She's needled: After thinking all day about John La Briola's otherwise interesting Tarantella article ("Twice Bitten," November 3), I have to say I am a bit offended by his reference to the "so-called heroin-rock scene" in Denver. Heroin-rock? So-called by whom? I've heard the scene called "folk noir," "dark hick," "gothic country," "American gothic" and more, but I've never come across the term "heroin rock" here. I find it somewhat demeaning to the Denver musicians to which he was alluding (Tarantella, the Denver Gentlemen, Munly, 16HP, SCAC, etc.). It seems incredibly inaccurate to portray this scene as having anything to do with heroin, literally or figuratively. The scene is a lot more serious, talented and valuable than that designation implies, and La Briola spicing up his writing with a term like "heroin rock" is just sensationalistic (and ignorant) journalism.
Of Mouse and men: "I'll order a Westword critic for lunch and spit out the brain."
The October 27 Playlist on Danger Doom's The Mouse and the Mask, by one Michael Roberts, was one helluva half-assed review. The critic spun the project as a capital-driven venture, but his insight on the creators' motives were trumped by the fact that he didn't even know who the creators were! "MK Doom" -- are you kidding me? Stop playing Mortal Kombat and listen.
MF Doom is an artist who is synonymous with anonymity, known by voice and name, never by face. He releases projects under a slew of aliases with numerous record labels. Danger Mouse has only recently received acclaim for his work in the wake of The Grey Album, but before that, he was doing intro/outro fillers for Adult Swim anonymously. For the critic to portray this project as a rap infomercial bent on product placement and corporate paydays undermines much of what creative purpose these artists strive for.
It's all relative. We've got Clear Channel and MTV that filter and provide only the hip-hop that has commercial significance these days. We're talking about rappers whose focus is not on music but on liquor, automobile, clothing, firearm, movie and video-game sales. With the Danger Doom LP, you've got two underground artists collaborating with the Cartoon Network to provide subjects and topics that are a unique refreshment from the mundane themes of guns, sex and money. These artists had complete creative control over this project, with Adult Swim providing the promotional aspects. I think it's brilliant to write a song called "Vats of Urine" and have a corporate entity push the product rather than having more 50 and Lil Jon albums pushing krunk piss and Bentleys. The Danger Doom LP revives a piece of hip-hop that has been withering for years: the playful, lighthearted, who-gives-a-F*%@!, let's-not-take-this-too-seriously side.
Do your homework: Danger Doom was released to counterspoof the G-Unit, Lil Jon and Jay-Z "I sell everything" artists -- not to spawn a Snuggle Bear single with Cierra.
Voices carry: Regarding Jessica Centers's "Voice Over," in the October 27 issue:
I do not want to focus on your reporter's lack of sensitivity and knowledge in dealing with the topic of facilitated communication and disability "afflictions," although it is typically excruciating.
I do want to point out that many, many professionals, including teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists and occupational therapists, believe that my eighteen-year-old daughter with autism and many, many others are doing their own thinking and typing, despite facilitator support. She's been using this method to communicate since she was four years old. We have had ample opportunity to informally "test" the validity of her typing.
To allow so-called "ex-spurts" to say FC has "ruined many lives" and is fraudulent is a cheap shot and makes me want to ask the reporter if she really wrote this story. I mean, who saw her writing it? And how do we know somebody didn't tell her what to write? I demand to know if federal monies were involved in her alleged education, which she now uses to undermine the reality of so many people!
Group think: I was quite alarmed to learn from "Voice Over" that the state has given grant money to a group promoting one of the saddest frauds in the world -- facilitated communication for autistic persons. While I am sure Watch Our Words Colorado (WOW) would consider the article very balanced, I found it very disturbing.
I gather from the article that Mike Hoover and all the other persons using facilitated communication are autistic and that none of them are able to speak or use any other method of communication. Is this correct? If so, then how can one know if these people formed this group as their own idea? How can you quote Mr. Hoover as if he had spoken to you when his comments actually came through facilitated communication? I have done some research on this terrible false hope for parents and find no reliable tests showing that FC is anything more than the facilitators typing out the thoughts that they are hoping the autistic person is thinking. At the very least, I think you should have made it clear that all of Mr. Hoover's conversation was through the typing machine and done with the aid of his facilitator -- in his case, his mother.
In my opinion, false hope is far worse than no hope at all.
Speak up: I have autism and am a boardmember of the Autism National Committee (AUTCOM) and have been impressed with Mike Hoover's contributions to that organization. In 2003, AUTCOM had a conference here in Denver, and I had the privilege of being on a panel with him and was impressed with what he said. Also, he has written two chapters in Sharing Our Wisdom -- A Collection of Presentations by People Within the Autism Spectrum, a book that has over twenty essays written by people with autism, most of them using augmentative forms of communication. And what he wrote is practical and can be applied in a variety of situations.
I find Mr. Hoover to be an impressive person, and if he ran for president, I'd vote for him.
Bar none: I have been a long-term reader of Drunk of the Week, and I have to say, I have noticed a decline in the quality of the writing. Dr. Osborn may be a very good writer, but I am not seeing the gripping plots I used to. His writing style is a direct derivative of the New Journalism form first used by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. This is a very hard style to master, as it has a very fluid form. I'm not too sure our Doctor of Drunkology is quite up to par on what it takes to write in this weird and torturous area of expertise.
Christopher J. O' Shea
via the Internet
No kidding: Thanks to Nancy Levine for speaking up in her October 13 Drink of the Week about an issue that has somehow become taboo. Parents often tune out to what their kids are doing (or think it is cute). This ruins a good time for everyone else in the establishment. They need to realize that not everyone thinks that their children are that cute or enjoys what they're doing.
I like Nancy's style. Damn, I wish I did not have a girlfriend.
Everyone knows it's windy: Thank you very much for Alan Prendergast's "Carbon Loading," in the October 27 issue. I'm just back from a jaunt through the Yampa Valley, where I took a pictures of the ubiquitous coal trains. (I've contemplated writing a story called "Stuck Behind a Coal Train," for all the times I've sat in my car at railroad intersections in Colorado watching tons and tons of coal slide along the rails.)
"Carbon huggers" antagonistic toward the clean energy alternative, wind, like to say that wind turbines are too far from the grid and therefore too costly to access. So I wonder which came first: the coal-fired plants constructed on prime agricultural land -- removed from urban centers and the major demands for electricity -- and their supporting railroad/trucking systems, or the grid? I don't have to wonder which a farmer would prefer on his property: a coal train, or wind turbines (or solar photovoltaics) producing electricity and a source of farming income -- electricity generators around which cattle can graze and crops can grow.
To air is human: I enjoyed Alan Prendergast's "Carbon Loading"; I hope that it gets a lot of notice from readers. I have been against this plant ever since I heard about it last year. It really makes me mad that Xcel Energy can sidestep the public-review process the way it has. However, I don't consider myself a "critic on the fringe," as we are described in the article. I think a concerned "steward" of the planet is more in line with our motives.
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The problems with coal-burning are obvious. But it gets worse when we look at it from a bigger perspective. The proposed Pueblo Comanche III plant is only one plant out of dozens that are under consideration in the Western United States. If we allow these plants to be built, the carbon emission increases will be tremendous. Thanks for your excellent article. We "air breathers" can use all the help we can get to prevent these environmental disasters.
Eric R. Tussey
Live and learn: I don't know where Esther Cook got her information for her letter in last week's issue. For a minute I thought she was being sarcastic. Unfortunately, as I read on, I realized how uneducated so many people are about environmental hazards. One example that she is unaware of is that when we burn coal, it floats into the atmosphere, flies with the wind, then ends up polluting water and whatnot. I will not pretend to be an expert, but I will tell you that a little education wouldn't hurt.