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From the week of August 8, 2002

Kevin Merrell M.D., Ph.D.
Lutheran Hospital Emergency Department


Whine and Cheese Party

Independent thinking:Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Minor Irritants," in the July 18 issue:

I found the childish complaining of Allison Maynard and her ilk in third-party campaigning circles pathetic because they boast of their elitist educational backgrounds and the superiority of their political philosophies and platforms but continue to show they lack good old "Yankee Ingenuity," creativity and leadership. It does not take a rocket scientist to discover that these third-party candidates need to be taught the arts of salesmanship, public relations, publicity, public speaking and helping voters to succeed much better in their immediate personal lives. Even major-party candidates have complained how the press and the mass media have ignored or minimalized their candidacies.

As I see it, their biases and prejudices inhibit their political campaigns because it is most evident that true concern for others is reflected in the etiquette and high protocol that are massively lacking in our modern American society. Maynard and her buddies must understand what really is news and get in the groove and make their move.

Emzy Veazy III
Bisbee, Arizona


Deep Cover

Skin game:David Holthouse's "Skin Deep," in the July 25 issue, is hands-down, unequivocally, without a doubt, the all-time worst of Westword.

I look to Westword for information, inspiration, ideas, thought-provoking rhetoric, journalism that makes me laugh. Holthouse's descriptions of a skinhead "keg party" (I'm sorry, cases of Pabst) were like reading the diary of Hitler's secret admirer. I don't care that Jen 88 tirelessly raced around town to find a venue to push the obviously one-track, closed-minded, "I hate you...fuck you" racist agenda. I don't care that Jen 88 feels like she has to hide because of her racial ideology. Dig your hole deeper, baby. I don't care about the set list. I don't care about the lyrics. I don't care about skinheads sunning themselves; I thought they wanted to be "white."

What I do care about is a reporter who covers the night's events as though they were Ozzfest. Holthouse used his rhetorical savvy on the wrong subject. Reading this article gave me the sense of reading the Scene section of the Skinhead Post.

Listen, you can't just report the happenings of the skinhead hoedown without some mention of your take on civilized society. These are people who just arrived from a lynching, and Holthouse is taking their picture, interviewing them, writing about them as though they are "finally" getting a chance to let off steam. Holthouse writes about them as if they were just like us, just trying to have a good time.

Do not give us a story spewing racist propaganda. I think most of us know where skinheads sit. I thought Westword was the type of paper where skinheads would not get a voice.

Neil Goldstein
Denver

Can't we all get along? I was very impressed by David Holthouse's article; it was well-written and unbiased. Being half black and half white, I don't know if my attitude toward the subject is different than most. But I do not like to be called African-American. I am just American. I have never been to Africa, and I don't plan on going. I was surprised at the harassment that these skinheads received from the police. If that was to happen to an NAACP gathering, they would be held on charges and it would be on CNN; years from now, you would watch movies about their struggle on Showtime and HBO. But since they were white, all they got was a mention in a local paper. Since I am of two heritages, both of which I am proud of, I can see their desire to celebrate theirs. They weren't hurting anyone.

After reading Holthouse's article, I read up on skinheads -- or white nationalists, as they sometimes call themselves. It sounded exactly like every black pride article I'd ever read. How is that fair? Isn't it racist to persecute them for their pride? But then it dawned on me that the word "racism" doesn't apply to whites -- then it's counter-racism, which in itself is prejudicial against them. The more I read, the more I surmised that a hate crime against a straight white male has never been committed, because it is legally impossible. Why is that? In America, of all places, this amazes me. I have never said, "Kill whitey," because one side of my family hundreds of years ago might have been slaves; it was Africans selling prisoners to the Europeans in the first place that made them slaves. And I have never worried if the other half of my family owned slaves. I don't really care, because it doesn't affect me as much as what is happening now. And I think these people being prosecuted for their beliefs is as wrong, if not more so, than if we prosecuted Jewish people. Or my fellow African-Americans.

As much of a joke as it has become, why can't we all just get along -- or at least leave each other alone?

Jonathan
via the Internet

Balls one: I think David Holthouse did an excellent job of reporting on the event in a fairly unbiased manner -- something I would have a hard time doing.

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