HOLD MY HAND
HI THERE: I have been relying on The Stranger's Election Day cheat sheets for many years now and wanted to let you know how valuable I find them. Regrettably, I am not always able to keep up on local politics, but I do prize my right to vote and exercise it on every election. I don't always know the candidates for council members, etc., and I appreciate The Stranger taking the time to do the research and make it easy for well-intentioned but less-informed people like me to avoid voting for suboptimal candidates. I feel good that your recommendations incorporate liberal social views and keep an eye out for the environment, which are two areas that mean a lot to me.
DEAR STRANGER: I enjoyed the article by Paul Constant, "Freedom Isn't Free, and Neither Are the Drinks" [Aug 2], wherein he infiltrates a National Review cocktail party, but I have to say I preferred the original article by Johann Hari that the Independent posted July 13, 2007: "Ship of Fools: Johann Hari Sets Sail with America's Swashbuckling Neocons," wherein Mr. Hari infiltrates a National Review cruise.
PAUL CONSTANT RESPONDS: Dear Mr. Barrett: Thank you for your charges of plagiarism! In addition to the fact that I haven't read Hari's article—the New Republic, which actually published the piece, just hasn't been the same since they fired my idol, Stephen Glass—it wasn't my idea to begin with: A Stranger reader alerted us to the cocktail party in the first place, and suggested that we cover it. Both Hari and I, however, could probably get sued by Hunter S. Thompson's estate, though, since he masqueraded as a Young Republican during the RNC convention in his Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.
SMELLS LIKE A GIRL
DEAR ARI SPOOL: Pish ["Toke Like a Girl," Aug 16]. I am a female, currently enrolled in college. I study martial arts and have an active, full life. I don't have a television.
I also smoke pot. Lots. I am not fat. I am not lazy. I don't fear food. I am an aware, responsible, active person. I'll admit it: I still think farting's funny (and so did every other woman, before being socialized to view it as "unfeminine").
Since I know many, many other women who love the reefer, I have drawn a few conclusions.
Firstly: Perhaps female stoners are invisible because they don't conform to the media's ridiculous stereotypes about pot smokers; they have good jobs and go to college (as do many male stoners).
You expressed surprise that "pot culture, which one would expect to be receptive to the feminist message, has changed so little." If you're talking about The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Hempfest (the latter of which is a bullshit commercialized joke), yes, women are at the margins.
However, I argue that these are images promoted by our sexist media and are not reflective of reality. The "stoner" myth (that we suffer from "amotivational syndrome" and are lazy slobs) fits right in with the image of a beer-swilling manly man, sitting on the couch, watching the game. Sloth and gluttony, unthinkable in women, is invariably celebrated as "masculine." Meanwhile, many intelligent, active men and women hit the bong at the end of a long day. True "stoner culture" is to be found in America's living rooms, not in bullshit gender stereotypes.
It seems that you believe that the burlesqued femininity pushed by the mass media holds its terrible sway over the entire female population. Even if women's pot use is represented as overwhelmingly negative on television (I wouldn't know), do you think that would stop us? Even though we are bombarded with negative images of womanhood and force-fed a restrictive, life-denying, and oppressive "femininity," women have agency. They can (and do) choose to relax, to revel in sensual pleasure, to fart, to eat, and to smoke some fuckin' reefer.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: In Abigail Guay's "Portraiture for People Who Like Places" [Aug 16], the author stated that aside from three Sung Jin Park prints, all of the photographs in Up & Now are color-saturated digital C prints. This is untrue. At least one artist, Joel Sanders, uses analog, not digital processes, and Charles Peterson's submission is black and white. Also, in last week's In Other Neighborhoods section, we stated that Derek Delahunt suspects his neighbors at the Citiscape Apartments on Queen Anne had something to do with a recent incident of tree vandalism. The statement should have been attributed to Delahunt's neighbor Gerald Whelan. We regret these errors.