By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
After reading more than 40 column inches of Barry Graham's raging against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's political machine ("Joe, Jane & John," October 30), I am offering my services to New Times as an editor. Clearly, the entire content of Graham's column could be boiled down as follows:
I hate Joe Arpaio. So do my two impish friends Tony Ortega and Chris Farnsworth. Being mischievous journalistic scalawags with nothing to write about, we crashed an Arpaio fund raiser. We hate Arpaio. We hate Arpaio's friends. We hate Arpaio's supporters. We hate what Arpaio says. We hate what Arpaio does. Before we crashed the fund raiser, we knew we would hate what we saw. Sure enough, we hated it. It was stupid. Arpaio is stupid. Arpaio's friends are stupid. Arpaio's supporters are stupid. The musical groups that played at the fund raiser were stupid. Oh--did we mention that we hate Joe Arpaio?
Maybe I held New Times at the wrong angle while reading Graham's column and all the substance slid off the pages. Or maybe there wasn't any in the first place. To call Graham's writing style sophomoric would do an injustice to high school sophomores everywhere. Graham chided Tex Hill and the Rhinestone Rangers for entertaining with a mindless pro-Joe ditty. However, Graham's own stanzas of anti-Joe gibberish are no more substantive--just less melodic. His critical skills are so unimaginative that he even stoops to an ad hominem argument in mocking the physical appearance of the sheriff's supporters, as though there is less validity in political opinions of people who don't look as incredibly trendy as Graham. With the chic smugness of an impeccably coifed record-store clerk, Graham clucks on about the reactions he gets dressed as a Sex Pistol wanna-be prowling a conservative Republican gathering. Come on--Graham looks the way he does because it's his way of screaming to the conventional world: "Hey--gawk at me." He then feigns disdain and surprise when he gets the exact reaction he solicited.
So why did those Sheriff Joe disciples sing his praises? It's simple: The daily news blasts away at our sensibilities with tales of murderers getting off via legal technicalities and sob stories about sad childhoods. Convicts clamor and sue about civil-rights violations when they don't get their recommended daily dosage of folic acid. In the midst of this legalized moral mayhem, while we watch the civilized world swirl down a sumphole, our days are occasionally brightened hearing about the just deserts dished out by good ol' Sheriff Joe, storing the smegma of society in sweltering tents, dressing them in pink panties or striped suits, feeding them bologna and making them grunt their lives away on a chain gang. Enjoying those Joe-isms is like listening to your favorite Hootie and the Blowfish tune on the radio. It may not be Mozart, but dammit if bopping to the beat for three and a half minutes doesn't make you feel a bit better. Is it form over substance? Maybe. Is Sheriff Joe curbing crime? Probably not. But he's treating the bad guys badly. And that makes us feel really good.
I am a Sheriff Joe supporter. Yes, the grand marshal of Maricopa County is a shameless media poser. No, I don't blindly support everything he does. His annual hooker roundups to shoo away practitioners of the world's oldest profession are futile, and as poor a use of taxpayer dough as Bank One Ballpark. And the way his staff treats accused inmates the same as convicted criminals is dead wrong. If New Times wants to criticize Sheriff Joe, there's enough legitimate fodder to provide 40-plus column inches. It's too bad Graham wasn't journalistically nimble enough to use any of it.
It is a frightening thought that haunts me. Visions of what very well could be, should a self-serving creature like Joe Arpaio scheme his way into the seat of governor of Arizona next election.
As just one voice of an incarcerated individual of Arizona, naturally the opinions would tend to express viewpoints that leaned more to one side. However, in this case, it isn't needed. The actions of this man supersede anything that could be imagined within the day-mares of the mind.
Obviously, many good people have been fooled by the man's priorities, truths distorted to justify the agendas of power. So how can persons such as myself, when leaving correctional institutions, someday in this state have any respect for law enforcement when it's led by such individuals as Joe Arpaio and his band of misfits? Thereby adding just one more pebble to the mountainous reasons behind inmate recidivism.
So, as I said, it's a haunting thought, and the Arpaio we've all come to know is assuredly a frightening thing for the future of Arizona.
Things to Do With Denver
I was extremely upset with what Serene Dominic had to say in "Rocky Mountain Slide" (October 23). I mourn for my good friend John Denver. He died doing what he loved best, flying. Unlike John, when Serene Dominic passes away, he will not be missed by thousands of friends and fans because he is such an ignorant person.