Letters

Ad Nauseam
I would like to congratulate you on your piece concerning the commercialization of ASU football ("The Selling of ASU Football," John Dougherty, September 17).

I've been to college football games all over the country, and have never had the sad experience at one like I did here. We students try to be as loud and rowdy as we can to help the team, but instead of hearing cheers or a song that we can get into, we listen to that stupid loudspeaker over the band and watch commercials. It makes me want to boycott those businesses that ruin an experience that should not be tampered with. I grew up going to University of Florida games, and the announcer was never dumb enough to speak while the band was honoring the school by playing the fight song.

You have great sports fans out here, and the only exposure I've had to your teams are the Diamondbacks--one big ugly billboard covering an otherwise beautiful ballpark--and the Sun Devils. I would have people boo as loud as they could during those announcements and commercials so that the university would get the message that they're not welcome. The team belongs to our school and the city and surrounding area. It doesn't belong to the sponsors. It's the essence of college sports I love so much, and I hate to see it ruined in a state and stadium whose fans deserve so much better.

Nick Tate
Tempe

Greed has become so much the milieu of society that it is accepted--that is, until a John Dougherty writes an article like "The Selling of ASU Football" and the transformation of "ASU football games into one prolonged commercial."

ASU, UofA, and many other universities and colleges have signed multimillion-dollar contracts with companies employing people at "slave wages," so it is not surprising that the games themselves have become wall-to-wall commercials. I would think the students and faculties would be concerned about the greed-based ethics of their administrations.

The increasing commercial pressure in even K-12 schools was emphasized by the student who got in trouble for showing up in a Pepsi shirt (why didn't he choose an off-brand like RC?) on Coke day. U S West now has commercials that are targeted toward creating envy and desire among children for $20-a-month Internet access; many parents can't afford a good book, let alone a computer.

However, high school sports remain relatively free of commercialism. On a cold December evening a couple of years ago, I came upon John Dougherty in the virtually empty south end zone of Sun Devil Stadium, and we watched St. Mary's and Horizon play a very exciting 5A championship game--without commercials. Avoid the commercial scene, and support your local high school teams!

Roland James
Phoenix

Raising ariZoni
I must commend the brutal honesty written by Robrt L. Pela on the local ariZoni Awards ("Trophy Life," September 10). Finally! I only wish he had called me, too--as many of my peers feel as I do.

Local actors want this ceremony to mean something. Yet they are now having to create their own theater company awards to feel some sense of accomplishment in the public eye. I'm not ashamed to say I am the Susan Lucci of the ariZoni Awards--as it means more for my talented and gifted peers in this business to come and watch my work than any award. As hokey as that may sound, it's true.

Bring back the Critics Circle Awards.
Dina Kay
Phoenix

So, you want to talk about the ariZonis? Let's talk. It's imperfect. The show can get cumbersome. The rating system is questionable. Sometimes mediocrity is heralded as greatness, while greatness is ignored.

How does that really differ from theater reviews? Many critics have personal relationships with local playwrights, directors and actors that could potentially color their views. Nobody will ever know whether an individual ariZoni judge or theater critic's rating is slanted, because taste is subjective. You may actually love a show I consider to be crap, and vice versa. That's life in the arts.

So, should the ceremony continue? Of course it should! Why?
1. Attending the ariZonis exposes artists to unfamiliar shows and theaters. It's a great place for newcomers to see what's established, and veterans to see what's new.

2. It's the only night of the year when theaters of all levels join together. There's something rather sweet about that.

3. It lets you keep up on who's doing what with whom, theatrically speaking.
4. It gives people a chance to see what character actors look like without wigs, warts and fake noses.

5. When you agree with the choices, you can applaud emphatically. When you don't, you can whisper to one of your friends, "I don't believe she got nominated and you didn't!" or "Just look at that dress!" It's all in good fun.

Art is art. We will never agree on it. Sitting in the audience of any major awards show, celebrities are smiling through gritted teeth. But, it's good to set aside one prearranged night to see everyone.

Nobody with a brain in his head gets involved with theater because he hopes, someday, he'll win an ariZoni. But, it's nice to know, if you ever get into a Leonardo DiCaprio mood, there's something to snub.

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