The Gospel According to Paul
Thanks for publishing Ward Harkavy's "Passing on the Right" in the February 16 issue. The accompanying illustration about the New Right dittoheads marching in lockstep says it all. Paul Weyrich and company have the nerve to rave on about liberal "elitists" and then require absolute ideological obedience on issues such as the "Christian" position on health care (no universal coverage).

I think the most amusing line (out of many) was Weyrich's claim that he doesn't "suffer fools." This from the guy who surrounds himself with deep thinkers like Ollie North.

Robert A. Ellis

High-School Confidential
Kenny Be is the best political cartoonist around. I immediately find his page, first thing after picking up Westword. He makes us chuckle even when the "real message" hits close to home. The comics he draws are radical, yet more in tune with the real world than other ordinary comics found in the Post or News. I am an eighteen-year-old high-school student, and I can picture some of his crazy "Laugh" characters in attendance at my school. Also, I really enjoy your paper as a whole. It does not dwell on all the tragedies in society, and livens up my life instead of bringing it down. Kenny Be and everyone at Westword, keep it up.

Joe Christie

Yup and at 'em
What, is this town stagnant? Can't art critic Hart Hill find something to write about that's meaningful or pertinent to art? It seems that Hart only covers the "accessible" art forms in Denver. Are you afraid of offending your yuppie readers or the white-collar executives who write your checks? Start exploring some of the cutting-edge artists who don't necessarily paint landscapes or build sculptures that have no relative meaning but tower over the viewer. Maybe you can make some correlation with art and society's condition as opposed to referring to artists who are exploring past art styles. Who knows, Hart, you might find an interesting art world in Denver. Otherwise, resign.

Darren Dennstedt

The Firings Down Below
Regarding Michael Roberts's article "Experience Not Needed" in the February 16 issue:

I attended Machebeuf Catholic High School from my freshman year (1991-1992) until second semester of this year, and I felt that Roberts's article finally showed people the real truth behind the firings of Dennis Powell and Francois de Vangel. After hearing of the firings when talking to classmates during the summer, and after returning to school in the fall of 1993, the immediate question that entered my mind was: "Why?" Rumors spread that the firings were instigated by the ages of the teachers and their illnesses. Every student at Machebeuf knew that Dr. Liz Mantelli (who for the years that I attended Machebeuf appeared to believe that Mr. Powell and Mr. de Vangel were blessings to the school and the students) had fired them especially for these reasons.

Other teachers besides those mentioned in the article were dismissed as well, and their dismissal caused the quality of education at Machebeuf to decrease, thus causing many students (including me) to withdraw after being in Catholic schools for years.

Roberts's statements concerning students' fear of being labeled as troublemakers weren't in the least bit an exaggeration. In a school where leaving campus to go out to lunch can land you a suspension from classes, there is no way that students can protest against the administration without fear of being reprimanded. We students had discussed the firings among ourselves during free times in classes and came under the scrutinizing stare of a teacher who did not want to hear us discuss matters we had not been involved with. The students knew what the real issues were in the firings. I am glad to know that someone has finally shed light on this outrageous situation.

Lesley Mancuso

The Secret Life of Transplants
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Transplant" in the February 9 issue:

Being both a liver-transplant recipient and a writer, I can't resist responding to your article. I, too, made that journey to Omaha for my surgery, and because of complications with the initial transplant, my family was in a state of flux between Omaha and Denver for six months. Yet my situation was somewhat different than the Fischers'. I chose to have my operation in Omaha after a thorough examination of the nation's transplant centers. My wife and I felt that the issue of being uprooted and cut off from extended family and friends was secondary to the issue of medicinal excellence. In my case, that meant leaving Denver as opposed to remaining here--a decision my family still stands by.

Yet as the Fischers reveal, everybody has his own criteria, his own factors--personal, financial or professional. As my wife and I did, the Fischers must have lost a lot of sleep trying to make the right choices, especially when they were dealing with a daughter's well-being. That they chose Denver and were ultimately unable to realize their choice is truly unfortunate. For as they must know by now, the transplant experience is a lesson in uncertainty and instability. If one enters into it without being as comfortable as one can be, then the inevitable setbacks and left turns will be all the more difficult to bear. I can only hope that this aspect of the article is the result of the writer's thirst for pathos and drama. It loads the Fischers with an unnecessary degree of regret and an errant sense of responsibility. When my first transplant ran into serious complications shortly after surgery, assigning responsibility was a frequent temptation. It would have brought causality and order to the situation. But I could never get away from one basic fact: Shit happens. Almost every patient has war stories. The Fischers certainly have theirs. Yet almost all patients live to tell the tale.

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