articles like this one do a good job of telling young women they should find "suitable," "feminine" career fields and not challenge existing barriers to equal-employment opportunities. I thought the media, in its watchdog function, served to challenge the status quo when necessary--not promote outdated discriminatory myths.
Captain Antoinette T. Kemper
U.S. Air Force
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's May 10 column, "Indecent Exposure":
With regard to the new sports-theme mural being painted on the side of the building facing I-25 at 15th Street, sadly, I have to take the same stance on censorship about this mural that I have taken defending artists whose work I truly admire and respect. I also have to suggest to the art community that the creator of the mural beat us to the punch, and we have to live with that one.
Kip Ferris's mural on the backside of the Jack's Carpet building had been part of my life since the early Seventies when my family and I would drive by on I-25. It amazed me. I loved it then, and I loved it until it disappeared recently. The new mural going up in its place is not my cup of tea; however, it's going up, and we are just going to have to live with it. Why? First of all, it is on private property. Second of all, the person from Aurora who conceived of it may well have the right to make murals just like the next guy. We can certainly judge it, but can we stop the effort because we don't happen to like the subject matter or the style? I think that if we do, we are censoring. One cannot cry "censorship" to defend one piece of art and then "I'm not censoring--this is just plain lousy" in another, without expecting the tables to turn. Remember, there was no public selection process to choose this mural. The creator of the mural approached the building owner first. Instead of deriding the creator of the mural, the conversation about this issue should be: "Why didn't the building owner contact Kip Ferris so he could retouch the mural?" or "Why didn't Kip Ferris contact the building owner so he could retouch his mural?" or "Why didn't we know that the building owner wanted the wall repainted?" or "Why didn't I notice that the wall needed repainting?" or "Why didn't I think of it first?" Let this be a lesson in complacency versus proactivity.
On a final note, I don't recall an outcry from the art community when the fabulous mural on 16th and Wazee was painted over. Was it because nothing that offends the art community's sensibilities was painted in its place? All we have left at that location is a blank wall. We should be more vigilant about protecting what we already have if we love and value it.
Rock of Ages
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Getting the Led Out," in the May 17 issue:
I can't quite agree with Michael Roberts's evaluation of the recent Page/Plant concert. I found it inspiring and, surprisingly, among the best shows I've ever attended. Page and Plant were powerful and to the point.
Having spent my life as a professional musician, even with a degree in music (big deal), I like to think that I can detect the difference between hype and substance. I went to see ex-Led not to witness flaming virtuosity but to experience a musical event of a different flavor.
Michael Roberts probably isn't old enough to have seen the "original" Led Zeppelin--but I am, and I saw them at the Denver Coliseum. Back then, they were really, really awful at times. Sloppy, dragged out--a far cry from the precise recordings they made.
The fifty-year-old guys who played Big Mac were mature musicians who hit their mark precisely. Page's ego had come under control and, in his wisdom, he saw the sonic advantages to additional musicians. That gave him the necessary freedom to allow him to concentrate on playing one guitar part instead of trying to be four people at once. Plant's main concern seemed to be his singing--not being a rock-and-roll sex symbol, which screwed up his abilities on stage in those "good old days."
By the way, that "mysterious antenna contraption" is called a "theramin," and Page's solo on it, backed by the band's groove, was absolutely fantastic and well-orchestrated.
Sorry, Michael, but in this case, the reunion was ten times an improvement over the old band. Where Led Zeppelin was a mere cherry bomb on stage, the mature Page and Plant detonated some plutonium in concert this year.
In his letter last week, Thomas Mestnik referred to James Ridgeway's book Blood in the Face, in which Denver entertainer Boyd Rice is pictured as a member of the American Front along with the group's founder, Bob Heick. According to Rice, the photograph in Ridgeway's book was originally taken for Sassy magazine, and he donned the American Front uniform "for the first and the last time" as a "lark" for the photo shoot. Although Rice used to be a friend of Heick's, Rice says he has never been a member of the American Front, nor has he supported their actions.