Life in the Fast Lane

Wow! Steve Jackson's "Live Fast, Die Young," in the November 6 issue, was really powerful. It was a great true-crime story, but also a very telling indictment of a throwaway segment of our society. How could any mother abandon a thirteen-year-old child? And then sign her over to a speed freak, no less?

Sherry Jacobs

Scum Came Running
As I vowed in my last letter, I have been continuing to send copies of your hate propagandistic articles to those you have targeted for character assassination, like Charles E. Blair, Reverend Acen Phillips, Will Perkins and James Dobson. (Focus on the Family sent me a nice letter of thanks and put me on its magazine subscription list without charge.) And I am sending off a copy of Ward Harkavy's piece of trash, "Preach for the Stars," in the October 30 issue, to James Ryle and Bill McCartney so they can see what you had to say about them behind their backs. Harkavy's slyly implying that Ryle is possibly predisposed toward numerology and having a near-homosexual attachment for God and Christ is as dirty, mean-spirited and lowdown as one can ever get. They will see for themselves what rotten journalistic scumbags Harkavy and the rest of you are. You are being confronted by a conservative Christian who dares to talk back.

John Bales

Although I do not consider myself particularly religious, I found myself moved by Reverend Dan Strizek's letter in the November 6 issue. He put into words many of my feelings about Promise Keepers. Bottom line: They don't seem very Christian, do they?

Steve Myers

The Text Man Cometh
Regarding Chris LaMorte's "Big Brother Ain't Laughing," in the October 23 issue:

Without the complete text of Lafferty's essay, it is impossible to say whether I think it was obscene, but I stand by an instructor's right to require students to be civil in their postings to a public class list. The student could always get his own Internet service provider and write whatever he wants, but this right does not extend to an instructor-moderated Web site.

Sherwood Wang
via the Internet

Chris LaMorte's article is accurate. He had the entire online file in his possession weeks before the story ran. What he didn't say, however, is that I learned more from the experience than I ever could have from a public university hell-bent on using Gestapo tactics as standard policy. I was reamed by those screwballs at UCD, and I now fear for future generations. Does "lick a cat's butt" or "bitch" from a sarcastic student rate worse than being called "obscene," "offensive" and "disruptive" by a supposedly trained professional? Not to mention the discouraging words from the dean of liberal arts and sciences.

Sure, I'm a cynical, do-anything-for-a-laugh, foul-mouthed bastard, but I thought that was okay in the good ol' U.S. of A. Thankfully, I won't be needing CU's bullshit magazine-writing class, as I'll be published in a national magazine in February and they've already asked for a second article. Screw you, CU.

Scott Lafferty
via the Internet

Editor's note: You want context? We've got context--many of the documents at the heart of the Lafferty/UCD dispute. Check out our Web site at www.westword.com

Pirate's Treasure
Thanks to Eric Dexheimer and Westword for extending the proposition of community and pirate radio. Your article on the two Paonia radio stations, "Radio-Free Paonia," in the November 6 issue, was very well done.

I am twelve and I live in Arvada. I listen to the so-called World-Class Rock station. Yes, most of it is "world-class." But variety is lacking and the rotation is predictable. It is one of the few stations heard in Denver that combines Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, Santana, the Beatles and the Doors. But only select songs are played in an overused blend.

I am glad that you printed this article, especially since you included the cost and relative simplicity of starting a "pirate" station. Maybe this will encourage some to emerge. If Boulder and Denver pirates start, maybe we can have some real people with real souls over the airwaves. Not lime-Jell-O-brained DJs playing only songs that hit the Top 40 or close to it. Maybe someone will play "1983" or "The Soft Parade." If someone hears either of these songs over Denver airwaves, please inform me. It will be a huge evolvement, and I would love to hear it.

Lelah Simon

No Kidding Around
In the October 30 issue you printed letters regarding Kyle Wagner's October 16 story "Hanging Out to Dry," about the kids who hang out at Skyline Park downtown on the 16th Street Mall. The snooty, yuppie comments I read were disturbing. I have worked at the Westin Hotel for a little over two years, and I have never had any of the problems these corporate jerks were talking about. These kids look out for one another and have been nothing but polite to me. Occasionally they do ask for money--if that bothers you, don't give them any.

The women who were saying that the kids shouted obscenities and threatened them are just trying to start problems. I sincerely hope that the new restaurant they are building does not try to kick the kids out of there. Most of these kids don't have anywhere else to go. The uppity corporate types who are complaining have perhaps forgotten where they came from.

It disgusts me that only one side was portrayed in your article. It's a free country, last time I checked...no trendy cafe or bistro should have the right to control who does what across the street from their joint. I find it hard to believe that all these people have had these problems with these kids. I have been downtown for two years, walking down 16th Street almost every day, and I have never seen, heard or experienced anything like what was printed in your article.

Name withheld on request

Madan Chairwoman
I read Kyle Wagner's article on Vesta Dipping Grill ("Have a Nice Trip," October 30), and I am a bit confused. I was under the impression that her article was a critique on food, not interior design. There is much more to Vesta than the chairs. I have been a regular at Vesta since it opened, and I have seen one person trip. I have sat in the chairs, and no one has ever tripped over my chair, possibly because I make it a point to keep my chair as much out of the walk space as possible rather than making people walk around me.

Perhaps you should go again for a drink and, rather than focusing on the chairs, focus on what customers are saying and the looks on their faces.

Erica Ollesh
via the Internet

In Heinlein Sight
Peter Rainier's review of Paul Verhoeven's film version of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers ("Future Shock Troops," November 6) falls into the trap almost all other film critics are currently in concerning this flick.

Rainier, like everyone else, alludes to the "authoritarian" and "militaristic" style and orientation of Heinlein and his works. (At least he does not label "Troopers" as fascistic, like most of the other critics.) The problem with that is that it does not take into account Heinlein himself. He was a hard-core Libertarian and many of his books reflected his individualist and liberty orientation. As a German-American, he was personally offended by the Nazis and set them as the lowest villains in many of his books.

Verhoeven himself was a child in Holland during the Nazi occupation and his Soldier of Orange, with the young Rutger Hauer, was a tribute to the suffering of the occupied people (under Nazis) and the glory of the Resistance against them.

Max Winkler-Wang
via the Internet

Starship Troopers is based on a book by late sci-fi author Robert Heinlein that was published in 1959. It's a first-person perspective on how a young man joins the Mobile Infantry (aka marines) and fights against an alien race known as "the bugs." Much of the book focuses on moral and social issues, and the war is merely a backdrop. It is very thought-provoking and does not include any of the "gung-ho" mentality that so many young people today take concerning most issues military. After all, 1959 was not that much removed from the horrible realities of WWII and Korea.

The movie, of course, throws most of this into the toilet and takes on a disturbing Rambo-esque quality. Now our hero is a gung-ho type, and the bugs become the focus so they can be the victims or perpetrators of gruesome special effects including decapitations, eviscerations and brain suckings. However, all this is forgivable except for one thing:

They left out the power armor.
You see, power armor is what makes the Mobile Infantry mobile. It is a self-contained suit that weighs around 2,000 pounds and magnifies human abilities to superhuman status. When you run, you do so at about 35 miles an hour. You can lift up a car, etc., etc. The power armor allows for one individual carrying a massive array of weapons to do what would have taken 100 non-armored men with a normal weapon load. With today's effects and computer graphics, there was no excuse for leaving out this ingredient from the movie. The suit represented the isolation of the human from the alien, magnifying any reflections made by the character in the book. Making the movie without power armor is akin to a film about the Titanic sans the Titanic. Or how about this: It would be like shooting a Star Trek film without the Enterprise.

Instead, there are now hundreds of extras running around in what looks like gray spandex with rubber tires for chest pieces. I have dubbed the film "Spandex Troopers."

Sacha Gerrish
via the Internet

Romp and Circumstance
Art is difficult; criticism is easy. Jim Lillie's "review" of Servant of Two Masters ("Something Old," October 16) demonstrates this in spades. Yes, the classics are an acquired taste; and Jim, if your attention span can't cope with Shakespeare or Verdi, maybe you should be reviewing Beavis and Butthead. But how you could confuse Servant of Two Masters with some dusty, impenetrable warhorse is a real puzzle.

The fact that children in the audience were rapt, then laughing riotously, should tell any casual observer that this theatrical confection was not only accessible, it was downright "in your face." The only people not laughing were pretending to be sophisticated, confused by the silly, obvious, unstuffy humor. If you like to laugh, and like talent and energy, and don't want to have to take a class to have a good time, see Servant. Don't let the grouchy typings of some dullard discourage you from a delightful romp in the Renaissance hay.

Randal Metz

Big Mac Attack
Regarding Michael Roberts's November 6 Feedback:
How do you know when a music critic is jaded and burned out? When he's the only one out of 18,000 people at McNichols Arena who could not enjoy the recent Fleetwood Mac concert for what it was: a celebration of the music of five very special people performing as a band. Michael was there with an ax to grind, that being to prove Lindsey Buckingham a musical genius and the other four members musical has-beens. Was he right? About Lindsey, yes: Lindsey is a musical genius. About the rest of the band, no: I think 18,000 fans would say Michael was dead wrong.

So this brings us down to two issues about Michael's ability to write this review. One, there is a large and irreconcilable chasm between what he experienced and what moved the other 18,000 people. Two, he has an incredible need to hurl venom at successful performers he dislikes or has written off. Perhaps these issues are what he thinks separate him as a critic from the rest of us as fans. I think it shows how he's changed from a music lover to a jaded cynic. And that's too bad for us all.

George L. Blosser

Hip-Hop Hooray
Michael Roberts's November 6 hip-hop article, "United They Stand," was very interesting. We need more people like this to keep hip-hop in a positive perspective.

Jack Lean
via the Internet

Puff Piece
I would just like to say that I am a huge fan of Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and I think that his music is great. In Michael Roberts's article "Rap Gets Puffy," in the October 2 issue, he cracked on him, and I think that it was wrong, even though you have freedom of speech. I would like to hear and learn more about Sean and how he got started. I hope you will do some more research, and I hope the next article will be a lot better than the first one I read.

via the Internet

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number.

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