Princess: And the hits keep coming | AspenTimes.com

Princess: And the hits keep coming

Alison Berkley Margo

“Mommy, Allen hit me!” Mayor Mick said.

The former mayor of Aspen made front-page news for two days this week after turning to Facebook on Sunday, when some old dude punched him at a party. Allegedly the old man was unhappy with Mick’s role in approving the glaringly conspicuous Aspen Art Museum.

Really, this is news? It sounds to me like a bite-and-pinch fight between two schoolyard girls. I think both parties should be sent to their rooms without supper. Grounded for a week, and I’m taking your iPhones away. And while we’re at it, I think you’re way too old to be picking on skinny boys, Allen Mayfield: You’re 84 years old, for Christ’s sake.

According to the story in Wednesday’s Aspen Times, Allen “Right Hook” Mayfield is a retired Air Force colonel who told the paper (in what I’m calling the best quote of the year), “I could have cold-cocked him if I wanted to.” Even more embarrassing than making such a to-do over this would have been getting KO’d by someone’s grandpa.

What I really want to know is why a bunch of old fogeys are dressing up in costumes, riding their bikes around town and throwing what is apparently a very private, invite-only Aspen Tour de Rump party. God, I love Aspen. I hope when I’m that age, I’m cruising down East Hopkins on my cruiser bike with a pink boa around my neck, long gray braids flying behind me (though I can’t imagine ever going with my natural hair color), with one of those godawful Hawaiian shirts and something with glitter and/or sequins and oversized sunglasses, staring death in the face and laughing, singing, “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a spoiled Aspen kid, there are so many demented, half-cocked people for me to play with!”

But still. It’s a little disturbing. I thought it was bad when all those old farts got busted for dealing coke, now they’re getting in fist fights at costume parties over politics?

And this is news? I thought the first article was a little overkill, especially considering its source was Facebook. Hello, Facebook is where people go to gloat or bitch, a toxic combination of voyeurism and narcissism that yields a diluted if not fabricated version of the truth. I know I went to journalism school a long time ago, but is Facebook what you would call a reliable source? Either way, it sounds like a small-town problem.

The Aspen Art Museum is also a small-town problem, but only in the sense that no matter what kind of godawful development materializes next, it’s still a small town. It’s small enough that you’re likely to run into your adversaries at the post office or the grocery store, or at a party — especially if it’s one you weren’t invited to.

Sure, I’m as disillusioned as anyone as to why the city allowed someone to build a gigantic fish tank in an Easter basket in the middle of downtown, or why the zoning laws were rewritten because the fish tank/Easter basket needed to be 47 feet tall.

I’m also a little confused as to how anyone in their right mind would think this building is attractive or appropriate for a Colorado mountain town. I get it: It’s modern art. I understand this important award-winning architect man is revered to the point where we believe we’re supposed to like his design simply because he’s an important award-winning architect man. But my mama always taught me to think for myself. It’s not about being afraid of change or being opposed to art for art’s sake or not wanting a cool rooftop deck where I can sip gin and tonic and have the view of Aspen Mountain that is now lost to me on the street. And yes, I know. It’s free. It’s about telling it like it is.

As much as I know how much everyone loves a scapegoat, I hardly think the art museum is Mick’s fault. Aren’t the real bullies here Garfield and Hecht? Maybe Mayfield should cold-cock one of those heavyweights, not our skinny cyclist former mayor who, like him or not, worked really hard for very little money and was all heart — something those big developers and real estate moguls know nothing about.

Still, whatever that confrontation was about, Mick should know better than to vent about it on Facebook. Forever a public figure, his choices, his opinion and the decisions he made during his political career are fair game for public scrutiny and, apparently, front-page news. I mean, dude, if some old fart punches you in the shoulder a few times, you should laugh and walk away. It’s almost funny if you think about it. “I could have cold-cocked him if I wanted to.” It’s right out of a movie. You can’t make this stuff up.

What this story is really about is how upset people are about the damn art museum, and there’s nothing we can do about it now. It’s too late. What does blaming Mick accomplish? His proverbial party is over.

When people go off on me about my column, I always thank them. Partly because my mom taught me the best way to avoid a confrontation with a crazy person is to agree with everything they say and then slowly back away. And partly because the whole point is to get the dialogue going.

As asinine as this Mick vs. Mayfield boxing match is, it’s comforting to know people are so upset. It brings me back to the Aspen I know, not the Aspen I’ve been seeing as of late, a place where big money trumps the law, the community and the land.

The story isn’t about who punched who. It’s about the dumb-dumbs who built a giant fish tank in an Easter basket in the middle of our playground without getting anyone to sign the permission slip.

The Princess is hiding in Basalt. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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