I'm writing in response to the article "Tagged Out" [April 15] by Ben Jacklet, which decried the one-year sentence imposed on tagger Max "Flare" Dornfeld, and was sympathetic to taggers in general. My question to Ben is, to what extent do you believe tagging or graffiti has a right to exist in our culture? Are there no areas out of bounds, no responsibility that must be placed on those that defile private and public property where [graffiti] is unwanted? You quote business owners who don't mind their walls being tagged--what about those who do? "Flare" was arrested after tagging a wall that he described as "just an ugly parking lot" that "looked way better with graffiti than with gray walls." That may be, depending on his artistic skill, but the pertinent question is, do the owners of the building feel the same way?

I'm not against the idea of graffiti--much of it I find to be a vibrant, visually exciting art form. The public walls on the Comet and RKCNDY were amazing, continuously changing canvases. Unfortunately most tagging is of the quick, inartistic, squiggly line-drawing variety, done with no real artistic vision. Who out there really thinks that our freeway signs should be covered with this crap and then have to be fixed on the public's dime? I do think it's appalling that there are no longer any free walls for graffiti artists to show their work. However, [graffiti] should not be imposed on those who don't want it.

My real beef is that Jacklet's article is written in the all-too-familiar vein of "oh, look at how the big, bad, business-driven Seattle police are oppressing the underground, unwanted, alternative-lifestyle taggers," and takes an almost thoroughly uncritical view of the taggers.

Kirk DeGrasse


In regards to Ben Jacklet's article "Tagged Out," Max Dornfeld's one-year jail sentence for tagging at first seems extreme. However, Dornfeld [was] described as "one of Seattle's most prolific taggers." While the specific tag Dornfeld was arrested for may seem "petty," the cumulative effect of his handiwork is far from it, not to mention the effect of hundreds of other taggers' "artistic contributions." Also, keep in mind that Dornfeld had a record and attempted to evade the police.In my opinion, tagging is not an art, it is a statement of disrespect toward property and community. If Dornfeld believes that an ugly parking lot with gray walls looks better when adorned with his signature, he should find a way to purchase his own property, and then he can do whatever he wants to it as long as it's not a nuisance. That's the whole idea of owning private property--it's yours to do what you want with it, and you should be able to protect it if you don't want it covered in messy scrawls.

The last thing I'm buying is Dornfeld's opinion that it's society's responsibility to provide for his welfare. The government's duties are to protect our safety, privacy, and property, but it's not the government's job to take care of everyone. That's where individual responsibility comes in. Maybe if thousands of dollars of tax money weren't required for graffiti cleanup, [the money] could be devoted to more worthwhile causes. Be creative, not destructive.

Kari Mueller


So the vandal--excuse me, graffiti artist--known as "Flare" thinks it's unfair to be sent to jail for causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage to other people's property. Well, boo fuckin' hoo. Maybe he'd prefer the following punishment: having each of his victims spray-paint THEIR tags on his car, and his favorite leather jacket, and his most expensive pair of Reeboks. Better yet, invite them to tattoo his goddamn forehead. Then see how he likes having to serve as an unwilling billboard for other people's "natural need to write on things."

Peter H.


Max "Flare" Dangerfield [sic], the tagged-by-the-cops graffiti tagger, should get life, not just a year. Graffiti sucks. It's urban trashing as an excuse for artists too cheap to buy paper. Max and his incognito wannabe ilk should get lives! Paint or draw on paper like an artiste or, hey, Flare, here's an idea--paint the inside of your fucking cell, you property-defacing wanker!
Hank "Flash" Matisse


TO THE EDITOR: Excuse me, but who died and left Wm. Steven Humphrey an authority on feminism [I Love TV, April 15]? In a particularly inane example of a column I rely on for inanity, Mr. Humphrey declares that feminists don't like camp humor. Say what? Just how, for fuck's sake, does W.S.H. define a feminist? Is a feminist some sort of tailor-made composite of attributes that Wm. doesn't appreciate? A cross between Nurse Ratchet, Andrea Dworkin, and a wire-hanger-wielding Mommie Dearest, perhaps? Tell Humphrey to get a clue! Most of his colleagues at The Stranger are feminists or, at the very least, write sympathetically about feminist issues.Since Humphrey's simple mind seems to gravitate toward stereotypes, let him try this on for size. As a feminist woman I have noticed that gay men come in two types: the kind I like, who love camp and love strong women--the stronger the better; and the second type (and for some odd reason the Hump springs to mind), who are habitual women-bashers, always eager to pump up their aging queens' egos by producing easy targets for feeble wits. Basically they are the gay equivalent of frat boys (only frat boys, to be fair, usually write better and have fewer pissy, hissy fits.)

Just in case Wm. hasn't gotten the point yet, I am a feminist, I love camp, and I would like nothing better right now than to shove my high-heeled feminist boot right up his sagging camp excuse for an ass.

Flavia DeMain

Editor's Note: Wm. Steven Humphrey is an avowed, confirmed, committed, slavering, slobbering breeder. Hump has sex with women, not men, and Hump prefers strong women--the stronger the better.


I was pleased to see that you are dropping the tedious charade that went by the name of Everett True. You didn't fool us for a moment. We knew the querulous Mr. True was not even a real person, let alone actually from England.
Julie McGalliard


TO THE EDITOR: In response to Ms. Shapiro's cartoon: Thank you so much for your support ["The Virtues of Fat," Samantha Shapiro & Lauren R. Weinstein, April 22]. As a man that has a hard time finding a woman of curves, it was refreshing to hear a young lady defend the shapely woman. You'd be surprised how many WOMEN (yes, WOMEN) tell me I like fat girls when I proclaim my lust for Betty Page, the Russ Meyer UltraVixens, and the Latina hotties that make my nuts swell in the Ricky Martin video. I'm nothing short of crucified for not wanting to mount the likes of Kate Moss and Winona Ryder. Doesn't anybody else think they look like little boys? I think any man that dreams of nailing waifs should immediately be picked up, tortured, and investigated for child molestation.My personal mission in the coming millennium will be to bring the Full-Grown Woman back to the forefront of male fantasy. Keep up the good work.

John Bender


TO THE EDITOR: Hooray to The Stranger for including the McKenna-Pavitt interview last week ["Sex, Drugs, Computers: Bruce Pavitt has a Terence McKenna Freak-Out," April 22]. To me, McKenna is one of the most important voices around, and it was exciting to see him recognized by the local "hip and groovy" rag. In the six years I have lived in Seattle and read The Stranger, this is the first article I've seen yet on psychedelics or any of its advocates.Surely some of you staffers are aware of the transformative power of these drugs, especially the ones found in plants and fungi. I wonder why there isn't more coverage of drug issues in your/our paper. There is a war on our freedom of consciousness that is truly Orwellian in scope and intent. We are infantilized in this way. I hope that The Stranger uses some of its power to [increase] awareness of these magical substances. For those who have not yet heard: If aliens were to land today on the White House lawn, it would be minor news compared to what can happen to you on five dried grams of psilocybin mushrooms in silent darkness. I'm not exaggerating.