That buffed body
Boy, "Beauty and the beast" [8/10] certainly hit home with me! Some years back I started working out five days a week to build that buffed body that all gay men want. Gradually through time I'm now down to two or three days. Just like the author's ex-boyfriend, I realized I couldn't compete with the gym rats/steroid "queens" (I call them). If a person is to have a life or has other responsibilities, it's impossible to devote that time and effort (anyhow it's not effective for muscle building—the body needs rest). As a smaller guy I knew I could never attain that studly body of men taller than me. Body image is such an obsession among gay men (I live in LA! It's much worse here!!!), and I'm like the rest; I enjoy the sight of a muscular in-shape guy. But the reality for me is that I have to find a balance between mind and body, and try to stay in shape the best I can. Thanks for the article!
A nice bod
Hey David! Lighten up a little, will ya? Jeez—all this psychobabble about working out to compensate for who-knows-what-kind-of oppression ["Beauty and the beast" 8/10]! Did it ever occur to you that some guys just like being in shape? You might find the gym scene oppressive and a nice bod "useless," but please don't lump everybody (including your ex) who works out into your self-imposed bag of monsterism. Aside from the fact that strength conditioning and muscle building have been empirically demonstrated to be an excellent method for reducing stress and keeping healthy, what's wrong with wanting to look good? And please, spare us another complex—Adonis or otherwise. I see plenty of guys, gay and straight, who are out of shape and don't give a damn what they look like. In my opinion they are the ones suffering from apathy.
As an Olympia resident, I enthusiastically snatched up the latest Seattle Weekly after seeing the "The Ladyfest diaries: Reports from the Riot Grrrl reunion" teaser on the cover. So, imagine my disappointment when I found a one and a poop page "article" ["Where the ladies are," 8/10] on the event. The cop-out "journals" consisted of two reporters' limited takes on the festival. Instead of actually interviewing participants and festivalgoers, they just gave their brief, uninformed musings on the proceedings. Heaven forbid they actually do some real journalism and find out why the crowd roared for the "punk assault of Bratmobile," instead of snidely remarking that it "seems like a pretty bad case of the emperor's new clothes to this lady." And why, exactly, was interaction with other festivalgoers "cherished and unfortunately rare"? I worked downtown at the Spar that weekend, and had many insightful conversations from Ladyfesters from all over the world. I'm afraid that, even though she claims to "worry continually about doing this thing justice" in the last paragraph, Bethany and her co-"reporter" Laura failed miserably.
Also, I should point out that Time Magazine named Olympia THE hippest town in the west, not "one of" like you stated. As Seattle plunges further into the Tully's-EMP-dot-com-yuppie-corporate-abyss, Olympia quietly nurtures a truly independent music, art, and film scene. I only hope that this national exposure doesn't ruin the scene before it has barely begun.
Thank you, Laura and Bethany ["Where the ladies are," 8/10]! There are days when, walking to the Honey Bear to commune with my fellow white, politically correct, vegetarian neighbors, I think to myself, "What the fuck am I doing here?!" Those are days I daydream of moving someplace really cool, like Olympia, maybe, where the grrrls are, where truly great music gets made, where the community rocks in a serious way. It was absolutely lovely to be reminded that there is no real escape. There are annoying club rules everywhere, in spite of and because of the excellent art/music/accomplishments going on in any given community. We can't run away from the hipsters—they're everywhere; they're us. All we can do is attempt to clothe the emperor, as Bethany so aptly wrote. Thank you!
School the cops
It was great to read the article on the new All Ages Dance Ordinance written by James Bush ["City of 1,000 dances?" 8/10]. One of the main things I feel needs to be pointed out is how the police see dancing. To quote Lt. Neil Low of the Seattle Police Department, "I don't think there's going to be mentoring or role models there, there's going to be exploitation." This thinking reflects a very backwards view of youth events and of people who go out dancing or participating in music, and further punctuates a recently all-too-visible gap between the social views of our police (and city attorney) and the citizens of Seattle.
Believe it or not, very good people go out to dance, and some of these people are even good role models, not predators. The Music and Youth Task Force heard plenty of testimony from kids who have met very exemplary role models at all-ages music events, and heard how these role models helped them develop into very responsible and culturally evolved young adults. What we actually see at music events that allow all ages is a positive, nurturing environment. This is evident at Bumbershoot, Folklife, the Pier, and the many all-ages shows that have recently been happening at clubs like the Sit & Spin, Crocodile Cafe, Showbox, Graceland, and I-Spy.
It is also important to note that the Music and Youth Task Force was not in any way naive when it came to realizing that while most of the clubs and events that will be able to take place will be safe and run by responsible people, some will not be. That is why we crafted an ordinance that will give the police the power to regulate these dance clubs and shut them down if necessary. The police know this, but believe the ordinance is too specific, disallowing them the ability to shut down events that they personally do not think should be open, but are not in any violation of actual laws. It takes the subjectivity out of the law and makes the police into objective enforcers of law as opposed to regulators of culture, a role they are getting all too comfortable with.
It has also been amazing to me how the police and city attorney have completely and totally against city policy overstepped their roles and become involved in making policy, as opposed to enforcing or encoding it. Both seem to think they run the city and get to be prosecutor, judge, jury, and lawmaker. It is time put both back into their places and maybe get them enrolled in some remedial courses on culture, diversity, and constitutional law.
Nader, Geov, blood
Geov Parrish is so politically naive, it makes me want to spit up blood. To suggest that anyone should vote for Ralph Nader in the upcoming presidential race [Impolitics, 8/10] is to ignore the simple fact that Nader doesn't stand a chance of winning. Nor should he win. Now, I respect Nader immensely as a consumer advocate. But as a politician, he's pure amateur. I prefer my high-level pols to know what the hell they're doing in politics, and that savvy doesn't come from sitting outside the realms of power, looking in with a scowl. A vote for Nader is nothing but a spoiler vote for the abhorrent George W. Bush, who is barely more practiced in politics than the Green Party candidate.
I shall continue to champion Nader for his work on behalf of consumers. But when November rolls around, I shall be casting my vote enthusiastically for Al Gore. He's the only horse in this race with the knowledge to keep our present economy humming and the heart to work vigorously on behalf of all Americans, not just the wealthy white minority.
J. KINGSTON PIERCE
Rick Anderson's story "One cop's WTO" [8/10] should be included in your fiction review. Police Lt. Kennedy Condor's fantastic and unrealistic account of the evening makes for great reading. The only sad fact is that the City Council WTO review may actually feel it is a counterbalance to the reports of stories of protesters who were beaten and illegally held by the SPD. They were the ones who recently received an apology and thousands of dollars from the city. All Lt. Condor deserves is scorn and spite.
To start at the beginning of the story, do the SPD have any of the objects that were allegedly thrown at them? I have a container full of rubber bullets. That Lt. Condor was hit on the thigh by a tear gas canister really brings a tear to my eye. The ones that hit near me seemed not too problematic or hefty. Lighter than a baseball. Can't seem to get as much distance on them though. Unless you use a gun to fire them directly at people, which really is not sporting.
Then we find our adventurous Lt. Condor attempting to drive his SUV through the crowd. Smart move. Capitol Hill residents hate SUVs. They take up too much room when parking and the drivers are always on their cell phones. But even more so, they hate being run over by SUVs. The only thing worse than that is being run over by an SUV so the SPD can club, shoot, and gas your neighborhood. Of course no one threatened to "kill the cops." "Fuck the pigs" seems like a harmless understatement at the time. I've heard worse from old ladies looking for parking in Capitol Hill. If Lt. Condor doesn't want to be called a pig, maybe he shouldn't work for an organization that gives laurels to officers who shoot mentally impaired men and attacks protesters by unconstitutional means.
Kudos to the protester who was willing to lay down and stop Lt. Condor from harming more people. If Lt. Condor had hurt someone, it would be a different story. People tend to get violent when you threaten them with harm. People get angry when you take away their rights. And rightfully so.
That a Molotov cocktail was spotted by Lt. Condor is an outright lie. I kind of wonder if some protester had some spare potted plants to throw at you? Seems kind of an odd choice.
The tragedy today is that Lt. Condor's fantastic story will be loved by the law and order crowd downtown. Of course, it is tough for them to believe the huge imbalance in stories that have shown the SPD was out of control. But the overwhelming evidence is there. The fact that one officer has this fanciful story to tell should not let the SPD off the hook.
Suffice it to say, if some donut-eating pig drives an SUV into a crowd on Broadway and hurts his back while trying to pick up a patchouli-stinking hippy and isn't smart enough to throw the stun grenade before it goes off, he deserves a lot worse than he got. He should consider himself lucky.
On a side note, the 9th Court of Appeals ruled last year that the use of tear gas on peaceful protesters is unconstitutional. So most of the police actions during the WTO were unconstitutional.
On a strange note, somehow, Paul Schell is still mayor?
Mike McNamara's letter [Letters, 8/10] unfortunately gets the salient point wrong. The tone was not set by the police advance at 10:30, but at least an hour earlier when a dozen black-clad men ran from corner to corner overturning newspaper vending machines into the street. It was clear that they were probing the response to see what they could get away with. So the police were faced with an unlawful crowd (that's what the dis- in civil disobedience means) that was not going to "be gentle with our city." How far the crowd would go was anyone's guess at that point.
The protesters intentionally created a situation where civil rights had to be infringed. What a few hundred believed were their own civil rights infringed on the rights of tens of thousands of other citizens to work and shop downtown. (Not to mention those of the delegates to attend a legal, sanctioned event.) The police chose to restore rights along the lines of "the greatest good for the greatest number." THAT's what democracy looks like.
P.S. You get a point for objective journalism by printing Rick Anderson's "One cop's WTO" [8/10] recounting Lt. Condor's side of the story. But why bury it a week later in the "New Hunk" issue? Was someone sleeping in when the WTO issue deadline passed?
Interesting cover story diagnosing what went wrong during WTO [8/3]. But the irony of a mayor gassing his citizens for tussling with police officers and impeding freedom of movement while he himself was tussling with a police officer (Sheriff Reichert) and impeding his freedom of movement does perhaps make for too achingly easy a target. It might be equally instructive to point out a number of people who made good decisions and helped avert disaster on the streets of Seattle:
1) The City Council members who didn't go along with Nick Licata's idea for the city to house protesters, which would have added thousands of additional people to an already volatile mix. Protesters were not in short supply that week; it would have made as much sense as subsidizing public feeding of Canadian geese at Green Lake.
2) Brian Derdowski and his peacemaking efforts during the stand-off on Capitol Hill. Despite being voted out, and in his last days in office, it was Derdowski's finest hour. As tense as things were that night, it is not hyperbole to say he very possibly saved lives.
3) The protesters who courageously placed their bodies between vandals and property they were set on destroying. While police might have prevented property destruction, I personally didn't witness that. What I did see was unpaid, untrained, unarmed protesters single-handedly facing down masked groups of hooligans. This is one Seattleite grateful for their heroics.
Thirty years after the fact, the mere mention of Kent State still conjures up only one image. Eight months after WTO, it is sobering to realize how closely Seattle teetered on the brink of a disaster equally profound. We can feel fortunate there was a band of heroes who braked the runaway train that was known as WTO.
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