"Stabbing Pains," Lisa Rab, September 11
We need a new legal description for some criminal determinations. I like "innocent by reason of illegal residency." And the journalism profession'll need a new tagline, too. Instead of "staff reporter," how about: "Too-PC-to-smell-the-shit-your-brogans-are-coated-with reporter"?
Why all the tiptoeing around the 99.99 percent likelihood of Rogelio Hernandez-Dominguez's being yet another illegal alien from Mexico or Latin America? In page after page of niggling facts, Lisa Rab neglects to mention which language his parents, who speak not one word of English, spoke. Was it Urdu? Tagalog? ¡Kung!? Don't Westword's dear readers deserve to know? Oh, that's right, that's not the story! Uh-huh. I can guarantee that were Rogelio instead a Roger who spoke with a thick Tennessee accent, and had Rab had to step around a '72 GMC Jimmy up on blocks in the front yard on the way to speaking with Roger's toothless parents, those "slice-of-life" details would've found their way into the story.
I guess all criminals get equal coverage, but some get less equal coverage. It all sorta depends on who the "who" is, huh? Westword should grow some huevos and demonstrate just how "alternative" it really is.
Editor's note: According to the Cherry Hills Police Department, Rogelio Hernandez-Dominguez is not an illegal alien. And yes, Lisa Rab asked about his status.
"Off the Wall!," Patricia Calhoun, September 11
I'm glad to see that the City of Denver is making amends to the urban galleries whose graffiti art was unintentionally wiped out in an attempt to sanitize the city for the Democratic National Convention, but I think they're missing the point: They are still justifying their actions by saying they suspected there might be "anarchist messages" encoded in graffiti around town.
Protests and incendiary language are (thankfully!) a part of our political process, and last time I checked, the First Amendment supersedes a city's desire to look good in front of the camera. The Denver Police Department has absolutely no right to paint over marks on the walls of private property without the owner's consent. That's the truth — whether it was art, the Ten Commandments or the Communist Manifesto up on those walls. I only hope that this will turn out to be a simple lapse in judgment on the part of our elected officials, and not the ushering in of a new era of McCarthy-style censorship.
There have been a lot of articles in Westword about graffiti lately with a sympathetic tone, as if 99 percent of taggers were truly gifted artists just getting harassed and being repressed by "the man." Yes, there are indeed talented folk out there, but the overwhelming majority are just punk-ass vandals scrawling territorial pissings on public and private property.
Case in point is the worthless "Taser," who recently saw fit to put his mark on a local car wash near the house I just bought. Great job, moron: Nothing says nice, classy neighborhood or raises property values in an already crushed market like graffiti! If you were a real man worthy of the attention you seem to crave, you'd grow some stones, remove your worthless crap from that wall and call the owner to apologize. (And, no, I'm not the owner.)
"Making Book," Off Limits, September 18
What a great idea: Have everybody see Cannibal! The Musical instead of reading Dashiell Hammett! Everyone who lives in Colorado should see this classic musical, anyway, and it would certainly be controversial — i.e., provoke conversations livelier than this: "Did you like The Thin Man?" "Yeah. It was a fun read."
Okay, Parker and Stone may not appeal to everyone, but they have millions of very literate fans and are as Colorado as you can get. Hammett's novel would be better accompanied by the semi-witty, semi-dated William Powell-Myrna Loy '30s movies or the Peter Lawford-Phyllis Kirk '50s TV series. The most controversial aspect of those was the humor of aristocratic alcoholism.
Yeah: "One City, One Movie"! Show it free for a month at the Tivoli! Discuss among yourselves!
"Denver at 150," Adam Cayton-Holland, September 18
Good article on whatever party is being planned to celebrate the arrival of white folks to the Denver area. Adam's right in that cool people aren't found anywhere downtown on a Saturday night. From what I've heard, it's mainly poseurs and wannabes who don't know how to hold either their booze or their mud.
Will the top 150 people be the real movers and shakers, the ones who clean the streets and keep the lights on? More likely they will be the journalists, society types and politicians who wouldn't have been fit to carry the rucksacks of those who pioneered this place. On the rare occasions I have to go downtown, I mainly see Starbucks slurpers who haven't done an honest day's work in quite some time.
I predict that this lame pool will be dredged for the 150 celebration.
In his article on Denver's birthday celebration, Adam's remark about Texans indicates that maybe all people from the South are racist. There are racists from all over the country, but Southerners are always singled out. Anti-Southern prejudice is racism, too!
I was intrigued and entertained by Adam's "Denver at 150," as I am all his contributions to Westword. His perspective and witty anecdotes are hilarious. The fact that he chose to omit the history of Denver between the Civil War era and 1983 was...odd...and clever, I suppose, as well? Not sure.
Anyway, I try not to take anything he writes very seriously. But as far as the nominations he suggested, I would like to submit Adam's name as well as that of Josh Blue.
Adam: Congratulations, you have one more offended Texan under your belt, if you are counting. As a transplant from Texas, I have endured many a conversation — and unsolicited confrontation, I might add — about the blatant loathing Colorado natives have for Texans. While I can stand to be somewhat empathetic, having witnessed a complete transformation of my beloved city of Austin by mostly Californian transplants, the stereotypes you have allowed yourself to succumb to, my friend, are both harsh and false.
Look, practice your freedom of speech, your freedom of the press, your opinion-column slap-happy stories, but let's also practice a little kindness. Next time you delve into your craft of what should be sound, reliable and responsible journalism, maybe you should refrain from typecasting people into categories into which they do not fall. The cliche is exhaustive. No longer is it clever, and no longer do Texans fit the mold that your stories, jokes and opinions so desperately need them to be in. I don't believe it is on your agenda, but if you ever get over your fears and actually decide to enter the boundaries of Texas, you will be welcomed with open arms. Texans love Coloradans, and they will look past the way they were treated while visiting or living in Colorado. Texas has a lot to offer, as do its people.
Editor's note: Adam is still taking suggestions at westword.com; click on his most recent Something's Funny in the Latest Word. And that's also where you'll find the complete text of Angelica Huffman's letter. Like Texas, it's big.
Artbeat, Michael Paglia, September 18
Kudos to Michael Paglia for continuing to tell it like it is. Once this town cared about its history. It's a shame that, as Denver gets ready to celebrate its 150th birthday, there is so little of our past left to celebrate.
Paging Sarah Palin! Someone found your glasses — and his name is Steven Turner.
Editor's note: On September 22, Teryl R. Gorrell, the chairman of Historic Denver, posted a lengthy response to Michael Paglia's Artbeat on the Westword website. You can find it, as well as Paglia's response to Gorrell's comments (and a photo of Turner in those glasses) at www.westword.com/2008-09-18/culture/steven-turner-leaves-historic-denver-behind/.
"Homefront," Jason Sheehan, August 28
Jason Sheehan, I am writing just to let you know that I was deeply offended by this sentence in your Bite Me column: "As with my barbecue and my bitches, I prefer my burgers naked...."
I think this reference to your "bitches," however cute or clever, is, dare I say it, sexist and disrespectful to women.
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I actually am not surprised you wrote it; I am disappointed Ms. Calhoun allowed it to be printed.
Westword should print an apology for this.