TO THE EDITOR: The sad truth is that most people are painfully obnoxious. This subject of this week's issue [The Ben Exworthy Narcissism Issue, Jan 27] is no exception. However, it would make it less painful for those of us who are denied our usual entertaining weekly to be reminded repeatedly what good services his funds are providing. Just knowing that at least one homeless person or house-bound elderly woman isn't going hungry tonight will make tolerating that inhuman gasbag all the more possible.

Joseph Bradley

DAN SAVAGE RESPONDS: We probably should have been more explicit about the fact that Ben Exworthy, socially responsible millionaire and the subject of much of the paper's content last week, bought all of that glowing press in our annual Strangercrombie auction to benefit Northwest Harvest. Strangercrombie 2004 raised more than $30,000 to feed the hungry, $12,000 of which came out of Exworthy's deep pockets.

STRANGERS: Worst. Feature. Ever. Even my parakeets hate it. Poor little birds are constipated now.

Aaron Cooke

DEAR STRANGER EDITOR: They say that youth is wasted on the young. Your issue bought by and featuring lil' Ben Big Shot demonstrates that wealth is also wasted on the young.

Tommy T. Payne

TO THE EDITOR: What's Annie Wagner's problem? Does she hate theater? It seem [sic] she always has some hateful, malicious, unintelligent, and hurtful criticism about theater. Her critique [sic] are childish. She needs to be fair in her approach in writing. That means tell the bad as well as the good. Or do you like the way she writes because then you have people like my [sic] writing to the editor complaining? Tell Ms. Wagner to grow up and learn [to] be just.


DEAR ANNIE: In the past couple of days I have discovered and fallen in love with your sweet, vicious writing. I live in Minneapolis where performance criticism is not just really, really bad but almost subliterate and often weirdly indifferent. Reading your engaged, specific, insightful criticism (of course, I haven't seen the shows you write about so you could be waaaay off the mark) gives me a little bit of hope. And a couple of times you got mean enough that I laughed out loud. If you ever leave The Stranger, please come work for the City Pages.

Don Mabley-Allen

DEAR STRANGER: In Christopher DeLaurenti's The Score: Concerts [Jan 27] note for Friday, January 28, his paragraph on the opera Manon Lescaut begins, "Will Manon marry for love or marry for money?" Marry? How quaint, how charming, how wrong! Nobody ever mentions marriage to anyone in the opera. In a newspaper known for its many different descriptions of the act of coitus, "marry" is usually not one of them.

Stephanie Mascis

HEY THERE: Megan Seling missed the boat on the Sloop Tavern ["43 Bars," Jan 20]. Maybe she didn't stop in for long or had too many slooper-sized beers, but if she took a moment to look around, she'd see that it's a smoky dive (a shit-hole really) with a serious clientele of hard drinkers and smokers, regular pool players, some drunk sailors, frat types, local Ballard folks, above-average bar food (oddly) and a decidedly mean waitstaff. Seriously--they're not very nice.

Benjamin Shorr

DEAR EDITOR: I know you make your bread and butter being irreverent assholes, but at some point you've got to ask yourself, how big can one asshole be? Every week, you restore my faith that there actually are jackasses bigger than George W. out there. And may I say, you're rather like him. You have the power to do something good, but you spend your time blowing shit up. While he prays to God, you worship the Gods of hep-cat cool. Anyway, you've got a great forum to actually "do something," but you fuck it up being juvenile and crass every week.

Will I sign my name to this one so you can ridicule me if you decide to print it? Oh, and by the way, that's juvenile too. Most papers just print letters to the editor without needing to have the last word in a "not-it" sort of way.

Jennifer M. Keeley

DAN SAVAGE RESPONDS: Last year The Stranger raised $31,500 for Northwest Harvest, gave $25,000 to local artists at our annual Genius Awards, and raised more than $2,000 for the Lambda Legal Defense Fund. We also donated thousands of dollars of ad space to tsunami-relief efforts, the Vera Project, Consolidated Works, Mamafest, Chocolate for Choice, Music for America, and other arts organizations and political groups. Most non-daily papers allow writers to respond to letters from readers and The Stranger is no exception. Our response rate, however, is low. In 2004, we published 318 letters and responded to 33.