Letters from the week of March 15, 2001

Letters 

Letters from the week of March 15, 2001

Fair Game
The beating goes on: What utter self-righteous crap in the March 1 issue! First, Greg Hall gushes about a kid who plays football -- deliberate ritualized combat ("Tank Full"). Then the Pitch whines about the terrible, terrible NASCAR people and their discretion about injuries and accidents, and pretends to know something about crash barriers (Kansas City Strip). And then, Joe Miller writes a gushing article about boxing, where the object is to deliberately cause someone else physical harm ("Hard Knocks"). I know boxing is supposed to be "in" among pseudo-intelligencia back east, but really ... does Miller think they'd ever talk to hicks like him?

Watkins Glen and other road tracks have different types of safety walls and barriers because they're ROAD tracks, not banked ovals. It's a different kind of racing, and it requires a different kind of restraint. In high-oval races, when a car hits the wall, most of the energy is parallel to the surface, and a soft surface would actually "grab" the car and cause a harder impact.

I suspect the whining is probably because nobody reserved a press box with the Pitch's name on it. Sour grapes, boys?
Jonathan Hutchins
Kansas City, Missouri


Husker do: I'm glad to see that "Husker" is back doing what he does best, and he does make a good point about WHB 810 simultaneously "raising the bar" for taste while awarding dates with Hooters girls as prizes (Off the Couch, March 1).

But ... isn't this the same Greg Hall whose radio show always kicked off with a parody of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech; who assailed our ears and our taste with those "interviews" with "Tanner"; and who eventually did himself in with an even lamer and more tasteless Bill Grigsby parody? As an arbiter of airwave propriety, Hall is a bit suspect.
Name Withheld Upon Request
Kansas City, Missouri


Rear View
Sins and needles: Regarding Tony Moton's article "Crack Down" (March 1): These jerks will try to shut down anything that they think isn't conservative. How can so many close-minded fools live in the same area? They're always trying to close bars, nightclubs and now tattoo parlors.

They managed to rid the city of all-ages clubs. It's so nice to know that Kansas City is safe from ever existing in modern times.
Name Withheld Upon Request
Long Beach, California


Tootsie's Role
The het offensive: Regarding Deb Hipp's article, "Body Snatchers" (February 22): I know it must be terribly difficult for heterosexuals to understand why not all gay men and lesbians adequately appreciate their presence at gay bars. After all, many media sources tell hets that gays want nothing more than their acceptance. And what better gesture of acceptance -- or at least toleration -- than to frequent a gay bar?

However dirty or disgusting it might be, a gay bar is an oasis from the oppressive heterosexism that gay men and lesbians confront on a daily basis. Gross displays of heterosexuality in a gay bar constitute the supreme demonstration of straight privilege that many gay people resent. If the highway of public sexuality were truly a two-way street -- that is, if a gay couple could walk hand-in-hand into, say, the Granfalloon without fear of personal insult or injury -- then this point would be moot. Until that time comes, I only ask that if straight couples must party at gay bars that they not flaunt their sexuality. I don't mind heterosexuals as long as they don't act straight in public.
Randall Griffey
Kansas City, Missouri


Immoral majority: Imagine if I, a forty-ish, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant of straight sexual orientation, had written the following: "I am a straight man and have been a regular at Joe's Bar and Grill for ten years up until now. I am saddened to see the one place that straights have to go is turning into a meat market for homosexual couples and men wanting to fulfill their fantasies."

Aside from changing the sexual orientation and swapping (no pun intended) "Joe's" for "Tootsie's," the above text is taken from a lesbian letter writer in the Pitch's March 8 edition. Can you imagine the outrage at my intolerance? I would be labeled homophobic.

Aside from exposing the intolerance of some lesbians toward some straight men, bisexual women and lesbians who don't defend the lesbian orthodoxy, the story and subsequent letters have been instructive in the relative morality of different sexual groups. The lesbian letter writer clearly sees her lifestyle on a higher moral plane than the bi chicks cruising the lesbian bars for "tricks." Letter writer Jennifer Freely expresses the view that swinging sex is a part of a greater package that involves relationships and mutual respect. Finally, there are just those crass swingers, trolling Tootsie's for, in the words of the male letter writer, "a little pussy." It's the swinger's view of sex in the last case that has bamboozled the straight prudes -- and maybe even some gays and lesbians: There is no morality to it. And so when the teetotaling straight set looks at homosexuals -- or a dedicated lesbian looks at swingers? -- all they see are people craving sex all the time, with "their own kind." And of course, this view couldn't be farther from the truth.

On the other hand, the Pitch's "Diversions" ads might be fuel for an opposing viewpoint. But that's what I love about the Pitch: its ability to get really self-righteous about social justice issues while running pages of ads for strip clubs, dating services and people just looking to "share a little pussy."
Scott Zielsdorf
Overland Park


American Greetings
Hall of shame: Congratulations to C.J. Janovy and Allie Johnson for having the courage to publish the article exposing the horrible treatment inflicted upon the Duro bag workers in Mexico ("Greetings to Hallmark," February 22). These poor people are forced to take these low-paying jobs because there are no good jobs in the border towns.

The courage it took to risk going against Hallmark and Duro is most laudable, and I hope your sister publications across the country carry this article as well. This is what real journalism is all about! The people need to know!

It is a rare newspaper indeed that will even consider publishing any facet of this kind of controversy. Also, hats off to Judy Ancel and her people for having the courage to fight the battle for the underdogs south of the border!
Name Withheld Upon Request
Belton


Dirty Work
No assembly required: I recently moved from Missouri to the United Kingdom. I was surprised that the Pitch would condone such a condescending view of persons with developmental disabilities from persons who implement one of the most discriminatory practices that the State of Missouri allows -- piece-rate wages just for persons who happen to have a developmental disability (Allie Johnson's "The Factory Life," February 15).

Nowhere in this article were there lengthy interviews with people with developmental disabilities who are successfully employed in the community making a living wage. There were no interviews with community employers who employ persons with developmental disabilities at a living wage -- not at piece-rate wages!

Many persons with disabilities do not want to work or spend time in segregated, unfair, discriminatory and low-/no-paying situations. There are many reasons persons with developmental disabilities do not speak up against sheltered workshops and unfair work practices. The first reason is that many persons with developmental disabilities feel that they could lose their support (to which they are entitled) or be punished for speaking up against what others think is the "right" thing. Secondly, many have not been fairly or properly informed of their rights to employment and other basic human rights. Thirdly, there are very few people who are willing to put the effort and time to support and educate persons with developmental disabilities to be gainfully employed and to have a quality of life that they choose (not what others choose for them).

Until sheltered workshops and other "fake" employment, "day wasting" activities are disbanded into more meaningful opportunities, citizens with developmental disabilities in Missouri will continue to be discriminated against in the most extreme and undignified manner.
Molly Mattingly
Kent, England


GLAAD Tidings
The Norman conquest: In his review of the New Theatre Restaurant's production of Norman, Is That You? ("A Grim Fairy Tale," March 1), Steve Walker is incorrect in his assertion that Vito Russo, the founder of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, had trouble coming to terms with the portrayals in the 1976 filmed version of the play.

In The Celluloid Closet, Russo takes issue with the film's seeming need to portray gay male relationships in terms of a masculine/feminine separation. Referring to characters represented by writer George Schlatter in the film, such as "the black lover is butch, obviously the 'husband'; the white lover is nellie, obviously the 'wife.' Just like us, George!" Russo is offended by stereotypical portrayals coming from a text that seems to offer, at the beginning, "good intentions."

Walker goes on to qualify GLAAD as a "humorless and self-righteous organization." This is particularly mystifying because in the past, Walker has been a friend to GLAAD, giving us vital coverage on KCUR 89.3. To use his position as a critic for an ad hominem attack is unfair.

GLAAD seeks fair, accurate and inclusive portrayals in all news and entertainment media. This is a position with which Walker should be very familiar. As a journalist and a critic, this is a professional stance to which he should be committed.
Bill Belzer
Interim Regional Media Manager, GLAAD
Kansas City, Missouri


Take Note
Open Mike: There was something vaguely troubling about Bill O'Connor's assertion that I have "gone through the roof" trying to learn about upcoming activities at the Blue Room (Andrew Miller's Around Hear, March 1). Yes, in the past there have been some communication lapses between 18th and Vine and Jam Magazine, but things have been improving on that front, and I'm not sure the timing of O'Connor's hyperbole was entirely appropriate.

I'm also not sure about the Pitch's methods of reporting. At Jam, if an interview subject attributes something of a provocative nature to another individual, common sense (and curiosity) would probably lead us to talk to that person and get a confirmation rather than just going with it and hoping it's true. I mean, if O'Connor had said that I thought Survivor was a really cool TV show, would the Pitch have gone ahead and printed that too?
Mike Metheny
Editor, Jam Magazine
Kansas City, Missouri

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