THE FACE OF THE FAIR
I wasn’t able to go the Oregon Country Fair this year, so on Saturday afternoon while making lunch I turned to KLCC to hear what was on the Mainstage. A guy was singing about leaving his girl behind. Hmmm.
I tuned in again on Sunday and finally got to hear some female voices singing with the male lead. Checking the schedule for the Mainstage for the entire fair weekend, every act was predominantly male. I found two bands with female singers. Granted, there are many female performers on other stages at the fair, but the Mainstage is kind of the “face” of the fair.
Two years ago at the midnight show on Saturday, the only female presenter spoke to protest the fact that there were no female performers on the schedule for the show. For the most part, she was ignored.
Every year, starry-eyed young women show up at fair for the first time. The way young people grow up feeling like they are represented by the culture is to see representations of themselves, their race, gender, orientation, etc. in leaders — whether it be a teacher, a rock star or a president.
There are hidden outcomes and accumulating costs to not hearing the stories of women in song in the limelight of the Oregon Country Fair.
Fair community: Please feel free to dispute any of my observations.
Suggestion for Mainstage 2018: MaMuse, two very gifted female musicians.
Lia Gladstone, McKenzie Bridge
Thank you Ingrid!! (EW 7/27, “Normalize the Breasts”) Finally a woman who can carry the beautiful weight on her chest and who has the courage to say “Breasts”! I too have breasts. Not boobs. So long I have hoped that someone would appear who could help turn the page on how women view themselves. We are natural and exquisite beings. Our bodies belong to each of us. There is nothing embarrassing or shameful about our sexuality or sensuality. It expresses certain dynamics about our natures and our personalities. We are as individual as stars. But we are sisters, related and expressed in our vast domain of Womanhood. Please, please if you still profess to having “boobs,” rethink your sense of who you really are. Camel toes included. Let’s be free of these ill-fitting concepts of our bodies.
I am not specifically a feminist. I am a female, and I believe the changes we want to express will occur first from woman to woman. It’s our decision.
Sue Gallego, Eugene
LOCAL GLOBAL MASS EXTINCTION
According to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in July, the planet is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event. Strikingly, the scientists who wrote the article call this a “biological annihilation.”
The destruction of the planet happens bit-by-bit. A new big-box store, a new housing development, a new farm. Day-by-day, the change seems slow. But over a decade, or a lifetime, the scale of the destruction is dramatic.
Here in the Willamette Valley, we can see this in action. Due to agriculture and development, less than one tenth of one percent of the native oak savannah remains. Many local species have been driven to the brink, including the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly and the threatened Kincaid’s lupine. Both species are barely hanging on. One of their few havens is the Willow Creek preserve in southwest Eugene.
The latest threat is a proposed housing development on Gimpl Hill Road (see “Sour Grapes,” EW 5/27), near where I live, that would destroy native habitat in favor of million-dollar trophy homes. There are many reasons this project is a mistake, including the lack of water in the neighborhood. Already, some wells run dry each summer.
But the most important reason is that contributing to “biological annihilation” for the sake of “sophisticated, secure gated country living” is wrong. The Lane County Board of Commissioners should do what is right — not what is profitable or easy. They should deny permits for this project.
Max Wilbert, Eugene
SELFISH PET OWNERS
I very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but I believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of “pet keeping” — i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as “pets” — never existed. The international pastime of domesticating animals has created an overpopulation crisis; as a result, millions of unwanted animals are destroyed every year as “surplus.”
This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. They are restricted to human homes, where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to.
Because domesticated animals retain many of their basic instincts and drives — but are not able to survive on their own in the wild — dogs, cats, or birds, whose strongest desire is to be free, must be confined to houses, yards, or cages for their own safety.
I do not oppose kind people who share their lives and homes with animal companions whom they love, treat well, and care for properly. What I want is for the population of dogs and cats to be reduced through spaying and neutering and for people to adopt animals (preferably two so that they can keep each other company when their human companions aren’t home) from pounds or animal shelters — never from pet stores or breeders — thereby reducing suffering in the world.
Curtis Taylor, Eugene
LOCAL SPRAY BAN ALIVE AND WELL
“Happening People” (7/20) featured local entrepreneur and environmental activist, Shawn Donnille. He was quoted as saying, “I was chief petitioner for a ballot initiative to ban aerial spraying that almost made the ballot. We’ll revisit it next year.”
The ban he is referring to was a statewide aerial spray ban that did not proceed through the qualification process. As a signature gatherer for Lane County’s Freedom from Aerial Herbicide Spraying Bill of Rights, I want to clarify that our initiative is a separate endeavor and is indeed, alive and well, targeting the May 2018 ballot. Check the website for more info: freedomfromaerialherbicides.org
Michelle Holman, Deadwood
A FAIR QUESTION
When we went to the Lane County Fair last week and last year we were shown where to park by elderly men on horseback with pistols and sheriff’s shirts and badges. Of all the life-and-death need and all the charities in Lane County, it’s inexplicable why the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse would be the beneficiary of the $5 parking fee at the fair.
Outside the crafts exhibit we encountered deputies looking much more like soldiers than police officers standing aside the sheriff’s 10-ton REVA armored personnel carrier with two machine gun turrets on top, a gift from the U.S. military to Lane County. It can withstand hand grenades and IEDs and has ten firing ports to protect and serve the people of Lane County. Families were posing for pictures in front of the Iraq War surplus urban tank and in the back of a sheriff’s patrol car.
We passed multiple vendors with banners and shirts celebrating machine guns with threatening messages. Poor Marilyn Monroe. Her ubiquitous smiling image was for sale Photoshopped with her holding pistols. A few feet away recruiters for the Marine Corps were talking to young fairgoers.
As we left, it was women on horseback — each with a revolver on her hip – who directed us towards the exit.
Stephen Dear, Elmira
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