"Journalist" Barry Graham insulted a lot of good people when he characterized Joe Arpaio as being "low-class. He's one step from the trailer park" ("Waiter, There's a Lie in My Soup," November 6). I would judge that the 500 or so grandmothers and grandfathers living at the "trailer park" where I live are just as intelligent, and in most cases more intelligent, as this venom-spewing so-called journalist.
What bleeding-heart liberals can't fathom is that a significant majority of citizens supports the proposition that criminals should lose most of their rights and all of their privileges when they violate the law. After seeing a printed apology by Graham, I would be pleased to give him a tour of our "trailer park," where he'll find nice people living in a place of their choice. I'm in the book.
Barry Graham responds: A fair point. I apologize to anyone who felt insulted by that line. I'd certainly be insulted if someone compared me to Joe Arpaio because I lived in a trailer. And I will take Dick up on his offer.
News Are His Business
In the article about the relationship between Tom Bearup and Joe Arpaio ("Doubting Thomas," November 6), over and over, writer Tony Ortega puzzled over the local news media not following up on this or another story and letting the blatant lies of Arpaio stand. Why do the local news people allow themselves to be manipulated in this manner? Perhaps the truth of the matter is not that Arpaio manipulates the news media, but that the news media manipulate Arpaio.
In a world where advertising models pretending to be reporters read saccharine and ghoulish morality stories purported to be news, it is not surprising that they have trained Arpaio as carefully and thoroughly as any performing dog for a traveling circus. They have conditioned him to know exactly what ladders to climb and which flaming hoops to jump through to get his doggy treat.
With so much invested in this continuing source of "news," of course, the media purveyors will protect his lies and pretensions. Ultimately, those lies and pretensions are the product that the radio and television broadcasters sell. It is a feedback loop, which causes public discourse to become ever more coarse, puerile and superficial, which in turn allows society to become more vindictive and brutal, leading to still more happy news, mass paranoia and tough sheriffs.
Janet Napolitano seems to have learned her lessons well. In the recent joint news conference with Arpaio, she guaranteed herself sympathetic coverage by sacrificing all her dignity, credibility and integrity. Good girl. Here's your biscuit.
Terry F. Tryon
This is to commend New Times on its tireless effort to expose "Sheriff Joe" for the criminal that he is. Let me add that normally I disagree with just about everything this paper says. In fact, I am one of those right-wing, militia-dork hatemongers that New Times delights in making fun of.
I don't think that we hatemongers are so different from New Times' writers. I believe in personal freedom and equal rights for everyone: man, woman, black, Hispanic, white, whatever. That is what our country stands for, and it makes me mad to see any violation of anyone's personal freedoms.
This is what "Sheriff Joe" does every day, and the so-called respectable media participate in his crimes by covering them up. That man needs to answer for his crimes.
As owners of Arena Sports Grill, my husband and I found Howard Seftel's review of the food at our restaurant to be very good (Cafe, October 23). We are pleased and proud that he reviewed our restaurant and very happy that he liked the food and chose to write about it.
However, we must take exception to his one sentence, "The staff should be tested for methamphetamines." We try very hard to make the atmosphere at Arena Sports Grill accessible to everyone, and a comment like that, no matter how it was intended, is completely out of line. If we were thinking about taking our family to a restaurant, a statement such as that would make us think twice. It's bordering on libel.
Additionally, our staff members were deeply offended by this comment, as it insinuates that they may be drug users. We as management wholeheartedly support their feelings and, therefore, request a formal apology.
Peter S. Geannopulos
Howard Seftel responds: Here's the paragraph to which the Geannopuloses object: I liked the food at Arena Sports Grill. I enjoyed the large microbrew and around-the-world beer selection. But the service pace here is so frenetic--someone is asking if you want more food or beer every 30 seconds--that it's hard to get into the flow of the game. The staff should be tested for methamphetamines.
"Bordering on libel"? "Insinuates that they may be drug users"? Both the service and the attitude at Arena Sports Grill could use some lightening up.
Turn the Page
It is obvious from Peter Rainer's review of Starship Troopers ("Reactionary Pop Gunnery," November 6) that he has never read the book by Robert Heinlein or did not understand it. It sounds like director Paul Verhoeven didn't, either.
Certainly, there are authoritarian themes in the book. Rico is in the army--for God's sake, what do you expect? The underlying society described in the book, however, is based on self-sacrifice. Only those people who have demonstrated a willingness to give their "all" are allowed to vote. Military service was not the only way; in fact, it tried to discourage you from joining up. You could volunteer for medical experiments, help colonize other planets or do other dirty, nasty jobs.
There is a famous quote that says, "Democracies will only last until the people realize they can vote themselves cake and circuses." I believe this is what is happening to our society. This is the problem that Heinlein's society avoided.
The punishments used in Heinlein's story seem harsh to our society, but perhaps a public flogging would do more to straighten out our career criminals than a stay in jail. The death penalty should not be seen as a punishment or a deterrent--though if it were used more often it would certainly become a deterrent. It should be seen as permanently removing from society those who are dangerous to other people. This strikes me as much more "civilized" than our current practice.
Unfortunately, movies are too often driven by "visuals," not ideas. I urge everyone to read the works of Robert Heinlein and other science-fiction writers. You may not agree with them, you may be shocked, but you might think!
Scott L. Smith