Letters to the Editor
Litter bug: Kenny Be's clumsy swats at the Denver logos are entirely too easy ("Pick of the Litter," April 8). In fact, they're expected and boring. They're a nine-year-old trying to sneer. What? You didn't like Denver's logo choices? Well, isn't that just a fucking surprise? I would have been more impressed if Be had thought about it a little and found something interesting, insightful or -- gasp -- positive to say. But then, positive isn't funny. And funny is a hurtful need. They were easy shots at an easy target. It's like making a Britney Spears joke. Gee, that's funny. (Incidentally, Be's logos actually make the original three look pretty damn good.)
That said, yes, the idea of asking the public to comment on the logo choices is stunningly ignorant. Denver's bureaucrats either had no clue how the public views city marketing efforts (an easy target that can do no right), or they simply wanted a convenient way to kill all three logos. Either way, it's naive to think that opening the debate from a committee of dozens to a committee of hundreds of thousands is going to help anything. Even the iconic "I Love NY" logo would've been crushed in this kind of Kafka gang bang.
Does the city need a logo? Who knows. What it certainly needs is someone who can make a decision instead of letting it be made by Kenny Be and about 550,000 other armchair designers.
Walk, don't ride: High school kids confidently hurtle through school zones slouched in 3,000 pounds of over-powered steel while stuffing their faces with super-sized fries, slurping Starbucks Latte Grandes (with no-fat skim milk and six sugars), talking both on a cell and to the six kids in the back seat, and checking on their hair in those mirrors thoughtfully provided for just that purpose, no problem. But in "Taken for a Ride," in the April 8 issue, Adam Cayton-Holland thinks the distractions of the trek, figuring out a bus schedule and navigating a few busy streets on foot to get to school will tax their abilities beyond all reasonable expectation. I'm sure some of their only slightly senior cohorts navigating minefields in Afghanistan and being distracted by rocket-propelled grenades in Fallujah feel their pain. The horror, the horror!
To hear Cayton-Holland tell it, another thing no one's given enough thought to as Denver schools put Big Yellow out to pasture and invite kids to catch The Ride is that the poor schoolbus drivers -- apparently too stupid to read a newspaper, yet somehow bright enough to be allowed to haul a hundred kids around in a lumbering, top-heavy bus -- are completely unaware that they are about to lose their jobs. God knows, everybody else's job is carved in stone. Why, I know half a dozen typewriter repairmen on my block alone!
I'll spare the youngsters the uphill-both-ways story, but if they don't like RTD, there's always Keds. Given the reported incidence of obesity among kids of this age, maybe their hoofing it a couple or three miles every day wouldn't be such a bad thing. Hell, after a few weeks of such forced marches, some of those micro-miniskirt-clad girls whose delicate welfare Cayton-Holland worries over will gain something that should actually show itself in a micro-mini.
Seeing is believing: It was with alternating disbelief and fits of laughter that I read last week's response letters to your highly obvious April Fools' article, "Silencing Radio 1190." Anyone who actually believed that Betsy Hoffman would say the line about "lapping a dirty diaper" perhaps needs some lessons in sarcasm.
Moreover, it was particularly disturbing to find out that many of your readers evidently believe whatever they read. Hell, I don't know, but just maybe that explains so many of the "kill 'em all" attitudes about the CU football program and the idiotic, extreme anti-George Bush and/or Iraq war rhetoric found in so many letters to Westword.
So here's to the reinstatement of 1190 and freedom of speech and the hiring of John Elway at CU...and for the understanding of what's truth and what's fiction.
The straight poop: Yoooou dirty pranksters! I nearly pooped myself when I read the article about CU shutting off Radio 1190. That part about Clear Channel taking over really did it. I don't think I'm that gullible, but your prank had me going. I was ready to march to Boulder and kick someone's shins in! Good one!
Bi bye: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Fooling Around," in the April 1 issue:
It offends me that Bob Ewegen thinks it is impossible that Bill Owens is bisexual. Let's give the governor more credit!
P.S.: The CU football/radio stories were genius. Hilarious!
Own up: Thanks for your rumorific article on Owens's possible closet skeletons. In the third paragraph, you referred to "the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post," but only the second, third, fourth, seventh and eighth words in that phrase were italicized. The last time I phoned those papers, the phone receptionist indicated that they were both part of the same organization.
Which is more misleading: people mistakenly believing that there are two competing organizations, or people being misled into believing that they are two separate entities? In future writings, please consider italicizing that entire phrase.
What if it turned out that Coke and Pepsi were owned by the same entity? What would that do to "the cola wars"? What if it turned out that Republicans and Democrats were owned by the same entity? What would that do to our constitutional republic?
Thank you for your writing, your understanding and your cooperation.
Name withheld on request
The bum's rush: After reading Patricia Calhoun's "High Noon" story on panhandlers on the 16th Street Mall, I can only assume it was part of your April Fools' issue. I live on 16th at Stout, and I'd be happy to introduce her to any number of obnoxious, aggressive, annoying and potentially dangerous bums. Sorry to break this to all the liberals, but they're not characters, not travelers, not free spirits. They're just bums. The same faces every day, the same doorways every day, the same story every day about Western Union money all set to arrive, the hotel room they only need another four dollars for, the job waiting in the Springs if they can only get the bus fare, etc. I've been pitched by a guy as I walk to Subway and pitched again by the same guy five minutes later as I walk home. That's tenacity.
As for the crowd of young tweakers in training at McDonald's, they're bothering almost everyone who walks that stretch of 16th with screamed obscenities, trash, fighting and general disruption.
Of course those stores sell cheesy tourist souvenirs -- they sell them to cheesy tourists, naturally -- but I'd take the carved bear toilet-paper dispenser over the guy puking in a trash can at noon anyday.
Focus on your own family: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Sex and This City," in the April 1 issue:
I'd just like to say that I think Shawn Mitchell is one of the biggest hypocrites I've ever had the displeasure of coming across. To try to legislate the schools into what they can or can't teach about sexuality, all the while allowing his own children to participate in the classes, shows what a buffoon he really is, and a grade-AAA hypocrite. There should definitely be a certain IQ level that people have to have in order to become elected officials.
Dismember the Alamo: Regarding Robert Wilonsky's "Messin' With Texas," his review of The Alamo in the April 8 issue:
Please fire Wilonsky. It seems that he almost cannot write a review of a movie without giving away the ending. Short of firing him, please edit his reviews so that movie-goers will be allowed the pleasure of learning a movie's twists in the theater. Short of editing his work, please direct Wilonsky to proof his own work before submitting it. Quote: "...truth really be told, there is nothing new in this version." Quote: "Every film made about the fall of the Alamo ends with the slaughter.... Not this time.... An Alamo with a happy ending -- now, that's revolutionary."
Is the market for movie critics really that slim? If so, get this guy under a tighter grip, and give us some reviews that follow a few basic guidelines.
The devil made him do it: Robert Wilonsky's review of Hellboy ("What the Devil?" April 1) would have been more appropriately titled "I Hate Comic Books." True, the movie-going public has been inundated with comic-book movies of late (and most of them less than, uh, amazing), and even I -- a huge comic geek -- am growing tired of them. But Wilonsky's assaults on the medium were unjust and uncalled-for. The sheer abundance of creativity and imagination found in comic books is staggering; it's no wonder that an idea-bankrupt Hollywood is continuously dipping into it (not that del Toro is a Hollywood director, by any means).
I think the Hellboy review is way off, but even so, a film-review column is nowhere to register your dislike for a completely different art form and its community.
Dark victory: Regarding Michael Paglia's "Land Minds," in the April 1 issue:
I just wanted to point out that the very creative anecdote about Ron's black fingernails was entertaining but quite incorrect! The dark, stained fingernails were in fact caused by Amidol, a particular kind of developer that Ron used without gloves, as revealed by those dark nails. This was the badge of a true traditionalist photographer, someone who knew the ancient secrets of our dark trade and could still use them. He was one of the few old souls left with a direct connection to the roots of photography. Or, as the kids say, he was "old-school."
I first met Ron when I was a student at the University of Colorado at Denver in the early '90s. (He'd taught for the Community College of Denver since it began as Denver Community College in the '70s.) After grad school, I returned to work with him as an instructor at CCD, where I was lucky to have his humor and insight. He once told me, in his deliberate way of speaking, "It is important...not to be...confused for a student!" His wry smile finished the thought.
Michael Paglia replies: My apologies for repeating the black fingernail story, which I'd heard a decade ago. I only included it in my homage to Ron Wohlauer, a great photographer, because it seemed to illustrate his dedication to his art.
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