Letters to the Editor
B-have: Regarding Michael Roberts's June 9 Message:
"B" isn't for "Boss," it's for "Bye-bye traditional radio stations." Unfortunately, traditional radio stations are like those starved-for-attention kids we all knew in school who would do anything they could to get you to, well, pay attention to them. I understand that traditional radio stations are in business to make a profit by garnering an audience so that advertisers are willing to pay dollars to get their message heard; to get and maintain that audience, the envelope has to get pushed so that radio stations can sell five-minute blocks of commercials based upon the ratings.
Two years ago, I read a newspaper article about a number of different radio stunts nationwide -- other than the KBPI Mud Fest and the chicken incident. And then I thought to myself, "My local traditional radio station is that idiot kid who sat next to me in school trying to do anything to get me to pay attention to him! And he's getting me to pay attention to him so that he can make my hour one-third less efficient by throwing in twenty-plus minutes of commercials per hour...time I could be listening to more music!"
Back in school, I would have asked my teacher to move me away from the kid. After this realization, I used my checkbook to move away from the idiot kid as I drove in silence (no radio) to my local Best Buy. Hello, satellite radio! Suddenly, I had dozens of commercial-free radio options with sixty minutes of music per hour, and I could tune into whatever flavor I wanted. Sure, it cost me a little over $10 per month for my service. But the attention-starved kid who makes my hour of listening enjoyment 33 percent less efficient is out of my classroom, and I'm getting more out of my time.
I respect the fact that KPBI needs to make a living -- I just don't want that kid or any other obnoxious kid sitting next to me ever again. And if it costs me thirty cents a day to keep away from what I consider the equivalent of nails being scratched on the chalkboard (22 minutes of commercials and yammering, attention-starved DJs, then I consider my daily milk money well spent.
Wake up and smell the coffee: Censorship gets a bad rap. If the government is not involved, censorship is great. In fact, life would be nigh on impossible without it. Censorship is the examination of something "in order to suppress or delete any contents considered objectionable." If you did not censor, you would have to read everything, watch everything, and listen to everything. That would be hard.
Have you ever turned the channel because you were offended? Have you turned off a movie because your mother entered the room? Do you refuse to buy girlie magazines? Have you been given a piece of art you did not hang on your wall? Do you turn the radio to another channel when a song you dislike comes on?
You, my friend, are a censor. You have personally suppressed something you find objectionable. And that's good. The only bad censorship is government censorship. Unfortunately, people confuse the two. Personal censorship is not government censorship. We cannot do without the former. We must never succumb to the latter.
This unfortunate confusion manifested itself when the owners of a Diedrich coffeehouse recently removed artwork depicting Saddam Hussein and a separate painting of Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Off Limits, June 16). The artist, Miguel Flores, said the removal of his paintings was censorship. Yep. So what? A private company made a decision about what goes on its walls. Stop the presses.
I have some drawings I would like to display, too. I wonder if Flores would let me put them in his house. If not, he is censoring me and my work.
If the government had ordered the removal of the paintings, I would be right there protesting with Flores. That is not the case. The state does not run this Diedrich coffeehouse. "Mr. Diedrich" does.
David K. Williams Jr.
Temperature's rising: Jared Jacang Maher, there's one hottie you have to know about. Becka at Ecks Saloon in Lakewood is a complete knockout. If you don't feature her in your Hottest Service Employees contest, at least the visit will definitely be worth your time!
Editor's note: Only a few days left to nominate Denver's Hottest Service Employees! The deadline is Monday, June 27; for details, go to www.westword.com/Issues/2005-06-16/news/offlimits2.html.
Provocative behavior: In his April 28 "Beating the Bully," Luke Turf wrote about a workshop I'd recently presented on the Bully-Proofing Your School program at the "Safe Communities -- Safe Schools Conference." At one point, he described comments I made regarding provocative victims, a subgroup of victims who have a variety of social-skill difficulties. These difficulties often lead them to be viewed as annoying or irritating, both by peers and adults. This does not mean, however, that they should be criticized or denigrated by the adults. In fact, the point I was making was that provocative victims require as much care and respect as the other types of victims.
Provocative victims can be frustrating to teachers, and sometimes teachers express this frustration in front of other students. This can have the unintended effect of modeling for other children that it is okay to act in a negative manner toward these students, which can lead to further alienating them. By openly and honestly acknowledging that these students can frustrate us, we raise awareness about how our behavior toward these provocative victims impacts how other students treat them.
By stating that I was "sneering" as I discussed these students, Luke Turf runs the risk of perpetuating these negative attitudes toward provocative victims. As someone who has dedicated the past twelve years of his life to helping create safe, caring school environments for all students, I am deeply concerned about how my remarks could be misconstrued. Provocative victims, like other victims of bullying, should not be scorned or demeaned, but rather they should be given our support, compassion and help.
I hope this clears up any misconception that Mr. Turf or the reader of his article may have in this regard.
Larry Epstein, president.
Creating Caring Communities
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