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More protests needed in Aspen

Peter Fornell’s spray painting of Gorsuch Cafe as an irate reaction to the betrayal of the Aspen community is understandable. Fornell isn’t the only one to “see red” when mammon overcomes morality.

Aspen Institute philosopher Mortimer Adler once observed that, in Aspen, “the good, the true and the beautiful” of Plato long ago fell to the “money, fame and power” of Machiavelli. When a Russian oligarch employs Machiavelli to do his work in Aspen, it’s business as usual. And it doesn’t matter how long your family has been here.

Protesting used to be the Aspen way. In 1968, Robert McNamara and family, here on a ski vacation, were picketed by war protesters. Hunter Thompson protested Aspen “greed heads.” Ski patrollers protested low wages. The 1980s saw protests against wearing furs and building the Ritz. I once sang a song of protest at a county commissioner hearing against Prince Bandar’s 55,000-square-foot hippodrome. Protests don’t always succeed, but it’s a civic duty to speak one’s truth to power.



Moral outrage needs awakening here with protests against carbon-spewing monster vacation homes, private jets, etc. Sadly, Aspen has become so complicit in the idolization of wealth, luxury and excess that protesters wouldn’t even know where to begin.

I appreciate Fornell’s quixotic activism and his willingness to own it. Aspen needs more of that kind of spirit, even if it is too late to change the play.




Paul Andersen

Up the Frying Pan


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