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Snark Attack

Posted 6/21/2006

I read with dismay Rahne Alexander’s "The Sanctity of Queer" article in City Paper’s June 14 Queer Issue--not because I am particularly saddened by her assertion that she’s not available to baby sit (although I think she’d be a fabulous sitter), but because she contributes, however inadvertently, to the very divisiveness in our community that causes her heartburn.

As a queer mom, I am not trying to keep up with the Joneses, or replicate the Cleaver family. I am certainly not trying to be straight, notwithstanding that I am frequently called "sir" and "Mr." when in the company of my lovely wife. What I am doing, and what millions of us are doing, is--wait for it--living my life. Life is a series of experiences. For the most part, we can decide which experiences we want to have. Not too long ago, many lesbians felt they needed to choose either having children in a heterosexual relationship or living a life with the ladies sans children. Because of the success of our civil rights movement (and please read "our" to broadly include the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ community), we can do, for the most part, what we want to do. No one in our community should expect all queers--or all straight folks for that matter--to want to have kids, or get married, or buy a house. But it is wrongheaded to begrudge those of us who make that choice, just as it would be wrong of me to begrudge someone’s choice to spend all their time clubbing and engaging in, um, what is it that the kids are calling it these days . . . polyamory?

At the same time, in making our choice to get married or have kids, we of the partnered, children-having, propertied ilk must not grow fat, dumb, and happy, or forgetful of the stark fact that much work remains to be done. Don’t assume that those of us who choose to have children do not prioritize the issues of concern to Rahne, or that the road we travel is paved with hugs and smiles. For example, it ain’t like the whole world is lining up to help us have kids. Notwithstanding Rahne’s halfhearted expressions of "support" for a woman’s right to choose, I don’t buy it. Her views, as expressed in the article, sound snarky, and they contribute to the fragmentation she worries about. Try to aim the snarkiness at more worthwhile targets.

Cathy Brennan

Cup of Cheer

Great column, keep up the good work (Mr. Wrong, June 14), and why aren’t you in there EVERY week? Who do I gotta talk to about that?

Andrew Garcia

Rerun Or Read?

If the readership of City Paper was as massive as the whole amount of television viewers, there would be little need for the comments of Vincent Williams (Social Studies, June 7). If more people expanded their minds by seeking out challenging literary sources, perhaps television would have to put out more than yet another "reality" show. I agree with Williams’ view that the only three shows deserving a chance to remain on the new CW network are Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, and All of Us.

I am a huge supporter and watcher of Girlfriends and have also become an enjoyer of All of Us. These shows go against the grain and seem to represent a different progeny of The Cosby Show and A Different World, two shows that showed what was possible for minority portrayal in television. I enjoy the smart writing and development of the characters on Girlfriends and All of Us. While Girlfriends bends and breaks stereotypes as well as informs lovers of women about women and their loves, All of Us shows the new orientation of family in the current world (especially in Western culture). Both shows have their kitschy moments, but sometimes one needs a laugh that causes a little guilt. I do wish that there were platforms for literary works that would be as powerful as television. Until that happens, I’ll have to settle for a few shows that are brave enough to be different. It may be unpopular, but there is hope for a beautiful society if it becomes safe to be unpopular.

Terrence Gooden

Butler on O’Malley

Thank you, City Paper, for your great political writers Brian Morton and Russ Smith. They have earned my "American Unique Characters Vote" for their serious perceptions of political issues of concern to middle-class white "moneyed" Americans. I give my highest regards to editor Lee Gardner for giving his writers space to say what they please, even if he disagrees with them.

Once again, Russ Smith has written another article that sandwiches white superiority between some truth and a lot of lies (Right Field, May 31).

As an Afrocentric feminist, I am a supporter of Mayor Martin O’Malley, and I plan to vote for him to defeat Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan. But O’Malley has made a serious mistake in getting rid of Jonathan Epstein, who was working hard to keep the primary campaign a "local political issue" instead of a race against Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

As I see it, Josh White is a conservative white Maryland Democratic Party "good ol’ white boy" hustler. Josh is interested in attracting conservative white Democrats to O’Malley’s campaign for governor. Many of the white conservative Democrats voted against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and embrace "keep it white" Ehrlich. That is the first visual sign of white flight from the Democratic Party in Maryland. Have no fear; these conservative Democrats are going to vote for Ehrlich again. Immigrants and poor blacks are creating fears of homegrown American terrorists in white conservative voters.

There are some serious "moneyed" black middle-class people supporting Duncan. They have no influence in communities where poor black people working for low wages in Baltimore City. Poor blacks know that the blacks who are supporting Duncan are looking out for their own individual economic deals with Duncan and other white business leaders.

Mayor O’Malley is a smart man who needs to show people in Baltimore City that he trusts his gut instincts and knows how to win elections. Polls can lie you to defeat. Only pressing the flesh in local communities will win you an election, and that might mean walking over some trash to reach voters in poor neighborhoods.

I am mad that O’Malley got rid of Jonathan Epstein. As former NBA star Mark Jackson says, "You can do better than that." Finish the race with the one who gave you the push to start the race. Fair is fair.

Larnell Custis Butler

Parke on Butler

If Larnell Custis Bultler’s primary requirement for Baltimore’s next mayor is that the individual be African-American and female, there are plenty of good alternatives to Sheila Dixon ("Mayor’s Race Fever--Catch It!" The Mail, May 31). Nearly 30,000 Baltimoreans voted for her opponent, anti-corruption activist Joan Floyd, in the last City Council president race, so I am sure I am not alone in feeling Ms. Dixon would not be our best choice for mayor. Ms. Butler seems oddly unfazed by Ms. Dixon’s long list of ethics problems, beginning as far as I know with the flap over her holding two government jobs at once and her shunning ethics commission advice to drop one. Following that were Open Meetings Act issues, a threat of bodily harm to a public access TV reporter, the scandals involving her sister Janice Dixon both as City Council employee and then as a principal of Utech (see Doug Donovan’s articles in The Sun for comprehensive coverage; note in particular Dixon’s untrue claims that she recused herself from voting on Utech issues as a Board of Estimates member). Top it all off with the current situation with her friend Dale Clark’s juicy, $500,000 no-bid contract slipped in under the radar screen.

Kathryn Parke

Correction: Due to errors in a city Housing Authority spreadsheet, the projected profit for Savannah Development’s Woodbury project was overstated in our recent story about the issue ("Objection Overruled," Mobtown Beat, May 31). The correct profit plus development fee projected for the company is $1,012,075.


Editor’s note: The winners of the national 2006 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies were announced recently, and City Paper won nods in three categories. Among papers with a circulation larger than 50,000, art director Joe MacLeod won 1st place in Editorial Layout for his work on "XXXXXXXL" (Aug. 10, 2005), contributing writer Vincent Williams’ column Social Studies won second place in the Column category, and (the fief of online editor Tim Hill) won third place in the Web Site category. Congratulations to one and all.

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