Respect Aspen’s history |

Respect Aspen’s history

Dear Editor:

Jerry Epstein, I agree with you. The Crowns do a lot of nice things in the Kingdom.

As a “Fellow” at the Aspen Institute, you state “Enough!” Well, fine, but so does Mubarek. And so does his VP Omar Suleiman, Egyptian head of intelligence trained by us at the CIA.

Freedom of expression sucks, huh, Jerry?

German artist Theodore Adorno derogatively dubbed the commercialization of culture as “the culture industry.” And so it has come to pass in the former homeland of hip: the firing of an instructor for speaking out against the pay of his employers and his subsequent banishment from the almighty Skico kingdom, including U.S. taxpayer land.

How did the mecca of ski bums, hippies, artists, and drop-outs get to the point that an employee will be arrested for walking up National Forest to ski on leased U.S. taxpayer land? Well, ask any local artist that does not work for Skico.

Our past is simply a template for Jim and Paula Crown’s Skico, indeed, a historical prototype for the construction of a sleek glitzy image. The effect of the Skico’s advanced branding, if not the original intent, is to nudge the hosting culture (the community of Aspen) into the background and make their fabulous brand of Aspen the star. It is not to sponsor the original culture of Aspen but to be the culture: the Red Onions where locals and guests hung out are morphed into the exclusive Aspen Mountain Clubs where one joins with the payment of $150,000.

Jerry, why can’t Paula and Jim respect the old inclusiveness of the mind, body and spirit mantra instead of just crapping on the efforts of Pussy and Walter Paepcke?

While the historical aspects of Aspen have been replaced by the new private club Crown Royal version of Aspen, physical space in Aspen has undergone a parallel co-opting: long-time Snowmass Club employees had been allowed to use their beautiful health club facilities for well over 10 years … until the Crown’s Little Nell took over its management, and were quickly banned from the health club, the golf courses, the tennis courts, and especially the pools and hot tubs.

Why can’t the Crowns through their vehicle Skico learn to respect the history of this town and its institutions? Why can’t they learn to be socially responsible?

Having your friends on the Aspen Institute write letters to the paper is fine. But don’t tell us, the little people, to shut up. We’re part of the community of Aspen, too.

John Galante


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