Letters From the Issue of Thursday, June 8, 2006

Cult of Personality

Porn again: Thank you, New Times, for tipping me to Katie Rose's porn ("It Girl," Megan Irwin, May 25). I had no idea; I'm far from being in that loop. I'm happy to read that she's not embarrassed by having done it. I'm puzzled why she spends time dispelling "gang-bang" and "fisting" rumors -- what's wrong with gang bangs and fisting? Most of all, though, it's really, uh, interesting to see porn shots of someone you've seen around, seen performing onstage, and chatted with briefly.

On another note: New Times does many things well, but it has long had a near-monopoly on both relevant investigative reporting and informed local-music coverage. I'm always pleased to see local bands and local-music personalities on the cover, and I wish it would happen even more often.
Andrew Lockwood, Phoenix



Strange bedfellows: I've seen that redheaded chick around -- she's hard to miss. Never knew much about her, so I was completely intrigued when I saw her on the cover of New Times. She had her own cult? My liver was in danger? I couldn't wait to start reading. Unfortunately, Megan Irwin painted her as nothing more than a strung-out, record-spinning bartender with a background in porn. Big deal. Howard Stern material, at best. And what a huge letdown to see the picture of Katie in bed with a guitar. I suppose, like most people in that scene, that, too, was not real -- just there for effect since Katie herself admits she's no good at actually playing the thing. Some people in this town should reevaluate what's going stale, starting with a goofy feather headband securing your place among the cool kids at the popular table. There is no way Irwin could convince me that the lame-boos featured in this piece who want to believe The Ramones are still playing CBGB are a cult worth paying attention to.
Tracey Hunter, Scottsdale

It takes one to know one: As a former Tucson scenester who did the sex, drugs, and punk rock deal for more than a decade, I found your article on Katie Rose to be pathetic. This girl is a loser, much like I was myself only six years ago. Currently 32, I began a career as a junkie and hip girl at the tender age of 16. By the age of 20, I had a reputation for being raunchy, cutthroat, cutting-edge, and strung out. The more I told people to fuck off, the more they lapped at my feet. It took me until the age of 27 to pull my head out of my ass and look at the losers who were hanging on my every word. We were all cool, all right, and now more than half of my former "hip" friends are either dead of overdoses or in prison. Katie Rose sounds just like me six years ago -- a lost girl trying desperately to find herself and failing miserably. I envy nothing of her lifestyle. Not her red hair, her bad-ass tattoos (anyone can get them, and it doesn't mean shit if you have them) or her cocaine addiction. Not her history in the porn industry, not her job as a bartender in a dive bar, nor the fact that she dropped out of college to be a "hip" girl. Anybody who wants to be like Katie Rose can do it, just follow her lead as easy as 1-2-3. Even though I feel shitty for saying it, I predict that she will never get very far in life. Even if she hooks up with MTV, she will either lose her "cool" to the corporate agenda, or she will blow it all via her addiction to drugs. It took me far too long to realize that living a life constantly on the cutting edge of society is never what it seems, and usually falls way short of actually being remotely close to cool. I have the scary feeling that Katie goes home at night and drowns herself in booze and cocaine in an attempt to forget how sorry-ass her life really is. No article in your paper about her, no matter how cool you try to make her sound, will change this. As for me, I am no longer a scenester. I now see this whole subculture as being extremely lame. I still have the tattoos and the fuck-all attitude, but I now use my edginess in the classroom at ASU as I pursue my master's-level education. I am still cool; I am still envied, too . . . but not for my ability to spread-eagle. Rather, people envy my intelligence and my desire to open a substance-abuse treatment center -- where I will help girls just like Katie Rose get their lives on track.
Thera Raio, Tempe

Give credit where credit is due: Great article. Katie Rose hates it, but shit, it's the truth. The sad thing is if you would have walked into The Rogue less than a year ago, everyone would have just thought Katie Rose was a hooker. It kind of pisses me off that she is getting the credit for that place. She is a cool person, just not that cool. Give credit to the DJs and the people who fund the place. I was in Arizona and "the scene" for years. I left. If you're smart, you leave, and if you're an idiot, you stay.
Name withheld by request

Religious Write

We've gone too far: John Dougherty has done himself a great disfavor by trying to link the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Fundamentalist "Mormon" sect practicing polygamy ("It Practices What They Preach," May 25). As one of nearly 500,000 Latter-day Saints in Arizona, I strongly object to many of the correlations Dougherty has tried to make linking the true LDS church to the fanatics claiming to be LDS in the mountains. Particularly, I find his quote by the "anonymous" Mormon bishop contrived and offensive. His interpretation of our sacred doctrine concerning the eternal progression of mankind is taken lightly and out of perspective. I never read your publication anyway because of the trashy articles it contains, but this time you've gone too far. A co-worker started asking me questions about what she read in New Times, and my good conscience couldn't let you get away with this without some kind of condemnation. Printing mistruths and sensationalizing something that many people hold dear is not a way to gain long-term support.
Thomas Whitaker, Phoenix

A Mormon, by any other name: You are right in telling the close ties of the LDS and FLDS. I was LDS for 20 years and quit 25 years ago. Both LDS sects follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, who, like many of his type, decided to take advantage of his power and start taking wives and other men's wives and very young girls, and told his first wife Emma she had to go along with it or she was going to burn in hell. After Joseph was killed, she never admitted he had any other wives and did not follow Brigham Young to Utah. There is a Reorganized LDS Church that her son became head of when he grew up. It is in Independence, Missouri, but took the polygamy, and temple ceremonies, out of the picture.

Thanks for letting it be known that the Mormon Church is not guiltless in what is going on.
Sandy Nuss, Crescent City, California

Food for Thought

Not cynical enough: Color me naive, but I fell hard for your article on "Xtreme Cuisine" (May 18). After reading the well-written, convincing Stephen Lemons piece, I had nightmares and a knot in my stomach as I thought about the maniacal Chef Kaz's disdain for endangered species, not to mention humans. When I read the editor's note in the next issue explaining it was satire, I'm not sure if I felt better or worse.

I do consider myself a skeptic -- I don't think reality TV is "real," I don't watch network newscasts anymore, and I don't trust any politicians, even the seemingly good ones. So I was particularly horrified at my own reaction to the story, and my inability to see through to the joke. I suppose, until now, I just wasn't cynical enough.

That said, honestly, I am still angry, upset, and more than a little confused about the article. In particular, I'm curious what New Times hoped to accomplish by printing it. The varied readers' responses are interesting, for sure; but was that all?

The editor's response to criticism about the article is also disturbing; in short, I doubt that everyone who believed it to be an actual news story is a "moron" or "dumb ass."

New Times' outrageous, caustic, fabulous wit (particularly Robrt L. Pela's) has in the past provided needed insight into current political, cultural, and arts topics. However, shouldn't a news and culture magazine print news, not satire -- at least without labeling it clearly as such? I mean, I love The Onion, but that's because it's The Onion. And Jonathan Swift's famous satirical work "A Modest Proposal," which suggests population control by feeding Irish children to English landlords, was published as a pamphlet -- not in a respected, widely distributed news magazine.

To sum up, your publication's reputation for making acerbic, relevant commentary on contemporary issues was solid in my mind -- until now. Please leave the satire for The Onion and for pamphlets tucked under windshield wipers. I know I will never pick up New Times with the same high expectations again -- and certainly not with the same respect.
Kristen LaRue, Mesa

Lack of logic: If we were living in a more logical world, perhaps your "Xtreme Cuisine" piece would have gotten the response from all the vegetarians and animal-rights activists that would have been appropriate and consistent with their cause. That is, thanking New Times for causing the public to ask themselves the central question: What is the difference between eating the animals we're used to eating versus eating certain other animals? The lack of logic is even more serious with the non-vegetarians who were flipping out over what they read.

One of the things that keeps me awake at night is the thought of people who score this well in the logic department being registered to vote. That explains a lot.
Robert Williams, Scottsdale

Ask a Gringo

On the offensive: I recently picked up a copy of New Times while I was in Phoenix on business and was appalled that Ask a Mexican ("Everything a Gabacho Needs to Know," May 25) was in there. I realize that this may be your futile attempt at humor, but let's get real here.

In this day and age, with immigration being such an important issue, don't you all think that this was (is) in poor taste? Not to mention the fact that it is just a tad bit disrespectful to the Mexican-Americans in your community. Even if you are Hispanic by birth, have some respect for your own people. All this really accomplishes is to fuel the already heated fire of the immigration issue. Even if the editors of this publication stand by this under the guise of "freedom of speech," which I do support, they should have the decency to recognize that many people will find this offensive on both sides of the issue. As far as your response to the individual known as Gabacho, you really never answered his question. If you are going to have a column called "Ask a Mexican," at least answer the question that has been asked.

P.S. As far as my "hilarious pseudonym," you may call me "The Pinche Gringo."
Taylor Douglas Theron Hardy, Tucson


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