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Take my daughter! and other lies about Guam

My Brother sent me the link to Mike Ogle’s Blood Sweat and Cockfighting story on ESPN and asked me what I thought about it. I think therein lies a classic example of a visitor who came to Guam for a very brief period of time, didn’t experience much while he was here, and went away thinking he had the island and everyone living on it figured out. The story is also an example of how the media sometimes opts for sensationalism in lieu of accuracy.
Read the story first and come back because right now I’m going to point out the areas he clearly did not research, as far as I can tell.
1. “Evidently, this (cockfighting) is what the locals do to pass the time on this 341-square-mile island… Entertainment options are limited.”
Ok, how many locals did you interview about their favorite pastimes? My guess is none. I’m local and I’ve never been to a cockfight. None of my close local friends have been to one either (uh, right guys?). I’d say the odds of me ever going to one are slim to none because that sort of thing just doesn’t interest me. Also, “limited entertainment options” is relative. If you only enjoy skiing, fox hunting or casino gambling, then yes, you will probably find Guam dull and limited. However, if you made any effort to find out what we do for fun around here you might have discovered many entertainment options that are hard to come by in other parts of the world. Too bad for you that your preferred forms of entertainment are so limited.
2. “People here fit into one of two categories. Either they’ve lived here their entire lives, or they’re stationed here by the U.S. military.”
I don’t fit into either of those categories and neither does my husband. Neither do some of my family, a lot of my friends and coworkers. Neither does Sarah, the nice lady who gave me the most wonderful massage today or my friend Sora who cut my hair this morning. Who are your sources? Your sister Kristy and her husband Matt? If so, they really need to stop confining themselves to the Navy base and start hanging out with some island folk ASAP. If they don’t they, too, will leave Guam after having lived here for three years and NOT HAVE A CLUE.
3. “They say if an American man walks through a particular poor village in Guam, families will offer their daughters.”
Alright. I wasn’t going to say anything before, but I guess now is the opportune time to let you all in on the secret of how Addison and I came to be married and how I REALLY became an American citizen.
Seriously. WTF?
Here are some things I’d really like to know:
– Who’s THEY?
– Which village?
– By American, do you mean just anyone with U.S. citizenship? You should know that most of us already ARE Americans with citizenship and U.S. passports. We are not in need of citizenship. Just an Olive Garden and an Old Navy. If you meant to imply it’s an issue of money, that’s arrogance talking. The American dollar is not the hottest commodity in case you haven’t noticed. My fellow Guamanians, offer your daughters to the Europeans. You’ll get a lot more value at $1.25 for every euro!
As far as the cockfighting part of the story goes, I have no opinion because I have no personal experience in that area. I thought the article itself was dull in comparison to Dave Attell’s story on the Tijuana cockfighting training center in Mexico. But Dave Attell makes me laugh and that scores major points with me.
I could go on and on about this, but I won’t because I’m sure a whole lot of people on the island are going on and on about this. I will say this, though: the thing I find so great about traveling is the ability to come home with a new perspective and appreciation for what I love about Guam and also see what can be improved based on what I saw and experienced in countries so different from my own. It’s too bad Mike Ogle traveled halfway around the world to get here and failed to see anything past the cockfighting ring, and decided to just pull things out of his butt for his story. What a waste of expensive jet fuel.
P.S. My husband Addison REALLY wants to know which village you’re referring to. I think he feels a little cheated.

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20 Responses

  1. Michelle says:

    I agree with you.
    I saw that article on ESPN Page 2 as well. My gosh, what an arrogant writer. I left a few choice comments on the ESPN site myself. His angle for the article was so condescending, as if we locals don’t know anything.
    I hope ESPN drops him as a freelance writer (which he is), talented or not. Stereotpyical, racist, derogatory remarks should not be tolerated by anyone.

  2. brent says:

    hey, what about me…. i was there for six years and NOBODY offered me their daughter. they offered a LOT of food, their friendship, and an occasional beer, but never their women. hmm, if addison finds that village, have him give me a call.
    i often get asked if i was military, and if i ever got “island fever” (since it was so small and options must be limited). no, and no. i always had too much to do, there was never a dull moment.
    and never saw a cockfight on island. guess i must have been on the wrong guam? 🙂

  3. santos. says:

    i appreciate your rebuttal and it echoes much of my own personal feelings on this stupid and hateful article, but have you written a letter of protest to mr. ogle and/or espn.com yet? i think part of the reason that this perpetuation of guam as a punchline is because the general lack of action on our part. what we say or think doesn’t matter unless we say it to the powers that be.
    my friends and i have sent/are sending letters to mike ogle (Mike.X.Ogle@espn3.com), and espn (605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158-0180), to voice our protests over the clear ignorance and racism expressed in the article. i respectfully suggest you and your friends do the same. the “dozens” of letters mentioned in the pdn is just not going to get a response but maybe a couple of hundred will.
    am i a rabid reactionary? no. but honestly, isn’t it time that we do more than just complain to ourselves?

  4. jann says:

    WTF is right. I also do not fit into the military category nor the lived all my life on the island category. And if Mike Ogle had bothered to pull his head out of his ass, he would have found generous and kind people and a plethera of entertainment options. God I miss the diving and the hiking and the beaches, the fiesta’s, the bar hopping, the restaurants. I live in DC now and barely go out as much as I did on Guam. This MF is going to hear from me!

  5. carolyn says:

    yeah, totally ignorant. and gosh, if he’s gonna be such an ignoramus he could at least be entertaining. for a second i thought he was being facetious, but if he was it didn’t come across because his writing blows. no wonder he’s not on staff.

  6. Josie says:

    Thanks for the email address, Santos. I sent an email to the hotmail address that was included in the article, I’ll resend to the one you posted.

  7. Toni says:

    Haha… this was the best rant about the article so far. You are awesome Josie!

  8. Cristina says:

    Your response to his stupid article was GREAT. He shouldn’t have even bothered writing that.

  9. Goro' says:

    Leave it alone, do you really want the rest of the world to know how beautiful Guam is and start wanting to move there and make the prices of rent land and everything else go up just like Hawai’i.
    Out of the one and a half million “Hawaiians” that live in Hawai’i right now, how many do you think are “Locals”. Chamorros do not want the same thing happening on Guam as it has on Hawai’i.
    Learn from Hawai’i’s mistakes.
    “Brown tree snakes” and “Cockfights” is how Guam keeps the rest of the world away.

  10. Karl says:

    what about the story of cannibals lurking the deep jungles?

  11. Gail says:

    Brillantly put Josie! Both Erik and I were totally disgusted and we did send a measured and rational complaint about the article to both ESPN and the writer. These bozos who turn up for a day or two, and then get on a national stage to trumpet their knowledge, do Guam a disservice. I know Goro thinks bad and inaccurate press will keep people from overrunning Guam but I don’t think there is any danger of that happening. What does happen is that everytime I mention I’m from Guam, people here in Hawaii (who really should know better) go off about how Guam is like this or like that and it’s all negative. They are usually sorry afterwards because they then get to listen to my ten minute lecture on the history, charms and importance of Guam.

  12. Mike Ellis says:

    Man, although I did leave Guam with an amazing wife I’m proud to spend my life with, she certainly wasn’t “offered up” by her family. I must have gotten a bad deal! I had to work for that trust. It took years to gain their blessing.
    I wrote a letter to this chump too, whatever that’s worth. Although I kind of did fit into the military category “Coast Guard”, I didn’t spend any more time than I had to on base. I’m not sure the thousands of hours spent at Casa are any more admirable, but they sure make me smile when I think of them. The rest of my career will be spent waiting for the time I can return to the island I’ll forever consider my home.

  13. Flores says:

    Actually, we need to set the record straight. Here on Guam, offering of the daughters was done away with about 20 years ago. We finally figured out that it wasn’t benefitting the natives. So we came up with a solution. In this day and age, we go to Hagatna (Guam’s capital) place all the “poor daughters” of the villages on a makeshift stage and auction them off to the highest bidding white man. The ideal bid is 10 roosters (with matching blades) and 5 hens (HEY !! We gotta eat too.) Mr. Ogle, there’s an entertainment option for you — come here and help build the stage for us.
    Lol, I’m just a local girl, born and reared on Guam, laughing at yet another attempt from “brilliant” journalist who is basically writing about a place he never bothered to experience.

  14. Christina Gumataotao says:

    Mr. Ogle’s article was based on sheer prejudice and ignorance. Obviously, he had too many falls when he was a baby.

  15. Patty says:

    Mr. Ogle’s article sounded personal. Probably got beaten up for saying something stupit at the cock fight.

  16. Al Lopez says:

    I was genuinely PO’d when I read about what this jagoff wrote about Guam. I lived there for 16 years, made a lot of wonderful friends. I had NEVER been to a cockfight in all of the time that I was there.
    This guy is an ethnocentric, under-educated, narrow-minded piece of $#!t.
    Sorry for the low brow comment, but these type of people get under my skin. They are not worth the air they breathe. He obviously has no understanding of what an American is. It certainly is not the color of your skin, the language you speak or your ethnicity.
    He is an embarrassment to us REAL Americans who can appreciate cultural diversity.
    BTW, how is Guam? We moved to New Mexico in 2001.

  17. Joe says:

    I remember this article coming out and not reading it because it looked pretty dumb. I’ve since (based on the controversy) read the article. I found it more sloppy than offensive. Full disclosure, I’ve never been to Guam and never given it much thought so I am a pretty poor reference. My question though is, how can ESPN let Ogle go as a writer yet keep the various editors who let the story run keep their jobs?

  18. Larry T says:

    I am on of many who shares the anguish about Mike Ogle’s comments. It is preposterous, insensitive and uncultured. Another scum-of-the-earth has revealed his true nature as a repugnant free-lance writer who was made and paid to represent a professional organization. Personally, I would like for Mr. Ogle to represent himself and explain the true motives for his vile article. The questions I have is;
    What motivated and who paid him to travel to Guam?
    What lead him to write this article?
    Who paid him for this article?
    Was it politically driven to steer Congress from home porting a US Navy carrier on Guam to lodge support for Hawaiian lobbyist?
    Everything is possible.

  19. Juan says:

    I have never been to Guam but agree with the sentiments expressed here. Ogle’s article was based on ignorance. I am also a cockfighter and have grown tired of the stereotyping associated with those who continue to practice this ancient sport.
    In the rants I have read above, those who have stated they have “never been to a cockfight” sound as if they are proud of the fact. If you haven’t been to a cockfight and truly understand what a gamecock is, it is likely you have an opinion about the sport based on ignorance. Be cautious of falling into the same pit as Ogle!
    I live in the mainland where cockfighting is mostly illegal but I wish I lived in Guam so I could freely enjoy these magnificent birds as they fulfill their purpose. I am sure I would also enjoy the rest of what Guam has to offer, as well.

  20. ricca says:

    omg. okay i’m 14
    and i am so happy to have read this
    i was so mad when i read that article
    and i knew that it just wasn’t right.
    i really hope that writer gets fired or something.
    as a student at AOLG and a chamorro
    i was majorly apalled at Ogle’s insensitive writing.
    you rock for speaking out Josie

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