Letters to the Editor
Better dead than Ted: I just wanted to thank Patricia Calhoun for not pulling any punches in "Ted Alert!," her column in the November 20 issue. This whole thing has been driving me nuts, and I don't even live in Denver. When I heard about all the news stations showing up to be shown the plane and ending up waiting for hours, it was just too much on top of too much. The phonies! The manipulators! This is the most asinine campaign I've ever heard of, and clearly the most abusive case of anthropomorphizing it's ever been my displeasure to witness.
via the Internet
It won't fly: You know you live in Den when United Airlines thinks it can convince all us dumb residents that 1) Ted is a good name for an economy airline, and 2) Ted is going to be an economy airline even though it's spending a fortune on a stupid ad campaign.
Ted Kaczynski looks like a marketing genius compared with these people. Thanks for the laughs.
I drink, therefore I am: Regarding Julie Dunn's "Party Patrol," in the November 20 issue:
DU house parties aren't a problem, the people who complain about them are. They knew they were moving into a college neighborhood; if they want quiet, they should move to the suburbs. Is it really that big a deal for a student house to have a party once every ten weeks? And if it is, instead of calling the cops, maybe the neighbors should go to the students and ask them to keep it down.
You should take a poll of all the people who complained about these parties, see how many of them went to college, see how many of them partied at houses or drank underage in college. This is an educated area, and you will find there are many hypocrites. All the university has done is make it more dangerous to drink -- a college right -- by forcing students off to downtown bars and far-away house parties.
This new DU liquor license is a joke -- a way to pry more money away from students and parents. The reason DU's getting the license is because they weren't selling any 3.2 beer. And why should students buy it? It's more expensive than at liquor stores or local bars, and it isn't even real beer. DU's solution to this whole problem is to put overpriced beer and a few pre-mixed drinks in a campus hangout that generally brings in only freshmen.
Until DU starts listening to its students and taking action on behalf of its students, students will continue to throw house parties and drink and drive to bars located throughout the city, putting more people at risk.
Wild in the streets: I had statistics in college: probabilities, ratios, etc. In no way do I declare myself a statistician, but I would bet my last dollar that the probability of DU students getting DUIs is going to increase. The increase may not be apparent next semester, or even in the entire upcoming year, but it sounds to be inevitable. The new approach to campus parties being taken by DU officials is not going to result in anything but a reduction of noise on campus and an extended voyage for students to take en route to the bottle (or, more likely, the keg). The parties will not vanish; they'll just expand to the outer boundaries of DU campus control. Look out, surrounding areas!
If Mr. Krauss is going to require students to write letters to neighbors "victimized by noise," I think it is only fair that he require the neighbors to write a letter to the "victimized by selfishness" parents when their son or daughter gets a DUI (or worse). A noisy, obnoxious, drunk, slobbering student is better than a dead one!
Guv and marriage: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Vision Quest," his Message in the November 13 issue:
For six years I've read both Westword and Michael Roberts's columns. For six years I have found both to be indispensible and occasionally disappointing. Which brings me to my point. Michael's words regarding KNRC radio and Enid Goldstein don't bring forth the warm and fuzzy feelings that he does with his poisonous discourse inspired by the anti-Dixie Chick stations down the dial.
This is clear: Enid, I believe prompted by various media watchers, simply queried (after the never-ending investigative reports frequently targeting blue-collar, minority government workers) as to why the local media seem to have a hands-off approach to covering King Bill. (Does this man get any media scrutiny?) Compare and contrast the treatment of Governor National Review with that of Wellington Webb, and even a neutral but perceptive observer would ask, "Uh, something doesn't seem right here, does it?" No, it doesn't. It appears to me, Enid and many others that local media outlets are patting themselves on their respective backs for not being interested in asking Mister Bill certain questions. Oh, no? Oh, yes. Otherwise, why doesn't someone in the media (the next time Owens deems it worthy of a Q&A) simply ask the man if adultery is involved in his separation?
As far as Poynter Institute-recommended journalistic ethics, Roberts is correct: Proof is proof, and truth is truth. But a local lapdog press is still a disservice to the community it purports to be watchdogging.
Homers on the range: In the November 6 Message, Michael Roberts accurately identifies our "cuz" Lou From Littleton as a homer. I used to listen to Mike and Sandy in the morning and now listen to Peter Boyles or KLZ driving to work. Lou is indeed a homer, but I can smile and get beyond that. What bothers me about Lou is his usage of the expression "I." He is always letting his personal views be known, and often those become central to the ensuing conversation. This departs from convention, as no other Denver sports-talk host does this, at least not regularly.
Lou does what any of us do over a draw of beer at the pub -- but live radio is not the appropriate venue. Furthermore, Lou loses his temper on the air with an occasional dissenting listener. This is most unusual for talk radio. I think Lou is pretty much the egotist, and even his "cuz" expression is presumptuous. I feel the same way when I hear a nurse call an elderly patient "hon," or by their first names. Mike Evans is the consummate pro, and I feel The Fan has done him a disservice coupling him with a fellow who is pretty much an amateur.
Giving Singleton the business: I enjoyed Michael Roberts's October 30 Message on the Denver Post business section, but I think he overlooked one important point in examining the poor quality of the Post's business coverage: pay.
As a former alumni of the Denver Post business department (1985-'89), I was amazed when I visited there a year ago. I found that there was only one person over the age of thirty (not including the business editor) in the department. It points to a fundamental problem not just with the Post, but with mid-sized dailies in general: low pay. People get better jobs and leave Denver.
The Post was once a destination paper until it fell on hard times in the late 1970s to early '80s. After Dean Singleton bought it from Times Mirror for a song in the late '80s, the first thing he did was ask for givebacks. True, he had to do something, because the paper had been a big, fat sinkhole -- to the tune of $20 million annually. But if you look at salaries, the Post is getting exactly what it is paying for: inexperience. Salaries of journeymen have not kept pace with inflation. The old joke about Colorado (and the Post) is that they pay you in scenery. I think this is even more true today than it was a decade ago.
Despite the Post's being a government-sanctioned monopoly and returning to profitability under Singleton's penny-pinching, a five-year veteran now makes $55K. The pay when I left in 1989 was $39,000. That's a 41 percent increase over thirteen years. That may seem like a big boost, but when you look at in annual terms, that's a raise of about $1,142 per year, or an annual growth rate of 2.48 percent before factoring in inflation. If you assume that prices rose at a modest 2.5 to 3 percent over the period, pay didn't even keep pace with inflation. Now, you can also assume that people with less than five years' experience make a lot less, and the scale is tilted toward hiring fewer people on the top and more at the bottom. How much is unclear, but I would argue that Singleton is getting exactly what he is paying for. The biggest thing the new regime (what number is this one?) could do is raise pay and start hiring more experienced people from outside of Colorado. I am talking reporters, not editors. But I doubt that will ever happen, given that there is no rational business reason for doing so.
Competition is gone from Denver, and it's not returning anytime soon.
Myth taken: I was pleasantly surprised by Michael Paglia's "Art of Identity," in the November 6 issue. This is a rare event, considering the condescending generalizations and outright factual errors that he makes on a regular basis. Indeed, he pulls out a doozy in this dual review, suggesting that the conceptual politics of the feminist art on display at the University of Denver and the "romantic and emotive" qualities of "modernist" sculptor Bryan Andrews constitutes a role reversal. This is simply wrong: Because it engages some reality exterior to the so-called aesthetic experience, all conceptualism is firmly rooted in the feminist critique of the (male) art-genius myth, where many formal modernists are guilty of indulging in it. I mention this at the risk of essentializing feminism, as Paglia has, which is actually as diverse as it is fundamental to all significant art since the 1970s.
So how could I possibly enjoy this article? I enjoyed it because Paglia is so erroneous that he actually illustrates the feminist critique more effectively than the art that he writes about. Witness his misinterpretation of Andrews's "fetems" (interesting hybrids of fetish and totem) primarily as phallic monoliths: "The 'fetem' sculptures are the icons of this unique one-man faith, and they have their own symbolic language of simple forms, but their complete meaning is known only to Andrews." This "romantic" faith in the male subjectivity as a basis for mythmaking is disturbingly similar to what we're witnessing in the White House these days, and it makes the criticism at DU all the more timely.
It's a shame that a writer with such cursory knowledge of art of the last, oh, thirty years, is entitled to a full-page article on the subject every week. I don't mean to suggest that one must have an extensive background in art theory to enjoy or interpret art. But when you are being paid for your opinions, you've got to educate yourself. To be perfectly honest, I learned more about art from the late Westword art gallery listings.
Hard to swallow: Marty Jones's "State of Reflux," in the November 6 issue, was an interesting article. I also have GERD, and I drink beer a lot. But my doctor very recently told me something completely different from Marty's: She said beer is fine, no big deal, that the relaxation actually helps, but to avoid hard liquor, especially whiskey and wine -- wine is very acidic -- as well as caffeine. I've avoided all those other foods, but there's no difference; elevated my bed, no difference.
My one salvation is beer, and it doesn't make my symptoms any worse. So all the docs have different opinions, but mine said that drinking beer is fine. Good luck to Marty; I know it sucks.
via the Internet
Fishing for compliments: When I tell people that I grew up in Honolulu, the response I get is usually a derivative of the question "Why in the hell did you leave?" This is generally followed by a reference to the beautiful weather, pristine beaches or lush flora Hawaii has become known for. Not once, however, has anyone asked me if I missed the food.
Given Colorado's insatiable hunger for the mediocre cuisine of establishments like Applebee's, Chili's and PF Chang's, failing to see Hawaii as a food paradise does not surprise me. Until I read Jason Sheehan's "Desperately Seeking Sushi," in the November 13 issue, I'd also been left unsurprised when, while seeking a fix for a lifelong sushi dependency, I ended up forcing down the maki equivalent of methadone.
I'm Jewish, but I don't want cream cheese in my sushi. I don't want to see a section of a sushi menu reserved for those who don't like raw fish. I want my nigiri to be prepared by a crotchety old Japanese man, not a Wisconsin-born frat boy. Like Sheehan, I want my sushi to be the product of centuries-old tradition.
I seldom give credence to a food reviewer. They tend to be better barometers of food trends and often disregard actual food quality. Sheehan's articulate assessment of sushi tells me that he may be different. I look forward to reading more of his reviews and, more important, I look forward to bellying up to Sushi Tazu's sushi bar!
Man overboard: When Kyle Wagner left Westword, you lost a world-class food critic. I have trouble wading through Jason Sheehan's "reviews" because of all the extraneous matter unrelated to the subject he is supposed to be addressing.
I feel the man has been given his chance to prove he belongs with your publication. And now it is time to give someone else a chance.
After the fall: After reading Eric Dexheimer's "Hard to Swallow," in the October 30 issue, I have to ask: What was your point, Eric?
You went a bit too far in your fancy-worded diatribe when you mentioned Dwain Weston and his "free fall" at the Royal Gorge. You obviously weren't there to witness the high-speed miscalculation as Dwain attempted to thread the needle of the bridge-support wires with his bat-suited body. Do you think that Dwain's actions were merely to satisfy his desire for adrenaline? No, it was for the people watching. It was to give the everyday folks standing there, bound by gravity, a chance to feel as free and insanely alive as he was feeling! You should have quit when you were ahead.
You remind me of the reporter who asked Mario Andretti what it felt like to be climbing into his race car, knowing it could be his last time. Andretti replied to the reporter, "You're probably the type of guy who wants to die in your sleep, right?" And the guy said, "Well, I hope I could have a death such as that."
And Mario answered, "Well, what is it like to climb into your bed, knowing that night could be your last?"
News flash: Regarding John La Briola's "Ghost Stories," in the October 30 issue:
Speaking of bursting bubbles, I read recently in a book about crop circles that the floating orbs occur only under flashbulb light, as they are in actuality the flash reflected off any floating dust particles or moisture droplets adrift in the air. That's why they are so common.
However, I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do
via the Internet
Feelings, nothing more than feelings: We are writing in response to "Ghost Stories," because of the way most "ghost hunters" describe how investigations should be done. As a well-respected paranormal research group, we would invite you to visit our Web site (www.rockymountainparanormal.com) and check on the "orb" and technical sections to see why feelings and photography will never help further the field of paranormal research, or aid people who actually need help because of a paranormal event in their lives.
Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society
Open season: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Access Ability," in the October 16 issue:
Public-access television is one of the miracles of the United States of America. In a country where a bunch of laws restricting citizens' liberties are labeled "the Patriot Act," we need to fight to preserve every small bit of democracy and free speech that exists. We all know that democracy is dependent on the free flow of abundant and diverse information. How else can we vote intelligently? We should not have to pay for free speech, and in the case of public-access TV, we do not. The money that comes into the city coffers from the cable company would not be there if it were not for the public-access channels.
Community TV is open to all. I write letters to editors, most of which never see print. Newspapers don't print all of the letters they receive. When a citizen, even a child, produces a program at community TV, it goes on. If you don't like what's on, show up and make your own program. So far, it's still a pretty free country.
Tina Bluefield, producer
World news now: Of course the commercial media giants hate public-access television: We are the real reality TV, and we are also the real freedom of speech that the highly polished and highly biased commercial media outlets say they're in favor of. But they are most in favor of freedom of speech when it lines their pockets, speaks only their perspectives and destroys ideas that don't profit their choices.
Instead of quoting them, why not check out the only Vietnamese TV in Denver -- on public-access Denver Community Television. Or the Chinese stuff. Or the Spanish-language stuff. Or the Japanese. Or the German.
It was the Denver League of Women Voters and DCTV's new mobile media van that brought all those mayoral forums to Denver living rooms on Channel 8.
Now any personal computer in the world can access our cable programming via www.dctv.org. We are changing the world today.
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