Recently it was brought to my attention that official-looking flyers had been printed up promising that if your band advertised in The Stranger, I would have sex with its members at no additional charge. This came on the heels of a series of e-mails accusing me of being a "band slut," sent by an individual unhappy with my opinion of a band he loved. He went even further. Within those e-mails he cut-and-pasted another e-mail taken from a local web ring wherein a woman -- a sister who does not know me from Eve outside of these pages -- accused me of giving blowjobs backstage during numerous shows.

This isn't new stuff, sadly. Those familiar with the paper might recall my having been called an "alcoholic starfucker" by a member of the now defunct Western State Hurricanes, who took offense to another critic's less than glowing review of his band. Several weeks later, in a terse letter to The Stranger, dance music critic Courtney Reimer was accused of sucking off Josh Wink after her DJ-related article didn't pass muster with a short-fused reader.

Which raises this question in my mind: Why, when most people would stop themselves from calling any female a cunt for fear that the epithet is too vulgar, does no one feel they should exhibit the same restraint when it comes to female rock critics and Ye Olde blowjob remark? She doesn't like the band? Well, clearly it's because all of the time she should have used schooling herself in music criticism was spent on her knees sucking lead singer cock! Of course, the reverse could never be true, since women know how ludicruously moronic the idea is of a male rock critic sitting around backstage giving cunnilingus. It's preposterous, but really no more so than the flipside. Yet the stereotype thrives.

Maybe it's because you think you own me, that I'm a woman who cannot think for herself, yet has been given a public forum in which to do so. "Me" being all female music critics attempting to survive in this unflaggingly sexist arena. Female musicians may have gotten a leg over the barbed rock 'n' roll fence, but female music critics have not (and I'm willing to bet that any woman who'd argue this point has been called a blowjob queen and accepted it as an occupational hazard). I'm here to tell you that you don't own me. You don't own us. Honestly, you all (and by "all" I mean all who know they're being spoken to) remind me of that kind of abusive, self-loathing dickhead who thinks that by degrading free-thinking, opinionated women, the world won't realize that he himself is a socially retarded, dysfunctional nit of a man who doesn't matter in the least -- one who lives within his e-mail account and finds strength in the cowardly population who dwells there. She who sides with him is even more shameful. You are all stalkers of the most sniveling kind.

Let me make this clear: I'm criticizing bands, not you. If I say that a band sucks, then they have every right to come back at me -- and they have, though I can count on one finger those who dragged out the blowjob/starfucker saw (see above). Most don't say anything. Why? Because -- listen up -- if you don't have the self-confidence to not doubt yourself when someone disagrees with your opinions, then Jesus Christ, get the counseling you so desperately need and quit sharing your neuroses with us. Your opinion is your own, and no one should be allowed to think for you, be that me or the dolts you find sad camaraderie with. Be a man. Be a woman. Be a member of the late 20th century, for crying out loud. If someone does, maybe the rest will follow.