I have been a Westword reader ever since I rolled into the Mile High City eight and a half years ago. I have watched your paper change and evolve, sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much. I'm not a complainer or a whiner by nature, and though there were times when your paper annoyed me and even grated on my nerves, the positive outweighed the negative, so I kept my mouth shut.
When I picked up your paper last week, as I dutifully do every Thursday, something seemed wrong. I opened it up to read, looking forward to the weekly amusement that I have come to know -- and frankly, couldn't bear what I saw. Your new format is boring. It's unattractive, unimaginative and just plain terrible, and don't forget boring. Even Adam Cayton-Holland, Dan Savage and Jason Sheehan seemed boring, and I didn't think that was possible.
I suspect that the new size and use of space is more economical and more environmentally friendly (less paper, less trees, yadda, yadda). Great! I'm all for that, but please consider that a layout helps generate interest in the content. Please say that this was just a test to see how it panned out and that other options are open. I love your paper, Westword, but if I want boring and uncreative, I have two other Denver papers that fill that bill in abundance.
I love Westword's new look! It's much more sophisticated, and I won't miss those stupid, kindergarten-level graphics that were a blight on your review pages.
"On Call," Patricia Calhoun, November 9
If I ever become gay, I'm going to join a new-Christian church and butt-fuck my way to heaven and smoke meth along the way.
P.S.: I'll also join the Republican Party.
In "On Call," Patricia Calhoun mentions Ted Haggard's appearance in the film Jesus Camp and his comment that "We don't have to debate about homosexual activity. It's written in the Bible." The truth is, there is quite a bit of debate over what the Bible says about homosexual activity. Several books, such as The Church and the Homosexual and The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence of Same-Sex Relationships, question the assertion that gay intimacy is a sin. The condemnation of gays and the effort to deny them rights has little to do with the word of God, but quite a bit to do with oppressive political agendas.
In a book that was burned by the Nazis, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wilhelm Reich wrote, "The goal of sexual repression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation." Fear of a "gay agenda" in Nazi Germany led to thousands of homosexuals being sent to concentration camps. Instead of a gold star, gays were branded with a pink triangle, which has since become a symbol of gay pride and solidarity.
Despite the setbacks in Colorado's election, other parts of the world are moving to extend rights and respect for homosexuals. Mexico City recently passed a resolution to legalize same-sex civil unions, and a South African panel has paved the way for a similar measure. Meanwhile, media efforts like PlanetOut.com create community and provide vital news for LGBT people across the globe, while briskly selling DVDs of Six Feet Under and other popular programs instill a greater compassion for gays in a world where James Dobson's media empire disseminates bigotry cloaked as piety.
Hopefully, more Christians will focus on the parts of the Bible that call for social justice or join the growing "Creation Care" movement among evangelicals who are concerned about the environment. To quote Reverend Haggard, "There is no doubt about it in my mind that climate change is happening, and there is no doubt about it that it would be wise for us to stop doing the foolish things we're doing that could potentially be causing this."
I just finished reading Patricia Calhoun's story about "poor Mr. Haggard." I had to write to say bravo! It's great. She never disappoints me. Keep up the great work.
"Into the Scrum," Jessica Centers, November 2
I cannot begin to describe how disappointed I was to read Jessica Centers's article about Glendale and its rugby program. Stuffed with factual inaccuracies, poorly written and reveling in long-outdated stereotypes, this piece is among the worst your paper has published in some time. Clearly, there was no attempt made to confirm or verify with a third party any of the assertions made, and indeed, some are highly offensive to members of the Denver Highlanders in particular. As a longtime member of the rugby community, I am aware of numerous ways in which individual members of clubs like the Highlanders and the Barbarians and the clubs themselves contribute to society. The tired emphasis on beer, violence and strip bars is an unfortunate cliche that through shoddy journalism you have chosen to perpetuate.