Thank you, Sherman Alexie. Really thoughtful, intelligent responses to all questions, even the idiotic questions about leprechauns and closeted governors.
It seems this act highlights the fact we are in deed(s) learning from our history! Specifically, Pastor Martin Niemöller once penned:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Today, a quick google search ( provides instant updates to the fact that we are in deed(s) listening to Pastor Niemöller. Kudo's to all who decide to be active students who learn from history.
Nice interview. Sherman Alexi is great when he's funny and satirical, but it's nice to hear him just being very straightforward and serious, too. Kurt Vonnegut would have appreciated this defense of human rights.
Completely agree with this decision but...speaking at Notre Dame - an institution which follows and supports the catholic church's teachings on homosexuality, abortion, etc... - was totally cool before this law was passed? I'm sure it had nothing to do with the big, fat check UND was cutting to Mr. Alexie. No one seemed to care or notice that he was speaking at UND before, but they sure as hell were gonna notice now so I guess he had to cancel. And it almost looks like Frizzelle had that thought but failed to follow through on it, or just omitted that question and answer from the post for some reason.
And his answer to the one question about Notre Dame is that he doesn't know if they have made an "official response"? I would say look no further than Pence's remarks while signing the law to gain some insight into UND's position on the matter:

"One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views."

So I guess my original question stands: Why did he accept an engagement at Notre Dame to begin with?
@5: because the RCC has liberal and conservative factions within it, and you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

this law passed because of white Christian paranoia. that's how they see it - their religious beliefs are under attack from secularists and atheists and "government overreach". they don't stop to wonder why intolerance is a part of their religion in the first place.
@4, @5

Did you understand that Mr. Alexis's cancelation is most likely a protest against Indiana rather than against Notre Dame? And that canceling probably means he doesn't get that big fat check?

But why don't you show up at Mr. Alexis's public appearances from now on and ask him that very question during the Q&A?
Right on, Sherman. Thank you for being a true ally. The world needs more people like Sherman Alexie and fewer people like the legislators in Indiana.
@6, if one should not throw out the baby with the bathwater, then why would Alexie not keep his commitment to, of all fucking places, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library?! Yes, our rural idiots are exactly as bad as Mudede described in his well-known rant after the 2008 election, but for heaven's sake, Indianapolis is a liberal town and full of people who are appalled at our rural legislators and totally exhausted from constantly fighting the good fight against terribly bad odds - something residents of Seattle have minimal experience with. It's one thing to not book any *new* visits to the state, but that's different from backing out of a standing commitment. From the Vonnegut Memorial Library's FB post the day of the decision: "Today, we have heard from future guest speakers and others outside of the state that they want to cancel programs with the Vonnegut Library and other Indianapolis organizations because of the recent discriminating legislation out of Indiana, and I say to you, please reconsider. If ever we have needed light in this darkness, it is now. Don't leave us out here on our own. Education on the words and life of Kurt Vonnegut is more important now than ever before. If you really want to stick it to the man, don't let our little nonprofit fail."

I challenge Alexie to live up to his commitments and use it as an opportunity to bring more awareness to the progressive people who live and work here and want to see RFRA repealed before it actually impacts the people we love. (Except blow off the Notre Dame visit, because honestly for all the reasons #4 made above no one should accept money from them.)
Bravo ! No flies on you, sir. Thank you for standing up to protest this dangerous idiocy. The world continues to make my brain hurt daily.

Please write faster.
Thank you Sherman for calling bullshit on the entire State of Indiana. While we're on this topic, could we also talk about the thousands of anti-homeless laws that are popping up like zits all over the US including places like Burien?

Last summer Burien passed "Ordinance 606," which allows the Burien PD to tresspass people out of town for minor offenses such as "unreasonably boisterous physical behavior," "[b]odily hygiene or scent that is unreasonably offensive to others," and [b]ehavior that is unreasonably inconsistent with the normal use for which the publicly owned property was designed and intended to be used," e.g. homeless people trying to clean themselves by brushing their teeth and shaving in public restrooms. The ordinance also includes a list of actions such as nudity, assault, sex crimes, alcohol and drug sales, etc., which are already defined as illegal in state and local laws, making it crystal clear who this ordinance is meant to target--people who smell bad, talk to themselves in the Library and frighten the west-of-Ambaum crowd by sleeping on park benches.

This ordinance passed by a 6:1 margin of City Councilmembers eager to crack down on people who are barely scraping by in our increasingly unequal society. The cops enforce it in a sneaky way by usually not outright arresting people. Instead, they give them trespassing tickets in order to encourage those deemed to be offenders to move along, while minimizing the cost of cops, courts and jail, with due process in a court of law taking the hindmost. The Burien cops also scrupulously avoid collecting demographic information such as race/ethnicity and status with respect to housing, so they can't be accused of discriminating against the homeless. Burien has no homeless shleters, and the city actually charges a consortium of churches who offer a couple of hot meals a week, a food pantry and free clothing a whopping $2,300 per month rent for a few rooms in an old community center where the program is housed. Rather than stepping up to actually fund the the program, or build a shelter, or a day center, or a sanitation station with showers and laundry facilities, or even a managed homeless encampment, Burien finds it more convenient to push the problem around to somewhere else, like Seattle, where presumably homeless people "belong."

Recently, some Burien residents have called for the city to pass another ordinance that would require panhandlers to get BUSINESS LICENSES. Proponents think begging REGULATED AND TAXED just like any other "business," as if the poorest people in Washington don't already pay the highest taxes. All of this is consistent with with galloping bigotry and criminalization of poverty, not just in places like Indiana, a twin epidemic of HIV and poverty is erupting in the heartland, but also right on the back doorstop of Seattle, one of the richest cities in the world.

@7 It's "Alexie". Clearly you are a huge fan of his work and I now understand why my comments have you so upset.

I do understand that he is protesting against Indiana. My point, which I thought was clear, is that nothing Indiana has done in this instance is any different than so-called "religious freedom" issues that Catholic institutions, including Notre Dame, have been advocating for years. And yes, he is forfeiting that check. But he was more than happy to take it as long as no one was paying attention to him speaking at UND. Once the spotlight fell on Indiana he really had no choice but to withdraw or risk upsetting his fanbase. That, to me, diminishes the value of his protest since I see very little distinction between the Indiana law and the position of UND administration.

I have no plans to attend any event featuring Mr. Alexie. I am wondering what your point is though. Are you suggesting that the actions and words of public figures should always be taken at face value and never questioned or criticized? Or are you fantasizing that by daring to question him I would be beaten by an angry mob, or perhaps Mr. Alexie himself? Finally, I don't see questioning him as my job. The Stranger has provided him a public forum, and I am simply suggesting what I believe are reasonable questions that I would have hoped Mr. Frizzelle would delve into with his subject.
@6 I would suggest that Indiana has liberal and conservative factions within it as well, but everyone seems to be fine with throwing that baby out with the bathwater. In fact, I would bet that the liberal to conservative ratio is higher among the general population of Indiana than it is among the leadership or laity of the catholic church.
Awesome interview. Nice and straight with real words and all. Nothing like a definitive bullshit thrown in there. It's such a wonderful relief to hear bullshit called what it is, out-loud and without apologies.

And now, please excuse me while I trip over a bumper sticker but I can't restrain myself: Governor Pense, my good, righteous Godly man, what the hell would Jesus say?
Do. I meant do. I can't believe I fucked up that bumper sticker.

Please wait...

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