Over the last 13 years, MauiTime has sparked its share of controversy. We’re an alt weekly; it’s part of the job description. But, during my tenure at least, nothing has matched the uproar set off by the October 2009 Zombie Tavares cover, which featured a rather gruesome caricature of the Mayor by freelance artist Len Peralta. Many were offended (my favorite was an elderly woman who called to tell me exactly where I could stick the brains that were depicted oozing out of Tavares’s mouth) while others appreciated the morbid humor. We stood behind the cover through criticism and a First Amendment battle with the County, and now it has become not just our most controversial issue but our most decorated as well. In April, as previously mentioned in this space, Peralta and Art Director Chris Skiles received an award of merit from AAF Hawaii. Last week, a collection of our covers, including Zombie Tavares, was featured on the Society of Publication Designers’ Web site. Then, this week, the cover was singled out as a finalist for a national Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award. Guess zombies really are all the rage…. Kudos to Maui-bred filmmaker Joel Moffett whose short film, Poi Dogs, has screened at several prestigious festivals in the last six months, including the Berlin International Film Festival and Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Now, in a fitting homecoming, Poi Dogs will make its Hawaii premiere at the Maui Film Festival. (Look for complete MFF listings in next week’s issue.)… Oh, as long as I’m doling out strokes: Props to the eight Maui County musicians—Willie K, Anuhea Jenkins, Uluwehi Guerrero, Amy Hanaiali’i, the Hula Honeys, Ekolu, Raiatea Helm and Jeff Peterson—who took home Na Hoku Hanohano awards. As Associate Editor and Music Scene maven Anu Yagi said while discussing the awards the morning after, it’s a credit to the strength and diversity of the Valley Isle’s (often overlooked) talent….
“The best tactic to combat terrorist attacks against the United States is to look honestly at the reasons those the government calls terrorists give for why they choose to conduct violent acts against the United States. I think we as citizens need to challenge the notion that the Bush Administration endlessly stated that ‘they hate us and our way of life.’ What is more accurate in my opinion is that many people around the world are willing to challenge U.S. policies, particularly the blind acceptance of anything that Israel does to Palestinians.” That was Ret. Col. Ann Wright of Oahu, a former State Department ambassador who quit her job on the eve of the Iraq invasion in 2004, in a January MauiTime interview. This week, Wright was reportedly captured by Israeli forces while attempting to take supplies to the war-torn Gaza Strip. Nine activists were killed when a convoy of aid ships was attacked by Israel’s military, according to a Los Angeles Times dispatch. Later, the Honolulu Advertiser reported, a friend of Wright’s identified her on a YouTube clip showing people being taken off one of the ships. If this same scenario had played out with any other Middle Eastern nation, you can bet the U.S. government would have been quick to denounce the attack and demand Wright’s release. Instead, the response has been mostly silence. Certainly makes Wright’s January remarks chillingly prescient…. Throughout the special election campaign, Charles Djou tried to paint himself as an independent (small “i”; he did run, and win, as a Republican). I had my doubts—and still do—but credit to the newly minted Hawaii Congressman for breaking with his party and voting to repeal the idiotic “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gays in the military. Of course, what this means is that Djou—who expressed staunch opposition to Hawaii’s civil union bill—believes gays should be allowed to fight for their country, but not get married when they come home….
Depressing headline/lede combo of the week (from an AP story printed in the May 27 Maui News): Headline: “BP starts its boldest plan yet to halt spill”; lede: “BP started pumping heavy mud into the leaking Gulf of Mexico well Wednesday and said everything was going as planned…”.