Letters From the Issue of Thursday, February 23, 2006

Critic Critiqued

Unwanted guilt trip: I love New Times. I believe there are many imitations of it in the Valley, but few come close. It's very prevalent in my life. My work advertises in it. I find out what is going on nightly because of it. My friends are in it, and some even write for it. I like to consider myself a devout New Times reader. Lately, though, I've lost faith in my favorite part of Thursdays.

I've never met Michele Laudig, although we apparently frequent the same places. It breaks my heart because I know that reporters can accurately report a story and sound intelligent while doing so. Many of your writers are capable of doing this. Inferno is amazing and creative, while honest. Brendan Joel Kelley shows respect and truth in his articles.

I suppose my ill regard all started when I read Michele's story on Charlie Levy's music festival ("Cayenne Shame," Stiletto, November 24). It was common knowledge that the festival was not going to be successful. Charlie was walking around telling everyone that it was going to tank months before it even occurred. Charlie is a great person, but he presented Phoenix with an event that does not coincide with our reality. His headliner was Spoon. To guilt trip an entire culture and fan base, as Michele did in her article, because of a promoter's grandiose ego stroke doesn't go unnoticed or appreciated.

Her columns that followed, "Fine China's Big Break?" (Stiletto, December 8), and the thank-you note to DJ J.C. from "The Last Broadcast" on The Zone ("Finely Tuned," Stiletto, December 29), seemed as though she was trying a little too hard to be the cool girl in school. It was the constant name-dropping in "Tuesday, I'm in Love" (Stiletto, January 26) that prompted me to write this response.

I will say that Michele paints a picture from her imagination very wonderfully. Creativity is a remarkable talent and should be noted. But I do believe it isn't as useful in reporting on popular Valley events, as it would be in fictional novels, such as James Frey's.
Jane Mason, Tempe

Thursdays, he's in love: Well, you've had the Revolver column by Brendan Joel Kelley and Inferno by Kreme (a.k.a. Stephen Lemons) for a long time, and now you have the welcome addition of Stiletto. Aside from the fact that Michele Laudig is obviously a hot chick from those cartoons of her fronting Stiletto, I love the way she writes. She makes me feel as though I've attended every event she attends.

My favorite column by her was "Tuesday, I'm in Love." It made me feel as if there really is a lot happening in metro Phoenix. It gave me hope for the future and made me want to hang here longer, instead of moving to L.A. like most of my friends. I wish she would hop around from event to event dropping names more often. Maybe I'll even wind up in her column.

I look forward to Stiletto every week, and can't wait to see what she reports from the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. It's amazing that so many Phoenix bands are attending. As a musician myself, I see this as a sign that Phoenix is finally arriving as a big city. Maybe we're finally getting cool. Michele, I hope to meet you out and about one day.
Jason Laird, Phoenix

State of the Art

Diluted scene: Great job on the "Art Detoured" piece in The Bird (Robrt L. Pela, February 9). It really was a dumb idea to change the date of Art Detour, as The Bird tweeted, to the end of March. Now we can have still another event that gets snubbed by a public that's bored with bad art.

What the downtown arts community needs to get through its members' drug-addled heads is that one day a month is about all anybody is going to support so-called art by the likes of them. First Friday used to be a great happening, but the whole downtown scene has been so diluted over the past couple of years by all the other events that these wanna-bes are trying to cram down the city's throat that even First Friday is losing its zing.

Thanks for telling the truth about the downtown artists, instead of printing all their bullshit propaganda as do the rest of the publications in Phoenix. Somehow, everybody else seems to be afraid of these little shits.
Thomas Kipp, Phoenix

Build it up, don't tear it down: Why isn't New Times part of the solution instead of part of the problem? New Times is supposed to be trying to build up the arts community instead of trying to tear it down with negative articles, such as "Art Detoured" in The Bird.

Why doesn't New Times realize that its mission is to make it possible for the artists in this community to thrive? If the press would just give us the publicity we deserve, maybe more of us could make a living.
Name withheld by request

Let Us Prey

Faith no more: The article "What Would Jesus Do?" (The Bird, February 2) was disgusting. It was clearly less concerned about the terrible situation and more concerned with shock value, blanket discrimination and the writer's own strange personal interest in the details.

How noble it is to throw Jesus' name into your perverted ramblings.

When I say "blanket discrimination," I'm referring to this comment: "As fans of the Vatican and altar boy porn already know . . ." Somehow those who believe in the Vatican as an authority on faith are linked with perverts? Clearly even using the word "fan" is just another simple-minded way to take a shot at all people of faith. I'm not even getting into using Jesus as your own personal instrument for sarcasm.

The reality is that this article didn't serve any purpose other than to get another chance to post that ridiculous caricature of Monsignor Dale Fushek (which I'm sure brings a lot of comfort to the families who are accusing him!) and voice the overused crude and malicious opinions of those who demand fair justice for some and immediate execution for others.

If Monsignor Dale is guilty, the court will take care of that and he'll receive his due consequences. If he's not, then he will return to a world that has him drawn half naked on the covers of tabloids because that's a lot more exciting than talk of a "fair trial" and "innocent until proven guilty."
Clint Randall, via the Internet

A call for justice: Thank you for not letting Monsignor Dale Fushek weasel his way out of house detention. Those of us who know people who have been abused by priests don't give a damn about his feelings, about whether he needs to go to church and minister the gospel anymore. Let him face justice like anybody else so accused.

The very purpose of his detention is that it keeps him away from parishioners, some of whom he has seen fit to perversely abuse over the years. If it weren't for New Times, I'd bet Phoenix authorities would just let him go his merry way. If he skipped town, like other accused priests from the Phoenix area have done, then that would be just too bad. Then his accusers would never get justice.
Ron Gilmartin, Los Angeles

Race Relations

White boyz n the hood: After reading James Spencer's comments in your Letters section ("The Will of the People," February 2), I felt compelled to write the following disclaimer to Mexicans:

James Spencer does not speak for all white people! He and County Attorney Andrew Thomas are dangerous nutcases who both make Archie Bunker look like Nelson Mandela! Please ignore Mr. Spencer!
Jon Krieger, Phoenix

Playing the race card: That Andy Thomas is a serious crazy! His ludicrous demeanor when it comes to Mexicans and Latinos makes me wonder what kind of voters we have in Maricopa County.

No, I don't really wonder; voters around here are represented by letter writer James Spencer, who's proud to be a racist.

Your putdown of Thomas in The Bird ("Mexican Busting," January 19) was great! I hadn't thought about how much he's been yelling about Mexicans until I read Spencer's screechings on your Letters page, and then clicked on the comments of the "extended middle finger."

It was bad enough when County Attorney Thomas refused to go after that nut who pulled a gun on those poor illegal aliens at the rest stop. Even law-and-order Sheriff Joe Arpaio realized Thomas was on the wrong side of this one; Arpaio was scandalized that Thomas would virtually authorize vigilantes to take the law into their own hands.
Trent Malcolm, via the Internet

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