Commentary

Letters

Page 2 of 4

Today our society stands at a crossroads in history. We can allow capitalism to continue to exist or replace it with a brand-new, sane social system, as our forefathers did in 1776. Then, once again, society will continue its upward climb toward social progress. It is all up to us, the working-class majority.

Dr. Bernard Presser
Denver

It seems that if the guns are not to blame, and I do not believe they are, then neither is the music of Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, etc. Unfortunately, everyone with an "agenda"--anti-abortion, anti-gun, Christian values, etc.--is predictably going to use the Columbine tragedy to promote his own worldview. The problem with this is that we will fail to understand what really went wrong within the narrow minds of the two individuals, Harris and Klebold, who created this tragedy.

David Eye
Fort Collins

Howard's End
I'm having a hard time understanding why people like Dave Meyer (Letters, April 29) are so concerned with Howard Stern's comments. Has anyone ever explained the concept of free speech to these idiots? If you don't want to hear what Howard Stern has to say, change the station! Disagreeing with someone's opinion does not give you the right to deprive him of speaking it.

I can sympathize with the feelings of anger and rage that the Columbine tragedy has left in its wake. However, removing Howard Stern from the airwaves due to his "insensitive" comments goes against the principles of the Constitution. It scares me to think that there are so many people who share Dave Meyer's mentality. We're doomed.

Bryan Cavanagh
via the Internet

Nice Feedback column by Michael Roberts in the April 29 issue. There's a lot of crazy shit going on these days, but to lay blame on assholes like Stern and Manson is just killing the messenger.

Chris Dickey
Gunnison

I read with some interest Michael Roberts's take on the Stern controversy, because his comments mirrored those made by a colleague who also sees this as a free-speech issue.

While I share Roberts's concerns over the situation and do think it's an important one, he's simply wrong to characterize this as a First Amendment-type issue. In fact, he has it almost precisely backward--it is the reaction by citizens trying to remove Stern that comes closer to representing the true manifestation of the First Amendment. There's an irony to the stance taken by Stern's "free-speech" supporters. On the one hand, they make very compelling and important arguments about the importance of protecting the First Amendment, but at the same time, they attack those who are asking the Peak to remove Stern from Denver's airwaves as being anti-First Amendment. However, what these people are engaged in is perfectly legitimate public speech.

Let's be clear on what is and is not a threat to the First Amendment. It says, "The Government shall make no law..." Had last week's idiotfest in the legislature attempted to force Stern off the air, that would be a pretty clear attack on our freedom of speech, and I'd be right there with Westword marching on the Hill. Frankly, I find even the resolution of censure to be offensive, and if you want to argue that this action was anti-First, I'd be inclined to agree. However, a group of private citizens uniting to express their concerns and to pressure a non-governmental entity to take action, using only speech and their basic rights as consumers as leverage, in no way suggests First Amendment implications.

I hate to be a purist, but it's important to understand what the Constitution actually says. Neither side is engaged in activity that invokes First Amendment concerns. The Peak's actions (and Stern's) are purely economical, despite their cynical attempts to cloak themselves in the flag, and the response by people like me, who have said we will not listen to the station anymore unless Stern is dumped, employs a conventional and broadly accepted economic strategy to make a point.

While Stern has every right to speak, I likewise have every right not to help pay for it, and to characterize such actions as anti-free-speech is to demonstrate a serious lack of understanding about the Constitution. Corporate America already exercises too much pressure on what ideas circulate through the public sphere, and in this town, Westword is often our only sensible voice. However, suggesting that the First Amendment is jeopardized by citizen action against a corporation the size of Chancellor, which has every resource in the world (including a healthy lobbying budget) at its disposal, is pure silliness. Your readers have come to expect better.

Samuel R. Smith
Denver

In recent days, a campaign has begun to remove Howard Stern from the Peak. I don't give a damn about Stern or his show, and his comment is certainly offensive, but so is this campaign to have him removed from the air. It would be one thing if the campaign against Stern were a genuine groundswell of popular opinion. But this movement had its genesis on Jacor-owned radio stations, like KBPI and KOA, which are in direct competition with the Peak's owner, Chancellor Broadcasting. Broadcasters on those stations have devoted ceaseless hours of public airtime to urging people to boycott Peak advertisers.

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