Finders, keepers: Bill Gallo, I'm sure I'm not the only reader taken aback by your harsh words about the World's Greatest Baseball Team in the October 9 "Yanks a Lot." Fatal dose of West Nile, plane crashing -- are you for real? Like a professional businessperson goes into a meeting expecting to close the deal, here come the Yankees expecting to be the world champions once again. Get over the paychecks; they earn them. The comment that Yankee fans should be confined to New York is ludicrous. I've lived from Boston to Hawaii, and Yankee fans are everywhere.
I guess the sold-out shows at Coors should speak for themselves. A ballgame ticket, $40; beers and a hat, $50. Watching the Yankees crush their competitors: priceless.
Losers, weepers: Bill Gallo's hatchet job of the New York Yankees was a Westword gaffe. His ill-willed comparison of the world's tyrants (Hitler and bin Laden) to the New York Yankees was utterly distasteful. I cannot speak for the large Jewish and Islamic communities in New York, but I can guess that others also find disgust in Gallo's uninformed comments laced with a bad attitude.
Gallo's own "cocky, strutting" attitude gives him the misguided sense that he has the journalistic license to slander and put words into the head/mouth of Yankee outfielder Bernie Williams. Gallo conjectures that Williams's attitude toward the Minnesota Twins is "Who do you farmers think you are, anyway?" Nothing in Williams's humble upbringings in San Juan, nor his quiet demeanor as a New York Yankee, would indicate that he looks down on his competitors. The inconsistencies of Gallo's column continue by referring to the Yankees as "regal, sophisticated, Chateaubriand-eating New Yorkers," but then a few paragraphs later, he portrays the Yankee community in a different class as those who have "eaten hot pastrami or jumped a turnstile in the subway at midnight."
Many people may find George Steinbrenner as "irksome" as Gallo does, but like Steinbrenner or not, his commitment as an owner to winning baseball games for himself, for his team and for his fans has proven results. Gallo should understand this with his comment that "Americans embrace all winners." I wish that Colorado Rockies owner Charlie Monfort had an inkling of Steinbrenner's desire to win. Yankees fans have never accepted the status quo, and they've been vocal about it. If the Yankees are booed at home by their fans, it's because Yankees fans care about winning.
Would the committed ownership and rabid fans of the Broncos or Avalanche accept a losing season the way Rockies ownership and fans have? The Avalanche expect to go deep into the post-season, just as much as the Yankees do. The Avalanche have made six trips in the past eight years to the Western Conference finals, winning two Stanley Cups. The Yankees have made six trips in the past eight years to the American League championship series, winning four World Series. Elite teams like the Avalanche and Yankees expect more. Gallo may call it "snooty entitlement," but I call it the desire to win the championship, the World Series, the Stanley Cup, every year.
May the curse of the Bambino live on at Yankee Stadium, and may Lord Stanley smile upon the Pepsi Center's fantasy line of Sakic, Selanne and Kariya. And may the Yankee team plane fly home safely, contrary to the hopes of Yankee-haters as put forth by Gallo. His journalistic malpractice evokes bin Laden and then concludes with a wish for a plane full of New Yorkers to crash. So...if you're not with us, then you're against us. I've heard it before.
Steven Ray Liedlich
Riding drag: After reading about the latest Bush regime nonsense in the Rocky Mountain News, I did my weekly perusal of your October 9 issue. Nope, "bad boy" Jason Sheehan didn't seem to use the F-word this week, but there was entirely too much coverage of the puerile Puppetry of the Penis, a Dan Savage column devoted to autofellatio, and details of some band that wants to stage a live suicide and "sodomizes skinned calves," all amid the usual gamut of phone-sex ads. (And amazingly enough, no JM Schell -- whose letters could be easily quantified as Mad Libs based on National Review articles -- to provide unintentional comic relief.)
For some reason, I found my brain drifting back to the ancient Hindu holy text, the Vishnu Purana: "The leaders, with the excuses of fiscal need, will rob and despoil their subjects and take away private property. Moral values and the rule of the law will lessen from day to day until the world will be completely perverted and agnosticism will gain the day among men."
But don't get me wrong; I ain't no fundamentalist. It's just that living in the Kali Yuga (the final, least spiritual and most negative of four evolutionary Yugic cycles in Hindu cosmology) is kind of a drag.
You at least thought it was going to be some sort of Blade Runner future with exotic designer drugs; instead we've got Friends reruns and SSRIs. And with soulless urbane cosmopolitanism on the left and faux-Christian fascism on the right, perhaps J.D. Salinger said it best in Franny and Zooey: "This is the Kali Yuga buddy, the Age of Iron. Anyone over sixteen without an ulcer's a goddam spy."
Rodin warriors: Regarding Off Limits in the October 9 issue:
My partner, Keith, and I are the models in "The Kiss," the photo that was removed from the Denver Civic Theatre. We were surprised to get a call from a friend last Wednesday asking for prints; we had no idea the photo was intended for display at the theater, or that there had been a controversy. At first we kind of laughed, but then when we thought of why the photo was taken, we decided that the theater's actions were quite sad.
You see, the photo was a result of the real "The Kiss" being covered up by a not-so-forward-thinking group in Utah. When the statue traveled to our neighbors to the West for an exhibition, it was deemed to be obscene and was covered. In response, John Davenport did a whole series of different kinds of couples in the pose of "The Kiss" as a mockery of the actions taken in Utah. So to now have a Denver theater decide to censor the photo is not just ironic, but sad.
My partner and I have been together for eleven years. There is nothing confusing or obscene about our love or the expression of it. The photo was intended to point out the stupidity of censoring such expression. I think the Denver Civic Theatre should be ashamed of what it has done. We appreciated your calling the theater on its actions.
John W. Hayden
First things first: Katherine Rosin's commentary on why Edge's pieces were removed is the real "comedy" here. To insinuate that a variation on Rodin's "The Kiss" is sexual is a bigoted and homophobic remark, and the theory that people from New York would be traumatized by someone's artwork is truly funny. The Denver Civic Theatre wants it both ways: They want their First Amendment right to show their work "uncensored" -- but other artwork, which was requested specifically by them, should be edited for the sophisticated theater-goers attending a "Penis Pumping Event."
Female trouble: You know, between the string of aimlessly insulting bad Barbie jokes in the September 18 Off Limits and the next week's consumer guide on precisely how much and how and when and where to pick up a Denver prostitute, I get the feeling that Amy Haimerl does not like women. At all.
Right face: After Kenny Be's cartoon depicting a mock "Conservative Arts Major" curriculum sponsored by David Horowitz, author of the Academic Bill of Rights (Worst-Case Scenario, October 2), I am pleading with Westword to stop the excessive leftist spin! Horowitz's proposal simply calls on universities to hire faculty based on applicants' academic merits rather than their personal political leanings. It does not demand quotas, numbers or any interrogation of applicants' political views at all. These sound like principles that both liberals and conservatives would agree with.
Yet instead of finding solidarity with this fair and noble plan, Westword's cartoonist simply denounced and ridiculed it with typical conservative stereotyping and outright lies. Until a university professor or faculty member can be hired based solely on his or her academic skill, students will sadly get only half an education. The left half.
Left face: I enjoyed Michael Roberts's October 9 Message on the "hard progress" of liberals in the mainstream media, and agree with much of it, to an extent. However, when Roberts says the media neo-cons enjoy healthy ratings because they are more entertaining than their competition, I have to ask: What competition? During the congressional hearings on media consolidation in May, Byron Dorgan (Democrat from North Dakota) presented statistics showing that there were at least 300 hours of conservative talk radio syndicated nationally each week, compared with five for liberals. My response was: Where's the five hours? (And please don't say NPR, which could be called "progressive" in a tongue-in-cheek sense, because everything else on the radio is so far right.) That sort of an imbalance doesn't occur just because the right is "more entertaining," not in a country where "dull presidential loser Al Gore" got more votes than Bush. Could there be other factors in explaining the right-wing's media dominance?
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There are plenty. One is the rightist leanings found in big-money corporate media conglomerates like those of Rupert Murdoch. Another is the fact that the nationalist macho swagger and smirking frat-boy humor of the Limbaugh types appeals to a large segment of sports fans, the other core staple of radio listeners.
Granted, the right's aggressiveness, its willingness to go for the jugular and attack, attack, attack, even if you have nothing better to offer, has a certain morbid appeal, like a car wreck on the side of the freeway. But is that territory progressives want to stake out -- and can they, even if they want to? I suspect many progressives lack the taste for blood you find on the right. Sure, liberals must be entertaining and stimulating to be heard; Michael Moore's work is proof that it can be done. But there are intrinsic difficulties in persuading progressives to sell out just to be heard, and there should be.
To pass off this staggering conservative media imbalance as simply an industry response to "boring" liberals sure lets the media off the hook in terms of balanced reporting, doesn't it?