Columns » Letters


Letters from the week of April 19, 2001

Ignorance Is Bliss
The joy of rednecks: The irony of Mr. Gary Davis' letter regarding "the Pitch ... stereotyp[ing] people" (April 5) was thickly pungent but rather humorous. I question the brilliance of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance in electing such a flagrant bigot.

Mr. Davis derides the Pitch for its characterization of the WMSA and then goes on to describe a redneck as "someone who is an ignorant, racist, sexist, homophobic hillbilly." He flayed open his own ignorance. Rednecks are hardworking citizens who toil in the soil and in various vocations, not only to make ends meet but also to advance personally, professionally and financially.

The term dates back to the 1830s, and although it has sometimes been used to specifically describe members of the Southern working class, it also includes farmers, ranchers and other outdoor workers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Does Mr. Davis think rednecks' necks redden by sitting on their duff stereotyping groups of hardworking Americans?

I am proud to have grown up a redneck, learning moral values and work ethic on the farm. It has helped me through eight years of postsecondary schooling and to presently pursue my second postgraduate degree. I will never stray from nor denounce my roots, nor will I malign another for standing by his or hers. But prejudice is unacceptable.
Walter Wm. Dalitsch III, M.D.
Overland Park

Paper View
Rag time: Regarding C.J. Janovy's article "Paper Money" (March 22): I don't feel one bit sorry for The Kansas City Star or its staff (or KC Rag, as I call it). I don't buy it because it sucks. Its editorial board seems to support every tax increase ever proposed by the federal, state or local government. These people make it clear that you are a selfish lout for not paying enough taxes or doing your socialistic duty for the environment or supporting the latest "public-private" partnership to redevelop Kansas City. God forbid anyone be allowed to own a firearm. But the same goes for every other major city newspaper.

I'm not a political party man, but the KC Rag editorial board always says, "Democrats are saviors to humanity; Republicans are scum." As for Libertarians, who are they? It aggravated me last year that the paper did not have anything in the Sunday paper before election day about any candidate or issue. That was my only motivation for buying the paper that Sunday.

The newspapers are out of touch with working-class people and individuals like Gary Davis, who was featured in the same issue as Janovy's column (Joe Miller's "Front of the Bus"). That is probably why readership is less than expected.

My two cents. Interesting article.
Don Marek
Kansas City, Missouri

Radio Flyer
Sports knight: After finally removing the spiked leather collar of editorial restraint from Greg Hall's "Off the Couch" column, Kansas City can once again relish the knowledge that its local sports media is not above critical review.

As it stood, commercial success was the only criterion used to rate the quality of sports talk radio. The hosts of these shows became as stale and bland as unflavored gelatin on tofu. Don Fortune suffered from it for years (though his refusal to prepare for his shows didn't help), and Kevin Kietzman's Between the Lines and WHB 810, while once branded the unruly upstarts with an attitude, have become exactly what Hall claims: a daylong conflagration of infomercials ranging from diet drinks that work while you sleep to inane, inexplicable beer commercials so long and pointless, you find yourself swearing off alcohol in protest!

We, the sports talk junkies of the region, are once again empowered to climb to the figurative precipice of our neighborhood cathedral to shout the oft-squelched refrain "We're mad as hell! And we're not going to take this anymore!"

Mr. Hall gives voice to the unwashed masses who REALLY power these shows. Thanks, Pitch, for allowing him rein to open the faucet. You won't regret it.
Brian Kubicki
Kansas City, Missouri

Slipped a Mickey
A spoonful of sugar: If "Cindy Rella" is not happy, why is she still at Disney Catalog (Casey Logan's "Cast System," March 29)?

There will be complaints at any workplace. I can't think of too many about Disney Catalog. The company is active in the community with the volunteers program, helping at Ronald McDonald house and participating in the AIDS Walk and March of Dimes Walk.

You have to be a kid at heart to work for Disney. We DO celebrate the characters' birthdays; they are the reason we are able to pay our bills. We celebrate cast members' birthdays with balloons, we have contests every month, and there are awards for good calls and attendance. Lunch and dinner are often provided to us. We have a very casual dress code and a comfortable work environment. Many lifelong friends are made at Disney Catalog.

I prefer my days to be full of laughter, friends and enjoyment. Knowing that I helped a terminally ill guest really enjoy a contact with Disney or tracked down a hard-to-find item for someone who just "had to have it" makes me feel good. You need empathy to talk to people on the phone all day who expect the "Disney" attitude. They think we are at the park and can look out the window to wave at Mickey Mouse. Disney has a worldwide reputation as a company that makes dreams comes true. I try to do that for the guests I talk to.
Tami L. Most
Gardner, Kansas

Crusade for Christ
Bar none: As an MNU alumni, I was defensive at first, then just annoyed by Casey Logan's article ("Where Would Jesus Dance?" March 29).

I was one of those MNU students who embraced the university's beliefs. I followed most of the rules and expected consequences if I failed to comply with the rules that I agreed to follow. I had fun, I made the best friends of my life, and I put myself through college.

MNU students are well-informed before they choose to put themselves in an environment where there are rules and consequences. There are all sorts of students at MNU in all sorts of situations, and each one is in a unique stage in his or her relationship with Christ. MNU is designed to offer an atmosphere where students can grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ or grow into a relationship with Christ while they gain a quality education. There is no shortage of bars or pubs in Olathe and the metro area that patrons can attend. In fact, there is a whole neighborhood devoted to it -- it is called Westport. The issue is not what businesses or "fun" MNU or Olathe wishes to ban, discourage or prohibit but what kind of people they want to attract and what kind of patrons they wish to cater to. It is violence MNU or Olathe wants to ban. It is disrespect they wish to discourage, and it is harmful behavior they wish to prohibit. Every community should have such goals.
Derin D. Beechner
Gardner, Kansas

Jesus was a longhair: Casey Logan's article is very interesting. Being a MidAmerica Nazarene University graduate, I am fully aware of the destructive legalism that can be found there among certain circles.

I first enrolled at MNU in 1991 (then MidAmerica Nazarene College). As a transfer student from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, I was soon singled out and harassed for having long hair. Nazarenes in Southern California commonly accepted long hair on men, but it was deemed "inappropriate and worldly" by Nazarenes here in Olathe. I eventually cut my hair after threats that I would be fined. I understand that MNU has since revised that policy, as well as one that forbade men from wearing earrings.

What's most unfortunate about these kinds of petty issues is that they truly distract from MNU's many positives. I feel my undergraduate education from MNU was first-rate, and I was able to connect with several professors on a very genuine level. Now, as a science teacher in the Olathe district schools, I look back on my days at MNU with somewhat mixed emotions. Like any university, MNU had its fair share of judgmental attitudes. But during the five years I spent at MNU as an on-campus student, I developed relationships with those I now call my greatest friends. And they, like me, try not to get caught up with issues that continually need to be revised to keep up with modern culture.
Stephen G. Dye

Dangerous congregations: As a former student athlete from MNU, I found Casey Logan's article right on the money. I am a Christian, although not Nazarene, and I hope Pitch readers will not pigeonhole the individual church members to be anything like the church itself.

Most Nazarenes are kind, caring and forgiving. Sadly, when these people come together into a congregation, they become the antithesis of what they represent. The hypocrisy at MNU runs deep. The underlying prejudice at MNU is a problem only really known by its students. You can be fined $50 for saying the word "shit," but the phrase "fag" can be heard on a regular basis. The students who enforce the rules and deal out punishments are out on the weekends doing the exact same thing they're prosecuting their fellow students for.

For all the bad things that are going on at MNU, there is also a lot of good being done. A lot of the MNU students are from small towns. They've lived by these rules their entire lives. They need these rules; they would lose their minds without them. I may have broken 90 percent of the rules in the handbook, but the structure was good for me.

I have personally dealt with more than my share of what is wrong at MNU and the College Church. It has all left a very bad taste in my mouth, and I will never step into a Nazarene church again. Individually, most of the students and especially the staff are genuinely great people. Just stay away from them when they're in packs.
Name Withheld Upon Request
Overland Park

Capri Rants
Pirates of the Caribbean: It's amazing that in his review of Farraddays' Restaurant, Charles Ferruzza could somehow half-ass research the Isle of Capri behind the Isle of Capri Casino and smugly belabor his marvel at the inaccuracies between the two ("High Roller," March 29). But somehow, a place called Iowa located in Mississippi didn't cause his panties to bunch even a little.

Did he ever confront any knowledgeable person from the Isle of Capri Casino about the "fictional Caribbean Capri," as he so ignorantly put it? Or did he just sit down and settle for the first Internet search about the "Isle of Capri"? Excellent journalism.

Now, I am not going to tell him how he is wrong or why. All I am going to tell him is that while he pompously tried to impress his readers about his knowledge of the Isle of Capri, he failed miserably in his research about the Isle of Capri Casino, its Caribbean theme and the isle it is based on. But I will tell him that they, unlike him, did their homework and are correct. I'll allow him to refine those great journalism skills of his in finding the correct answers.

I know Ferruzza is just basically a Hearne Christopher of food, but, please, when he tries to use facts and historical knowledge in his cute little food columns, either be more right or less smug.
Bon appétit.
Jason Curless
Kansas City, Missouri

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