EDITOR: There are a lot of us in the literary community who won't be voting for Grant Cogswell, candidate for Seattle City Council. It won't be because of his monotonal monorail campaign; nor because he's a pissed-off white male sniping at the only African American on the council. It'll be because of the arrogant, snide, ad hominem attacks on the Slam poetry community he made last year when writing in--of all places--The Stranger's Readings Calendar.
The Seattle Slam, an impoverished little arts nonprofit, found themselves being trashed in one of the few free places they could announce their poetry shows.
His inappropriately placed remarks showed him to be mean and chickenshit; and you let him get away with it. Your unabashed support of his candidacy, even while his name still appears on your list of contributors, gives me little hope of seeing this in print. But make no mistake: We haven't forgotten Cogswell, nor this example of his elaborate adolescence and temperament suited more for high-school hell week than the consensus-building give-and-take needed as an elected member of a governing body.
Michael Hood, Ballard
NO WAR IS A WORTHWHILE GOAL
EDITORS: I agree with Bradley Steinbacher's advice that peace protesters need to give the press a clearer message, especially on alternatives to war. ["Peace Protest," Oct 11.] Either he's not the one getting the press releases the Seattle 911 Peace Coalition sends to The Stranger, or the releases haven't had the answers he's looking for. Yes, the question "What should we do, if not bomb?" deserves a longer answer than a chant. Chants work better to let people know that we're there than to explain why. We know we need better leaflets to hand out to onlookers once we've gotten their attention. We've had a few speakers who gave parts of the answer, but Mr. Steinbacher may have missed those events.
If he really wants to help, he should look at www.scn.org/911peace, and talk to the media committee. Many of the issues now faced by both the Left and the peace movement (e.g., foreign policy driven by big oil) are the same ones we've been facing for years. If he's got ideas for new ways to address these old issues, we'd welcome his input.
Frank Zucker, via e-mail
MEDIA RIDICULE OF THE LEFT
EDITORS: Bradley Steinbacher tries to say that "peace protests" are a failure because they do not offer in a "clear, concise manner" an alternative to war, and that protests somehow embarrass him, that they are "laughable."
Without leaving the comfort of our own high-school educations, the list of writers and activists who have presented clear and concise, articulate and true criticism of (and alternatives to) war is unreadably long. Think of Shakespeare, Martin Luther King Jr., Emily Dickinson, Gandhi, Emerson, Thoreau. Think of the mothers of the disappeared, Dorothy Day, and Mother Jones. Think of Calvin and Hobbes. Think of Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed. Think of the Sermon on the Mount. To ask for such from a street protest both willfully obscures the point of protest and woefully ignores the only source that provides such. Profound thought, be it object material or ideal, is always the work of one person. And the tradition of such work is long and noble and anywhere to be found. War is a crime against all involved, and all are involved.
Regarding the media representation of protesters--it is so well documented as to be trite to say that media do their very best to ridicule any who challenge the status quo. Standing alone in repressive times is always an act of courage. Would you prefer that no one raise a voice against the blind nationalism of the day? "Shame on the protesters," Mr. Steinbacher reports overhearing, as if an indictment handed down by those rushing to patriotically buy is an indictment that carries any weight whatsoever.
Monte Merrick, via e-mail
THERE ARE A NUMBER of MEDIA-SAVVY LEFTISTS
DEAR STRANGER: Bradley Steinbacher makes several good points in his article "Peace Protest." However, he fails to mention that the "Left" doesn't have access to major media outlets--these are all controlled by conservative corporations that are glad to read verbatim the press releases handed to them by the State Department. There are plenty of "media-savvy leftists" out there (Chomsky and Sontag are a couple) but you won't see them getting a lot of air time--certainly not on a major network during prime time. For every one appearance of Chomsky in the media, you'll get a thousand of our president or his pundits saying "Kill the evil ones." Anything intelligent said by the opposition in response will be lost in the maelstrom of empty phrases, propaganda, and sound bites.
Cliff Hare, via e-mail
RED-LIGHT RUNNERS: A VIABLE THREAT
PAT KEARNEY: You ask, "How many people are running red lights?" ["Red-Light Districts," Oct 18.] As a full-time pedestrian, I am fully qualified to answer that. A lot of people are running red lights.
Virtually every time I'm at an intersection waiting for the "walk" light, at least one arrogant, selfish motorist runs the traffic light as it turns red. It is precisely these assholes who will be receiving tickets in the mail when the cameras are in place.
Motorists think of their cars as a constitutional right, and regard traffic laws as an annoyance to be flouted at will. It's high time to crack down on all traffic scofflaws. Cheers to the cameras, the impound law, and anything else that reminds drivers that the law of the land really does apply to them.
Walter D. Smith, via e-mail
EDITORS: I'm writing in regards to your article about the constitutional rights of exotic dancers ["Unconstitutionally Broad," Amy Jenniges, Oct 11]. I myself am an exotic dancer, working at the Déjà Vu downtown as well as studying as an undergraduate in Political Science at the UW and paying my way through school. It just bothers me to no end that every time I go into work, there is a possibility that I could be dragged off by any random vice cop dressed in normal clothes, given a paper suit, and driven off to jail in a paddy wagon. Yet only in the Seattle city limits. Over at the Lake City Way Déjà Vu, cops can only enter the building in uniform because they're in different city limits. To think that I pay my taxes like every other working individual in this town, just to have a bunch of cops use it to get dances and then bust me or any one of my fellow contractors is abominable, and is legal entrapment. I support increasing awareness about the fear and exploitation (by the SPD) imposed on women who choose to dance and engage in consensual entertainment, with no harm to either party. It's an infringement.
"Kitana," via e-mail
EDITORS: I want to take issue with Sean Nelson's review of "Lesbian Porn 101" [Stranger Suggests, Oct 18]. Frankly, as a bisexual woman, I found it offensive. First of all, it threatens to turn the atmosphere at that particular movie, which is part of the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, into a frat-boy extravaganza, which will likely mean that the people who the movie was made for--many of whom have already bought tickets--won't be able to enjoy it. Secondly, the review disparages lesbian movies and lesbian porn movies by stating that they're difficult to sit through. I watch gay and straight movies and gay and straight porn, and have consistently found lesbian movies to be of higher quality than mainstream straight movies, including porn. More importantly, a review by a writer who neither likes nor respects the genre that he is reviewing is useless. The porn industry caters to straight men. Men who want to get off watching two women together can go down to the local video store or local peep show and view entertainment that was designed for them. There is no need for them to conscript lesbian movies.
Anonymous, via e-mail
THE STRANGER: IGNORING OYSTERHEAD SINCE 1991
EDITORS: I don't know what's going on with The Stranger, but your announcement about the Oysterhead show on October 21 [Up & Coming, Oct 18] made no reference to the actual headlining act... OYSTERHEAD! Doesn't the headliner deserve a little ink also? Or is this yet another case of anti-Les Claypool bias from your music editor?
Oysterhead is important for the sheer fact that STEWART FREAKING COPELAND is behind the drum kit and touring for the first time in ages, and people really should know that this is a monumental event. Add to that a fantastic guitarist and one of the best four-string thumpers currently living, and you have a fantastic musical experience.