Believe it or not, I actually like my old press colleague David Blaska. That doesn't mean I agree with him very often, if ever. So I have to take exception to Dave's last rant in Isthmus where he asked the question, "Why does the left hate free speech?" ("Plugging Up Their Ears," 9/9/2011).
Dave, old buddy, the left doesn't hate free speech. The left hates stupid speech. And the tea party right is the chief perpetrator these days, à la Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Tex Perry, the guv who doesn't buy global warming despite the fact his state is frying.
I hope that works for you, Dave. Oh, and I hope you like me.
Frank Ryan, Middleton
Granted, you were on a roll by the time you got to the fifth paragraph of your opinion piece, Mr. Blaska, but the fact that you held up the Mad Rollin' Dolls as a symbol of the Madison left's lack of intellectual curiosity rather undercut your argument about the left's willingness to stress-test ideology. Condemning out of hand what you dislike or don't understand is obviously not limited to the left. When I've attended Mad Rollin' Dolls events, I found an interesting, widely varied group of people enjoying a physical sport played by a group of really smart women. I bet if you selected 30 random people from the crowd and asked them to discuss the issues of the day you would end up with a lively discussion with a range of viewpoints.
David Blaska should practice what he preaches. He whines that liberals, lacking anything of substance to add to the policy discussion, resort to tactics of repression to silence any other points of view. Reading between the lines, what I hear is Blaska doing exactly what he is complaining about: negatively painting anyone with a point of view different from his with a broad brush of generalizations and stereotypes in order to discredit and repress their message. Were there people attempting to shout down Palin at the one rally? No doubt. But the vast majority of people there who were protesting how Walker is tearing away the fabric of policy-making decency did not participate in it. And if Blaska did not see and hear Democratic leaders denouncing the rudeness, he was not paying attention.
I don't know why you continue to publish Blaska. He asks for reasoned discourse and does nothing but belittle liberals.
Let's test Republican discourse by their actions: Family? They excel at moving families into poverty levels. Reasoned discourse? Nope. Republicans on the floor are not listening to the other side but are either ignoring them (Barca) or telling them to shut up (Risser).
Why doesn't Blaska try writing a good argument for something?
Shorter not sweeter
I picked up back issues the other day, and I was disappointed to discover the abbreviated reviews for American Players Theatre. I know everything seems to be moving online, but it diminishes the quality of the print format and may hasten its demise. I was really looking forward to a better treatment of the APT performances in your paper.
I loved the article on Tracy Arnold of APT ("Showstopper," 5/27/11). That made the effort to get back issues worth the while.
Jerome Jagielski, Fontana