Archive for July 21st, 2006

Links…

The Independent staff has written a fantastic eulogy on Patricia Goedicke.

Ed Kemmick writes a funny and thought-provoking eulogy of Montana historian, Dave Walter.

State Republican, John Sinrud, gets tangled up with Wulfgar! Let’s keep his poor wife happy and keep Sinrud home this next legislative session. Support Jackson Cyr for HD 67.

The NRA tangles with Wulfgar! too. When will these people learn?

Politics played out on bumper stickers and sticky notes on Shane Mason’s wife’s car.

Matt Singer has a pair of posts up, one for each for Rehberg and Burns, on how they both agreed to sell out our security to a Middle Eastern country with a shaky human rights record. Um, is this a good idea?

Meanwhile, Montana veterans turn against Burns.

The DNC is contemplating adding a Western caucus before the New Hampshire primary. That’s a good thing for Rocky Mountain issues.

Republican lawmakers “edging away from optimism” on Iraq. Acknowledging reality just in time for the elections!

…except they’re busy debating the next loser social conservative issue: parental notification!

Dick Cheney is right: if we re-elect a GOP Congress things will stay the same.

blksista’s take on Bush’s appearance at the NAACP.

Kos’ Georgia10 compares Bush to Nixon. “…where we see a victory and due process for American citizens, the President sees danger.”

Atlas Shrugs Pamela displays the typical genius behind right-wing blogs. You won’t believe your eyes…in fact, you may want to claw them out…

Jon Stewart on Bush’s veto of stem-cell research. Stewart notices some hypocrisy in the rhetoric. Can you imagine?

And then Jon Stewart explains Net Neutrality. Ted Stevens is right: the Internet is indeed not a dump truck.

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Hero: Nick Larkin

Recently the Missoula Independent published a full-length feature on a local hooker (“Using Her Religion,” on June 22, by Jason Wiener). I read it at the time, but didn’t comment on it or think about it much, mainly because it’s not where my focus lies right now. But what I have noticed is that the story has sparked an unusual amount of outrage among letter-writers and, one presumes, the paper’s readership.

First, my own view is that stories about people living on our society’s margins are good – like John Adams’ recent piece on a group of the Missoula homeless — these people are part of our communities, and it’s important to not only know that they exist, but to understand them, too.

That’s not what the story’s detractors thought.

Unfortunately I can’t find archived letters from the Independent. Most letters took issue with Wiener’s non-judgmental tone: they saw the article as condoning or even approving of Nouveaux’ life choices. Many were appalled that the Independent would even choose a hooker as a topic for a feature. Most trotted out children, saying they would be damaged by reading the story (kids read the newspapers these days?) – someone even arranged a letter writing campaign by teenage girls who all claimed writing about  Nouveaux and her views would only encourage girls to become prostitutes.

(Of course, if you actually read the story, Nouveaux’ life sound pretty horrific, and she seems…well…nuts. Give me a desk job any day!)

A letter from Missoula man, John Tesdal, published in the current issue of the paper aptly demonstrates the outraged tone of many letter writers:

I found the story rather tasteless and beneath the quality of reporting previously found in the Independent. These “shock” type stories have no place in our community, especially when our children can pick up the Independent in numerous places around our city.As a small-business owner who is frequently solicited by the Missoula Independent for advertising, I must decline doing business with the Independent, as I do not wish to be associated with this type of media dissemination.

The Missoula Independent must make a choice as to the direction of its reporting in relation to its advertisers. No advertisers, no Missoula Independent.

I urge other business owners to think about the message they are helping send to our citizens, including our youth, and if they are willing to accept the responsibility of mismanaged media that does not concern itself with the welfare of the common reader and is instead harboring a self-serving attitude.

I don’t know about you, but I do not want any part of this style of degradation.

First, the Missoula Independent is a great paper with excellent journalists on its staff. It’s not going away. If anything, it’s gaining respectability for its investigative journalism. Remember who broke the real story behind the John Morrison scandal? Not the Missoulian. Tesdal might yank his ads – if he really has any – but it’s his business that may suffer.

Second, since when is the media supposed to uphold, confirm, and create the moral climate of a community? It’s always been the Independent’s mission to challenge readers’ assumptions and local authority. That’s a good thing.

But let’s listen to what Hamilton native and today’s hero, Nick Larkin, has to say:

Cannot say that I was surprised by the angry letters you received regarding “Using Her Religion.” Like many others, I found the piece to be somewhat disturbing. However, it was interesting to read about the obscure views of this woman and the (often harsh) realities of prostitution. Interesting also were the furious letters regarding the article, including one from a high-school student who wondered if newspapers were even “allowed to print something like that.” Fortunately, censorship does not reach all levels of media. Thank you, Missoula Independent, for still having the balls to publish something that may not be music to everyone’s ears.

Exactly!

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. Freedom of speech is for everybody, even for people and ideas you don’t like.




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