Letters From the Issue of Thursday, November 24, 2005
On the run: I fully expect to see a cartoon in New Times soon of staff writer John Dougherty -- white mane flowing and tape recorder in outstretched hand -- chasing tall, skinny polygamist leader Warren Steed Jeffs down that long driveway leading to the polygamists' new temple in Texas. Because, as your latest potboiler on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proves, that's exactly what's happening, at least figuratively ("Wanted: Armed and Dangerous," November 10).
Dougherty has certainly gotten Jeffs on the run, because without his prodding of law enforcement in Arizona and Utah, Prophet Jeffs and the other pedophiles in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, would still be engaged in their sordid and illegal activities.
Wait a minute, they still are!
Because authorities still haven't brought Jeffs to justice and still haven't prosecuted the other statutory rapists who've been indicted by a grand jury. Hopefully, that will come soon, and others in Polygamyland participating in this horrible activity in the name of religion will fearfully cease and desist. As Dougherty wrote in his story, as sick as the practice of polygamy is, most of us would be prepared to look past a man having 30 to 60 wives if all of them were of legal age at the time of "marriage."
On the subject, when are the indictments of the Colorado City [school] officials, promised by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, coming about?
Kara McAllister, Tempe
Drawing first blood: Though I appreciated the issues addressed in your feature story "Wanted: Armed and Dangerous," I was perplexed by a quote from an unnamed source claiming that ritualistic human sacrifice, or "blood atonement," was a 19th-century Mormon doctrine.
I've been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 10 years now, and never in all my readings of its historical documents have I ever come across evidence for such a claim. Surely if such an ugly practice really was part of my church's early history, I would benefit from learning about it.
Would you kindly enlighten me on the source of your disturbing find? I look forward to reading whatever literature you might refer me to, if you can find anything remotely credible.
Brian Nyberg, Tempe
John Dougherty responds: While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement in 1978 that ritual sacrifice had never been practiced by the mainstream Mormon church, fundamentalist Mormon polygamists have taken the idea from a September 21, 1856, sermon by Brigham Young in which he was quoted as saying: "There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world. I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the Earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them."
Breasts and the city: First you come out in favor of Donald Trump, and then you slam ugly women breast-feeding in public ("Gomer, You're Fired!" and "Lactose Intolerants," The Bird, Robrt L. Pela, November 3 and November 10). Well, I'm scandalized!
Really? No, not really. I love it! Finally, somebody has the guts to say what needs to be said.
Anybody living in the 24th Street and Camelback area should wake up! They live in the center of what passes for big-city Phoenix. And, of course, we should allow Trump to have his way, because we need to become a big city, finally! Anybody who says otherwise should join Mayor Phil Gordon and move to Mayberry.
As for the mothers nursing in public, does anybody really need to see this? This strikes me the same way as the issue of crying brats in movie theaters; why does the public have to be subjected to other people's children in public places? Can't these mothers simply shelter themselves somewhere rather than making the rest of us look at their sagging, milk-engorged breasts?
Okay, maybe I didn't get the mommy gene, but why is it in America that if you don't want to tolerate children in every way, shape and form, you are a worthless human being? There's something wrong with this picture, and thanks for saying what many of the rest of us are thinking (though I would even prohibit Jenna Jameson and Britney Spears from popping one out in public; it's just rude!).
Please don't use my name . . . I'll wind up dragged through the streets and garroted like the King of the Gauls in the HBO show Rome.
Name withheld by request
Motherhood is off limits: The Bird is a turd! Get rid of it! I thought you guys at New Times had finally gotten past the juvenile delinquency phase, but I guess not! The piece in The Bird on breast-feeding mothers was contemptuous! You should be ashamed of yourselves! For heaven's sake, assholes, you're not allowed to slam motherhood! Next up: "Don't Bring Retards Out in Public Unless They're Good-Lookin'!"
Name withheld by request
Raw and raunchy: Three cheers for The Bird! Just wanted to drop you guys a note and tell you I love the new column by Robrt L. Pela. It's raw and raunchy, just the way I like it.
Too many of the media types in this cow town spend all of their time not stepping on toes, but The Bird is chewing those toes right off the feet of the powerful and the privileged. Whether it's fucking with Sheriff Joe Arpaio ("Talon of the Law," November 3), the dopes who want to stop the Trump condo, or those stupid yuppie moms who call themselves "lactivists," The Bird is telling it like it is.
I dig the way it's written, too. Like a machine gun rattling off insults. It's just what Phoenix needs. Keep up the good work! I'll be reading it every week.
Kyle Dreyer Jr., Phoenix
Kissing up to the establishment: What the hell is up with this new feature, The Bird?! I have never been so aghast as when reading your jerk-around of the good neighborhood folks who are opposing that money-grubbing whore Donald Trump in the Camelback Corridor. What's going on? Has New Times become so corporate in its takeover of the alternative-newspaper world that it is in the pockets of the likes of Trump these days?
Doesn't an alternative paper owe it to its readers to be on the side of the little guy? We've got the Republic to support New York City entrepreneur/jerk-offs like Trump.
And who says Phoenix needs big-city flair? The reason longtime residents like it so much here is that it is and should remain a small town. We don't need any more stinkin' tall buildings at 24th Street and Camelback. We need our views of the beautiful Camelback Mountain maintained. Why is it that even New Times is pro-development these days?
I remember when you had other nasty columns and columnists in New Times. I thought Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had finally grown up and given up on such fare in their papers (how many do they own now, 16?!). Now comes The Bird, and here New Times is back to its old nasty ways, only now it's ridiculing the little guy and kissing the ass of the business establishment.
Regina Dupree, Phoenix
We need more big buildings: What a fantastic new feature! Edgy, well-written, full of attitude. Keep The Bird coming!
Your kick-off story on the Trump tower controversy was something that's been needed to be said for a long time. Those self-serving homeowner-group morons are so small-town! Don't they realize that Phoenix is a big city now?
We need more people like Donald Trump coming in with proposals for big buildings. And if you're living in the Camelback Corridor, you've already lost the neighborhood battle. It's the center of Phoenix.
And the lead story the following week in The Bird was really fucking funny! That line about "hoary hillbillies" and their peasant blouses was classic! And the part about sending Jenna Jameson down to the state Capitol was just what it would take for any state breast-feeding initiative to pass. I'm kidding, sort of.
I remember Flashes in your paper years ago, and also Spiked, but this one is really well-written, with cutting humor. It is something that Phoenix and New Times have been lacking. Bravo! Well done!
Billy Peters, Phoenix
Where we come from, "mother" is half a word: After reading "Lactose Intolerants" in The Bird, I will never pick up your publication again, and I will warn all my neighbors against New Times. You are vile and hateful! All I can say is that this piece of trash must have been written by a woman-hater and pornographer.
Karen Dennis, Glendale
Pop your tops: I liked the article and cartoon re: breast-feeding! You "milked" it for all it was worth! Why don't you go a step further and address the issue of bare breasts in public, in general?
Why is it that women can be arrested for going topless and men can't? It can't be the size of the breasts, as many men have bigger breasts than women! It's sex discrimination that women have to wear tops and men don't!
Please give us the bare facts regarding this issue. I even wrote to Ann Landers about this, but she avoided the subject. Will you do the same?
Dar Jones, Phoenix
Fingerprint this!: The Bird asserted in "Talon of the Law" (November 3) that the ACLU-AZ was avoiding media phone calls since it was unable to reach me personally. Ironically, a quick Google search produces articles [in other] Phoenix media on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's new fingerprint policy and the ACLU-AZ's reaction.
Never fear, Phoenicians, I have written The Bird, and it now has several ways to contact me, which I look forward to. After all, free speech (for people and birds alike) is one of our favorite things!
In regard to Arpaio, the ACLU-AZ is not avoiding taking on Sheriff Joe or his new fingerprint policy. We just don't want to be the fodder that feeds his ravenous public media image. Instead, we plan to conduct ourselves in a professional and effective manner, which requires a meticulous evaluation of the law and the Constitution.
Dawn Wyland, ACLU-AZ Interim Director
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