Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Cranks for the Memories

This missive about Balls! recently arrived from a Denver native and frequent bold name:

I read your column about Denver. Granted the tourism office's efforts are an easy target, but boy, you are starting to sound like Gene Amole! Although a hipper, more in-tune Gene Amole, but just as cranky.

In my defense, I pointed out a distinct difference between the late Amole's crankiness and my own: The Rocky Mountain News columnist was usually complaining about change (and often rightfully so). I was complaining that the Colorado Tourism Office hasn't recognized just how much in this state has changed for the better -- specifically, its dining scene, which has gone far beyond Rocky Mountain oysters.

Not that you'd know it from the let' web site that's part of the CTO's $19 million -- that's right, $19 milllion --annual campaign, and riddled with grammatical errors on display for all media types who were directed to address at a pricey promotional event in New York last month. Sure, most of those media types might not have noticed the substitution of "flower" for "flour" in the preparation of Rocky Mountain oysters (probably because they'd already gotten so bored they'd left the site).

But my guess is that most of the people who stumbled across the two-page "Let's Talk Colorado" spread that the CTO placed in the April 21 New Yorker would catch those errors. You buy ads in the New Yorker specifically because it has upscale, smart readers -- which is why it's embarrassing that our state tourism outfit decided to subject those readers to a fake story called "Dude Interlude" by alleged humorist Mort Gerberg that reads like it was retrofitted from an ancient Borscht Belt routine. Maxed out, empty of ideas, my head ached. Then the kid from Imaging with all the hair gel Rollerbladed by with an iPod.

"Yo, dude!" he yelled, and tossed a disk on my desk. "Your PDF revise!"

"Don't 'dude' me," I erupted. Then, with a jolt, I had a thought. According to Wikipedia, a dude is a "city person in the country." Bingo! I could go west and be a cowboy! What could be a more extreme change of scene for a city slicker?"

There's more, lots more, so much more that our copy editor was holding her head in horror, groaning over the bad jokes and worse punctuation.

Ah'm Cowboy Calm now, the piece concludes. An' Ah'm fixin' to git me back out soon to where th' colombines grow to calm down s'more.

For the record, the Colorado state flower is spelled "columbine."

Who's cranky now, dude? Can we talk?-- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun