Letters From the Issue of Thursday, May 18, 2006

Surely We Jest

The Wrigley Mansion Does Not Cook Dogs! A recent extensive article appeared in New Times asserting that the Wrigley Mansion hosted an event that served up "unconventional" cuisine such as dog, cat, penguin and other exotic meats ("Xtreme Cuisine," Stephen Lemons, May 11).

Although the article was intended to be a spoof, the Wrigley Mansion has been receiving hundreds of angry phone calls and e-mails from people around the country who believe the story to be true. One of the phone messages was from a person who promises to burn down the Wrigley Mansion this evening [May 15], and another has threatened the lives of our staff. We also received a phone call from the director of the Humane Society of America in Washington, D.C., who said that she has been receiving hundreds of phone calls as well.

In response to this, the New Times publisher claims that the article was written to prove to its readers that they should not [always] take what they read to be true. In publishing this totally irresponsible and selfish article, New Times has jeopardized the safety of my staff, and the safety of the Mansion, not to mention the financial loss of revenue from potential canceled reservations and events.

The Wrigley Mansion [would never] condone anything like this to take place within our facility.
Jill Hawkins, Wrigley Mansion

Editor's note: Of course the Wrigley Mansion doesn't cook dogs! And (for those of you who got to the end of the story, which became more and more ridiculous as it went along) Mayor Phil Gordon and Senator Jon Kyl didn't really pig out on human flesh, either. And news anchor Lin Sue Cooney's never even met Chef Kaz Yamamoto. "Xtreme Cuisine" is a satirical account of this faux Japanese chef's penchant for serving up exotic, sometimes endangered, animals to ritzy clientele. It was one in a long line of New Times parodies. The last was about taxidermied human beings ("Forever Yours," October 28, 2004). The article claimed that space in the huge mansion was rented by our fictional chef for a party there. The main course this comical chef supposedly served was Bichon Frise. Cook us up and serve us for dinner, but we thought this cute breed of canine had an edible-sounding name. We mean, we bet Great Dane would be mighty damn tough! As for our fake chef serving cat, come on! You'd have to eat a litter of 'em to get full. The article was reminiscent of fare from The Onion, Mad Magazine or National Lampoon; parody is a form of social commentary that dates back at least to Jonathan Swift. So don't go burning down the Wrigley, please! It's a great place where we recently hosted a party for Arizona Press Club Journalist of the Year Paul Rubin of our staff. What we were trying to do was poke fun at animal-rights wackos who'd send their turtles to MIT if not for the institute's acceptance policy. Also, it was to poke fun at a movement in the restaurant business around the world to serve up the most bizarre of cuisines. In Japan, they eat gold and poisonous fish, for Buddha's sake! Right here in Phoenix, you can buy leg of lion (no kidding, this time). Need we go on? Well, we plan to. In next week's installment of The Bird, we will further explore reaction to chef character Kaz Yamamoto's wacky world of penguin hunting and fricasseed pooch.

Cleaning Up the Mess

Joe Harvard: That Andy Thomas is all over the place with his extremist bullshit. Now he's throwing the book at teenage taggers! What a manly man ("Tag, You're It," The Bird," May 11)! What a waste of taxpayer money!

It's bad enough that Phoenix has had to put up with an imbecile like Sheriff Joe Arpaio; now it's got the Harvard-educated version of Joe.

Shouldn't [the County Attorney] be too busy with murderers and rapists in Maricopa County to go after taggers writing on a Catholic high school? Shouldn't these kids just be made to clean up what they did, slapped upside the head and allowed to move on with their young lives?

It may not seem like it, but a lot of people are fed up with certain right-wing fools in law enforcement! They do nothing but embarrass us, and more to the point, their publicity-seeking antics do nothing to solve the crime problem.

As The Bird pointed out, the real graffiti artists are laughing at these kids, and at the cops. Because the likes of Thomas' investigators will never be smart enough to catch real taggers. All they can do is bust a few little kids.

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