Bird-brained: As an animal-lover, I found Luke Turf's article about cockfighting very compelling ("Murder Most Fowl," September 14). It's something I had not really read anything about before, and I'm glad you have somewhat enlightened many Westword readers on the topic. What I did not find enlightening or necessary was the need to identify certain men in the article as "Mexican" -- repeatedly. We got it the first time, thanks.
What if Luke had been writing an article involving Jewish people or lesbians? Would he have referred to them as "the lesbian women" or "the Jewish men" in several instances? And then he even went on to describe Francisco Javier Reyes-Garcia's immigration and deportation status. What does this have to do with cockfighting? Why should the reader care? And why do we want to know that he wishes to remain in the country because his seventeen-year-old girlfriend is pregnant? Is that because you'd like us to know that all Mexican males get seventeen-year-olds pregnant? What does this have to do with the actual sport of cockfighting?
If Luke wants to write about Mexico and its tie to cockfighting, then he should do it. If he wanted to write an article about the cockfighting culture, then he should stick to the facts. I get that many Mexicans love the cockfight. However, his anti-Mexican side commentary was unnecessary.
Fowl bawl: The historical record shows that George Washington went to a cockfight when he was nineteen years old and left early. That doesn't make him a cockfighter.
Prophet margins: In his September 14 Worst-Case Scenario, Kenny Be pokes fun at Rick O'Donnell's statement that he wants to make Colorado "the 'Saudi Arabia' of renewable energy."
I think Kenny fails to see how inspired Rick O'Donnell truly is. By making Colorado the "Saudi Arabia" of renewable energy, Mr. O'Donnell apparently hopes, among other things, to persuade the Colorado General Assembly to ban women from driving. Since women probably make up 50 percent of all Colorado drivers, this step would simultaneously eliminate traffic congestion, cut air pollution and significantly reduce Colorado's fuel consumption. Also, with the highways running free and clear, Colorado can reduce spending on new roads, thus making it easier to balance the budget.
Sadly, Kenny Be doesn't recognize the genius we have in Rick O'Donnell -- but then, prophets are rarely recognized in their own time.
Coffee, to go: I just read Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny? column on Starbucks in the September 14 issue and almost pissed myself. He is one of the funniest columnists I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you for making me semi-incontinent.
Bucking Starbucks: Listen, Adam, you need to stop being a drone and start being a human being. You live near Sixth and Broadway, so do yourself a favor and stop going to Starbucks. Head over to Buzz Cafe farther east on Sixth or find any number of better purveyors than the repetitive and ridiculous Starbucks.
There is a movement sweeping America known as artisanal coffee. It's led by people who demand a higher standard in their coffee and who have the actual ability to choose between corporate dreck and actual deliciousness. Get off the crack. Make a real educated choice and live like a human. Seriously. Otherwise, you just sort of sound pathetic.
Thanks for your column.
Cream of the crop: Get the Mocha Breve with half-and-half instead of milk, and it's infinitely better!
Tweet ride: Regarding Gustavo Arellano's Ask a Mexican, which debuted in the September 14 print edition:
Joven, you are off the hook, bro. The bridge you are providing for gabachos is not only great entertainment, but very necessary. You know your stuff. Excellent references to back up your claims or rebuttals. You keep it real, in a Mexican, self-deprecating style. The Chosen Juans? Brilliant.
Lastly, I'm not going to lie: For a pocho like me, your stuff is also very insightful. Tweety Bird? Who knew?
The blame game: Bored at work, I came across Gustavo Arellano's Ask a Mexican. The whole issue of border control against immigrant Mexicans is a great distraction from our pointless war. I just can't believe people are gullible enough to react, and it's refreshing to see someone stand up for our rights. I was listening to the news yesterday, and I heard the new term for border control against Mexicans: "Operation Return to Sender." How disrespectful. How can anyone refer to such wonderful, beautiful people in that manner? I think American society forgets that this land was stolen and that Colorado was part of Mexico at one time. Maybe we as a country can work to rebuild our neighboring country instead of killing innocent people in a selfish war -- but what benefit would that be for those who profit off our soldiers dying?
When I was in grade school, I never learned about Mexican heritage; it was always European history. Our curriculum consisted of how superior they were to anyone of color, how they discovered this land and fought off the evil savages that inhabited America. It wasn't until college that I found out the truth. As a child, I knew I was of Mexican heritage, and it made me feel inferior. I can remember the first time I heard the term "alien." I asked my mom what that meant, and she told me, "It refers to Mexican people who are here illegally." I was young but still compassionate enough to take it personally. Why couldn't they come up with a more appropriate term instead of a derogatory, hateful word?
We have a history in America of discrimination and hatred. Why can't people look past the color of someone's skin or what type of logo a culture has on its automobiles? The comment that ignorant person made about Tweety Bird was ridiculous.
This pattern of blame goes in circles: If it isn't Blacks, Asians or Middle Eastern people, it's Mexicans. This pattern seems to always blame people of color for our problems in the United States. I think many people fear the day when minorities of every culture in America stick together and discover this commonality of blame and discrimination in American history. When that day comes, we will no longer feel inferior; we will make a difference.
Original sins: I am a Mexican-American. I read the letter last week from the woman not knowing how she should be classified, and several comments made me cringe. Do my people really not know the history of their ancestors? Are they really so blind as to not see where we actually come from and how we came to exist?
I am 26 years old and was born and raised in Indiana in a small town that still practices KKK ceremonies and celebrations. I do not speak Spanish. Do I have relatives from Mexico? Let's think about this: Where did we come from? Where did everyone begin? Anglos began in Europe, Asians in Asia, Africans were forced over from Africa to live in America. Mexicans (which is not our true given name) were "from" Mexico. What many do not know is that the "Mexican" was created by the rape of a nation of Aztecs by Cortez and his men, thus birthing the nation of "Mexicans" -- by which our proper name is Mestizo. We are of Aztec and Spanish blood.
The Aztecs and the people who later became known as Mexicans were forced to learn and speak the Spanish language. My father knows of Aztecs who are in Mexico who speak little Spanish and mostly the language of the Navajo. Therefore, you do not have to speak Spanish to be considered of Mexican descent. Do people of German descent speak German fluently? I know people who are Greek but do not speak Greek.What is a Mexican? A person of Aztec-Spanish decent, a Native American. I think we all need to take another look at the history of America and the history of Mexico and where we all came from. A little education can go a long way.
Type-casting: In her letter last week about Ask a Mexican, Linda Biska Drake wrote, "Now if someone could just tell me how to access the accent/punctuation marks on a Dell keyboard..."
To add Spanish accents on any PC with any keyboard, I still use the following ASCII codes found in my handy little "Pocket PCRef" (by Thomas Glover and Millie M. Young, Fifth Edition, Littleton, Colorado: Sequoia Publishing, Inc., 1995) saved from my DOS days: ALT-130 é; ALT-144 É; ALT-160 ´; ALT-161 í; ALT-162 ó; ALT-163 ú; ALT-164 ñ; ALT-165 Ñ ALT-168 ¿; ALT-173 ¡.
You can also find these and other extended ASCII codes by doing a search on "ASCII codes." They work on Dell keyboards. I checked.
Gnarls in charge: In last week's issue, I found the unintentional hilarity of Brandon Hepplewhite's letter talking trash about our local boys the Fray quite amusing. Before he wants to trash music in the same context of KOSI and some guy named Gnarls Barkley, maybe he should do a little research. I agree that Cee-lo is a decently entertaining singer, and maybe our boy Brandon could talk about it with his friends Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I hear they're cool guys.
Rock on, the Fray!
Lazy reviewing: I could not believe what Michael Roberts wrote about Lazyface (Playlist, September 14). It is obvious that he did not see this band live. I have had the opportunity to see this band and was blown away by the drummer, who can play the hell out of the drums and rap at the same time. It was the biggest hit at the show.
It was obvious from Michael's review that he is not a fan of rap music, and that's okay. However, the one thing this band does that is different from all the rest is bring together different sounds, and I find that very refreshing. So to say the least, I believe he got it all wrong on this one.
via the Internet
Urban cowboy: Believe me, I'm usually the first one to back the alternative upstart over the established star. But I must disagree that Kasey Chambers outshines Keith Urban "by megawatts" -- as Michael Roberts states in his review of her latest CD (Sound Bites, September 7). Urban's eager embrace of American stardom (not to mention the heinous Nicole Kidman) may annoy, but the fact remains that he's a virtuoso picker with above-average songs, voice and taste.
As for Chambers: I'm sorry, but I just can't get past her girly-ass voice. And her endless blabbing about singing Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams tunes around campfires on the Nullarbor Plain sounds purely calculated for dumb-American-music-fan consumption. (Maybe if her dad had been hunting crocodiles instead of foxes, she'd go over bigger with U.S. audiences!)
P.S. Urban is technically a Kiwi. Yeah, I know: He moved to Oz when he was two. Trust me, Kiwis get more aggro about being called Aussies than Canadians do about being called Americans.
P.P.S. Notwithstanding the above, I always enjoy reading your stuff. Keep up the good work.
Johnny "Too Bad" Simpson
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Billy goats guff: It's funny that Dave Herrera wrote what he did in the September 14 Backbeat column, because I've been telling everyone that our South Park experience was great except for the name-calling we received from the mindless mountain goats who stake their claim in that podunk vortex town. While on stage both this year and last, we were harassed and asked shit like that. It's too bad that it was apparently happening to other bands as well. To all of the out-of-state/out-of-country bands, it doesn't speak highly of Colorful Colorado.
Glad Dave said something.