Letters From the Issue of Thursday, September 7, 2006

Grime Is the Word

Times, they are a-changin': New Times, you really know how to ruin my day! First I read longtime investigative reporter John Dougherty's piece about how he will no longer be turning over rocks and looking under them in Phoenix ("Vaya Con Dios," August 31), and then I turn to your cover story and it's about a militant anti-American rapper ("Rappin' Radical," Brendan Joel Kelley, August 31).

Well, Dougherty and veteran writer Paul Rubin were about the only reasons I was reading New Times, and now John has left to smell the roses. Most of the great New Times writers — Dewey Webb, Terry Greene Sterling, David Holthouse — are no longer there.



Then you insult us with that awful story on that radical rapper. His name, Grime, pretty much sums him up. This young man should be taken to the woodshed, because he has no understanding of how lucky he is to be in this country. Only in the land of the free would he be allowed to stand up at a microphone and spout his anti-American lyrics.

And for New Times to print such an article as the five-year anniversary of September 11 comes up is also criminal. What is your once-fine paper coming to when you air the views of a pampered little kid who's acting like a member of Osama bin Laden's tribe? Rap music has always been bad enough, but now this kid has really taken it deep into the gutter.

It's amazing to me that he's allowed to do what he does, and it's unbelievable that you would honor him by putting him on the cover of your newspaper at a time when our nation is memorializing those who lost their lives to terrorists. My, how times have changed!
Martha Ridenour, via the Internet

Gangsta pap: The thing that gets lost about Grime in all the shit about his radical lyrics and philosophy is that he's a hell of a rhymer and a hell of a performer. Remember when Ice-T and the old gangsta rappers were out there with all the "Fuck the Police" lyrics, and so forth? Well, Grime has that kind of spirit in his time.

So all you people who are scared shitless by him shouldn't worry. If he someday gets famous, he'll probably turn out like Ice-T and play a cop on some dumb TV show. Or, in his case, maybe a government agent like on 24.

'Cause it's hard to stay angry when you've got lots of money.
Tim Clary, via the Internet

On a mission: Hell yeah! Great story, y'all, on Grime. He definitely is a hard worker, and he's definitely on a mission. I'm glad to know this kid because he's going to be one of the cats that puts Arizona hip-hop on the map.
Dumperfoo, Tempe

Signing Off

Cult figure: What a time for John Dougherty to say goodbye to New Times, when polygamist Prophet Warren Jeffs has just been arrested! I'm wondering if he can stand the pain of watching Utah courts try to hold Jeffs responsible for crimes he's committed in polygamy.

I consider myself one of the lost daughters of Mormonism — not polygamy, but modern-day Mormonism. My crime was to criticize the doctrines that introduced polygamy into the church, which gave rise back then to the same sort of crimes that Jeffs is responsible for. These early Mormon prophets are still so revered in the mainstream church. Yet modern-day Mormons will protest that they are not the same as polygamists.

Many crimes have been committed by churches through the ages. It's the toughest thing in the world to criticize church policy. But I would characterize a church as a cult that doesn't recognize crimes that occur in the carrying out of its beliefs. By this definition, the LDS is a giant cult.

Mormonism is so powerful in Utah that I no longer felt at home in my own home state. I will never forget that John Dougherty respected my feelings of persecution for speaking the truth. He wanted to know more. And he was ready to fight on my side. He's a great journalist!
Geraldine King Hitt, Phoenix

A big self-pat on the back: John Dougherty's New Times articles were always the first things I read. Issues were addressed months to years before they percolated into the mainstream media. I am really going to miss his work, and I sincerely wish him well.

That said, his ("Vaya Con Dios" column stinks on ice. As I read it, I couldn't help but remember Norman Mailer's Advertisements for Myself. Both of these pieces are nauseating, self-congratulatory ego massages. The irony is that Dougherty's professional chronology is totally unnecessary — he did good work, and those of us who read know it. We are aware of his valuable contributions without having him enumerate them for us.

He appears to be applying for a job somewhere. He demeans himself while seeking approval. Pathetic.

Glad Dougherty and his sons finally went to the Grand Canyon. It is a mystical, inspiring place — even for those of us who run it. Good luck to Dougherty in his "transition."
Carl Samuels, via the Internet

Dirty deeds exposed dirt cheap: I read the Grand Canyon piece today, and I'm sorry to hear John Dougherty's leaving for something new, but I can understand that feeling completely.

I'm a certified Canyon addict and return at least twice a year, or whenever I need to feel like a molecule again.

I have read many of Dougherty's stories in the past few years, enjoyed them all, and I'm grateful for his efforts to expose the numerous dirty deeds and the shady characters who hold the keys to the kingdom.

We share a loathing of Fife Symington and his crooked cadre of cronies, and I appreciate the good work he's done to expose them for the phonies they are.
Dock Ellis, via the Internet

Middle-age crazy: John Dougherty was a hell of an investigative journalist, but as a writer, he sucks! At least where this last New Times story is concerned.

I was embarrassed for John. What a crybaby! And his revelatory experience happens just after he turns 50. Such a clich&eadvice;! Everybody feels the middle-age crazies in their lives, but most of us don't turn tail and run away to the woods, leaving a 16-year-old behind. I feel sorry for his kids, because their father is a loon.

And what was that stuff on his ex-wife about? He devoted himself so much to his work that she left him and he deeply regrets it. Well, fuck her!

I did sort of enjoy the part about his hike through the Grand Canyon, though a lot of people hike across the Grand Canyon without telling us what a mystical fucking experience it was. Will New Times be publishing a curtain-call column when he pulls his camper into Yosemite?

When you guys clean out Dougherty's desk at New Times, look inside and see if there's any more of whatever he was smoking when he wrote that story. Overnight it to me, because it must have been some great shit!
Bob Stansfield, Los Angeles

Taking stock: I really enjoyed the many levels of the "Vaya Con Dios" story: the Grand Canyon hike, taking stock of how John Dougherty came to be where he is with his writing employment and his history, including the personal moments we got to enjoy.

I guess any day is a good time to see where we are in our lifeline, but we wait for specific ages, like 25, like 50, to really take stock. I hit 25 on July 31.

John, you really humbled me and brought a tear to my eye when you acknowledged your own fallible human nature. We are all guilty of the same human nature, but that was a nice touch.

Willie Nelson has a tune where he talks about the trunk full of regrets stuffed under the bed that he gets out every so often when needed.
Mick Whaley, Gilbert

A fascinating train wreck: I winced when I read John Dougherty's self-righteous rant about his life. It was fascinating in the way that the HBO show [The Comeback] Lisa Kudrow was in was fascinating. You couldn't stop watching, or reading, in the case of the Dougherty piece, as the main character makes a fool out of himself.

John, you probably think this story was among your best, but I wouldn't use it to apply for a new job. Your sanity might get questioned.
Mary Rollins, Phoenix

On the bleeding edge: I've read John Dougherty's stuff since back when he was exposing Fife Symington for his goofball dealings; it's interesting how he was years ahead of the worthless mainstream news people around town.

I was watching TV the other day, and Channel 3 said something about Michael Watkiss' "unflinching" coverage of the FLDS polygamy saga "for the last 10 years." I'm sure he's an able person, but I just have to wonder about the conspicuous absence of Dougherty's name.

He's been on the bleeding edge of more stories than these guys ever will. His greatest (and probably bravest) legacy, of course, was his work on our local sheriff.

Anyway, my question is: Why doesn't Dougherty run for local office? I don't think there's been a good Democrat since I don't know when. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a registered Republican.

Thanks to Dougherty for all the great truth.
Mark Long, Phoenix

A critical "letter": I see in your "newspaper" that the number-one hypocrite is finally leaving his post in order to find himself. John Dougherty was no different from the people he appointed himself to attack — except that he distorted the truth.
Richard Mack, Pima

Sheriff Joe awaits: Good luck to John Dougherty in what he is looking for. He will be truly missed, and New Times will not be the same without him. The thing that bothers me now is, who will pick on Sheriff Joe?
Tom Hathaway, Chandler

The journey continues?: Thanks to John Dougherty for recounting his journey-within-a-journey! His contributions to better, cleaner government are remarkable and much appreciated! I think he's not yet finished with this journalism business that keeps pulling him along. Hopefully, his torch here has been passed. Godspeed!
Cathy Rosenthal, Phoenix

His style will be missed: John Dougherty's investigative style of attack journalism will be greatly missed. I hope he keeps hiking and writing. I look forward to his next piece.
Steven Waxman, Scottsdale

Shooting Birdies

The Devil and J.D. Hayworth: What the hell's this thing The Bird's got with J.D. Hayworth?! I thought the winged wonder was liberal, and then he goes and bashes the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix for calling Hayworth an anti-Semite ("Hayworth Hoo-Ha," Stephen Lemons, August 17) and then comes back the next time to slam Democrat Harry Mitchell, saying J.D.'s "red meat" and Mitchell's a wuss ("Milquetoast Mitchell," August 31).

J.D. Hayworth is Satan, and Satan needs to be banished to the depths of hell. Whatever Harry Mitchell's faults, he's a righteous man and will be a much better representative in Washington than Hayworth. I mean, what has Mitchell actually done wrong to deserve such scorn from New Times?

Does The Bird actually expect him to come out in favor of strip clubs in Scottsdale?! That would be political suicide. I guess he could have just kept his yap shut, as the feathered fiend suggested, but that would've been cowardly.

Come on, bird brain, give Mitchell a break. Even if we have to lie, cheat and steal to do it, we've got to get rid of J.D. Hayworth — for Arizona's sake.
Bob Erickson, Phoenix

Just mild about Harry: I totally agree with The Bird's take on Harry Mitchell. What a pussy! How can the Democrats hope to unseat J.D. Hayworth with a bore like Harry?

From Janet Napolitano to Terry Goddard to Phil Gordon, these Pinto Democrats are a bunch of lackluster do-nothings. That they got elected governor, attorney general and mayor of Phoenix is a bleedin' miracle! But it looks like Janet will get reelected in a landslide, as will the other two dweebs. So, when you look at it like that, I guess Harry will fit right in.

It's just sad. Very sad. They say there's a two-party system in this state, but there's really only the Right Wing Republican Party and the Moderate Republican Party. God, what I would give for a real leftist politician in this state, but I guess somebody like that could never even win a justice of the peace post.
T.S. Parker, Phoenix

Rough ridin': The Bird's impassioned defense of J.D. Hayworth missed the point. No one could possibly accuse J.D. Hayworth of anti-Semitism. His problem is ignorance rather than prejudice.

The point is, the greatest champion of the Americanization of immigrants could hardly have been Henry Ford, in view of his prejudice against certain immigrants. Instead, the greatest champion of Americanization was Republican president Theodore Roosevelt. Here is a sample of what T.R. had to say about immigrants:

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith, becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin.

"But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, and we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people."

We may not all entirely agree with Teddy Roosevelt (and we certainly would say "people" rather than "man"), but, unlike Ford, Roosevelt was free of vulgar prejudice and bias. If J.D. Hayworth had only chosen Teddy Roosevelt as the advocate of Americanization, this whole flap never would have happened.
Eli Kaminsky, Phoenix

Rock On

Big in Europe: Regarding your recent cover story, we discovered the Love Me Nots from the other side of the world ("Garage A Go-Go," Niki D'Andrea, August 24). We live in Europe and found the band on MySpace a few months ago, loved their music and got into their blog.

We had a trip to the States already planned for this summer, so when we heard they were playing their debut show on July 21 in Phoenix, we were pretty excited and made sure we were in that part of the country. We went along to the Paper Heart expecting only to see them, and ended up sitting through half a film and the crazy Arizona Derby Dames. The band didn't come on until 12:30 a.m., but it was definitely worth the wait.

Their stage energy was instantly electric and explosive, and yet so poised and controlled at the same time. There was a sense that they'd been together forever.

Nicole is truly something from another time, so classy and talented. We even heard someone that night call her "the Audrey Hepburn of punk rock." No one who sees or hears that girl forgets her.

There was no profanity (unlike what your article claims, we never heard Nicole say "fuck yeah"; it's obviously not her style), and they don't indulge in any of the other stage gimmicks lots of other entertainers rely on to get attention.

They just don't make guitarists like Michael Johnny Walker anymore; his solos had everyone totally transfixed. You just don't know which one of the band members to look at.

They have just the sound Europe has been incubating for years! They need a manager in Europe, and they'll be set. This band has stardom written all over them, and we were honored to catch their very first show.
Sacha Hanly, Paris, France

Love them not: Let me get this straight. In your article "Garage A Go-Go," you profiled a band on your cover that has basically played two gigs to an audience of no one, posted four crappy amateur-sounding songs on MySpace.com, and has absolutely no serious talent. What gives?

Is it because there are two decent-looking girls in the band? They should've taken their tops off. That would have given some semblance of legitimacy to this completely unwarranted publicity. This is an absolute insult to all of the serious and talented musicians who have worked the local scene for years. Unbelievable!
Joe Dawson, Tempe

Copy cats: Okay, you have got to be kidding with this article! This has to be a joke. Everything is so contrived — from the "designed" go-go dresses (come on, Judy's and Contempo sold these same dresses in 1992; hell, I think Donna from Beverly Hills, 90210 wore one!) to Nicole's sipping tequila during practice.

If this is a real band, some advice — the Hypno-Twists did it much, much better. Maybe the Love Me Nots can copy their lead since that seems to be who they aspire to be.
Stacey McMahon, Tempe

Hunger Pangs

Coming around: Stephen Lemons was a great restaurant critic, and Michele Laudig is still learning. I miss Stephen now that he has gone on to other pursuits at New Times, but I'm coming to enjoy Michele's work. I totally agree with her assessment of Thai Basil ("Thai Me Up," August 24). After reading the review online, my husband and I went there. It was the best Thai food we'd had since leaving L.A.
A.L. Lieberman, Phoenix

Overstating the obvious: I have read Michele Laudig's reviews over the past few weeks, hoping that she would hip me to something new and exciting. For the most part, the places she reviewed are not only stale, but should probably be shut down. But I still held out hope . . .

Then the Thai Basil article ran. Are you kidding me? These Americanized Thai dumps are pathetic at best in terms of authenticity, flavor and originality. I assure you that I am not a food snob, but someone who knows a watered-down product when I see (or taste) it.

Michele described a curry that contains "bell peppers, carrots, broccoli." Look, that alone should tell her everything she needs to know about the menu/establishment.

If Michele wants to have any sort of legitimacy in her columns, I would suggest targeting restaurants that have something to offer, instead of name-dropping Char's Thai (dog food, laughably awful) and weak imitators like Thai Basil.
E. Kidd, via the Internet

Da Vang me: I read with interest your review of Da Vang ("D.I.Y. Dining," Michele Laudig, August 31). Years and years ago, New Times had a reviewer named Cap'n Dave who reviewed only cheap eateries, and he was funny!

Former reviewer Stephen Lemons told it like it was.

In your review of this cheap-eats place, I found the following: "good little Vietnamese joint" and "at these prices, I didn't mind taking a chance."

On to the flaws I found: Roll was on the stale aide, imitation crab, too-tough pork, bland broth, duck meat still on the bone and covered with rubbery skin and soft gelatinous tendons.

I read your review in my search of a good restaurant. I wasn't looking for perfection, but I would like to eat somewhere where I wouldn't have to worry about all of the above.

How much of a yuck factor does it take for me to toss a review like this into the garbage? Not much.
Naoma Foreman, via the Internet

We took the words right out of her mouth: I was a huge fan of Stephen Lemons, and when I began reading Michele Laudig's reviews, I had trepidations. But after reading her review of Palazzo ("Dance Flavor," August 17), she has completely won me over, and I will be a trusted reader from now on.

I, too, had the unfortunate experience of eating at Palazzo recently. You found the words that I was looking for when trying to explain the experience to others. Previously I used words like dark and gaudy, but calling it the "set of a vampire sitcom" was right on.

I also loved your review of the food, which I also thought was overpriced and trying hard to be upscale without the restaurant's proprietors really understanding what that means. You said everything I had been thinking the entire time, and I hope that this review saves people from the terrible experience of eating at Palazzo.
Robyn Nebrich, via the Internet

Golden Fleece

Walk the spiritual walk: There are a lot of horror stories, like yours, that come out of Capstone Cathedral ("The Frisby Legacy," Sarah Fenske, August 17). The congregation was spiritually abused by the Frisbys. The anointed — as the Frisbys like to be called — should not fleece the flock. Judgment will also come upon them.

I once attended this church, and firsthand can attest to the abuse and circuslike atmosphere that was prevalent. The flock has been scattered for years, since Neal Frisby and his family were holding church services. There was an instance when a church official went so far as to tell some members to take their black folk out of there. Then Neal had to apologize to the congregation regarding that racial slur.

Curtis Frisby is hardly the "anointed" pastor who could be trusted with someone's spiritual walk.
Susan Fillmore, via the Internet


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