I am appalled that our local film critics have been replaced by a bunch of mercenaries from Corporate. Normally, I wouldn't care — but you've replaced writers who could write with people who write (to quote Chuck Jones) "like a dog trying to eat taffy."
J. Hoberman's review of Ocean's Thirteen ("The House Always Wins," June 7) is filled with five-dollar words that are used to establish his or her authority over the reader. On top of that, the opening paragraphs are reminiscent of "a twelve-year-old schoolgirl with an overdeveloped vocabulary and no self-control," to quote Jason Sheehan.
With this poorly thought-out move, you have reduced the amount of Westword that is readable to Cafe and the Letters page.
A. M. Jordan
"TB or Not TB," Adam Cayton-Holland, June 7
I read Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny about Andrew Speaker's around-the-world-in-eighty-coughs journey that ended up in Denver. I realize the intent of the column was not to give the scientific details of the event; however, approximately thirty seconds of research or a high school knowledge of biology would have been enough to clear up the fact that tuberculosis is caused by bacteria, not a virus. Yes, they are quite different organisms. In fact, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis is called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. You'll notice that bacteria is part of its name, further obviating the need for research. And a "bacterial virus"? This is a fun new invention by the author, unless, of course, he is referring to viruses of bacteria, which I'm fairly certain he wasn't. It would be nice if even a polemic tirade were reasonably accurate, and not propagating false notions to a public already marginally informed about science.
In defense of Mr. Speaker and his (and his father's) tirades of offense, he's a white attorney. He isn't a black schoolteacher, he isn't a Mexican mechanic, and he isn't an Asian clerk. He's a white attorney, and therefore entitled to fly anywhere he wants, any time he wants. If you were his bride, wouldn't you be angry that he exposed you and your friends/family? Too bad his strain of tuberculosis doesn't require a gag.
"Head of the Class," Joel Warner, May 31
Just read your article about North High School. Nice work — as usual, an in-depth examination of an issue that we've all come to expect from Westword. I wish Aron Palma and his classmates (and all the kids who never made it through to graduation) the very best of success. My Highlands area business even received one of Aron's "pity letters" asking for donations for the senior class. Reading about Aron was so very familiar to me: I, too, was student body president at NHS back in 1987, struggling with many of the same issues highlighted in this piece. I remember penning a pity letter for my senior class, too. Back then I thought it was clever; today I think it's pathetic.
This summer, I'm organizing my classmates for our twenty-year reunion with a sense of sadness that North is still a monumental failure two decades later. We residents of the old north Denver have witnessed a rebirth of the neighborhood behind the name "Highlands," chock-full of restaurants, shopping and excitement. Still, we've seen no such rebirth at North High. The notorious reputation and revolving-door reforms there have pushed many of our best neighborhood kids into charters, magnets and private schools. Many of the new generation of Highlanders wouldn't dare send their kids to North, and after reading the Westword piece, it's no wonder. I'm one of many who has resolved that there is only one answer for North: Close it down.
Recently, Lakewood was named Colorado's top high school. The building will be razed this summer, and in the fall, LHS will cut the ribbon on a new, state-of-the-art, $32 million campus. Soon Alameda, Chatfield and Bear Creek will follow. It's time for the Denver Public Schools and the city's taxpayers to follow Jeffco's example of placing education ahead of preservation and fulfill the promise of the Highland neighborhood's turnaround. DPS: Build "Highlands High School" and give our community a chance to graduate a thousand Aron Palmas every year instead of just one.
Lousy writing — or copy-editing — aside (when did Ms. Calhoun throw out her dog-eared copy of the Chicago Manual?), why is it seemingly impossible for everyone from the governor's and certainly Denver's "sanctuary" mayor's offices to the Colorado Department of Education, down the line to every public school district's administrators, and finally to hard-hitting investigative journalists to figure out why schools such as Denver's North High suck? Or is it just that none of the above have the huevos to notice the thundering herd de elefantes en la sala?