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Of slurs and microbrew

(Editors’ note: The following letter is from writer Lindsay Nelson, who is occasionally filling in at the Society Page. It is in response to a letter last week from Mike Brumbaugh which was critical of Nelson’s use of the term “faggy.”)

Dear Mike,

Please allow me to apologize that my use of the term “faggy” offended you and possibly others. That certainly was not my intention, and I am about as far from being a bigot, gay-basher or careless tosser of slurs as one can get. It pains me deeply that anyone would think of me as such. I may have overshot the satire in that line; my intention was to poke fun at the ridiculous notion that 1) microbrews are in some way less manly than other drinks, and 2) being called a “fag” means you are not a real man. I find both of those ideas to be foolish and, while the argument may be made that there is nothing funny about people’s ignorant or prejudiced attitudes toward anyone, I often find that making fun of such attitudes is helpful in diffusing their power. By lampooning the segment of the population who would say something like that, I was trying to point out just how ridiculous it was.

It was my hope in writing as I did that people would understand my meaning; obviously that was not the case for everyone. I don’t blame you or anyone else (gay or otherwise) for being on guard about such things –  there are way too many reasons for you to be. I’m sorry if I contributed to your feelings of outrage and attack; believe me, it’s the last thing I wanted to do. I hope you can see my point of view, and understand that I am on your side; I just go about it a bit differently.

– Sincerely,

Lindsay Nelson

Legend of the River of Lost Souls

The Big Water had come again. Boat Man, an elder of the River Clan, watched with joy as the River of Lost Souls swelled with life.

“I will take Trailer Woman with me down the river as it leaps and bounds, for she has lived here but a few years and has never seen the river this happy,” said Boat Man. “For to truly experience this happiness you must make yourself one with the river. You must be in it, and with it, and not just above it.”

Word spread of this journey, and others joined: two from the Great Heights of Learning, Learned Man of the Law and Learned Man of the People, and two of the Valley Clan, who labor to save the valley cut by the river. One member of the Valley Clan is also an Elder of the City People.

Cataraft Man, an elder in the County Clan, said “I will come too, and bring my craft, for I wish for other members of my clan to see and experience this river as it truly is.”

Boat Man went to the place Where Concrete Flows Into the Waters, where River People usually begin their journeys. He was worried. “Many bridges cross the river. These waters are so high, our boat may not go under them all. And at the Bridge Known as Main Street there are iron bars sticking out of the bank,” said Boat Man. “As our boat goes under the bridge there, as it must, it could be torn by these iron bars.”

“Iron bars? Sticking out of a river bank? But why?” asked a member of the Valley Clan.

Boat Man hung his head in sorrow. “The City People have strange beliefs. They do not believe that a river should have banks of willows and cottonwoods. They believe that the river should have banks of concrete.

“They do not believe that the river banks should be a home for the birds and the creatures of the river. They believe that the river bank should be hard and smooth, so that their two-wheeled vehicles may roll easily and uninterrupted to the Monster Called Wal-Mart, where they make the sacrifice of nearly all that they toll to earn.”

“But surely the City People can’t all believe this unnatural thing!” said a member of the Valley Clan.

“No, but many of the most powerful do,” said Trailer Woman. “And among them is one called, by those who labor at her direction in the name of parks and recreation, the Concrete Queen.”

The Valley People and the County People were puzzled. “There are no queens among our peoples.” “True,” said Trailer Woman, “But this one is so powerful, she is feared even by some of her clan’s elders. They quake at the thought of her wrath. I have heard her speak of concrete. Her eyes glow with a strange light, and her voice rises. By her own words, she values concrete above all things.”

“But what about the water?” said the Valley People. “Surely the City People have covered enough of their homeland with concrete. It runs everywhere. It fills the valley and crawls up the mountains, reaching every spot that man can reach. Does not the River’s space belong to the water?”

“These powerful City People do not believe that water should flow as it will through the river,” said Trailer Woman. “They have built a Great Palace, where they can make water do as they will it to. They make the water slide in a corkscrew from high places. They make it spout from the chimney of a plastic house and out of the limbs of a plastic tree, and down the horribly pink tongue of a giant plastic frog. All people of the City sacrifice to make water do these things.”

“It is true, for I have visited this Palace,” said Learned Man of the Law. “The City People believe that as their young ones pass each year, on the date of their birth, they must take them to this place of plastic and concrete and mingle their fluids with the waters. At such times these waters are known as The Pee of Many Toddlers.”

The Valley People and the County People shook their heads and sighed.

“Come,” said Boat Man and Cataraft Man. “We will leave these unnatural places and begin our journey at the Place Called Ninth Street.”

Next week:  Our travelers journey past the fabulous Hall of Mirrors to the perilous Rapids Called Smelter and the mouth of the Ultimate Impossibility.

– Willow Woman,

via e-mail

Broadening minds on mosquitoesDear Editors,

The Durango Herald story on mosquito spraying (June 3, 2005), barely touched the surface of the real issues at hand. The two main issues I see are: what approaches can we employ that will complement and reduce our reliance on spraying, and how informed is the public on when, what, and where the district is going to spray.

To address the first issue, as state epidemiologist John Pape pointed out last year, spraying should only be used as the last resort when all else has failed.  

The best way to limit the amount of spraying is by actively engaging in prevention. This includes more public education on breeding habitats and citizen responsibility. Utilizing biological controls such as bat and bird boxes, as well as amphibian re-introduction is a way of using nature to balance mosquito populations. I would also encourage the district to run a strong media campaign promoting larvicides of BTI (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) “dunks,” which are less toxic and, if done correctly, limit the number of mosquitoes that would reach the adult stage. These approaches are not a solution by themselves, but if actively pursued would greatly reduce the need for spraying.

In regard to the second issue, most of the complaints I hear are not from people arguing that the Animas Mosquito District should stop spraying, but that the district doesn’t listen to their concerns and that they would like to be informed when the district is going to spray.

With the mosquito district doubling the amount of tax payer money it received last year, I would love to see some of that money going toward prevention techniques and posting when, what and where it is going to spray.

– Michael Rendon,


A celebration of fossil fuel

Dear Editors,

How did your crack reporters and photographers miss the Durango Motor Expo? There were over $5 million worth of classics, hot rods, customs and muscle cars parked on Main Avenue just blocks from your offices. A check of the license plates would show participants from New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and California. At the very least, we should have been “ReTooned” for celebrating fossil fuel burning icons to capitalism!

– Dennis Pierce,

via e-mail

Rhetoric in the White House

To the Editors:

A little over three years ago President Bush said, “If you support a terrorist, you are a terrorist.”

For the moment, laying aside the fact of the Saudis supporting terrorism, and supporting terrorists, financially, and Bush then stating he “bonded” with the Saudi leader at his ranch in Crawford because we all know the Saudis also have a history of supporting the Bushes, let’s give this one to Bush because, well, you know how it is with family. It is just difficult for most, especially the intellectually challenged, to deal rationally with family, and the Saudi “Royals” are definitely family with the Bushes. Concepts, however, are a different matter. Concepts are intellectual, not emotional. There is just no familial, emotional override with concepts.

Therefore, when one states, “if you support a terrorist, you are a terrorist,” consistency argues that if one “supports” a ________, he is a __________.

Thus, contrary to the conduct of the intellectually, ethically and consistency challenged president and his administration who apparently believe, conveniently, that geographic distance somehow absolves them, their support of torture, and sending people to other countries to be tortured, confirms that they, too, are torturers.

It is just not possible to have it both ways, at least with anyone who can think. Unfortunately, since the majority of the denizens of this country have proven they are incapable of independent thought, in continuing to support the conduct of the Bush Administration, they and the rest of us, along with the reputation of this country, are being irreparably soiled by this administration.

– Donn Fletcher,

via e-mail



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
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State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows