What about all the great Phoenix writers?: As a fan of Robrt L. Pela's superb theater reviews, I was eager to read his article ("Has Phoenix Arrived? Feel the Love," September 25). But I was very disappointed because it seems to refer to trendy business interests and because much of what it does touch on is superficial.
Maybe there is a coterie of 19-year-olds who wished they lived in NYC, but there are many layers of interest in and respect for Phoenix that are hardly captured by a T-shirt, whose slogan is tied, after all, to right-wing rhetoric.
For example, there are many programs at ASU that have a long-range and in-depth interest in Phoenix. Your article was called to my attention by a former student in my seminar on Phoenix and cultural production (pardon the dreary academic title), and I have, without any personal comment, just e-mailed the students in the current version of my course because I want to be sure they read it.
I think what most bothered me was the failure to even allude to a fair amount of literary writing about Phoenix that has taken the city seriously, going back to Glendon Swarthout in the 1960s.
And you will remember that Erma Bombeck did all of her major writing in Phoenix, which was always an implied presence in her work, if rarely named as such. More recently, Laurie Notaro has five volumes of chronicles about being a Gen X woman in Phoenix, and Jon Talton has written some of the most interesting novels about the underbelly of Phoenix — indeed, a text of his will appear in a forthcoming volume to be called Phoenix Noir.
I'm not a big fan of commercial mystery stories, which seem to be churned out on a production line, but what Barbara Peters is doing is more than just pushing poolside reading.
You may argue that Notaro and Talton have chosen to leave Phoenix, perhaps for want of enough love, but their writing is probably going to last longer than a T-shirt.
David William Foster, professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies, ASU
Olmsted cares only about the rich and white: That Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted isn't standing up for our people is no surprise to me or anybody I know ("Baaaad Shepherd," The Bird, Stephen Lemons, September 25). All he seems to care about are the rich, white Catholic parishioners around here.
Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has stood up against racial profiling of our people, against sweeps such as what Sheriff Joe Arpaio is doing.
And where's Olmsted? Hiding behind his robes. He's too cowardly to rub the likes of Arpaio and County Attorney Andy Thomas the wrong way. Also too political, I might add.
I hold out little hope that Arpaio will be defeated on November 4, but I do pray that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office will step up in the federal investigation of the Sheriff's Office and stop Joe in his tracks.
Or that Thomas will be defeated, and Democrat Tim Nelson will neuter the evil old man.
Raul Estes, Phoenix
So typical of Olmsted and his ilk: For his [spokesman] to say that Bishop Olmsted "doesn't want to get into personalities" and speak out about Joe Arpaio's illegal sweeps is just a cop-out. And so typical of the kind of leaders we've had in the Catholic Church in Phoenix.
I'm saying Olmsted had small shoes to fill after Bishop Thomas O'Brien, but he's filling them nicely.
Somebody needs to stand up to this tyrant, Joe, and who better than the leader of the church.
Oh, but I forgot . . . Olmsted cares only about his wealthy white parishioners.
Thomas Gonzales, Phoenix
Apparently, that kind of charity is long gone: Somehow the Catholic Church in Phoenix has lost its way. Look at Bishop O'Brien, and now Olmsted.
As The Bird noted, isn't the church supposed to be taking care of the weakest and most disenfranchised among us? What ever happened to that kind of charity? The local church hierarchy disgusts me.
Paul Wilcox, via the Internet
Olmsted loves him some Republitards: Heaven help us in Maricopa County with Olmsted and, previously, Thomas O'Brien as heads of the Catholic Church!
O'Brien stood up only for pedophile priests, and all Olmsted stands up for are the ruling Republitards. The poor and downtrodden be damned!
Sam Evans, via the Internet
Video in church was inappropriate, Tom: I'm a Catholic who's appalled by Olmsted's insertion of his political agenda into our weekly masses.
My church recently played a video of his encouraging us to vote no on Proposition 102. But would he ever make a video encouraging us to vote against the death penalty or in favor of ceasing ICE raids on employers? I doubt it.
Even though the latter two are supported by the Catholic Church, they are not supported by the Republican agenda.
I encourage Olmsted to re-examine his conscience. It's clear to many Catholic parishioners that he is confusing Catholic ideals with Republican ideals. They are not one and the same.
I have this picture in my head of Jesus coming into my church and violently flipping tables over.
Denise Gilbert, via the Internet
Another P.O.'d parishioner: The video Olmstead showed in church was disgusting. How many other Catholics in the Phoenix diocese were disgusted by that?
Prop 102 is a political stunt to get the conservative base out in Arizona. Olmstead bought into this stunt for "moral, save-marriage" purposes. What nonsense.
Is he going to play a McCain/Palin video next week during mass? I wish the Catholic hierarchy were as concerned about the mistreatment of migrants, war, genocide, injustice, as they are about gays and reproductive choice.
Montiel and Olmsted are a couple of sellouts: Mayor Frank Montiel [isn't] speaking for all the people of Guadalupe ("Guadalupe Meltdown," The Bird, September 25). After all, there were a great many protesters from Guadalupe when Bozo Joe was there rounding up all the guilty brown-skinners. Yes, according to the sheriff, those arrested committed the horrible crime of being brown.
So Montiel has wound up as the town's sellout and ass-kisser to none other than the buffoon sheriff [by asking the county Board of Supervisors to reconsider the Arpaio-inspired dropping of the MCSO's contract with the town].
Just ask rock star [and ousted Mayor] Rebecca Jimenez.
And what's the deal with the bishop not taking a stance? As a Catholic, I would hope he would have the church and its many followers speaking out against mean, senile, ol' [Joe]. Maybe then, Arpaio would see the error of his ways.