Dear Seattle Times Executive Editor Michael R. Fancher,
On December 23, 2004 The Stranger published a feature story ["A Difficult Pregnancy"] breaking the news that a Spokane judge prohibited a 27-year-old woman from divorcing her abusive husband because she was pregnant. The piece was reported by A. J. Glusman, who traveled to Spokane, where she met with the pregnant woman, her attorneys, and the imprisoned husband. A week later, on January 1, 2005, the Seattle Times ran a version of this story on its front page without citing The Stranger or Glusman. Then on January 4, Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur wrote a follow-up piece, also failing to mention the original Stranger story.
I can see how you're in a bit of a bind. If you mention us, you're admitting you got scooped. Omitting us, however, merely emphasizes your insecurity. Here's an easy solution if you don't want to credit other papers: Tell your writers to find their own damn stories.
Josh Feit, Stranger News Editor
MATT BRIGGS: Thank you for your exhaustive essay on the pointless body of David Shields' work ["The Body Pointless," Dec 23]. It gives me an opportunity to address the sort of pointless polemical criticism we don't need. Your piece is well written and somewhat funny--it epitomizes that sardonic edge I look for in The Stranger--but it reeks of uselessness. What are you trying to do? Keep people from reading Shields' work? Ha! Why waste your time, unless of course you're exacting some long-brooded-over revenge fantasy? You add nothing to the endeavor of literature.
DEAR STRANGER STAFF: I just got done reading the article by A. J. Glusman titled "A Difficult Pregnancy" [Dec 23]. I feel for the subject, but painting the woman as a helpless victim is awful! As a single mother I have the ability to control the body I inhabit. I can choose to leave a bad relationship, I can choose to practice safe sex, I can choose not to subject myself to the whims of the men around me. I would like to see women of all incomes, all education, all races, and all circumstances value themselves, demand to be valued by society, their lovers, and by those who take it upon themselves to write articles about them. I urge the writer to tell Ms. Hughes' story without further victimizing her. Encouraging her victimized self-image is not doing her, or other women in similar situations, any favors. Please focus on the young woman's strength, ability, and fortitude, not her "tiny hands" and beautiful face.
HEY STRANGERS: While my circumstances are different than Shawnna's, I had a divorced finalized in the state of Washington while I was pregnant with another man's child. Whoever judged Shawnna's situation is completely out of line and should have his nose broken.
DEAR EDITOR: I have a problem with Charles Mudede's "Not My Tribe" [Dec 23]. Mudede's irresponsible, flagrant statements such as "the potential for Rwanda-style violence exists in every sub-Saharan African nation" not only displays his ignorance about Africa's present and past, but also spreads it. The other nausea-inducing thing Mudede did was quote Keith Richburg, who considers himself "lucky that his ancestors were taken away in slave ships." I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Mudede sides with Richburg because their statements are both erroneous, lazy explanations of complex issues made by brainwashed, self-loathing individuals. Mudede should deal with his self-hatred in private, not in public.
I hate Kwanzaa because it is a fruitless attempt to establish an identity and a pride in black America. Likewise, Mudede is trying to distance himself from his African roots by making generalizations that further perpetuate the stereotype that Africans are bloodthirsty black savages.
CHARLES: I am African American (with heavy emphasis on AFRICAN). Even though I have never been to Africa, the fact that I am alive and prospering is testimony to the strength of my African ancestors. There are very few positives that came from the American enslavement of Africans but after looking at the history of Africans during the time of slavery now I can see these positives:
(1) The notions of tribalism you speak of are no longer barriers and we are more of a collective than tribal groups in Africa.
(2) Tribalism and 300 tongues were the real downfall of Africans and the reason Africans were enslaved. Now we speak one tongue and it is one tongue that will unite us where 300 tongues kept us divided.
Let us learn from the sad history of the slave period and stop dividing over tiny issues when what we face, and will always face, are nations of people united against us. The tribe concept is too small to save a country or a people so we must embrace a larger collective than just "tribe" or we will forever be weak in the face of our enemies.