Look Out Above
Livestock and laughingstocks: I hadn't picked up New Times much in several years until I grabbed one late last year and saw your column The Bird. At that time, I think The Bird was writing about Donald Trump's wanting to build a high-rise at 24th and Camelback, and it was taking a stand that you wouldn't have expected: that the homeowners in that part of town be damned because Phoenix needed developments like Trump's to become a real big city ("Gomer, You're Fired!" Robrt L. Pela, November 3).
I thought, now there's a refreshing stand for an alternative paper. I would've thought that New Times would be the mushy mouthpiece for the homeowners in the area. I would've thought that your paper would've trumpeted that all development is bad.
Since that time, I've read hilarious Bird rants about Arizona State University President Michael Crow's efforts to "sanitize" the party school he runs ("What's Eating Crow?" November 24), funny stuff on "Candy" Thomas, our County Attorney (lately "Judging Andy," March 23). You name it -- Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Governor Janet Napolitano, the local art community -- The Bird has been humorously accurate about what's going on around here.
I thought my sides would split when I read The Bird's story about Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the sheep-fucker ("Baa-aaaaaad News," March 16). It wasn't just that there were sheep jokes, it was that these were sheep jokes that only a sick freak would think of. The Brokeback Mountain one was deliciously wrong!
I'd thought that The Bird's take on the new HBO show Big Love was funny and (turns out, now that's it's premièred) on the mark ("Big Eeeewww," February 23), but I hadn't seen anything yet. Please keep The Bird coming!
Cathy Rodriguez, Phoenix
Is nothing sacred?: It was sad enough that Brokeback Mountain didn't win the Oscar it deserved. Now we have to listen to all sorts of off-color jokes about the movie.
I thought what The Bird said about the movie in the article about the fireman, the sheriff and the sheep was extremely homophobic. And it made light of maybe the most moving moment in the entire film. Robrt L. Pela should be ashamed of himself!
Lynn O'Shaughnessy, Tucson
I Led On Three Wives
Just like the rest of us: Regarding your "Big Eeeewww" article in The Bird on Big Love, there are plenty of beautiful MILFs in polygamy, and there are plenty of ugly people. Guess what, that's genes! It has nothing to do with religion. You look at the world, and there are all kinds of people.
And as for how empty Pennie Petersen looks and how abused Pennie was in polygamy, I'm sure it's true. But that certainly isn't always the case. You can't blame a religion for how people act or treat each other. They would do it no matter what religion they practice.
As for Big Love, it's quite accurate. Not all polygamists look, act or even think the same. They're just like the rest of you people out there. It's a great show, and I'm sure it will depict the dirt that you've written about so often in New Times.
I'm a woman living in the Colorado City polygamy world, and I just wanted to put in my two cents.
Name withheld by request
As handsome as cops, lawyers, and doctors: Now that Big Love has kicked off, I can see what you meant in The Bird. I seriously doubt any real polygamists live in three perfect houses in the suburbs of, say, Provo and drive their oh-so-normal kids to soccer practice in shiny SUVs.
It's a fact that some polygs are beautiful and handsome, though. I used to live around the Colorado City-Hildale community straddling the state line, and saw a smattering of people who had great looks. But you had to get through the drab clothing and the hangdog expressions on their faces (I'm talking about the women) to see how physically attractive they could be.
But it's like The Bird said, if Big Love were absolutely accurate, nobody would watch it. There has to be some sex appeal or it won't work. I just wish that we saw more nudity among the women on the show and not so much of Bill Paxton's naked fanny.
I'm happy to see that the show is exploring the evil prophet aspect. Harry Dean Stanton's character is kind of a Warren Jeffs type. He's venal. And it's somewhat believable, I guess, that the family featured in the show has left the actual polyg community to live in the big town and hates many of those still there.
I noticed in a recent episode that Paxton's character mentions that he'd been taken to "the city" when he was 14 and left there. He tells his father, played by Bruce Dern, that he had to do terrible things to survive. This is exactly what happens to the young men in the real polyg community who're seen as competition to the old men for the young girls' attentions.
So maybe the show is as accurate as it can be and still be popular with people who know nothing about the real tragedy of polygamy, which is most of America. I'm just glad the show isn't a whitewash.
Sarah Johnson, Salt Lake City
Cruel As Usual
He is the law: What I want to know is why somebody in the law enforcement world in Arizona doesn't bring Joe Arpaio and his band of criminal jail personnel to justice? At the top of your "Death Sentence" column (John Dougherty, March 16), it said, "So what else is new?" This couldn't be more true. How many times have we heard that Joe not only condones cruelty from his guards, but requires them to take the hard line?
Too many! The opening paragraphs of the story on jail victim Charles Agster made me cry. As a mother, this was just horrifying to read how they killed that boy. It made me want to slap the smug Arpaio across the mouth. As a sometimes resident of Arizona, my fondest hope is that somebody someday knocks that shit-eating grin off his face.
Can you imagine anybody being that callous?! Before I read the countless articles about Arpaio's "law-and-order" cruelty in your paper, I couldn't have imagined a public official (a much-beloved one by voters, at that) being so openly heartless.
Tina Dupree, Las Vegas
Or as much truth as we can get: "Death Sentence" was another great story by John Dougherty! It's refreshing to see that some of the Phoenix media can actually tell the truth about Joe!
Nancy Medlock (arpaio.com), Montrose, Colorado
Where men are men, and sheep are better off: I've read several of your articles about Old Joe. As an Arizona native it's embarrassing to have him on the long list of infamous Arizona black-eye politicians. I really think he is the worst. I know it's hard to beat former Governor Ev Mecham as the king of Arizona eyesores, but at least no other sorry Arizona politician has bragged about torturing the citizens he cares for.
Arizonans need to realize that Joe is sodomizing them, and that what he says is all green baloney. He will be his own undoing. Just stay on him! Maybe one day Arizona can be safe.
Pat Blackburn, via the Internet
Everybody else knows: I left Phoenix in 1993 and went to Georgia. All I ever heard on the news about Arizona concerned the antics of the inhumane sheriff in Phoenix. Years later, I moved back and was shocked to find that Phoenix still has the sheriff with no regard for human life.
I was shocked that voters have put up with this insane man and allowed him to do barbaric things for so long.
I hope that he fries in his own fish oil! That's putting it gently. What has happened to the Agsters' son should not be tolerated. Joe Arpaio needs to be impeached. Thrown out!
People all over the country laugh at Arizona because of old Joe Arpaio.
I was here when they impeached Ev Mecham for saying "pickaninny." Why do they let Arpaio train murderers and get away with it? Joe should be wearing pink. I think he already does!
Sharon J. Jones, Phoenix
'Round the Bend
Let the Gila begin: I was born and raised in Gila Bend, a town that your writer managed to say nothing but negative things about ("Gila Bound," John Dougherty, March 9).
I will be the first to tell you that our town is not filled [with] big buildings and brand-name companies. We don't have a Starbucks on every other corner for the yuppies to gather after their long days of sitting in cubicles. But what your writer doesn't know is that this is what makes our town attractive to so many people.
Violence here is almost nonexistent in comparison to Phoenix. Your writer mentioned one of our bars here in town, but he called it Beto's. It's Neto's. And I won't hesitate to tell you that he's right that it's seen its share of fights. But how is that any different from bars in Phoenix?
Unfortunately the writer failed to capture any of the positives about our town, including how we know our neighbors and how our children know all their classmates. The sheer fact of not being Phoenix is also an attraction for city dwellers who've moved here. Nobody's in a hurry. There are no traffic jams, drive-by shootings or choppers flying overhead at night. There is no smog.
For some people, city life is what they want. For others, the small town is the right place. I can't think of a better place to start a family and raise children than my town.
Eric Davis, Gila Bend
Phoenix isn't full yet: So now commuters are going to be driving in from Gila Bend? That's tragic. Why does Phoenix emulate L.A. and not San Francisco, or some civilized place?
How can there be enough water in this desert to build Phoenix suburbs that far out? Will somebody explain that to me?
Infill, infill, infill! There are so many vacant lots in Phoenix; why not build on them and stop the insanity of building outward?
Ted Thornton, Phoenix
Exposed again: Wow! After reading your piece about Unity 06, I wonder if you've ever been to a party like this (Needle Exchange, Brendan Joel Kelley, March 16). I understand the context in which you wrote the article, but the over-emphasis on drugs and related stereotypes perpetuates our problem with people not understanding that it's really about the music!
Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. I'm almost beginning to think you assholes write these articles just to see how many "ravers" you can piss off, and to show how little you know about anything underground.
Shanna Giannatti, Scottsdale
But it sounded fun to us: Let me start off with a big fuck you! Your article about Unity 06 is a disgrace to New Times. Loaded with the type of sensationalist bullshit that I've become accustomed to finding on FOX News, it's made me decide to formally boycott New Times, and you can bet I'll be telling my friends as well.
"It's been a long time since the underground rave scene was thriving," you wrote.
Umm, no? Weekly events of ever-increasing size and usually costing upwards of $5000 to produce have been around for a while here in the AZ.
I'm actually curious as to what background research you did before writing this article? Any? It seems you simply regurgitated rumors and stereotypes that you've accumulated over the years: "Twisted up in cuddle puddles while bass thumps were rattling their spines."
Which's where the fuck you comes into play.
This is exactly the type of stereotypical bullshit that undermines the underground music scene in Arizona. Really, are you intentionally trying to hurt a music scene struggling against corporate monopolies, or are you just plain stupid?
New Times has made it clear that it's no friend to the underground electronic scene. This is not something I shall soon be forgetting.
James Davis, Scottsdale
Misinformed pinheads: Along with their anti-Islamic vitriol, John Monkton, Scott Hume and Howard Weinstein served up a phenomenal amount of historical disinformation in their letters to the editor ("Holy War," March 16) regarding your article "The Chosen One" (Joe Watson, March 2).
Hey guys, if you don't like contemporary Islam, that's fine -- but the Islam that's out there in the world today is the brand of Islam that was supported, financed, encouraged and high-fived by America's own foreign-policy establishment for the 40-some year period of the Cold War.
From 1945 to the present, the United States offered no support to moderate Islamist leaders or movements in the Arab world, because most such individuals and parties were, frankly, opposed to our own foreign policies. So, not surprisingly (just like we did in Latin America, Southeast Asia and South Africa) in the name of a blind, ignorant anti-Communism, we bet on any reactionary "Islamo-fascist" horse we could find.
This brought us into partnership with the Bush family's bid-ness buddies, the Bin-Ladens and their wonderful, freedom-loving son, Osama.
Are you starting to remember some of this?
While the mujahadeen of Afghanistan were throwing acid in the faces of secular Afghani women, setting off bombs in movie theaters in Kabul and committing numerous other atrocities, Ronald Reagan was standing on the White House lawn with their political representatives, proclaiming them to be "freedom fighters."
There were plenty of Middle Eastern experts around to advise us that we were playing with fire, and to warn us that the jihadists we were in bed with didn't like the United States any more than they liked the Soviet Union. But Reagan brushed off the warnings, claiming the naysayers were just a bunch of pantywaist liberals.
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Now that the Jihadist International created by the United States, with support from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, has focused attention on the West, the aforementioned letter-writers have belatedly discovered what a Frankenstein this is.
Don't tell me, let me guess: Y'all voted for the Bin-Laden bid-ness partner who now occupies the White House, and who's responsible for the quagmire in Iraq, but you're going to blame Deedra Abboud for the present state of affairs.
Spare us your phony, prime-time patriotism, please -- you're the pinheads who got us into this mess in the first place.
Lee Poole, Phoenix
Correction: Last week's feature, "Soiled Hands" (March 23), incorrectly identified Sarah Cowgill. Cowgill is the mayor's former press secretary. She does not currently work for the city of Phoenix.