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Everybody Should Obey The Same Rules of The Road (Except When They Feel Superior)

Posted 7/30/2008

I was very disappointed that Joe MacLeod's shortsighted, uninformed, and unfunny rant about cycling in Baltimore made the cut (Mr. Wrong, July 23). A brief experiment in cycling is a great opportunity for a journalist to highlight the problems with cities that lack a bike-friendly culture, but I really feel last week's column fell short of any real journalism. First and foremost, bicycles share the same rules as cars, so don't expect us to move. Second, perpetuating the misconception that bikes should move for cars is dangerous and reckless. Finally, I agree that many cyclists (myself included) run red lights, breeze through stop signs, and take short cuts down one-way streets, but this is all at the rider's own risk. I say we cyclists deserve these little perks. Do you know why? I'll put it in Joe MacLeod's language: Please, please, pleasepleasepleaseplease stop polluting my air, really, get off your fat, lazy American ass whose dependence on fossil fuels is destroying the planet and killing innocent people. You, sir, are the one who's fucking it up for everyone.

Anne Phillips

Racist Letters

I would like to prelude my response to William H. Stokes ("Leo Redux," The Mail, July 16) with a definition:

Racist: a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others.

I didn't find any humor in Leo Williams' racist rant published in The Mail (June 25), Mr. Stokes. How dare you acquiesce to such! Do you find being a racist amusing? In addition, ageist: in reference to my response . . . how about switching that word to "aegis," which is more befitting.

Your luxuriant choices (one of my favorites being germane, sounded more tacky than gracious, however) is only the veil with which you mask your unbridled lust for hatred, even when eclipsed with your contemporary (I would assume), Mr. Williams.

Your first musky besmirchment: "It is certain that all of the elders (a class of people who were formerly revered) are not as calcified in their thinking as Mr. Farmer and Mr. Wilkins would have us believe." Stokes, might I ask if this is a silent allusion to infer that many (or most) of "the elders" of this country are racists like you? And view racist rhetoric as satire?

A racist is and will always be a racist unless they change. Racists are young, and in this case, they are old. They are black, they are white. A racist such as yourself may say that blacks are supporting Sen. Barack Obama because he is one of "their own race," but I would submit that as an American (and as a black American as well), I am supporting Sen. Obama because he is the most qualified, talented, integral, and concerned candidate.

That despondent question, "Can a degree from Harvard overcome the color or Mr. Barack Obama's skin?" really floored me. Then, your evocative turnabout into that white-supremacist little curtsy, "It is disingenuous to claim, as Mr. Farmer does, that being 50 percent white is anything other than being black. This is, after all, America," simply added insult to injury. I am not ashamed of being black, but clearly being black is something that you have alluded to as somewhat lesser, in my survey of your tone.

We are supporting Sen. Obama so that here in America, a great place where hope is living, even you, Stokes, may break bread at the table of brotherhood. Let me ask this: Did Sen. Obama hurt you as a child? You sound bitter. Your response is blank, where is your solution dynamic? Please find something reasonable to observe and object to. In fact, why don't you read Sen. Obama's Plan for America to fuel your aristocratic outrage. Please "observe" the black candidate's "policy flaws" and stop being a bloody white-supremacist douchebag.

Hatred and intolerance are impossible to be elucidated, to the eyes of the willfully blind. Just as I said in my last response, "time and new babies born; [people like you, Williams (Stokes), will never change]." Grow up or drop dead. Obama '08.

Billy Wilkins

Sorry, Barack Obama, you were going to get my vote until I read the future of politics, and his name is Blaine Taylor of Towson ("Palestine's Monster," The Mail, July 16). Blaine, baby, you are my man!

I love your fresh approach of blaming Israel for everything bad that has happened in the world. You are absolutely correct that it was Israel's fault Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Why aren't our kids taught this in our schools? And yes, I remember the Arab oil embargo of 1973 as if it were yesterday. I would constantly mutter to anyone who would listen, "Damn Israel! This is their fault the Arabs won't give us gasoline for our Fords and Chevys!" I was so mad that one time I even kicked my lawn mower.

But Blaine, you forgot some very important facts yourself. While it is true that it was entirely Israel's fault for the destruction of the World Trade Center and that thousands of Jews stayed home from work that day because they knew it was going to happen, Israel is also to blame for:

· the deaths of Yitzhak Rabin, Perry Como, Martin Luther King Jr., Anna Nicole Smith, and Anakin Skywalker;

· the development of gefilte fish sold in jars;

· Harry Truman playing the piano in the White House and singing songs written by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Chaim Yankel;

· Larry, Curly, Shemp, Moe, Chico, Harpo, Gummo, Groucho, Zeppo, Bugsy, Meyer, Knadles, Moey Dimples, Pittsburgh Phil, and Kid Twist; and

· turning a teenaged Elvis Presley into a Shabbos Goy for his Jewish neighbors.

I hope that other voters will realize that it is Blaine Taylor who has the facts straight and will agree with him that "like Br'er Rabbit, we-the majority non-Jewish Americans-are well and truly stuck with this infamous tar baby."

One last thing: When you pose for your campaign poster, please remember to take off that sheet. You'll look a lot better. Ciao!

Steve Liebowitz
Owings Mills

Not Jesse's Girl

All right, Vince Williams, you're determined I find a redeeming quality in Jesse "Pampers" Jackson (Social Studies, July 16), so here it is. My brother was a debate champion at East St. Louis High School. His great moment was coming home telling us how it felt to sit on a stage with Jesse "I Am Somebody" Jackson in a city of despair. But Jesse needs to realize Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson Jr. exist for a reason-"to give the young and hopeless hope!"

I wasn't surprised that Jesse, a seasoned camera whore, "supposedly" forgot the mic was hot. I'm glad his true feelings came out. I'm proud Jesse Jr. let us know he loves his dad but politically he has diarrhea of the mouth!

Thanks, Vince, and all the political black leaders, for trying to save Jesse's reputation, but that died with his mistress. He needs to retire and pass the torch while he has some dignity left.

Sharon Wright

Critique Erotique

Like it or not, erotica has become the new safety valve for those who wish to render serious political art useless. Oh, there was a time when the right wing got their sexually repressed heads in a dither over things like Robert Mapplethorpe and the National Endowment for the Arts funding erotica. But that passed. The erotica-arts crowd got their little chump change and they didn't make any more trouble for the bourgeoisie. Yesterday's pariah is today's messiah. And just like the Rockefeller-funded abstract-art movement and the big-money folks funding the gangsta-rap movement, those in the know are giving special attention to the erotica-arts crowd.

If you think I'm wrong, answer these questions. How many erotica artists do you know who are vocal in speaking out against any form of injustice now that they aren't being censored?

Political artists, writers, musicians, etc. have defended them and will continue to defend them against all forms of censorship. However, will the erotica clique speak out when other people's rights are trampled on? While the Bush administration is bombing Iraq, where was the erotica clique. Can any erotica clique member say he or she stood with Mumia Abu-Jamal?

And why does City Paper promote erotica over political art? Recently, several members of the erotica clique had a festival in Baltimore. City Paper not only gave this public act of recorded masturbation pick of the week with a big box in its calendar, but it also printed an article/infomercial about it ("Edge Play," Arts & Entertainment, July 16). Gimmie Shelter Productions has been doing benefits for homeless shelters and other causes for years. We seldom get a box in the calendar. The week Gimmie Shelter did a benefit for a freshwater well project in Africa, City Paper chose to give special attention to a seminar on how to give your partner head. What does that say? Head jobs are more important than Africans dying of thirst. This outrage must stop!

Alan Barysh
President, Gimmie Shelter Productions

Corrections: Last week's piece on academic, author, and former Baltimore police office Peter Moskos ("Life on the Streets?," Arts & Entertainment, July 23) contained several mistakes. Moskos was an officer in the Eastern District from 2000 to 2001, not 1999 as stated in the article. That means that it has been seven years since he was an officer, not nine, as reported in the story. In addition, he was 28 years old when he was hired, not 24. City Paper regrets the errors.

Editor's note: In addition to our Best of Baltimore readers poll, which is up and running on page 33, we are now soliciting submissions for our seventh annual Comics Contest. The winning Maryland-based artist, as determined by City Paper's panel of judges, gets a year's run of his or her strip in the paper. Go to for contest rules; the deadline to mail submissions is Friday, Aug. 29.

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