Friday, February 29, 2008

Reactions

Hell, I think the comments are more interesting than Friday's Gazette story on the July 4 Parade disaster in the making. Look for the Springfield Republican to follow up the next day or two. Naturally the Town Manager got out of Dodge (hiding in the Barbados) for the next two weeks so the Springfield Republican probably will not be able to quote him. But I do have his cell phone number. Hmmm....


Cave Man's Girl [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 12:34 PM]
It is amazing what they will drag out to make their point. Like, yeah, OK, good thing we set up rules that will exclude the major KKK presence we have here in Amherst. Good Lord, get real.

Larry Kelley [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 02:47 PM]
There is also not a very high presence of KKK in South Boston Ms. Cave Man's Girl (I hope you're keeping Mr. Cave Man happy) but that did not stop them from requesting to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in the early 90's That was, of course DENIED, as was the Irish gay group that wanted to march (and I believe an abortion group either pro or anti I can't remember which). And the Supreme Court (you know who they are) ruled 9-0 that the Parade committee could do so because of THEIR First Amendment rights. And as for NAMBLA, you have to wonder if maybe FORMER Amherst Regional High School (you know, your alma mater) English teacher Ronald T. Garney was a member or not.

John [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 08:05 AM]
I can see the headlines now. Amherst Town Manager refuses to allow Firefighters and Police Officers to be honored on July 4th. Meanwhile towns people vote to reduce public safety in order to fund private agencies. This is how it will read outside of Amherst and the town which already is thought of as out of touch with reality will be made to look even more foolish. As for Larry Shaffer, it will just be another headline that he so craves.

Nancy Slator [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 08:22 AM]
How does it celebrate freedom to hold a parade that only allows people of one political view to particiapate?

Larry Kelley [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 09:06 AM]
That's precisely the point Nancy: the Parade doesn't have a "political view." Obviously you do.

Matthias [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 07:05 PM]
The people of Amherst clearly have way too much free time on their hands. Why can't they have a simple 4th of July parade without turning it into a circus. Fourth celebrations are intended to honor our country and the great men and women who serve. Can't protests take place the other 364 days of the year. Or are the anti-war crowd such incorrigible attention mongers.

BC [ Posted on: Friday - February 29, 2008 at 03:46 PM]
If they want "Everyone" then it'd be nice for Westboro Baptist to show up wouldn't it. That'd be exactly the type of participation the town wants, right? What they really mean is they want all the PC protesters to hijack the parade, and nothing else.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Disturbing

So this has thus far been an interesting week—as in the Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times.”

On Monday I learned about a meeting (that we were not invited to) between three political groups who have all made individual bombing runs at the July 4’th Parade and failed to do any damage but now they’ve combined forces and want the Town Manager to implement the nuclear option—pulling town vehicles this year and taking over the Parade next year.

Then on Tuesday, I return to my Club at noon (having opened at 5:35 am until 10:00 am) and discover a portable electric heater in the downstairs aerobics room had been carefully placed face down directly on a wood floor with a layer of paper towels in between. Yikes!

Also on Tuesday morning my post ‘Umass Tiananmen Square?” just completely disappeared without a trace. Blogger guru Tommy Devine asked if I always sign out from blogger because that leaves a half-hour window for a hacker to get in. Naturally I never sign out (until now of course).

And today I get an email from another computer guru in Amherst saying Comcast is censoring this humble blog from emails within the Comcast system.

So if you are a Comcast customer (which I am, but I use my AOL account for email) and you make the mistake of using the term http:://onlyintherepublicofamherst.blogspot.com in an email to a friend, it will end up in the cyber incinerator.

Strangely enough for a blog about Amherst only half my readers are from the People’s Republic but, of those, the vast majority are Comcast customers.

And I just now picked up a copy of the ultra-crusty Amherst Bulletin and discovered that instead of 2 ads for this blog and 3 for my Athletic Club I got 4 blog ads and only 1 for my Club.

So now the next time I get into a firefight with a pimple faced 17-year-old, they will say I should spend more time on my business and less time and money on this…whatever the Hell you call this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Patriotic Pyrotechnics

The July 4’th Parade Committee has made it crystal clear from inception that we are a non-profit, non-political, family-oriented event with a Mission Statement to honor our Guardian Angels—Police/Fire/EMT and yes, Military.

The Supreme Court decided unanimously (overturning a Massachusetts Court)--precisely because of the First Amendment--we can exclude marchers carrying signs that circumvent our Mission Statement.

If The People’s Republic of Amherst steals the July 4'th Parade then they would have to allow the KKK, NAMBLA, and the Hells Angels to march, or ride as the case may be.

If I purchase a full-page ad in the local newspaper to say “Happy Birthday America” on July 4’th, I don’t expect somebody to demand part of my ad-space for their anti-war statement. They can buy their own ad.

And if war protesters (or supporters for that matter) want to march, they can finance their own Parade. Only in Amherst would government nationalize something private citizens have worked hard to build.

Maybe Fidel Castro should retire to Amherst.
video
UPDATE: 4:222 PM So, yeah the Town Manager has called Kevin since this post went up and left a very short message to call him back. But I do have on my Mac another recording from yesterday when he left a second message (apparently not knowing that it is perfectly legal to post messages left on answering machines), so stay tuned.

UPDATE: 7:17 PM Well, the Crusty Gazette is on it! Kevin and I both did interviews late this afternoon and we could tell from the reporter's questions (after interviewing Shaffer) that he's not overly pleased (Shaffer not the reporter) and is trying to portray us as the troublemakers who love to pick a fight.

But this came out of the blue, whereby a fringe group of malcontents banded together and finagled a meeting with Shaffer to purposely and with malice sabotage the Parade. And we were not invited to the meeting.

So in the next few days the Parade Committee will get a formal request in the mail to allow Mary Wentworth to march in the Parade carrying a "F_ck Bush" sign and we will deny the request and the town will pull their equipment. Only in Amherst.

Umass Tiananmen Square?


Okay so somehow yesterday’s post disappeared. I’ll have a barnburner later this morning.I think it went something like this:

The Umass Radical Union must not have liked my calling them milquetoast. On Monday they reposted in a public space their how-to sex posters in defiance of Umass authorities who took them down on Friday. Yeah, as the posters say “safe sex can be fun.”

Story Goes National

Monday, February 25, 2008

Amherst 7/4 Parade Fireworks

What would the Amherst July 4’th Parade be like without Amherst police, fire or ambulance apparatus in the line of march? An embarrassment!

There they go again! The Amherst Town Democratic Committee “corralled” like-minded activist groups to meet with Amherst Town Manager Larry Shaffer to discuss pulling town equipment from the Parade because we will not open it up to anyone and anything looking for exposure on that day. And yes, we pay for our Police detail to direct traffic (unlike the Pot Rally folks)

http://www.amherstdemocrats.org/
Old Business:

Private Amherst 4th of July Parade: Being fond of our 1st Amendment rights, ADTC has refrained for 2 years from participating.

On 2 days' notice, Town Mgr. Larry Schaffer carved out time for an open meeting on Friday, 21 Feb., with ADTC Chair Harry Brooks; the Chairs of the Green & Republican Town Committees; League of Women Voters; & SAGE, to consider concerns that many of us share.

More on this patriotic/matriotic effort later.


From: AmherstAC@aol.com
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2008 12:24 PM
To: Shaffer, Larry
Subject: 7/4 Parade

Larry,
If Amherst is going to pull police and fire apparatus from the Parade this year we would appreciate a heads up as early as possible. And we would also have appreciated an invite to the "open meeting" last Friday morning that you carved out time for on only two days notice.
Larry Kelley
July 4'th Parade Committee


From: Shaffer, Larry
To: AmherstAC@aol.com
Sent: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 1:31 pm
Subject: RE: 7/4 Parade

Larry,
We should talk. Have you rejected any applications for perspective participants in the 4th of July parade for 2008?
Larry

From: amherstac@aol.com
To: ShafferL@amherstma.gov
Sent: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 1:58 pm
Subject: Re: 7/4 Parade

Larry,
No, we have not. And in fact, we have never officially rejected anybody since reconstituting the Parade in 2002.
Larry

Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the cards...came tumbling down.

Well I guess the UMsss Radical Student Union should reinvent themselves as the Milquetoast Student Union (and form a Strategic Alliance with Hampshire College). I just hope they don’t bring their placards to Amherst Regional High School. Condoms anyone?

The Illustrations in question

CH 3 TV reports

From: Brad DeFlumeri
To: amherstac@aol.com
Sent: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 12:58 am
Subject: Sex Posters Update

Larry,

The posters in question were removed by UMass authorities at approximately noon yesterday, Friday, 22 February 2008.

Shortly thereafter, some members of the Radical Student Union were spotted sobbing and screaming about the 1st Amendment outside their office. (I am not making this up.) Also, the school [mistakenly?] removed posters of Malcolm X in the process of taking down the gay sex posters.

Thanks for covering this matter on your Blog, I have received an outpouring of support from closet conservatives in the community, among many others.

Take Care,

Brad DeFlumeri
President, UMASS Republican Club
Petty Officer, United States Naval Reserve

Friday, February 22, 2008

Who would have thunk?

The Crusty Gazette actually has a sense of humor--probably not about me calling them Crusty however. From today’s “Gazette News Quiz” (and it even gets a pull quote headline):

Until close to the performance date, which of these was supposed to be a requirement before students could attend “The Vagina Monologues” at Amherst Regional High School?

A: Confiscation of non-fairly traded chocolate bars
B: Blood testing for traces testosterone
C: Breathalyzer testing
D: Singing a song from “West Side Story”


And even the next question of the week (2 out of 10 ain’t bad) relates to ‘VM’:

And while we’re at it: Marina Goldman brought an object to Firday’s performance of “The Vagina Monologues” referring to it as something that “only gets to come out once a year.” It was:
A: Pillow depicting the female body
B: A 10-foot letter ‘V’ mad of Amherst Athletic Club handbills
C: A signed copy of Eve Ensler’s firs one-woman show “All about me (ve)”
D: A grammatically correct Emily Dickinson doll


Of course my Athletic Club has not used “handbills” to advertise in almost 10 years., you know since the advent of the Digital Age. Yet another reason I refer to them as Crusty.

UPDATE: High-noon (ish)
Okay since a few folks asked, my list would have been...
Until close to the performance date, which of these was supposed to be a requirement before students could attend “The Vagina Monologues” at Amherst Regional High School?:

A: Yell the C-word while thrusting both arms skyward like Mary Lou Retton did when sticking her dismount to capture Olympic Gold.
B: Blood testing all males for traces of Estrogen
C: Breathalyzer testing (but have them blow into a condom)
D: Recite—in its entirety-- the Pledge of Allegiance.

UPDATE: 5:15 PM. Yeah it's snowing (welcome to New England)

UPDATE: Saturday 6:30 PM. Couldn't possibley add to this:
Hide the Kids

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't let the Sunnnn go down on me...

First Amendment Tomfoolery

The Umass ‘Rally for Public Decency’ put on by the, gasp, Republican Club, had a pretty good turnout considering the freezing weather—anywhere between 50 to 75 folks, mostly students, but a smattering of Umass officials (looking bored), cops, bloggers and the bricks-and-mortar media (Ch 3 TV with spiffy bright blue overcoats).

Of course the battle lines/spin are predictable: The Radical Student Union portrays the Republican Club as homophobic, and they in turn portray the issue as “sexual harassment” (making the general pubic uncomfortable via sexual images) and say it has nothing to do with gayness.

Somehow between 5:30 am and noon (rally time) I misplaced my camera. Ouch! A blogger without his camera is like a fish without a bicycle.

But nothing noteworthy as far as “bang-bang” occurred where I would be tempted to use the video setting. The signs were all hand made poster paper, although the wood podium from which the speakers delivered their oratory bore the official Umass logo (the one they nixed the word “Amherst” from a few years back)

I hung with my Irish, blogger compatriot Tommy Devine for most of the time I was there. And since he’s gay, I will be most interested to read his take on this tempest (and to steal some of his photos).

Undoubtedly if the Republican Club posted cut out photos from Hustler or Penthouse Magazines, in a public space, on state property there would be an eruption to rival Mt. Vesuvius.

I love the comments in today’s Collegian from Shaun Jamieson - the assigned advisor for both groups in the Office of Student Affairs: "I think that there are definite free speech issues with the flyer, but I think that there are concerns about whether or not it's appropriate," he said. "There's also good arguments that I've heard on both sides for keeping it up and taking it down and I just want to help both groups express themselves in the marketplace of ideas."

Ummm, glad he’s not a NORAD commandeer trying to decide whether to shoot down a civilian commercial jet hurtling towards a Nuclear Power Plant.

I support gay-marriage, but I’m a happily married hetero. And I would not be pleased with vivid illustrations of sex between a man and a women prominently posted on public property where kids could see it.

A Umass spokesperson said rather declaratively "The Radical Student Union will be required to remove the display." They in turn, pretty much replied: go to Hell.

When the cops move in to enforce the order, all they need do is arm themselves with bars of soap.

Bookends

One goes down...

And another comes up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There you go again!

So my former karate student Max Karson is at again. Having been given one year probation after his arrest for allegedly making fellow students “uncomfortable” at a University of Colorado ‘Women’s Studies’ class a day after the exceedingly awful Virginia Tech massacre by observing that anyone who has not thought about killing 32 people is a “liar.”

And this time it hits a little closer to home. Max’s recent column (not an "editorial" and clearly labeled "opinion") in The Campus Press has created an uproar by using almost every racist stereotype ever invented for Asians. As some of you may know my daughter Kira, now an All American Girl, was born—and abandoned the same day—in The People’s Republic of China.

FoxNews is on it!


I guess the only thing that surprises me is Max is identified as an “editor” at that paper. Obviously based on past history Max is hardly a team player who would thoughtfully edit the writing of others.

Let’s see, when Max was suspended at Amherst Regional High School four times--but always reinstated after getting plenty of press. He wrote about—in addition to masturbation--gays, blacks, and women all in less than a stellar light (well...except for maybe masturbation).

Maybe it had to do with his mother leaving his dad for another women when Max was still at an impressionable age. Or maybe he, like a lot people, just loves the attention. Obviously he knows how to push buttons with his “satire” for maximum exposure.

Interestingly the Daily Hampshire Gazette, his hometown paper for the majority of his life, who editorially supported 'The Vagina Monologues' at ARHS, had little sympathy for Max:

Karson is now offending people as a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he has been distributing an outrageous newsletter called "The Yeti," which is also packed with vulgar language.

Karson thinks he's doing us all a favor by pushing the limits of free speech, but free speech is not without responsibilities. Karson has a right to his opinions, but his fellow students have a right to react to what they find hostile and offensive and to protect themselves in the face of threatening remarks.

To the best of my knowledge Max never used the C-word.

Sure, you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre; but you can bellow it at the beach on hot summer afternoon with waves crashing all around. Context means everything. And anyone who knows Max Karson’s background realizes that he thinks he’s being cute, while hoping folks become enraged. And apparently they have…again.

When ACLU attorney Bill Newman spoke at my rally to support ‘West Side Story’ after the Amherst Regional High School cancelled it he said, “The way to counter bad speech is with good speech.” Amen! Please, let's not make Max a First Amendment suicide bomber.

Although with his pathetic karate skills, Max better watch his step over the next few days…because, you know those Asians—they’re all Martial Arts experts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The greater of two evils

What’s worse: Amherst Regional High School’s canceling ‘West Side Story’ or later embracing ‘The Vagina Monologues’?

Four years ago when ARHS became the only high school in the nation to perform ‘VM”, I couldn’t quite decide. Like asking a death row inmate to choose between the electric chair or cyanide gas.

But now that Amherst school officials have allowed adolescents to reprise that feminist manifesto, we have a winner!

In 1999 a 17-year-old Puerto Rican girl collected 158 (out of 1,300) student signatures on a petition decrying the production of ‘West Side Story’ for the annual school play because of ethnic (hers in particular) stereotyping. The School Committee took it a tad too seriously and things went downhill pronto.

Although School Superintendent at the time Gus Sayer showed some backbone with his original memo on the matter: "No group, neither in the majority nor in the minority, should have the ability to censor the decisions our community’s educators make about what to teach, what to read, or what to produce on the stage.”

But bureaucrats can be spineless. Sayer backed off, as he didn’t want to micromanage the High School Principal. and the School Committee did nothing as they didn’t want to micromanage the system.

Six months prior to the ‘West Side Story’ rumble, however, another enterprising 17-year-old activist collected 400 signatures on a petition protesting the policy of restricting students ‘off campus privileges’ during the school day, thus preventing kids from going out for a smoke.

Superintendent Sayer sympathized: “It’s not easy for students who are addicted to refrain from smoking all day”, while also applauding their “activism.”

Izzy Lyman, then co-director of the private Harkness Road High School, said with a sigh, “makes me long for the days when the only rights students had were the right to remain silent.”

To summarize: when the ‘West Side Story’ fiasco started the School Committee deferred to Superintendent Sayer, who deferred to Principal Scott Goldman who deferred to the play’s producers…who caved, saying the controversy had become too “distracting.”

And so Amherst Regional High School became the only entity in history (a record still intact) to cancel a play based on the timeless Shakespearean tragic love story ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

One of the more famous ARHS (1989) graduates Eric Mabius, recently voted “Sexiest man alive” by People Magazine started his career as Paris in ARHS production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Luckily he attended our bucolic High School back in the pre-activism days .

At a rally I organized on the Town Common to support ‘West Side Story’ about 100 folks attended, a few high school students, parents--but mostly media. State Senator Stan Rosenberg and ACLU attorney Bill Newman spoke eloquently about free speech and their was much buzz about bringing in a production of the play to the High School with a big-name volunteer cast, but nothing ever came of it.

Fast forward late-December, 2003: When I first read buried in the Amherst Bulletin (who refused to use the word “vagina” in a headline) about senior Kristin Tyler appearing before the School Committee in early-December to inform them (apparently not to ask) about performing ‘VM’, I thought “here we go again with those 17-year-old’s.”

I vividly recall the first school Committee Meeting after the news broke a few weeks later when about two-dozen folks showed up to support the play and only two to oppose.

Although Superintendent Hochman had trumpeted the girls courage to publicly speak out about violence against women he refused to let them come to the School Committee meeting to speak about why they should do it in the form of ‘VM’ because he wanted to shelter them from the brewing controversy. Hmmm.

But a young art teacher, especially supportive of the play, and faculty advisor to it (with a side business of “erotic photography”--specializing in women of course) did appear to read “statements” from the girls.

Immediately the Daily Hampshire Gazette published an editorial citing the strong support at that single School Committee meeting, casting me as a book burner; but then never bothered to issue another editorial after the next three meetings where play opponents far outnumbered supporters.

And the editor-in-chief also forbids me from writing another ‘VM’ column for the Amherst Bulletin, a violation of my verbal contract with editor Nick Grabbe. The same chief editor who accused me of censorship.

(To Be Continued…)

Monday, February 18, 2008

'Vagina' exposed

Jere Hochman, Superintendent
Mark Jackson, Principal ARHS
RE: Public Documents Request ‘VM’

Could I please get an accounting of the number of tickets sold for the recent performance of The Vagina Monologues at Amherst Regional High school, and a breakdown of how many were “student” tickets and how many full-fare “adult” tickets.

Could I also get any overhead costs associate with the production (police for instance) and any monies paid out to presenters during the week of workshops at the School leading up to the play.

Larry Kelley

Sunday, February 17, 2008

High School Maturity: Only in Amherst

February 17, 2008 5:47 PM
I respectfully would like to ask you to consider everything with an open mind and keep sharing your ideas, but not shoving them down the throats of all the members of our community. I am glad you have opinions you can stand behind, but they are yours and not mine. If I don't want to live under your rules, regulations and values than I shouldn't have to. I have been told (though I cannot confirm this to be a truth, which is why I ask you) that you are responsible for the restrictions on all the students wishing to attend the performance of the Vagina Monologues. If this is indeed true you have done precisely this, then I am afraid that your cause is even more forlorn than I thought.

I hope you will consider my words,
The Student Liberator

P.S. I understand that you have a daughter that will possibly be attending ARHS in the next few years. I hope for her sake that you have disbanded this blog or in the very least become more composed in your opposition of the majority of people who are residents of Amherst and its surrounding towns. I say this because if you do not, your widespread unpopularity will be passed directly to your daughter (which I could only hope, but not guarantee will remain non-violent and strictly be limited to complete abhorrence). Even if your daughter shares no common ground with you, the name you have made for your self will surely trickle down to her.

February 17, 2008 7:23 PM

Well, since you sound like a 17-year-old pimple faced twit I'm not worried about your implied threat to my daughter. Because even now at age 6--about to test for her Yellow Belt--she could probably kick your sorry, scrawny ass.

Amherst is the ONLY public school in Massachusetts (probably the nation) to perform ‘The Vagina Monologues’ ostensibly because it reduces “violence against women” and yet you—obviously an insider—threaten my young daughter? Hmmm.

Just for the record: (and blogs are Public Records) if you EVER--even remotely--threaten my daughter again, I WILL hunt you down. Promise!


(For his entire rambling manifesto see comments 2/15 "and so it begins" upload)

A tale told by an idiot...

You Say Cluster-bomb she says C-word

Saturday, February 16, 2008

full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

So they only sold 500 tickets? And only 100 to High School Kids? Yikes! Four years ago it sold out with all 800 tickets sold.

Hmmmm. I guess that “lack of controversy” hurt them at the box office. Sorry about that kiddies, I’ll try harder next year, errrr, actually--I’m not done with this year.

Republican coverage, finally

Blast From The Past

Friday, February 15, 2008

And so it ends...


UPDATE: 8:45 PM
It’s over. That was quick. Thank God. Kind of like Marie Antoinette and the head-rolling thing. Naturally who do I see as I shoot my final shot but His Lordship Select Board Chair Gerry Weiss and his lovely wife Jennifer. Only reaffirms my theory that this thing is nothing but PC at its worst.

UPDATE: 10:30 PM
Ch. 3 TV picked up the story...sort of. Screwed up about 'VM" being on Broadway (never was), and that 'Urinetown' was a controversy at ARHS a year later (it was two or three years later and not controversial in the least). That's TV for ya.
Camerafolks are expensive

FINAL UPDATE: 11:15 PM
Well I have been doing this blog since March 17’th (St. Patty’s Day) almost a year, and my previous high for daily hits (201) was May 1’st the day the Override went down to defeat. As of now, 45 minutes before midnight, we’re at 215.

So today a few new folks showed up. Please keep in mind: I never quit, I never surrender. This is far from over. There's a “nuclear option”. Stay tuned.

And so it begins...


6:50 PM
They're lining up as though it were a Broadway premiere. Out front is a police officer (1 0f 2) at $40 or so an hour, Dave Keenan's brother Mark (a campus monitor--whatever the hell that is) and High School Principal Mark Jackson at 90-K per year asking folks if they have tickets. Gee, Mark couldn't you find a pimple-faced 17-year-old to do that for minimum wage?

The Battle Heats Up

UPDATE: 11:30 AM
Funny as Hell. Just went to Gazettenet and noticed an article about 'VM' and the restrictions over tonight's performance including breathalyzer. Both the kiddies and some of their irresponsible, idiot parents are whining.

The hilarious part is my ad posted above is the only ad to appear on the article page (but apparently they rotate them). And thus far it is the "most emailed article" and "most popular". Must be my blog.

UPDATE: 2:15 PM
Just talked to Amherst PD and yes there will be two police officers present tonight for security and no they did not do a bomb sweep (not that they have anything to fear from me....well, physically that is). And the Regional Schools are even paying for the two officers. Four years ago they had four (and only paid for two) and back then they also performed a bomb sweep a few hours before production.

UPDATE: 4:30 PM
My friend Paolo over at our Sister City the 'Northamptonist' just sent me the link to last night's Letterman take on the Catastrophic Cunt episode on 'The Today Show'. Freaken Letterman can't even bring himself to use the word "Vagina!" Hilarious! Damn, we should invite him to tonight's performance.
Letterman's top ten

Day of Destruction

In a message dated 2/15/08 6:48:31 AM, xxxxx writes to JacksonM@ARPS.org:

The C-word is inappropriate in any context. The responsible thing to do would be to replace it with any other benign word, it will not hinder the performance, it just won't perpetuate a very derogatory word. If I were Principal, and I heard this word mentioned in the hallway, that child would be suspended, or if someone referred to my wife, or daughter,or friend in that context, I would have an issue with that.

Words matter sir.


In a message dated 2/15/08 8:35:24 AM, hochmanj@ARPS.ORG writes:

Mr. Xxxxxx

I have been receiving your emails but thought you should hear from Mr. Jackson, so I forwarded your email to him. Words do matter and as you note, so does context. This is not a hallway or walking through the mall. This is a performance and those participating and those attending know its context and made a choice to participate - with their parents permission.

Jere Hochman


In a message dated 2/15/08 8:59:52 AM, Amherst AC writes to hochmanj@ARPS.org:

I believe Jane Fonda used the word in "context" yesterday and all Hell broke lose. Let's just say you did have the balls to simply omit "Reclaiming Cunt" Monologue (ironic that it would now show courage NOT to do something) do you really think Ms. Ensler--after the fiasco yesterday on 'The Today Show' --would file suit?

Larry

UPDATE: 9:30 AM. Just noticed AOL has Fonda's use of the "slur" as the #1 of Top Five Video Clips. I still remember four years ago when The Today Show gave Enlser and the little 17-year-old ARHS girl 8 minutes of live fawning attention and I got 11 taped seconds. Yeah, fair and balanced they are.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Only on 'The Today Show'


(1:30 PM) I could be crass and call Hanoi Jane a clueless cu*t...but I refuse to sink to her or Ensler’s level--especially on Valentine’s Day. My buddy had the perfect word for Fonda, Ensler and 'VM': Dreadful!

Jane Fonda C-word bomb

UPDATE 2:00 PM
So are Amherst School officials going to apologize after Friday night?

Boneheads Apologize

UPDATE: 11:40 PM
Well Crusty finally went cyber and here is their editorial drival

The Editor Has No Clothes

Eve of Destruction

(11:40 AM) Yeah, between this morning's clueless Gazette column (can't post the link because they are so money grubbing you need to subscribe) by Principal Jackson--the second pro 'Vagina Monologues' Op/Ed piece this week, and the editorial in the venereal—I mean venerable--Amherst Bulletin today (can post that, but they are so crusty it may not go cyber until sundown) and with my wife of 25 years half-a-world away today (V also stands for Valentine's Day) I'm really not in a great freaken mood. So I'll stew for a while, go on a bike ride and post later. Grrrrrrrrrr

12:10 PM. HA! Just figured out the comments page is free (and if you hit the "return to story" button just above "Readers Comments" it should allow you access to his drivel):
http://www.dailyhampshiregazette.com/storyComments.cfm?id_no=80491

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Empress (Ms. Ensler) has no clothes

I call it cunt. I’ve reclaimed it, “cunt.” I really like it. “Cunt.” Listen to it. “Cunt.” C C, Ca Ca. Cavern, cackle, clit, cute, come—closed c—closed inside, inside ca—then u—then cu—then curvy inviting sharkskin u—uniform, under, up, urge, ugh, ugh, u—then n then cun—snug letters fitting perfectly together—n—nest, now, nexus, nice, nice, always depth, always round in uppercase, cun, cun—a jagged wicked electrical pulse—n (high pitched noise) then soft n—warm n—cun, cun, then t—then sharp certain tangy t—texture, take, tent, tight, tantalizing, tensing, taste, tendrils, time, tactile, tell me, tell me, “Cunt, cunt,”say it, tell me “Cunt.” “Cunt.”

And of course the “actress” at the climax leaps to her feet and strikes a defiant but exuberant pose with both arms uplifted like Mary Lou Retton after sticking her final dismount and knowing—even before the gymnastic judges call—that she had just performed a perfect routine to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

Somehow I think Ms. Retton worked a lot harder for her achievement.

Amherst Bulletin talkback


UPDATE: Rainy, miserable Wednesday late morning: This email says it all (to the correct people as well):

To: hochmanj@arps.org; elbrighty@amherst.edu; amherstac@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 7:38 pm
Subject: V-Monologue

Hi:

It is absolutely ludicrous that you would promote this performance to the extent that you have. The C-word, in my vocabulary, and many others, has long been eliminated as a word that is spoken, our thought. It is so far removed from many minds. Their is no benefit to anyone to introduce this word at this performance. It is derogatory, and I don't see the educational value. I would hope that this word is not be spoken at your high school performance. I applaud Mr. kelley for his adamant defiance.

David F. Farnham

A tale of two V's


The Vagina Monologues 1998
‘The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could’
Memory: Thirteen years old:

“Now people thought that it was a kind of rape. I was only thirteen and she was twenty-four. Well, I say, if it was a rape, it was a good rape then, a rape that turned my sorry-ass coochi snorcher into a kind of heaven.”

The Vagina Monologues 2001
‘The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could’
Memory: Sixteen years old:

“I realize later she was my surprising, unexpected, politically incorrect salvation. She transformed my sorry-ass coochi snorcher into a kind of heaven.”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Still squeemish atter all these years.

Monday (2:00PM)
So somewhat true to form the Amherst Bulletin about an hour ago erased, censored, spiked ALL the comments posted to the Front Page story about Vagina Monologues at Amherst Regional High School.

One of those comments simply a direct, unedited, rendering of the entire "Reclaiming C*nt" Monologue (all one paragraph) that a teen-aged girl will publicly perform this coming Friday on school property at taxpayer expense. Hmmmm....

Reclaiming Dignity


The venerable Amherst Bulletin has gotten over their squeamishness about using “Vagina” in a headline. No BIG deal, as I have repeatedly stated I have no problem at all with THAT word.

Vagina-less Headline

But just to test my crusty friends in the journalistic bricks and mortar world (at least their cyber counterpart) I left a comment on the story almost as soon as it went cyber, late Thursday. Ummm…No I will not now repeat the words as I consider this blog rated PG.

Let’s just say they were disgusting hateful “fighting words” including the particular one (C-word rhythms with bunt) that I am so agitated about.

The response lasted about 14 hours and after one clueless Amherst woman posted a complaint about my “profanity,” the comment disappeared.

Last night I reposted “Reclaiming C#nt” Monologue in its one paragraph entirety. Let’s see if the Amherst Bulletin can handle that. And if not, makes you wonder why they would give this “art” such fawning Front Page exposure.

Vagina Headline

Saturday, February 9, 2008

And the winners are...


So for those of you eagerly wondering who won the great downhill “Cardboard Box Race” out at my favorite White Elephant, Black Hole, Money Pit—the municipally owned Cherry Hill Gold Course (oops, I mean Golf) on Saturday, check out the video.

The Kelley clan--Kira and Larry--smoked the competition (and an innocent young bystander too close to the Finish Line), including peacenik Select Board Chair, His Lordship Gerry Weiss and Town Manager Larry Shaffer’s stand in (or I should say sit in).



Weiss's peacemobile encountered a lot of drag. And why do I just know that if this event took place on December 8'th, 1941 we would have seen the same Spin.


Since it all happened so fast I had not realized until this morning (Monday) from the photo Cinda Jones just emailed that we were in last place coming out of the shute. But it ain't over until the Fat Lady sings. And about 10 seconds later they were eating our snow.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just another Wimp Vagina Warrior

So the crusty Gazette Thursday morning published an Op/Ed piece from Men’s Resource Center Director (you know the Old Boys who retreat to the woods, huddle around a campfire, beating drums and crying about how Daddy never loved them) Rob Okun extolling the virtues (irony intended) of minors performing ‘The Vagina Monologues’, reprising their 2004 ignominy as the only High School in the nation to allow adolescents to revel in ‘R’ rated material.

Well, at least this time Mr. Okun didn’t criticize me by name as he did in 2004 in an NPR commentary: “Mr. Kelley's discomfort with the "C-word"--"I can't say it out loud," he told a school committee meeting last month--symbolizes men's discomfort with admitting how little we know about the dangerous world our mothers and daughters, wives and partners, sisters and nieces live in: a world where sexual harassment and sexual assault are commonplace.

Of course back then Mr. Okun, who appeared at the first School Committee meeting in 2004 to support the production, never managed to spit out the C-word. And thus far, I have not seen or heard Superintendent Hochman or Principal Jackson use it either.

And Mr. Okun never then or now explains how a Monologue where an adult serves a minor alcohol and then has sex with them leads to a decrease in domestic abuse. In this state, that IS domestic abuse.

Okun also fails to disclose and the Gazette editor failed to catch the conflict because his baby--‘The Men’s Resource Center’--is one of the do-gooder organizations that will receive a significant monetary contribution from this pernicious performance.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Only In The Happy Valley

Naturally Amherst was what my Professor wife calls a statistical outlier in the primary election by supporting Mr. Obama so overwhelmingly compared to winner (by a comfortable margin) Mrs. Clinton, with Northampton—also not surprising—a fairly close second.

Interestingly in both liberal enclaves McCain beat Romney handily. Democratic ballots cast in both municipalities outnumbered Republicans by almost 10-1.

So like the Marine withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir, heavily outnumbered doesn’t mean outclassed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Deja Vu all over again

Clinton 1,954, Obama 4,139 all others 128

In 1988 when almost every municipality in Massachusetts went with Mike Dukakis Amherst supported Jesse Jackson; so I guess it should come as no surprise that Obama beats Clinton by a 2-1 margin here in the People’s Republic, while Clinton wins Massachusetts--dubbed by the Republican winner Mitt Romney as “the most liberal state in the nation”. So if that's true, I wonder what that makes Amherst?

The People’s Republic Indeed


The almost impossible job of constructing new dwellings, what with current zoning/permitting in place, NIMBY’s just waiting to pounce, and the price of land in an almost built-out Amherst, will only worsen if everybody’s favorite do-gooder Vince O’Connor convinces fellow Comrades at Town Meeting come Spring.

Yesterday he filed a Zoning Petition Article (only needs ten signatures) that would require any new residential development to “provide affordable housing units,” and if it results in five or more would be “referred to the LSSE Director (recreation department) and Commission of the Town of Amherst for their recommendations regarding the nature, extent and maintenance requirements of such on-site recreational facilities as would be consistent with national or regional standards.”

Of course the developer can opt out of providing on-cite recreation by “the payment into a Town of Amherst Recreational Capital Fund of a $5,000 per unit development impact fee.” Hell, I would give prospective new homeowners a deal at the Amherst Athletic Club.

Supply and demand is the simplest rule in market economy. High demand, low supply equals inflated prices. Low demand, high supply equals bargain prices. Anytime you restrict supply (ironically by requiring “affordable” units) or drive up the overhead cost ($5,000 per unit recreation tax) you strangle supply.

And that’s precisely what the Treehuggers want (couldn’t help but notice Select man Rob Kusner signed the petition.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Is Umass burning?

No, as of 10:45 PM things on campus--post Super Bowl--seem to be under control. Police have closed off Massachusetts Avenue leading down to Southwest High-rise dorms (scene of the previous worst Red Sox riots) and the side roads leading up to Southwest from University Drive. A state police helicopter hovers high overhead.

UPDATE: 5:45 AM. Well, mostly stayed under control:
7 arrested, group of 500 broken up , a ton of tax dollars consumed.

Get em' next year.

The Amherst Select board (known every else in the liberal state of Massachusetts as the “Board of Selectmen”) had another one of those emergency meetings Saturday to discuss, yet again, THE BUDGET.

His Lordship, Selectman Chair Gerry Weiss opened with a rambling diatribe attributing the current budget woes to that malevolent actor/Republican President Ronald Reagan. (You know, the guy who brought down the “Evil Empire”).

Seems His Lordship’s only concern in our upcoming $60+ MILLION operation budget is the overall one-tenth-of-one-percent $67,000 that Amherst (taxpayers) donates to private charities. And yes, we are the ONLY municipality in the state that does so.

Of course the good (Front Page) news is that the Property Tax Override is probably toast this year.

With current Town Reserves at $4.2 million and another $1 million in the Amherst Regional High School slush fund, it looks like the players will cut capital spending this coming year by almost $400,000 (about 10%) and take $500,000 from the Town Reserves to help cover most of the Elementary Schools $1.3 million gap

The Regional High School will simply dip into their ($1 million) reserves to cover the $300,000 shortfall. Or maybe they will schedule extra showings of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ to cover the difference.

Thus, hard-pressed taxpayers are safe for another year…barely.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Vagina update.

So Principal Mark Jackson showed up coffee in hand early yesterday morning. He’s a lot bigger than I remember.

We chatted for over a half-hour, spending a moment or two on budget issues and then got right down (and dirty) to Vaginas. He mentioned how he had been hired by Amherst but not yet installed when the first controversy was at its peak four years ago.

His wife even called him to the television to watch ‘The Today Show” when they gave it eight minutes of live coverage with Eve Ensler herself appearing with the little 17-year-old from Amherst Regional High School.

I, of course only got 11 seconds of that—you know, good old “fair and balanced” you expect from a show that’s more entertainment than news.

I could tell Jackson is already worn out from this issue, and will probably never repeat the mistake for as long as he’s principal at Amherst. But with 4 of 6 principals in the school system on the outs, hard to say how long he will last.

Then of course, some other rookie will assume command and some young lady will want to do the Monologue where you get to yell the C-word at the top of your lungs--as though it’s something to be proud of.

And so it goes…