A LENGTHY E-MAIL EXCHANGE
DAVID SCHMADER: I just finished reading your Last Days [column] in which the six million people fried in Nazi Germany's ovens are constantly mentioned [Nov 9]. Last Days is a generally interesting and entertaining section; however, I am totally disgusted with the fact that when "the Holocaust" is mentioned anywhere, anytime, there is never a mention of the majority of the people who were killed in those camps: I'm speaking of the eight million non-Jews. There were 14 million victims, not just six million. It's just that the Jews are the only ones with the poor taste to constantly whine about something that happened to "their people" in a country they were milking to death for at least 30 years prior to WWII, and to continue making MONEY from that tragedy--HUMAN tragedy, not just "Jewish Holocaust." (By the way, how much has your rent risen in the past few years? What's your landlord's last name?)
I know that my "attitude" is politically incorrect and absolutely "unacceptable" in this new Seattle society of so-very-delicate, scared- shitless people, but please do some research toward truth rather than manufacturing sick, pitiful, transparent excuses for the sake of "P.C." (Political correctness translates to bullshit: kissing ass to maintain an ILLUSION of "peace & harmony.")
DAVID SCHMADER RESPONDS: Your letter begins on planet Earth, evidencing a common confusion about the term "Holocaust." That word refers to the Nazis' attempt to exterminate Europe's Jews, and it is not a blanket term covering all victims of Nazi atrocities. Unfortunately, you then zoom off into outer space, to the Planet of the Dickhead Idiots. If it makes you feel good to chalk up my offense at your letter--which ridiculously objectifies an entire race of people--to "political correctness" (a concept I hate as much as I hate Lenny Kravitz), knock yourself out. But obviously you're a grade-A asshole. Never read my column again.
P.S. My landlord's name is Young, he's raised my rent $30 in two years, and he's the goyiest goy who ever goyed.
ROBERT LATVALA RESPONDS: Personally, Mr. Schmader, I really don't care about what relationship you and your "gayest gay landlord" have, and if you'll actually read my letter, you won't find a single reference to sexual preference in it. Your heterophobic rave is obviously fueled by what seems to be guilt and self-hatred based on this relationship. My question is, where are the memorials to the MAJORITY of the people fried by the Nazis, and why aren't the descendants of those people also jumping on the bandwagon, whining and making money from the memory of their [ancestors'] ashes?
DAVID SCHMADER RESPONDS: I didn't say my landlord was "gay." I said he was "goy." It means "non-Jew."
P.S. Isn't it possible to come out swinging for the sometimes overlooked victims of the Nazi atrocities without making idiotic sweeping judgments about the recognized ones?
ROBERT LATVALA RESPONDS: Sorry Mr. Schmader, Yiddish isn't one of my dialects. And your bigotry is obvious also in your constant bashing of that "stupid German" who turned the valve on that memorial flame the wrong way. I saw and felt a prejudice there, in your column. It was a simple human mistake; but WHO was too cheap to spend the extra few cents on a safety-pin device, so easily installed? And why?
DAVID SCHMADER RESPONDS: I accept your apology for your idiotic misreading of my P.S. As for my "obvious bigotry" in regard to my reporting of the Holocaust memorial flame story--read the column again, dipshit. Never, ever did I even intimate that the German chancellor was "stupid." (For the record, I'm German, which means I'm not part of the problem, I'm part of the solution--you know, the Final Solution.) The extinguishing of the Jerusalem flame was reported as exactly what it was: a deeply unfortunate and unintentionally hilarious event.
You've got some funky persecution shit going on, mister. By the way, can I mention how delightful it is to be called on my "bigotry" from a man whose anti-Semitism seems to know no bounds or logic, not to mention denounced for my "political correctness" from a guy who's whinier than a Barnard freshman?
ROBERT LATVALA RESPONDS: Why this constant use of the adverb "idiotic"? You've been displacing/ projecting constantly with that term. That reference to my "idiotic misreading" of the Yiddish word "goy"--that's not idiocy, that's ignorance. We all make mistakes, even you.
DAVID SCHMADER RESPONDS: "Idiotic" is an adjective, not an adverb. And you're it.
DEAR EDITOR: In "Taking the Initiative" (Oct 19), Josh Feit characterizes our conversation to erroneously imply that I approved of a Seattle city council member using a city council meeting to take a stand against an initiative that [was] on the 2000 General Election ballot, and [handing] out invitations in City Hall to an anti-initiative campaign fundraiser. Because I appreciate Mr. Feit's usually careful reporting, I am writing to correct these errors. In our conversation, I told Mr. Feit that I listened to some of the council meeting, and what I heard was not a use of city resources to oppose a ballot issue. The initiative in question was never named and the council member did not urge its defeat. In addition, Mr. Feit and I did not discuss an allegation that the council member distributed fundraiser invitations in City Hall. Thank you for your otherwise thoughtful and generally accurate reporting.
Carolyn M. Van Noy, Executive Director, Ethics and Elections Commission
JOSH FEIT RESPONDS: There was nothing "erroneous" in my article. I reported that City Council Member Heidi Wills used a council meeting to advocate against I-745. This is true. I also reported that Carol Van Noy, the excellent executive director of Seattle's Ethics and Election Commission (EEC), didn't have a problem with Wills' speech. Again, true. Finally, I reported that Wills invited her 11th-floor colleagues to an anti I-745 fundraiser, which didn't seem to raise any red flags with the EEC. True! True! True! What concerns Van Noy is that her office's stamp of approval could be taken the wrong way. Van Noy, for example, may have objected if Wills had actually used the words "I-745" at the council meeting and gone on to explicitly urge a campaign against the stupid initiative. But the subtle city council member never uttered the phrase during her sneak attack. Oh, that wily Wills.
EDITORS: As an artist who has spent a career painting landscape and urban landscape images, it pains me to see a writer make such sweeping and ultimately ill-considered generalizations as Emily Hall makes in her review of ConWorks' Imagined Landscapes exhibition ["Landscape Ho!" Nov 9]. Hall writes that she finds landscape painting to be "heavy-handed with nostalgia, a longing to be somewhere else," and opines that there is "rarely evidence of the kind of rigorous thinking that makes art exciting." Doesn't Hall realize that the history of landscape painting is broadly varied, supporting a full spectrum of heterogeneous views and methods? How can the concept of the painter working in the moment from that subject which is closest to hand be reconciled with Ms. Hall's nostalgic "longing to be somewhere else"? The landscape painters Hall mentions (Bierstadt, Moran, the Impressionists) represent two distinctly different ideologies within the landscape genre. Bierstadt and Moran were involved in the unprecedented project of claiming the wilderness as an object of aesthetic study. If Ms. Hall would like to exercise some rigorous thinking for a future review, I refer her to the third chapter of Eugene Hargrove's Foundations of Environmental Ethics (1989).
It is unfortunate that Hall cannot step out from the framework of currently accepted notions in order to see the truth of this. However, I am not one to stand idly by and watch someone else go blithely skipping down the path of error and delusion. I teach a summer landscape painting class, and I invite Ms. Hall to take the course as my guest. I guarantee that she will at least learn something about the nature of rigorous thinking.
William E. Elston, Seattle
"KATHLEEN WILSON: I know this is kind of odd, but I'm a frequent reader of The Stranger, have been for years, and to be perfectly honest, I normally despise everything you write. But I have to say, I was actually moved by "The Two Together Couldn't Ruin It," about Joseph Arthur [Sea Blue Music Quarterly, Nov 9]. Whether that was from personal experience or not, I don't know and don't really care; but, uh, it was good. I'll give you that. And I even went and bought the CD."
Anonymous, via voicemail