TUNE FOR HATOON
Hatoon, they called me in New York today to tell me you were gone. Taken off the street, they said. I guess your stuffing and survivor instinct didn't protect you this time. How many hours, years, did we sit with each other by your cart by the Knight library steps and ruminate on the illusions and disturbances of life? Rather, mostly you talked and I listened, and I was content to. I was convinced, and still am, that you knew something of import that I didn't.
Bright red lipstick smudged on teeth and your bright watery eyes. And your daughter, the monologue always came back to the little girl who "was taken from you." Where are your children, Hatoon? Do they know that you don't live on the streets any longer? When I left Eugene, I gave you my bike and you called me your sister and said you loved me. And I said, I love you too, Hatoon. See you next time around.
So here I am reading the "Minding Your Body" section (2/17) of Eugene Weekly, and I'm thinking, hmm — I could get some raw milk, get a spray-on tan, a flu vaccination, or STICK A PIECE OF CHILLED PYREX UP MY ASS?!
Don't get me wrong. I don't get down on folks for doing their own thing. I may have a slew of friends who are into this, but I'm never gonna know about it. Despite their various sexual orientations and ethnic backgrounds, my friends all share at least two things: taste and self-restraint.
I love EW. I love the political coverage, the club listings, the whole thing — but this thing is given away free on the street. Some of us would like to have the option of choosing when to explain to our grandchildren about this shit. Down in L.A. the free weekly has all kinds of ads for bars featuring people with leather masks and gag-balls. Do we really want to head in that direction?
I'm willing to bet that anyone who wants a day-glo glass phallus has a pretty good idea where to get one, so what's the point? Shock the "squares"? Please — enough!
Paul Hobbs, Eugene
The heart of a nation is reflected in how its underprivileged are treated. I have watched American institutions distance themselves from the cries of the poor and I have wondered if justice would ever be pursued. Today, driving down Lincoln Street, I realized my own impoverishment.
Stopping at an intersection, here I set eyes on a man with very ugly features; this was the word that came to my mind. I gave furtive glances because I was really amazed at how ugly he seemed to me. Now he wasn't necessarily a street person. He wasn't asking for anything, but his clothes were tattered. Yet it was his features which seized me. Then, he caught my stare; and did he just give a wink? I turned my head.
I didn't even smile or return a nod of acknowledgment. Now time slowed and I realized that he had just caught more than my glance. In that moment, he caught my soul. As he slowly turned and shuffled down in the other direction, in my heart I screamed, "Turn around, give me another chance!" But this angel of my visitation had come and gone and left the poverty of my own soul exposed, unwilling to give away even a nod.
A short time later, I left my coffee on the table, untouched, as I drove back to that intersection, trying to seek redemption, to no avail. Who's the ugly one now?
David L Brendah, Eugene
For two weeks now I have read articles in EW disparaging "emo-rap" and "dictionary-rap" (music, 2/24) writing off the form as too esoteric and dissing the fans as uneducated in the hip-hop world and disrespectful of the roots. I feel this is a irresponsible and inaccurate generalization.
It sounds like the biggest knock against this new breed is that they are too complicated? Too experimental? Too Miles Davis-going-fusion or Bob Dylan-plugging-in? To dismiss Subtle's Kerouacian lyrics as "elitist, irreverent nonsense" makes me wonder how many other great bands have received similar comments from close-minded critics.
Speaking of elitist, I see the so-called "newbies" embracing their history a lot more than I see older hip hop heads embracing or even acknowledging the future of the music they claim to support.
Seems like most mainstream rappers are spending more time on their clothing lines than their music, and then there is Black Eyed Peas adding Mouseketeers to the group and changing lyrics for their record label.
To criticize Doseone for rapping about his penis is ironic when the next week Jay-Z is praised, he who penned countless odes, anthems and tributes to his little Z. The same Jay-Z who also raps (from "Lucky Me") "How can you fairly assess something from the outside looking in?" Or, maybe Doseone should follow his lead and collaborate with Linkin Park?
Abe Nielsen, Eugene
I have to admit that anyone who can say (2/24), "With all concern and compassion, I must say that Lois Wadsworth's reviews are a great cultural disservice to our community and are as obscene as those pornographic ads that run towards the back of the Weekly" with a straight face has managed a remarkable feat. Exactly what that feat is, though, I don't know. "Most Ludicrously Overblown Criticism," perhaps?
I agree with Lois Wadsworth maybe 50-60 percent of the time (and I thought she missed the boat, so to speak, completely in her dismissal of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou — an enjoyable, idiosyncratic movie, though hardly a work of genius). And I suspect I don't share many of her assumptions about what movies are or should be, but I have never once doubted her honesty and integrity. For the letter writer to put Ms. Wadsworth's work on a par with the women-for-hire ads in the classifieds shows an astonishing lack of perspective.
The letter-writer also needs to look up the meaning of "pornographic," a word which can't legitimately be used to describe those ads; and if she's worried about her own mind, or those of her children, being poisoned by such things, then for God's sake stop reading 'em. It's that simple.
Michael E. Stamm, Eugene
VOW OF TRUST
President Bush wants to break the promise of the Social Security Trust Fund. President Bush did not once mention "trust fund." For 22 years, the government has vowed to keep the promise Alan Greenspan and Ronald Reagan made to the American people: that if we paid more into the Social Security system than was needed, the surplus and its interest would be used to pay benefits when baby boomers retire. Bush and the Republicans do not think that promise needs to be kept.
Lee Lynch, Florence
NO SERVICE, NO PASS
Since LTD drivers are being forced into a strike, we have no need to purchase bus passes for March.
That will include employer group bus passes. Seems to me that group passes are an implied bargain between LTD and the employers — guaranteeing service for those employees. Am I wrong?
I am encouraging all members of our communities to stand on the sidewalks in support of our bus drivers starting March 7. A show of support in numbers will be a strong message. Thank you!
Christine Gherardi, Springfield
IN HER DEFENSE
It was with equal parts bemusement and confusion that I read Sabrina Siegel's (2/24) letter regarding Lois Wadsworth's film criticism. Maybe Siegel doesn't understand that the role of the critic isn't to agree with every individual interpretation of a film but merely to open a discussion.
However, the overheated concluding language ("Wadsworth's reviews are a great cultural disservice to our community and are as obscene as those pornographic ads that run towards the back of the Weekly") is downright ridiculous. Wadsworth is an excellent film critic who routinely illuminates films this community might otherwise ignore. And I'm quite certain, as a film critic, she would encourage everyone to form their own opinions after seeing even those films she doesn't particularly recommend.
I happened to like The Life Aquatic a great deal as well; but unlike Siegel, Wadsworth's review actually contributed to my own ongoing discussion of the film instead of somehow ruining it. And that, being the point of film criticism, is done with excellence by Lois Wadsworth. Keep it up.
Peter Alilunas, Eugene
The Dategirl column recently started in EW is the most mean-spirited, tactless advice I have ever read. For one thing, she insults every single person who the person writing in mentions. The only one she leaves unscathed is the person writing the question. She also spends about half of most of her columns talking about herself. At least the column doesn't take up much space.
Please get it out of your paper. I hope you get enough letters that find her as offensive and amaturish as I do. Or maybe someone with enough time on their hands could start a petition to get Dategirl removed. How do we get rid of her? I know we could just not read it but it really would be nice to have a good writer on dating do a weekly column. That's what makes it all the more sad to have her tarnishing the Weekly.
Max Weiss, Eugene
I wonder what would happen if a group of people would unite and stand up for themselves against an employer, and get fully paid medical insurance and a living wage. The group is ATU local 757, the union representing the workers of Lane Transit District. The employer is LTD. Do you think this might help other workers in the area? I do.
We are quick to say, "They are getting too much." Maybe we are not getting enough. Wouldn't it be better to lift ourselves up to a living wage and fully paid health insurance, than to drag them down. If we support the workers at LTD we can change a trend in America. If one group can win, then all workers win. LTD belongs to the people of Lane county, not Ken Hamm or Gerry Gaydos. The board of directors is appointed not elected. They do not have to respond to the people; they will keep their jobs no matter what they do to your transit system. If we all stick together, we will all win.
Vernon Bell, Springfield