Congratulations to John Dougherty and David Holthouse for their award-level reporting from the world of the Mexican maquiladoras ("Bordering on Exploitation," July 9).
Yes, I find it morally abhorrent that Mexico, the United States and the emerging culture of boundless corporate profiteering have expanded the trappings of the worst of sweatshop capitalism into the lives of the Mexican people.
That the authors followed young Carla through her workday at a maquila, laboring at a wage of 95 cents an hour, to her village 300 miles beyond Nogales, spoke to a life crushed by the demands of an economic system that views lives like hers as "throwaway."
Aside from the representations of an environmental holocaust, "homes" as railway cars or shanties, the lure of after-hour drug dens, can one not feel a sense of shame in the face of these wounded souls? There is no justification that I can reach that would allow--in fact, force the hand of--a Carla to move away from her family, her roots, her twin sister, in order to earn less than one dollar an hour.
The official mouthpieces from management, the government and the "shelter companies" attempt to mask the squalor by bandying about claims of progressive management and having "innate understanding of the culture." Baloney, these plants are bottom-line inventions to rob livelihoods from both American and Mexican workers. Pitting work forces the world over against each other to maximize profits is the real story exposed by Dougherty and Holthouse; this crude invention brings shame to all who perpetuate this suffering. From broken homes, to cultures torn asunder, to hopes glibly shaped upon the fleeting promise of good jobs at two bucks an hour, the conspiracy of NAFTA and global capitalism will in time meet inevitable resistance.
In the meantime, unionization on a worldwide scale, reduced population growth and an understanding that we are at one with one another might act as a powerful force to combat the world of maquiladoras.
Advocacy vs. Hysteria
Paul Rubin's article on Dr. Kay Rauth-Farley and her fight against child abuse ("Special Kay," June 25) indicates that she is a fair and balanced advocate. Unfortunately, there have been hundreds of malicious and false prosecutions of innocent people for child abuse in the United States in the past couple of decades. This hysteria is similar to the 1600s Salem, Massachusetts, hysteria captured by Arthur Miller in The Crucible.
In Arizona, I am personally acquainted with one case where there was no physical evidence of abuse and the alleged perpetrator is serving a long prison sentence. At the same time, there are thousands of cases with physical evidence that go uninvestigated.
One may rent the video Indictment, starring James Woods, to see one example of this hysteria, the McMartin case in Southern California. PBS' Frontline has had a number of programs on the Little Rascals case in North Carolina. Other cases that have received some media attention include the Kelly McMichaels case; the Wenatchee, Washington, witch hunt led by a Sheriff Joe type; the Amirault tragedy in Massachusetts, where the prosecution was led by an attorney general now running for governor; the Grant Snowden case prosecuted by then-Dade County attorney Janet Reno, before she went on to order the assault on Waco that resulted in 17 dead children. Even Arizona AG Grant Woods said a few years ago that John Henry Knapp "should have been executed" for killing his two little girls; Knapp is now a free man because of the efforts of a Phoenix law firm.
Thank you, Mr. Rubin, thank you for your wonderful, although painful, poignant article about Kay Rauth-Farley and child abuse in our state. I applaud you for bringing the focus to Ms. Rauth-Farley's advocacy efforts, but also shedding light on the darkest side of "humanity"--child abuse. It should never, ever happen!
In Memory of Our Precious Angel Babies,
Joanne (Mommy to Cheyenne)
I thank you for the wonderful article on Dr. Rauth-Farley. I had no idea she existed nor that the clinic existed. I am a nurse who is no longer working. Having had the sexual-abuse issue raised in my own family, both daughter and granddaughter, my heart bleeds for the children. Thank you for letting me know there are some wonderful advocates for these children and these issues here in Phoenix. Thank you.
It was heartening to see the story about Dr. Rauth-Farley. More power to people like her! It seems that child abuse is reported more often in the '90s, but it remains no less disturbing. At the same time, we have also seen an increase in cases of animal abuse reported in the media.
There is apparently a strong link between these two types of behavior, as well as a connection between animal abuse by young people and later criminal behavior. Perhaps this needs to be pointed out so that the public will be aware of the importance of reporting animal abuse to the authorities. I know that the social services are always overloaded, but perhaps we can save a few souls from perpetrating child abuse, spouse abuse or other violent antisocial behavior.
And, most obviously, if there were not unwanted animals around, these would not be available for mistreatment by tortured souls. Unfortunately, all of these tend to cluster in some neighborhoods--unspayed animals, abandoned pets and abused children.
It is not without reason that many humane societies focus on both animals and children.
I got a kick out of your bit on the Rainbow clan thieving water ("The Dark Side of the Rainbow," Dave Irwin, July 2). A National Guard incident against the drunk/militant faction of the Rainbow campers would likely be the most exciting thing to happen to American media since they tried to stick the baboon heart in that one infant.
I also found laughable the turn of phrase "Water Bitch." Admittedly, this clan seems to be in the wrong, but you have to smile at the image of a bunch of drunk hippies with shotguns yelling, "Water Bitch, we're gonna kill you!" This is another in a long line of brilliant examples of how life would not be simpler and more peaceful if we'd all just box up our microwaves and live in the trees.
Name withheld by request
Punch Line Forms to the Right
I cannot thank you enough for the skinny on John McCain (Flashes, June 25)! Until I heard about the Chelsea joke, I, too, thought he was some kinda angel. No more! Absolutely nothing he says or does in the future will change my negative opinion of him. Yes, I am a Democrat, but my Republican sister and husband feel the same way. It reminds me of the movie Sweet Smell of Success, when the television talk-show host for a children's program says "that will hold the little bastards" while the mike was still on. Nothing will save him now!
Denizens of Denny's
I really liked the piece on the Seventh Street and Camelback Denny's ("Boy Meets Grill," Barry Graham, June 25). Often have I gone there just to see the midnight clientele. Nice to know that somebody can be a little objective about a cultural center, although it was rather tongue-in-cheek.
But that's not the world's only Gay Denny's. I lived in Salt Lake City for a few months in '95-'96, and the Denny's at 300 West 500 South was the Gay Denny's. Some serious freaks lived there, let me tell you. The first time my roommate took me there, she just wanted the shock value. I did not expect that from the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I met a girl there with a dick bigger than mine.
I missed that gathering place of the social outcasts when I moved back to Arizona. I was relieved to find that the Gay Denny's wasn't just a one-time happening, but kind of an evolution of society as a whole.
Really, great piece. I was able to see everything in my mind's eye as you described it. I relished my memories of that little community in the land of Mormons much today.
I was sitting with my friends today, eating my seasoned fries and sipping a Coke, when I was surprised to find an article on the very restaurant I was dining at: the Gay Denny's. The coolest diner in town. Why is it so cool? For the same reasons Mr. Graham states in his writing. It's social, the most interesting people go there, and the food . . . well, the food pretty much sucks. It's the best you can expect from this particular establishment, though, and believe me, I've had experiences with many a Denny's. The best part of going there is the fact that going there shouldn't be so much fun. Hell, it's a Denny's, a white-trash-hick-redneck-cliche-type thing, after all. A Midwestern truck driver stereotype. And now it's become a personal hangout; a place that lovingly provides my friends and me with a social atmosphere along with some halfway decent food and, as was mentioned, great air conditioning.
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So, as expected, we were very pleased with Graham's work. I enjoy his writing all the time (New Times being the only great, ballsy, truthful and fun mainstream paper in this city) and was definitely enthralled with this piece. Not only well-written, it had good depth and provided a very honest view of the clientele, although the accompanying illustration does the opposite.
I admit, normal people do tend to stand out in such an atmosphere, and I think that's the best part. A picture of lower- and middle-class dining, and, in smaller respects, lifestyle, hosting such a variety of freaks is very refreshing and gives this particular Denny's great charm. Thanks, Graham, from the whole crowd.
Gay Denny's patrons
Katie, Rachel, Amanda and Yaro