Letters to the Editor

"Tag the Fag," Adam Cayton-Holland, September 6

The Crying Game

I always enjoy Adam Cayton-Holland's writing, whether it's his weekly column or another contribution. I don't know how old he is, but his tone strikes a chord with me (I'm 28). The latest What's So Funny? only further confirms that everyone has turned into a whining little bitch. When I was a child in Houston, we also played Smear the Queer. We had no idea of the implications of the name, and I am not the least bit ashamed of the name of the game. We didn't even know the meaning of "queer" (which used to mean "different or a deviation from 'normal,'" whatever that means). There was no malice in us toward gay people, and there hasn't been and isn't any malice toward them today. It was a completely innocent male way of hurting your friends. We also played "butt ball" — though we called it "spread eagle" — and fortunately, we were never prevented from playing the game.

Anyway, enough reminiscing. Why is everyone such a pussy? And what the hell is wrong with these stupid fucks who call themselves Juggalos? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? The world may never know.
Mike Keach

In my opinion, Hillbillies was a much better game than Smear the Queer. I played both throughout grade school in a Main Line suburb of Philadelphia. In Hillbillies, one or more kids starts in the middle of the field between two imaginary lines, twenty yards or so apart. All the other kids start behind one line and try to run to the other upon hearing "Hillbillies" called by the kids in the middle — i.e., the Hillbillies. The object is to get to the other side without being tackled. If you're tackled, you become a Hillbilly and stay in the middle and attempt to tackle other kids.

This game involves a little more teamwork and strategy than STQ, which is every man for himself. The very nature of Hillbillies is more inclusive: You can form alliances with other kids and protect each other as you run the gauntlet. Bigger kids are brought down only when the smaller kids, including girls, work together. And, when faced with impossible odds, the meeker players can pretend to be a world champion soccer player and take a fall after getting bumped by a Hillbilly.

If this isn't enough to convince you that this full-contact running and tackling game is worthy of all playgrounds, there's also a diversity curriculum component. "Hillbilly," after all, is a distinctly pejorative term for certain white people. Any school administrator worth his salt would welcome the chance to publicly admonish inbred, no-teeth, welfare-collecting white people. And just as Feed the Christians to Lions or Death to America are popular games on many Boulder playgrounds, even these spoiled little mama's boys with screwed-up guilt feelings are still Americans, and therefore must hurt others. What?
Geoff Jordan

"The Unfunnies," Michael Roberts, September 6

Funny Business

Good piece! I've stopped straining my eyes to read the comics — they've reduced the size so much I need a magnifier! And they really aren't funny anymore. Maybe that's their plan: to gradually junk them by shrinking them to infinitely small, little strips, the way the Republicans want to shrink government to where they can drown it in the bathtub!

I did enjoy "B.C.," which was visible with its sparse lines. And I didn't mind the occasional religious reference. Why not? Maybe the papers could reclaim readership by printing the sermons of the local religious bigwigs, like they did decades ago before radio and TV. Might help to offset the discouraging news of our politicians and sports heroes (heroes?) behaving like the folks from Sodom and Gomorrah!

Keep working over the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. They need it! And they need help in finding formulas to keep them relevant in this electronic world.
Peter D. Shultz

Michael, it would be revealing if you went back and re-read two weeks of comics from the years when you had a different view of these strips — and you were younger. Did the comics change, or did you?
David Cay Johnston
The New York Times

As a veteran reader of some Post and News comics (I remember when "Doonesbury" started, and as a right-winger still enjoy it anyway), I'm surprised Michael missed one of the most important issues in the duopoly's comics: leaving "Funky Winkerbean" out of the Sunday paper. Lisa will probably die on Sunday, just to serve Denver readers right.

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