TO THE EDITOR: Though you gotta love a white girl who relocates from a big, diverse city (New York City) to a little whitebread one and immediately starts lecturing its citizens on their unconscious racism, someone needs to call out Erin Franzman -- Stranger music editor and raving negrophile. To claim (as Franzman did in your Jan 6 issue) that the late Curtis Mayfield ["A Eulogy for Curtis Mayfield"] played the authentic version of music Beck maliciously appropriates is absurd. Yeah, Beck is winking and ironic, and "Pusherman" is what -- autobiography?! Please. Beck's little minstrel show brings more to the pop/race discourse than a cue to point and shriek. When the critic assuming a position of moral superiority can't even detect the minstrelsy in a goddamn blaxploitation theme, it makes sense to wonder if she isn't simply flailing in denial. Impressive gumption, Erin, but get real: If staging a funky simulacrum of "blackness" is immoral, you're in the wrong line of work.Adam Heimlich, Manhattan
ERIN FRANZMAN RESPONDS: I'll keep this short for my former colleague Adam Heimlich. In Heimlich's small world, Mayfield's message is subordinate to the self-congratulatory, ironic gibberish of Beck. And like all Beck apologists, Heimlich's not big enough to specify WHAT Beck is mocking besides honesty and meaning. Does Beck produce even the tiniest new insight, Heimlich? Keep in touch, my little pal.
GOD DAMN, ERIN! In response to your editorial ["If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Tell the Truth Anyway," Excellent, Jan 13], surely you understand that there's more to "understanding" music than being able to read lyrics, or you might as well retire from the music critic "business." I'm sure [the band you mentioned] probably sucked, as they usually do when the whole "you-don't-understand-the-music" comment comes up, but take a moment and listen. As far as the "culture broker" comment goes, Wm. Steven Humphrey is a culture broker. Stranger music is superfluous.Kisses, Denny, via e-mail
DEAR ERIN FRANZMAN: "The Stranger has been entrusted by the city to act as a culture broker..." ["If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Tell the Truth Anyway," Excellent, Jan 13]. Whoa, Nellie, get ahold of yourself, there! Nobody reads The Stranger to see what bands are good, just to see where they are playing and to laugh our asses off at Last Days, I Love Television, and Police Beat! I understand it's kind of a mandatory thing for a weekly to have music reviews, political articles, and restaurant reviews, but perhaps you should do a survey of who actually entrusts The Stranger to be their "culture broker." You may be surprised. That's one of the beauties of Seattle -- most of us cut out the middleman!Tim Hickey, Independent Culture Consultant
EDITORS: Fight Club makes a "wild assertion" that our modern society is filled with "weak, mild-mannered men"?! SHAME on Steve Wiecking ["It's a Man's Man's Man's World," Jan 20] for offering insult to the single greatest date movie ever made! This flick renders women hotter than Georgia asphalt; it's been out for months now, and I'm STILL getting trim because of it. Has Wiecking been made to feel a tad self-conscious about his IKEA end tables and spice rack? Boos to Wiecking for answering the question of "are we not men?" with a simpering, girlish whimper.Aaron Fogarty, via e-mail
EDITORS: As an avid reader of The Stranger, I was surprised by Phil Campbell's criticisms of our website ["Monorail Now Accepting VISA," In Other News, Jan 20]. I am sorry that he found it difficult to use. Like any website with a wealth of information, ours is complex and sometimes requires a little time to work through. I would expect, however, that Campbell would have no trouble. We did test the site with chimps (no animals were hurt), children, and Dick Falkenbury. All of [them] were able to successfully find the monorail map. I guess the question is, should The Stranger get some smarter reporters?Tom Carr, Chair, Elevated Transportation Company
EDITORS: Thank you, Stranger. Thank you, Dan Savage for the beautiful image on page seven ["Tittie Talk," Jan 20] that comforted me in my hour of despair. In this world of mammophobes and strange little men and girlfriends who cut you off at the slightest provocation, such a divine vision of the holy breasts of the Goddess incarnate is a good deed in an otherwise weary land."Areola Hogg," Devoted Reader, Seattle
EDITORS: Dan Savage has always had a proclivity for personal attacks and a talent for character assassination. In the January 13 edition of The Stranger, however, Dan hit a new McCarthyesque low when he publicly sought to discredit Janice Van Cleve as a political candidate ["The Van Cleve Challenge"] because, among other crimes and misdemeanors he listed, she was transgendered and happened to define her sexual preference as lesbian. If Dan had stuck strictly to "real issues," that would have been fine. But he crossed a line in attacking Janice's gender and sexual orientation. In bringing this up, Dan sought to sentence her to a political ghetto. If Janice had been African American, Dan might as well have pointed his journalistic lens in that direction and smeared her along color lines. This ugly display of ignorance and cruelty -- Dan's trying to discredit transgendered individuals as too queer for the GLBT community -- was an embarrassment to our entire community.Michael D. Green, ACSW, Phinney Ridge
WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY: I had a co-worker point out to me the phrase "rock 'n' roll losers" in your [listing] of [Two of Us], the VH1 movie about John Lennon and Paul McCartney [I Love Television, Jan 27]. I'm hoping you were referring to the actors portraying these people? You, the God of all TV reviewers, surely couldn't name the two greatest songwriters of the last 100 years as "losers"? Long after the vast majority of other composers, even credible ones, are laid to rest in human memory, the tunes that have steadily flowed from their works will infiltrate movies, ads, literature, and every other means of communication. Trash McDonald's, Disney, etc. -- but leave the giants of peaceful and artful communication alone. I spent three hours once with Paul McCartney, and [I] can honestly tell you he was anything but a loser. He was a kind, decent man who was nothing like the hype that surrounds his daily existence. John Lennon I never met, but [I hear] from his close friends in England that he never left the person he was at the core as a child.Jack Hyder, Frye Art Museum, Seattle
WM.™ STEVEN HUMPHREY RESPONDS: It is my pleasure to clear up any misunderstanding. What I meant to say was Paul McCartney and John Lennon can eat my ass. And so can you, you pretentious name-dropper.
EDITOR: I am writing to comment about an error made in the article "10 Things That Made Us Say 'Wow' Since the Dawn of Time" [edited by David Schmader, Dec 30, 1999]. While you are correct about the meaning of the Virgin Birth, you are wildly incorrect concerning the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. I am not a Roman Catholic. I am an Old Catholic, and the Immaculate Conception is but one of the arguments which we have with our separated brethren.
That said, the Immaculate Conception is the name given the theory that God would have been so insulted to form His Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, within a person in the state of Original Sin, that He granted to Mary at the instant her father's sperm made contact with her mother's egg a special and one-time-only exception to the Rule. She and she alone, since Adam and Eve, would have been allowed to be conceived and born absolutely free of sin.
For Old Catholics the concept is an insult to Mary, not to mention to God. It also goes a long way toward bolstering Calvin's views on Predestination, which are otherwise anathema to Roman Catholic theology. It never ceases to amaze me that our Roman brethren, so adamant against the idea of women as priests, wax so eloquent and drippy about Mary, whose body was the first tabernacle of the New Testament. Perhaps it's because Mary's safely dead? Who knows? Otherwise, I think I'm falling in love with your publication.Ted Ott, Los Angeles