Au revoir but never adieu

Our loss, but the daily newspaper world’s gain, Ted Holteen begins his foray over to the dark side.

by Ted Holteen

I’ll leave it to you to decipher the nuance that differentiates those two French tidings of farewell, but no words, in English or otherwise, can facilitate my task at hand this week. Two and a half years ago, the founders of this wonderful newspaper, Will Sands and Missy Votel, presented me with an opportunity of which most misanthropic sociopaths can only dream. The privilege that I’ve been afforded here at the Telegraph is one that comes to maybe one of every 10 or hundred thousand (maybe a million?) incredibly lucky Americans. No matter how well I may hone my craft in the future, I will never find the words to express how truly thankful I am to Missy and Will. I know I’m not the first who has struggled to reconcile personal feelings with professional decisions, but that doesn’t make it any easier to walk away from people who mean so much to me. For after a great deal of trepidation, soul-searching and even remorse, I will in fact step aside and let someone else experience what it’s like to have your every thought and opinion cast before the public every week. Pros and cons to be sure although at the moment I seem to only remember the good parts. But as I’ve still got a few words left, I might as well use them.

Before I go any further, I should apologize to some folks who expected me to do my job this week; that is, to preview the events of note for the coming week. They would include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) The Fort Lewis College Theater Department, presenting that Edward Albee play I put off reviewing last week, “Three Tall Women” this weekend. I haven’t seen it, but my personal assistant summarized it for me brilliantly, and I give it two thumbs up, which is all I’ve got. (2) Also at FLC, The Southwest Writer’s Institute happening Friday and Saturday and featuring such luminaries as Sherman Alexie, Esther G. Belin, Steven J. Meyers, William Pitt Root and the great Ken Wright. Workshops, readings and all your questions about how to write answered. Certainly more than you’d ever get from some writers like, say, me. (3) The incredible Bones, a one-man multimedia show at the Abbey Theatre Friday showcasing the man’s percussion virtuosity – a treat for the eyes and ears, so I hear. (4) The barnstorming Grease Not Gas bunch, touring the country in a truck that runs on kitchen refuse and showing a very good film about it at the Abbey on Monday night. I know there’s more I’m leaving out, but why change now, right? In fact, why don’t I use this chance to apologize to everyone I’ve slighted, insulted or ignored during the time I’ve penned this little column. To all of you, I am sincerely sorry. Unless you deserved it, then screw you.

I could go on forever thanking the readers who have inexplicably given me positive feedback and even an occasional compliment over the years, but I won’t. I will miss you, however. For the most part, I’ve had the cozy luxury of writing to an audience who, if not quite as jaded and disenfranchised as myself, is at least of a similar mindset socially and politically. That’s something I may not fully appreciate until I see how bad things can get when actual rednecks and churchgoers start reading what I write. You can tell a lot about a publication from the people who read it. Financial geniuses read the Wall Street Journal. Intelligent people who care about their community and tend to not have a stick up their ass read the Durango Telegraph. The Boys from Brazil read The National Review. Liggett reads Maxim. I fear that in my next venture, I may get an earful or two from any one of those audiences, although I’m really not that worried about what Liggett thinks of my writing. Alas, it is a sad feeling to know that I’ve probably called my last gubernatorial candidate a slave owner. I really am going to miss this job.

When I first took over this space after Mike Sheahan left town, I felt almost intrusive trying to continue what was such a popular and innovative column. Later, it became apparent that Sheahan actually sucked and that I did a much better job, although of course I’d never tell him that (I’m sure he won’t ever see this - the Internet doesn’t reach all the way to Oregon, does it?) I foresee a similar situation happening again. Someone will take over this page (they better rename it), people will say, “oh, it’s not the same,” then over time it will grow on them and they’ll come to say, “it’s a good thing that Ted guy died or we’d never have discovered that Lindsay Nelson is so much better!” So give her a chance, OK?

I’d still love to hear from you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Bye for now. •



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

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