I first met Corey Donahue in June at Casselman's, where I attempted to moderate a debate on the legalization of marijuana. He argued, interrupted, lit up a joint on stage. And he was not the worst-behaved person on the panel. We both returned to the crime scene three weeks ago, when Casselman's hosted the Westword Web Awards, and Occupy Denver and the Thunderdome were up for a prize. In the intervening months, though, Donahue had stayed plenty busy.
In fact, Donahue's busy fall -- and Kelsey Whipple's excellent work covering Occupy Denver -- made him a natural choice for a Westword feature, which we published this week, with Donahue as Don Quixote (with bong) on cover.
Many readers thought it was a bad choice. Like this one:
Really Westword? You couldn't have picked one of the veterans for peace or retirees who attend Occupy marches for an article? Maybe one of the many family members who attend and might show a true snapshot of the movement? No, you have to pick one of the most polarizing figures associated with the movement and provide him a platform in which he can spew whatever inane vitriol is on his mind? The anarchists, despite their protestations to the contrary, are too self-absorbed to ever look beyond themselves to effect any meaningful change. And you give your cover to their poster boy. Jesus, get some standards.
Over the past 35 years, Westword has printed close to 2,000 covers. Some of our cover boys (and girls) have been good, some have been bad, most have fallen somewhere in between, which is the territory most challenging for a writer to explore. Making the Westword cover is no Good Housekeeping seal of approval; many of these cover subjects would not pass a political litmus test. But they've all been interesting -- to us, at least, and we hope to most of our readers.
Love him or hate him, Donahue has definitely challenged the status quo -- not to mention standards of hygiene -- and changed the direction of discussion in this city over the past few months. And that discussion will continue in the comments posted at the end of this week's cover story.
Kelsey Whipple has profiled many other occupiers. Read her stories in our Occupy Denver archive.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.