Of Life and Limb
I feel the articles in Westword are always thought-provoking, but Kate Hawthorne's April 13 cover story, "Out on a Limb," was positively inspirational! My best wishes to those families. And to Westword I say, Keep up the good work! I don't know what we would do without you!
Pay As You Grow
Pardon me. Either I'm getting old or the paper is. I know it's still free, but good grief: When will this narcissistic community ever grow up?
The features are filled with negativity and anger, pseudo-Seventies antiestablishment paranoia of everything from DIA to AIDS. Generation X has appointed Roseanne as the high priestess of vulgarity for a bunch of baby-boomer wannabes. An obsessed preoccupation with rap, crap, boom, zoom and doom characterizes the new left. And always a political slant! (Enough inflammatory rhetoric about Amendment 2 as homophobia--I just believe in equality, not political special treatment.)
Crass materialism pollutes the pages with artificial beauty come-ons, tanning beds and exploitive matchmaking. Accumulate, emasculate, masturbate. We bad!
Try liking yourselves--there's a whole natural world out there where you can get a real tan! Get to know one another; try loving-kindness and courtesy. Get into the trees, rock, wind and sky! Slow down and live. How about something peaceful?
The Games Continue
I am writing this letter in response to Steve Jackson's article on Ric Games ("The End of the Line," April 6). Once I began reading, I never put it down until I finished it. I have never written a letter like this, but I enjoy Westword very much, and I am a devoted reader. The article had a very powerful impact. It woke up a consciousness inside of me about the AIDS epidemic.
I am a heterosexual female with little knowledge of what goes on in the gay community. Reading the article was a very sobering and eye-opening experience. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to better understand the trials in a homosexual's life before making a judgment without prior knowledge.
Despite Steve Jackson's account of Ric Games's revolving HIV- and STD-infected lifestyle, certain truths exist, and we must face them. Immoral Christian determination exploits homosexuals as convenient scapegoats for theist crimes. This is seen in the religious ignorance that has greatly exacerbated the dreadful toll of human life and social pain HIV/AIDS has exacted. Social pressure prevented American social agencies and medical research from acting decisively when HIV/AIDS first appeared in the United States.
In the early 1980s I heard a young Chris-tian male student at the University of Oregon rejoicing that "God" was resolving the homosexual problem "by wiping out sinners with AIDS." In the ignorant manner of theist zealots, he failed to realize that thousands of innocent women, children and men would similarly be victimized.
Theists refuse to face facts that negate their mythical fantasies. Science clearly shows there is a genetic basis for homosexual conduct. If scientists a century ago had been encouraged to investigate the subject of homosexuality from a realistic perspective rather than as a psychological aberration, society could have avoided much of the pain and ugliness the problem now elicits. If Christians knew their religious literature and history, they would have learned to be more tolerant and less judgmental.
As the mother of a 33-year-old gay son, Steve Jackson's "The End of the Line" filled my heart with understanding and compassion. I have observed my son's attempts to be "normal": trying to love a female in junior high ("getting it on with a chick," as he described it); being totally rejected by a father who preferred his older brother. Openly gay now, my son has enjoyed a monogamous relationship with a man ten years his senior for seven years. Thank you for publishing the article!
As a "conservative for choice" female, I have struggled with my reactions to homosexual behavior, always striving to be open-minded yet finding anything radical hard to agree with. Steve Jackson's article on Ric Games has only made my views of the homosexual community more negative. I'd have a hard time accepting heterosexual behavior that included such blatant promiscuity, but reading about Mr. Games and his lifestyle did nothing but reinforce my belief that AIDS is a disease you have to accept personal responsibility for.
I'm having a real hard time feeling sorry for these people who haphazardly test the boundaries of their immortality with behavior that is confirmed to cause AIDS--and then blame the disease on the "greed of the '80s" or the Reagan and Bush administrations. Get real! If only the innocent victims of cancer and heart disease, which are almost always randomly selected and not due to verified and well-publicized irresponsible behavior, could blame someone for their terminal disease! I just don't understand how an intelligent, rational individual could disagree with the facts. The HIV virus is spread and contracted through behavior that you are in control of. Take responsibility and quit blaming others!
The Cowardly Line
I would like to address a comment to your most frequent Letters correspondent, Mr. or Ms. Name Withheld on Request: You, sir and/or madam, are a coward.
If Worse Comes to Verse
Here's my letter concerning Robin Chotzinoff's "The Meter's Running," the March 23 story about Yellow Cab dispatcher John Wafer reading poetry over the cab radio:
If I Was Bukowski's Ghost
If I was Bukowski's ghost
I'd stroll into the dispatch office
and square off with that guy reading poetry over the cab radio.
Isn't it bad enough to have to scrounge the sleaziest parts of the city late nite to scrape enough dollars together for mere existence with nothing but a piece--
a shred--of hope that it won't be me getting greased tonight?
To shell out $80 a day (night)--at least--(keep the change, cabbie) to take home nickels and dimes--no guaranteed minimum wage--
thru the streets--swerve around the idiot geeks--dodge the fascist radar freeks to get to the address--no lights on, no answer at doorbell. Is this a set-up for robbery or murder? Eyes peeled--senses heightened, anticipating. Neither death nor cents.
Try for another one: vicious snarling roar--
lightning and thunder trigger finger anger octane millisecond boost--
"get the Robins Roost"
stumbling bumbling incoherent drunk: a bloated water balloon waiting to explode at both ends
"Hey--Bartender--You got this guy drunk as a skunk: he ain't goin to smell up my cab. You take him home yourself.
Yeah? Go right ahead and report me. FUCK YOU!" and a snappy middle finger salute and out the door.
And how many calls have I missed wasting my time on this garbage?
Then there's the poetic interlude: "hearts and flowers and tra-la-la."
"Love and turtle dove and Gosh! life is just one big happy carnival ride..."
Buddy, you better take off those rose-tinted glasses
before they become permanently embedded in your anal sphincter.
But then, maybe that's what you're begging for.
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"OK," I say--ploddingly stalkin'--tossin' a few jabs--"Now look--don't take this personal or nothin, kid, but you jerked me from my freshly dug grave for this innocuous drivel?
Like--you're doin' this for me?--Please--don't do me any more favors.
Consider that the kind of poetry a cab driver likes is SILENCE.
--SILENCE--Sweet Blessed Silence
Give their souls some rest, will ya?
Don't torture them with airwaves embedded with your thorns of inept rhymes that frustrate and disgust, that leave their nerves frazzled and wracked, and their bodies bloody and shredded by the end of their shift--
any more so than usual."
Greg Tannenbaum, driver #209