By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
LETTER OF THE WEEK
In his article "We Are Not OK" [The Queer Issue, June 22-28], Patrick Moore refers to gay men as "the most hated minority" in the country. Huh? To whom exactly is Moore referring? White, middle-class gay men? Gay men of color? Poor gay men? Disabled gay men or Log Cabin Republicans? To assume that all gay men are persecuted solely on the basis of their sexuality ignores the presence of multiple, intersecting oppressions in many gay men's lives. If you are poor, brown, and positive, is it really fair to assume it is only your gayness that makes you hated? It is irresponsible to claim that any "minority" is the most hated; ranking oppressions is counterproductive in fighting for the interests of all queer peopleof all people.
"L is for 'Living it up' "
I just wanted to give a rousing thank-you to Laura Conaway for her article about The L Word [" 'L' Is for 'Look Out, World,' " The Queer Issue, June 22-28]. Despite the show's flaws, it has also made me feel better about myself, better than any compliment or any dyke march ever could. Watching it has helped heal the socially generated, then internalized, "I'm a lesbian because I can't get a guy" with "I'm a lesbian because women are hot, and that includes me." It has put a jaunt in my walk and a sparkle in my eye, and for that I will always be grateful.
Wanted: Queer Cosby
Patrick Moore's article on crystal meth and HIV ["We Are Not OK," The Queer Issue, June 22-28] is an embarrassment to all people, gay or straight, who take responsibility for the choices they make. There are plenty of injustices that the mainstream has perpetrated against the homosexual community. However, I do not see how one can blame society for not inculcating the gay community with healthy attitudes toward sex, drugs, and disease. By all means, wave the banner for gay civil rights, but isn't there a gay Bill Cosby out there somewhere with the courage to chastise the gay community for the culture that produces the problems Moore rages against? Also, I am not sure that the now common euphemism "seroconversion" is helpful in conveying the gravity of the choices one makes with regard to sexual health. Is "HIV infection" so terribly inaccurate?
Method to madness
Moore's personal experience of crystal meth has informed his views. He is hard on himself and others who take the drug because, working in a rehabilitation center, he sees only those who are ruined by it. He is an example of someone who gained insight about himself from his own sojourn with crystal meth and other drugs. There must be countless others like him, who have used the drug to know themselves better. He is in fact his own testimony that not everyone is badly off afterward. Many may move on treasuring the great sexual highs they have gotten with the drugs. We gays must not get into victim mode. No one made us do the things we do. We do them because. . . . And there are as many reasons as there are gay men, with "we like it" running silently through all of them.
Like whiteboy for chocolate
James Hannaham's piece on "How to Date a Whiteboy" had me gasping for air (in a good way) [The Queer Issue, June 22-28]. Although I'm not gay, I am a black woman, and in the past, when considering said whiteboys, I definitely used Hannaham's criteria. Please don't try to holla just because you've been up late nights watching BET Uncut or because you'd like to add a "chocolate dream" to your bedroom collection.
Re The Queer Issue [June 22-28]: I'm a queer in a partnership for going on 30 years and now in a pareja, partnership, here in Spain, solely for death-duty reasons. I would sooner blow my brains out than "marry" my partner; why ape dim breeders when queer offers the chance of finding new ways of loving and living together?
I too was in New York for the Stonewall anniversary, and went on the ACT UP march from the Village in hopes of getting arrested. All I got was frozen out by people with whom I thought I might have similar political and social interests. The tone of your "queer" issue suggests that even for this English fairy you really ought to take a long hard look in the mirror. It's almost as though the Stonewall Inn riots never really happened.
Warp speed ahead!
Are you kidding me? The advice from readers for 15-year-old gays in Dan Savage's column were jokes, right? [Savage Love, June 22-28]. "Be hot" is good advice to give a kid? "Just look at Ashton Kutcher." I continued to laugh and gag simultaneously. Who in their right mind encourages teens to experiment with bondage and kink? That is downright warped. Possibly appropriate for the 18-to-21 set, but 15? Get real!
In his review of Trace Adkins's new album, Songs About Me [Consumer Guide, June 22-28], why does Robert Christgau focus so much on Adkins's physical appearance? He all but calls him a caveman in referring to his physique and voice, when in actuality, Adkins is college educated and a savvy businessman, a gentleman. He chooses music that fits his style and the life he's led.
Southwest Ranches, Florida
I take issue with Robert Christgau's comments. I saw Trace Adkins last week at the Atlanta Midtown Music Festival. While he looks quite fit, he certainly doesn't look like the Hulk with a cowboy hat and a ponytail. Indeed, the man tours all the time and works his butt off.
Christgau's characterization of Adkins as a "calculated corporate creation" is so much bunk. The rationale appears to be that because Adkins didn't write the songs on the CD, he is a figment of marketing magic. Adkins is not a prolific songwriter; he is a pretty fair guitar player. However, his gift is a baritone voice with an incredible range that can vibrate floorboards and turn cream into butter. His voice is his instrument. Historically, there have been many talented singers who mastered their instrument and moved their audiences. Would Christgau conclude that Luciano Pavarotti is a "calculated corporate creation" because he never wrote an opera? Surely, a great voice is equal to a great song.
I actually took offense at one of Christgau's points. Songs About Me contains a song called "Arlington" about Patrick Nixon, who was the first soldier from Tennessee lost in Iraq. It is a deeply moving track, which Adkins nails. However, Christgau insinuates that because Adkins had a DUI several years ago, he shouldn't have been trusted with this song. That logic fails me.
Wrangling about Rangel
I tore through theVoice anxious to read Nat Hentoff's article "Castro's Black Prisoner" [June 15-21]. Castro targeting blacks?, I thought. I had no idea that racism ran so deep in Cuba. I was quite upset to find it was in fact a profile of a black dissident, written to take a jab at Charles Rangel. Either Hentoff thinks Rangel is so stupid that it would take a black prisoner to awaken him to the realities of the Castro regime or he thinks Rangel would care more for a black Cuban. Of course it's just rhetoric, but I expected more.
Hentoff then chastises Charles Barron for calling Castro a champion of human rights. I don't disagree with Hentoff, but why mention that he "feted Zimbabwe's brutal dictator, Robert Mugabe"? Is this to establish the character of the man? Should I have to mention that Hentoff supported the Iraq war on humanitarian grounds?
Nat Hentoff replies: Racism is a daily fact of life in Cuba, but my other reason was that Dr. Biscet, a disciple of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, was clearly not intending to effect regime change in Cuba by violence. As for Charles Barron and the ruthless Mugabe, my point was to illuminate Barron's expertise on human rights. With regard to my own character, the mass graves and torture chambersnot weapons of mass destructioncaused my support of the war, since hardly any other country but us gave a damn, as is also now again the case in Darfur, Zimbabwe, and the United States.
Not Eno' explanation
Chuck Eddy replies: Metal for Airports.