Having just finished Patricia Calhoun's "Carrier Pigeons," in the November 1 issue, I say, give 'em hell, Calhoun. You're right: Denver is full of pigeons. MarkAir crashed--but we were the ones who got burned.
With the exception of the usual stridency from Calhoun, Westword's November 1 issue was superb.
Both of the features--Steve Jackson's "Battle Cry," about the protests outside the Planned Parenthood clinic, and Alan Prendergast's "The Brico Requiem," on the life and times of Antonia Brico--were excellent examples of the journalistic craft and true pleasures to read.
On the Street Where They Live
Speaking as one of the many people who wake up five days a week to the cries of the anti-abortion protesters, I want to thank Steve Jackson and Westword for "Battle Cry," in the November 1 issue. Jackson captured the situation perfectly.
Name withheld on request
Bravo for the objective "Battle Cry," by Steve Jackson. Abortion being such an emotional issue, it's hard to get anyone to discuss it rationally. Let's try. A fetus is a "potential person." As it grows in the womb, that potential increases. Certainly at conception, the potential is low. Those who argue that a zygote is a person are making a religious argument. For unbelievers, the argument has little weight. Close to birth, however, the person potential is almost certain. The fetus has a developed nervous system, feels pain, maybe even has simple thoughts. Those who argue that a baby must be delivered to obtain personhood are making an odd spatial argument. For those who have seen a premature baby and a late-aborted fetus, the argument is absurd. Surely if a woman can be imprisoned for murdering her newborn, killing a third-trimester fetus should have some consequence. The Supreme Court correctly ruled that a woman's rights are paramount in early pregnancy but are reduced with time. However, the court's conclusion that viability is the demarcation for state abortion prohibitions is specious. It is time we end this acrimonious debate with an imperfect compromise based on something most of us can live with. Just as we recognize brain-activity criteria for death, we should do so for life. Before around nineteen weeks of pregnancy, when the cerebral cortex develops, abortion should be unrestricted; after that time, it must be murder.
And if there is a God, may she forgive us for our ignorance.
Thank you for Steve Jackson's well-written and informative article.
Every citizen of the USA who values peace in our country should protest by law against these thugs who call themselves "protesters."
They are a public nuisance to private- and rental-property owners who pay their taxes; our sidewalks' public right-of-way is obstructed by these loudmouthed thugs; signs asking cars to honk their horns raise the noise level, which is already high because of the protesters shouting abuse to anyone close by; and the thugs bring their children to protest, too, contributing to the children's delinquency.
Who is supporting these thugs, and why?
The mention of Lincoln in the article about the anti-abortion demonstrators reminds me of a riddle attributed to Lincoln.
Let's say there are four horses and one jackass crossing a stream. Now, if I call that jackass a horse, how many horses are crossing the stream?
"Five," the feller says.
"No," ol' Abe says, "only four."
"But you said you'd call that jackass a horse."
"So I did," ol' Abe says, "but because I call a jackass a horse, that does not make it one."
If you call an embryo or fetus a live human being, that does not make it one. No matter how passionately you scream to the contrary.
However, if you are truly convinced that what that woman carries is identical to born life, it follows that the doctor is killing life. And yes, it follows that if a mass murderer is loose and no law can stop him, you are justified in killing him. Nonviolence won't help in the situation. Even Gandhi, eminently practical, would concede that killing the mass murderer was the lesser evil.
The women involved, interestingly enough, are not considered accessories to the murders. They are considered ignorant, brainwashed creatures, and if they don't solicit your counsel, why, you must scream it at them in your peculiar ways.
Alan Prendergast's "The Brico Requiem," in the November 1 issue, was breathtaking. Antonia Brico might well have been the subject of the popular song "Unforgettable." That's what she was!
In the Eighties Brico was the guest conductor at a concert of the Mostly Strauss Orchestra, a bonding group of metropolitan musicians who enjoyed playing together at the symphonic level. At the end of the last selection there was enthusiastic applause, and as she was walking off the stage I shouted "Bravo!" She turned slightly, as if in response to my impulsive cheer. The look in her compelling black eyes--The Gaze--was riveting. I can easily imagine that she "imprinted" indelibly on a legion of piano students.
Prendergast's fine biographical sketch has helped personalize the life and concert career of our legendary Antonia Brico.
Yes, I heard Antonia Brico conduct, and she was without doubt the finest conductor ever to appear in Denver in my lifetime (this includes the one-night stands by the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony). They were bigger machines, more powerful, technologically top of the line, but Brico was a better conductor. Antonia Brico conducted Beethoven as if he were a genius rather than a raging neurotic. I guess I have too much "European" in my bones. I remember the first time I heard Galli-Cursi on my Grandmother's 78 and the day I bought Bryden Thomson's Nielsen symphonies. And I remember Antonia Brico. I haven't been to a DSO concert in fifteen years. Am I missing something? I don't think so. Are they missing something? Ya.
Name withheld on request
Oh, my God, I absolutely have to agree with Michael Roberts's summation of radio in Denver (Feedback, November 1). I have a repetitive, stupid and pointless job, and the only thing that makes it even passably bearable is a set of headphones. Alas, the radio soundscape is about as lush as the surface of the moon. It seems like such a simple thing--all this town needs is a station with a little more guts than the current incarnations of KTCL and without the repetition (All Pearl Jam, All the Time!) and annoying DJs of 92X. But then, I guess I'm just the world's first nursing-school student/marketing genius (snort!).
Of course, I could always quit my job and set myself up on the corner of 20th and Vine with a sign that reads "Honk for an end to religious fascism."
The Hard Cell
Regarding Karen Bowers's "Hard Time," in the October 25 issue:
Weightlifting contests? Blow-drying hair? Double-bunking with the human equivalent of a saber-toothed tiger?
Seems to me these thugs can keep in shape by making little rocks out of big ones; their hair care should consist of a shaved skull; and Mr. Gray should be encouraged to trim down to a sleek 140 pounds for his own health and everyone else's. In the meantime, his warden can bunk with him.
M.S. Mason was right on the mark in the October 25 "The Political Arena," her review of Jane Martin's Keely and Du.
However, she neglected to mention the additional irony at the end of the play, when jailer becomes prisoner.
NIN Such Luck
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Outside Looking In," in the October 25 issue:
I would like to say that Michael Roberts is my favorite writer at Westword. I agree with almost every article he writes! I was at the David Bowie/NIN concert on October 16, and I completely agree with Roberts's remarks about the show. I did want to make one observation, though. I went to the show primarily to see Bowie, since I am a complete Bowiephile. I am 24, and I was impressed at the number of other Bowie fans at the concert who were my age or younger. Most of the "black-lipsticked crowd" that I was with was there to see Bowie (as well as NIN). Not all of us were ignorant (David who?) teenagers who just came to jump around in the mosh pit. To the "black-lipsticked crowd," Bowie is considered to be the granddaddy of moody, gothic rock, and it was exhilarating to see him joining forces with the best underground band of the Nineties, NIN.