Letters From the Issue of Thursday, March 30, 2006

Look Out Above

Livestock and laughingstocks: I hadn't picked up New Times much in several years until I grabbed one late last year and saw your column The Bird. At that time, I think The Bird was writing about Donald Trump's wanting to build a high-rise at 24th and Camelback, and it was taking a stand that you wouldn't have expected: that the homeowners in that part of town be damned because Phoenix needed developments like Trump's to become a real big city ("Gomer, You're Fired!" Robrt L. Pela, November 3).

I thought, now there's a refreshing stand for an alternative paper. I would've thought that New Times would be the mushy mouthpiece for the homeowners in the area. I would've thought that your paper would've trumpeted that all development is bad.

Since that time, I've read hilarious Bird rants about Arizona State University President Michael Crow's efforts to "sanitize" the party school he runs ("What's Eating Crow?" November 24), funny stuff on "Candy" Thomas, our County Attorney (lately "Judging Andy," March 23). You name it -- Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Governor Janet Napolitano, the local art community -- The Bird has been humorously accurate about what's going on around here.

I thought my sides would split when I read The Bird's story about Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the sheep-fucker ("Baa-aaaaaad News," March 16). It wasn't just that there were sheep jokes, it was that these were sheep jokes that only a sick freak would think of. The Brokeback Mountain one was deliciously wrong! I'd thought that The Bird's take on the new HBO show Big Love was funny and (turns out, now that's it's premièred) on the mark ("Big Eeeewww," February 23), but I hadn't seen anything yet. Please keep The Bird coming!
Cathy Rodriguez, Phoenix

Is nothing sacred?: It was sad enough that Brokeback Mountain didn't win the Oscar it deserved. Now we have to listen to all sorts of off-color jokes about the movie.

I thought what The Bird said about the movie in the article about the fireman, the sheriff and the sheep was extremely homophobic. And it made light of maybe the most moving moment in the entire film. Robrt L. Pela should be ashamed of himself!
Lynn O'Shaughnessy, Tucson

I Led On Three Wives

Just like the rest of us: Regarding your "Big Eeeewww" article in The Bird on Big Love, there are plenty of beautiful MILFs in polygamy, and there are plenty of ugly people. Guess what, that's genes! It has nothing to do with religion. You look at the world, and there are all kinds of people.

And as for how empty Pennie Petersen looks and how abused Pennie was in polygamy, I'm sure it's true. But that certainly isn't always the case. You can't blame a religion for how people act or treat each other. They would do it no matter what religion they practice.

As for Big Love, it's quite accurate. Not all polygamists look, act or even think the same. They're just like the rest of you people out there. It's a great show, and I'm sure it will depict the dirt that you've written about so often in New Times.

I'm a woman living in the Colorado City polygamy world, and I just wanted to put in my two cents.
Name withheld by request

As handsome as cops, lawyers, and doctors: Now that Big Love has kicked off, I can see what you meant in The Bird. I seriously doubt any real polygamists live in three perfect houses in the suburbs of, say, Provo and drive their oh-so-normal kids to soccer practice in shiny SUVs.

It's a fact that some polygs are beautiful and handsome, though. I used to live around the Colorado City-Hildale community straddling the state line, and saw a smattering of people who had great looks. But you had to get through the drab clothing and the hangdog expressions on their faces (I'm talking about the women) to see how physically attractive they could be.

But it's like The Bird said, if Big Love were absolutely accurate, nobody would watch it. There has to be some sex appeal or it won't work. I just wish that we saw more nudity among the women on the show and not so much of Bill Paxton's naked fanny.

I'm happy to see that the show is exploring the evil prophet aspect. Harry Dean Stanton's character is kind of a Warren Jeffs type. He's venal. And it's somewhat believable, I guess, that the family featured in the show has left the actual polyg community to live in the big town and hates many of those still there.

I noticed in a recent episode that Paxton's character mentions that he'd been taken to "the city" when he was 14 and left there. He tells his father, played by Bruce Dern, that he had to do terrible things to survive. This is exactly what happens to the young men in the real polyg community who're seen as competition to the old men for the young girls' attentions.

So maybe the show is as accurate as it can be and still be popular with people who know nothing about the real tragedy of polygamy, which is most of America. I'm just glad the show isn't a whitewash.
Sarah Johnson, Salt Lake City

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