HEY EMILY: Only in The Stranger could you possibly sing the praises of a recession with a straight face ["The Disappearing Rich People," Emily White, Dec 13]. I'd be curious how actual poor people feel about the situation. Aside from your friend "who's always broke" (did Daddy's check get lost in the mail?), I bet they'd say that they preferred having a steady job and making enough money to make ends meet. In any event, you can't get that story at the Elliott [Grand Hyatt hotel].

Today in the Seattle-metro area alone there are several thousand more unemployed people than there were two years ago. And these are not people with book deals who shop at thrift stores to be edgy, or people who ponder the state of Seattle's culture over lattés; these are people who live from paycheck to paycheck and who shop at thrift stores to save money. For every "For Rent" sign, there's a person or family who can no longer afford their home. The city, county, and state are all facing millions of dollars in budget shortfalls and are cutting programs in kind. And it's exactly at this point, clearly designated by Emily, her offbeat metaphors and keen observations about "rich people," where some on the left in Seattle lose all claim on the term LIBERAL.

I say, the more "poor people" and "furtive white boys" the better. If a recession's good, then lets bring on a full-blown depression. Just think of it: Armies of homeless, single mothers and their children in line at the soup kitchen, a building in "disrepair" on every corner! A panacea!

I hope I'm not the only one disgusted by the kind of shit you people are peddling. Time for a reality check: What's really important??

Ivan Wood, Fremont


EDITORS: Emily White said she has a friend who has always been broke [who] "likes the way the city feels now, full of 'For Rent' signs and furtive, broke white boys." Her friend feels at home because she is no longer "a poor person in a city full of rich people." This is precisely the attitude poor people have that will prevent them from becoming rich.

If some of these people can't even get past whining about the "Northwest" decor and "fusion" cuisine, their chance of getting out of the poor hole is very slim. But hey, Emily White probably thinks they should never have built the Elliott, and the money they used to revitalize downtown should have been better spent by just giving all zero-net-worth folks $1,000 each so they can blow it on Jack Daniel's and whatnot.

Shane Mora, via e-mail


EMILY WHITE: I enjoyed your article on that new box of shit downtown. I've hated that area for the last three years, and I am actually enjoying the promise of its demise. If you think it is ugly now, wait a couple years when it gets all dirty and mossy and they can't afford to clean all the beautiful materials they have used. That sky bridge is going to go from ugly to downright fugly. I remember when they were erecting the Elliott, on the corner of the hotel they put up a large sign that resembled a 'Do Not Disturb' doorknob sign from any hotel, except this sign said: "Shhh, please don't disturb. We are busy building a hotel of unparalleled luxury."

Good grief! I hate that hotel because of the pompous, self-absorbed nature of that sign. To imply that by walking past I could manage to disturb the construction of such an exclusive eyesore is so backwards. Anyhow, your article brings me some holiday cheer. I love that the bathroom fixtures are crooked and lack craftsmanship; typical of all "cardboard castles" out there.

A Seattleite named Elliott, via e-mail


EDITORS: Great article ["Trial by Media," Pat Kearney and Josh Feit, Dec 6]. I moved here from the East Coast in 1989, and was appalled at the local media's disregard for the rights of the accused. How can anyone get a fair trial when the news takes the side of the police and broadcasts the "story" to the masses? How can a lawyer find unbiased jurors for his client when this happens? Who wants to see the neighbors of the accused?

Give me the neighbors of the newly convicted any day. At least the convicted have had their day in court. Why show pictures of people who have not been indicted on any charges? Where is the protection of our judicial system? Where is our constitution?

Good writing, and I'm sure you can go on and on....

Tom Brown, via e-mail


EDITORS: Whether or not the media have convicted Gary Ridgway, I leave for others to decide. Then, too, I am a part of what your publication considers part of the convicting media. I would like to make one point. Gary Ridgway was arrested. Richard Jewell wasn't arrested. Gary Ridgway was charged. Richard Jewell wasn't. To compare the two instances is wrong.

Anonymous, via e-mail

Ace Backwards:


DEAR EDITOR: Does Ace Backwards really think he is fooling anyone other than Bess Gabrielle Lovejoy and himself ["Street Knowledge," Dec 6]? He is obviously just another wannabe writer who lacks the discipline to master the true craft of writing (be it fiction or nonfiction) and has latched onto a social hot button and scammed out the usual drivel.

His homelessness was clearly a choice. A developed culture can accommodate the truly homeless (those who don't have a choice), but because of people like Backwards and the others who are capable but unwilling to work, the number of homeless is too large to accommodate, and there is no adequate way to distinguish between the victims and the scammers. Hence the whole bunch of them are living on the streets.

Lovejoy says that Backwards "skewers and stereotypes." Well, the biggest stereotype of all is the precious but undisciplined wannabe artist desperate to scam his way into the public's attention, changing his name and doing whatever eccentric ploy it takes to get published. What does Backwards have to say about that stereotype? Backwards is no more of a writer than Tiny Tim was a musician.

Richard Askren, Seattle

Hey! You wrote about existentialism! You stole my idea!

DEAR DAN SAVAGE: 'Cause I love your mag, and I usta love you guys (as fellow comrades), I was shocked when I read Charles Mudede's "Here Comes Sartre Claus" [Holiday Music Guide, Dec 6] 'cause it is a watered-down, decaffeinated version of the red-hot article I sent you last WEEK! Called "USE YOUR Illusion/A Existentialist in the Making." 'Cause it was a graded paper at my school. I have witnesses. I am flattered, but you still couldn't fucking get it right, 'cause if any of the beautiful Billie Holiday songs are existentialist it would be "Strange Fruit," a poetic metaphor for the slow sleepy South with blood on its mouth.

So why don't you just print my stuff 'stead of just ripping me off. As Strom Thurman said: "My wife just reminded me that I did more for the blacks than anyone in the north or south..." and " I have forgotten more stuff than you'll ever know."

How's that for fucking existentialism? Now please read some real writing. 'Cause Mudede has written some great stuff, I have no patience for his pathetic stuff. (As Truman Capote said: "That's not writing, that's just typing.")

With what used to be love and respect,

Max, via e-mail

CHARLES MUDEDE RESPONDS: While I'm not beneath ripping off other people's work, I certainly did not rip off your term paper--I didn't even know your paper existed until you launched into these amazingly misguided accusations. Subsequently, I sought your paper out and read it.

As a professor at Pacific Lutheran University, I had the opportunity to mark many papers that, like your term paper, attempted to explain the philosophy of existentialism. And so I'm qualified to say that your paper deserves nothing more than a D. (The D is for effort.) Young man (I suspect you are about 16), the very fact that you call "Strange Fruit" existential, rather than a protest song, shows that you have no clue about what existentialism means. Even if I were to overlook the swarm of errors buzzing through your paper, I still could not offer you more than a D for these fuzzy formulations. Please keep away from philosophy and seriously consider a career in truck driving.