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Letters from the issue of Thursday, February 14, 2008

SPINNING GLOBE

Higher learning: It is funny how the principal of Globe High School, according to Sarah Fenske ("Whadafxup With That?" February 7), suggests that Globe is somehow so far out of the mainstream of life to not notice censorship at its worse. Administrators are very fond here in Globe of professing the "Dr." in their titles, accreditation of higher learning. Globe has a high school, nearby Miami has a high school, we have a couple of schools for the unschoolable and a new one for super achievers, a college prep. Globe has more principals, superintendents, and deans than any other place I have ever heard of. It would be funny to find out if Globe has a higher management-to-student ratio than teacher-to-student. Or for that matter, a higher school district-to-student ratio. Globe School District is one more incident of broken government at its worst.
Sam Palmer, Globe

POT SHOTS

Still hurting over the pots: I am the lead artist for the Phoenix East Valley light-rail project and have been a regular traveler to the Valley for the past seven-plus years (over 250 trips!). This has put me in an interesting position, the position of both the outsider and the part-time resident. Your recent article on the Echelman project ("Phoenix Rising," Kathleen Vanesian, January 24) was a breath of fresh air. It logically told the story and touched on the still-open wound of the Squaw Peaks Pots debacle in a way that hopefully puts things in a broader perspective. You did the art community and the greater Valley community a great service with this thoughtful piece.
Tad Savinar, via Internet

Laughable art: I believe you got most of the facts correct in your recent piece about public art. I believe you got a few suppositions incorrect. I laud the individual that erected the toilet on the former Squaw Peak Freeway, in opposition to the Squaw Peak Pots. If the toilet had been oversize, we could have called it art. Along those same lines, I believe Echelman's sculpture looks like a giant relaxed sphincter. I believe a majority of Phoenicians would find the piece laughable (except they won't laugh because of the $$$$$$$$ spent).
Bob Adams, Phoenix

BROWN VIEWS

Identity journalism? Cut the crap: I have been reading Phoenix New Times for over 20 years and am not looking forward to your "identity journalism" ("Welcome to Brown Town," Marcos Najera, January 24).

Cut the crap, already! Why make yourself the issue? It should be about your writing skills, of which I have become highly suspect. Quit wearing it on your sleeve and I promise not to bore you with my own preferences.

Word that Najera is gay will get around and he'll ultimately be "that gay writer at New Times." But if it were me, I would just rather be "that writer at NT."

I will read Najera's stuff just as I do all the other NT stuff, thus granting him, in that sense, the equality he desires in this society.

By the way, Sarah Fenske is the writing star at New Times now, in my view. She's got something that "sets the hook," not unlike a great novelist or historian. Fiction by her would probably be totally cool.
Chris Long, via Internet

Travels with Teresa: I haven't read New Times for months because of my traveling adventures. Picked up a recent issue and glanced through, and saw: "Welcome to my column. It's all about Latino culture."

That got me hooked. I continued reading it to the end, then started reading it from the beginning all through the article again. Great writing! It kept me wanting to read more! I haven't had that feeling about reading for years!

I am looking forward to more of your columns, and decided I'd better just look New Times up on the Internet for when I do more of my traveling, so I won't miss your next article. I like being enraptured by words!
Teresa Markle, Glendale; Hammond, Louisiana; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Sanford, Florida; Rockwall, Texas; and San Angelo, Texas

SHRILL HILLARY

Speaking of misogyny, Jeremiah . . .: These days, it is quite easy to spot conservative propaganda ("Favorite Son," Sarah Fenske, January 17). All you have to do is look for a phrase similar to one written by you in your "Favorite Son" piece:

"[Hillary] Clinton is usually so shrill." The word "shrill" is repeated over and over with reference to Senator Clinton, but I don't think that the people who use it know what it means.

Merriam-Webster defines "shrill" thusly: "having or emitting a sharp high-pitched tone or sound; piercing; accompanied by sharp high-pitched sounds or cries; strident; intemperate."

Well, Senator Clinton's voice isn't particularly high-pitched or piercing, and she is no more "strident" (if you can really call it that) than any other politician, so I can only infer that she has been saddled with this descriptor because of the sexism and misogyny that permeates our political discourse. Here comes that crazy, shrill woman! She must be PMSing.

I expect this sort of tripe from the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world, but I am always surprised and shocked when such attacks come from apparently intelligent female journalists. Why do women in positions to fight such ugly behavior actually partake in it? Are they really comfortable attacking a fellow woman with a weapon forged in the white-hot fires of conservative sexism and misogyny?

Clearly the answer is: "Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!"

That's disappointing, but Sarah Fenske is entitled to her opinion.

However, don't presume to speak for all twenty- and thirtysomething women when you type up this inane blather. I know plenty who would vehemently disagree with your assertion that gender-based media attacks on Senator Clinton do not evoke sympathy for her.

I am a 31-year-old man, and although I'm not a big supporter of Senator Clinton, I will gladly vote for her just to spite people like you. It will put a skip in my step.

By the way, your pop-psych analysis of Clinton as a guilt-inducing nag of a mother doesn't tell us much about her or the young female voters you claim to represent, but it does tell us a lot about you.

Quick pop-psych analysis of Sarah Fenske:

Sarah Fenske is looking for a Big Daddy to lead her through these frightening and uncertain times. And that Big Daddy is John McCain. Big Daddy McCain is the only one with the honesty and integrity to cross partisan lines and unite this sharply divided country. Big Daddy McCain is the only one with the wisdom and cojones to solve our illegal-immigration problem. Big Daddy McCain is the only one with the manliness and strength to turn Iraq into the flower of democracy in the Middle East.

Sarah Fenske wants Big Daddy McCain to take her on his lap and whisper in her ear that everything is going to be all right. No woman could ever do that, especially the shrill witch Hillary Clinton, who was fooled by Dubya into voting to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. No sir! Big Daddy McCain wasn't fooled by all of Dubya's rhetoric! Consider:

"I believe that the [Iraq] operation will be relatively short . . . I believe that the success will be fairly easy." — John McCain, September 2002

"When I voted to support this war, I knew it was probably going to be long and hard and tough, and those that voted for it and thought that somehow it was going to be some kind of an easy task, then I'm sorry they were mistaken." — John McCain, January 2007

Wow. Now that's some hardcore straight talk! Keep writing about politics, Ms. Fenske. It can only benefit white men like me. We need to keep those uppity women in their place!
Jeremiah Scott, Phoenix


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