By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
A 'Voice' Valentine
I am in tears . . . and unsure of where to start. While skimming the February 13 issue of the Voice, the "Sex in the First Person" articles caught my eye. I started reading the excerpts expecting a few humorous Valentine's Day stories and maybe some stereotypical (forgive the term), mushy love poetry. Instead, what I found warmed my heart. Not only were these passionate, beautiful stories about this "crazy thing we call love," but love celebrated by allheterosexuals, homosexuals, Jews, Catholics, men, women, geeks, and poets. Indeed, we all love, to some degree. We should appreciate love for what it is, not for what it is supposed to be. I thank the Voice for opening my eyes. I will be forever changed.
I am a draconic soul within a human body who is concerned about the Otherkin article by Nick Mamatas ["Elven Like Me," February 20]. As a member of the Otherkin population, I am moved to say that although the article was well intended, it made overgeneralized statements, using the opinions of a few to represent the entire community. For example, Mamatas wrote, "The Otherkin are both a sign and portent of a widespread dissatisfaction with the modern world." I can safely say that not all of us are particularly dissatisfied with the modern world; though most of us do long for our true form, we are content with where we are for now and believe that we're here for a purpose.
Although some Otherkin may be, as Mamatas put it, "trying to get back Home," it is quite unfair to claim that all of us are. I believe that I am in this human form for a reason, perhaps to learn more about how humans live, or perhaps to try to promote peace between species. Or perhaps it was an accident.
One more thing: In the statement "elves are now what people once were," Mamatas classified only humans as people, while any sentient being (i.e., Otherkin) is a person. I'm sure he meant no harm by this, but if he means "human" he should say "human," and let Otherkin be people too.
Nick Mamatas replies: My comment doesn't mean that all, or even any, Otherkin wake up in the morning and announce, "My God, my alienation from the means of production stinks! I'd better be a pixie!" It means that identity is formed partially as a response to social pressures. What Otherkin believe Home to be is often part of this identity, and Home is often a notional state of being rather than a location. As for the distinction between "people" and "human," I'd need better evidence that elves and dragons actually exist before I suggest that there are lots of nonhuman people running about.
Dear Chief Justice Robert Christgau or whomever: What happened to the "reissues" list, always one of my favorite parts of Pazz & Jop, and a gold mine source for great gifts and guilty pleasures? Any chance of posting one as an addendum?
Robert Christgau replies: As I wrote in my Pazz & Jop essay, we canned the reissues category because it had"degenerated into a dick-size contest for well-promoted luxury boxes and tokens of retro hip, and expanded to 40 singles from 25."
After reading Marc Weisblott's article about Shaggy ["Like, Zoiks: The Shag Who Lied to Me," February 20], I would advise him to refrain in the future from analyzing an artist's lyrics unless he has an understanding of the relevant dialect and vernacular.
In criticizing Shaggy's popular dancehall rap "It Wasn't Me," Weisblott misquotes his lyrics! One key line"To be a true player, you have to know how to play/If she tells you that it's night, convince her that its day"was printed in Weisblott's review as "To be a true player you have to know how to play/If she say you're not convince her, say you're gay." If Weisblott had any familiarity with the dancehall scene, he would know Shaggy would never say that.
Another mangled lyric was printed as "Whenever you should see her make the gigolo flex/As funny as it be by you it's not that complex." Actually, the line is: "Tell her say it wasn't you a make the gigolo flex/A somebody else who favor you inna the complex" (meaning someone else who looks like you in the housing complex). Weisblott apparently finds Shaggy's narrative "convoluted" because he does not understand it.
The "Jewish Jordan Update" [Jockbeat, February 13] completely missed the incredible achievements of Tamir Goodman. How many Division I teams have a freshman starting at point guard? It is nearly unheard of, except among the most highly thought-of point guards in NCAA historyKenny Anderson, Omar Cook, and Stephon Marbury come to mind. Goodman has gone from a timid, uncomfortable rookie early in the season to a calm floor leader in recent weeks. His scoring and assists are up, and the team's record is a huge improvement over recent years. His presence is also felt in the stands, where Towson has experienced its biggest crowds in years.