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.
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!
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.
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.
Something is wrong here. The Baptist Foundation of Arizona smells like a bunko operation from top to bottom. Most of Terry Greene Sterling's articles ("The Moneychangers," April 16 and 23; "Shakedown in Show Low," July 2; "I Was Sick . . . and Ye Visited Me Not," August 6; and "Savings Bondage," September 10) seem to indicate the same. So the question is: Why hasn't the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Arizona stepped in with an investigation of its own? Just curious!
Regarding Marilyn Zeitlin's disparaging comments in "Cuba-ism" (Edward Lebow, September 10) about the L.A. artist who came to dinner and discussed his "really and truly trivial--and self-indulgent" art and the marketing of it:
I am a Valley artist, and I find it very narrow-minded and predictable for someone from academia to look down her nose at any American artist who tries to make a living at it. I do, and have worked my ass off for 20 years to get to this point. If I don't worry about the market and whether my work will sell, I'm working at Arby's. If she doesn't worry about the market, she'll still have her taxpayer-paid, government-sponsored university job interpreting other people's work.
Matisse, Cezanne, Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, Serat--I could go on and on--all worked for money, food, housing, whatever. I'm certain Ms. Zeitlin gets paid nicely for her curatorial services as well. Just because artists wants to make a living at what they love doesn't mean they can't produce beautiful and meaningful art.
And isn't there some mention in the article that "she and her colleagues are trying to work out a strategy for dealing with the dealers" and went to great lengths--even spending $50,000 on artwork--to ensure that the Cuban artists can benefit by selling some of their work? What's that, art for art's sake? Shame on you, Zeitlin.
Name withheld by request
Editor's note: The correspondent might be misconstruing the reason that the ASU Museum purchased some of the works in its Cuban show. The article pointed out that the embargo-induced difficulties of "trading with the enemy" made it easier to purchase, rather than borrow and ship works from and to Cuba.
Hats off to Amy Silverman for her expose of those political dirty tricksters Chuck Coughlin and Wes Gullett ("The Devilish Deeds of John Kaites," Wonk, September 10). I support attorney general candidate Janet Napolitano's call for an impartial review of political ads. I, too, think it might rid our campaigns of the terrible mudslinging that tainted the primaries.
I would like to commend Barry Graham for his column titled "Death Camp" (September 3). I have followed the events in the papers after reading of Nicholaus Contreraz's death.
I have some familiarity with private rehabilitation programs like Boys Ranch, and I can tell you the ills of this industry are beyond comprehension. I wanted to say thank you! The reports that have appeared in New Times have been very factual, and it takes a very brave and strong individual to stand before these powers and tell the truth to the public. We, the people who care, must unite and find a way of exposing those who have made their fortunes from the so-called "rehabilitation of youths."
Graham's column is a giant step in the right direction.
Name withheld by request
The letter titled "Jail Grouse" on the September 3 Letters page, by "Name withheld by request," sounded so much like the un-educated babble that comprises Sheriff Joe Arpaio's typical banter when confronted by New Times or any other press organization and/or legal aficionado. I wasn't surprised when it was signed "Name withheld."
Name not withheld by request.
Bill Comes Due
Most Americans view this attack on President Clinton as abuse of process with intent to undermine the will of the American people ("Modern Maturity," Barry Graham, August 27). Particularly, to divert from campaign-finance reform. It was the American people who elected this president. The American people reelected the president to carry out his promises. They don't appreciate the Republicans' arrogant abuse of power. Most Americans believe that campaign finance reform is far more important than the Monica Lewinski case.
Republicans work for the super-rich who want to bankrupt the middle class. The rich are getting richer and the middle class is getting poorer. Where will it stop? If the rich have it their way, it will never stop. The rich don't want campaign-finance reform because it keeps them in control.
We would like to comment on the letters in the September 10 issue under the headline "Starr Witnesses." They were written by David Glawe of Glendale and Will Hartje of Phoenix. They hit it right on the nose!
We are thoroughly disgusted how so many people believe Clinton should continue his presidency. He lied--over and over again! According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "perjury" is the same for everyone. There is no different meaning of the word listed for the President of the United States.
Clinton said, "I'm sorry!" Of course! He was caught! He was cornered! He had to say something! However, we hardly believe he was sorry for what he did; he is sorry because he was caught! How can so many people be that naive and gullible as to think he is sincere? We keep seeing him when he pointed his finger and said, "Now you listen to me! I did not have sexual relations. . . ." He tried to make us feel guilty for not believing him! There's an old saying, "Once a liar, always a liar!" Let's face reality!
Many people said the Lewinsky and Clinton relationship should be "personal." What took place was wrong, but where it took place makes it a national matter! It took place in and near the Oval Office of the White House! Having a sexual relationship while on the phone with congressmen! Where does that fall under the job description of the duties of a president? What kind of precedent has he set? Not a good one! Many people have lost their jobs for much less than that!
Also, we are sick of the façade put on by Hillary Clinton, that she is standing by her man! What a way to win a popularity contest! Did it ever occur to anyone that when he goes down, she goes down also? She is only in it to keep the title First Lady. She is so brave! Hogwash! There are probably a million women who would do anything to have that position. She is just trying to be a martyr! Not in our eyes! She is just as conniving as her husband! She is in cahoots with him--trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people. Keeping her chin up is a diversion tactic for the American people to think if everything is okay with her, then it should be okay with everyone! Then Hillary keeps her title!
No, we don't feel sorry for Hillary! The only ones we have sorrow for are Chelsea, the dog and the cat!
If Clinton is not impeached, then the gates of the jails and prisons should be opened to let the thousands who have said "I'm sorry" out! We should also throw out all rules and regulations of schools, churches, workplaces! Let's throw out all driving laws while we're at it! Let's forgive everyone!
Clinton always talks about the importance of the education of our young people! Well, we can honesty give him credit for something! He has given our youth the best sex education in history! Morals are taking this country down every day, and Mr. Clinton can add his name to this distinguished list!
We sincerely hope a future headline will read: "Clinton impeached!"
Rose and Bernard Goick
Editor's note: Thanks for your letter, and here's the number for the National Coalition Against the Exclamation Point Abuse: 1-555-