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John McCain Is Just Another Rich White Man

Posted 8/20/2008

I do not doubt that there are times when Brian Morton and I are in a psychological zone of connected intellectual destiny or analysis. I agree that the twin souls of George W. Bush and John McCain will sink this country into a place where their wretched Americans of wealthy breed will destroy this democracy as we know it (Political Animal, Aug. 6).

Right now I am reading Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution and Made Us All Less Safe (and What You Need to Know to End the Madness) by Arianna Huffington. Ms. Huffington has written: "The right's orgy of greed, hubris and arrogance will go down as an era marked by the celebration of selfishness and naked brute force . . . though the era of the right has exhausted its historic course, collapsing in moral, political and economic bankruptcy, the transformation and co-opting of McCain shows the durability of the right and the lingering danger it poses."

As a black American and a supporter of Barack Obama, I do not believe John McCain to be talking to poor black folks. I get the feeling he does not need black votes to win an election. Ronald Reagan won without them.

I agree with "Atrios": McCain's campaign, "the stupid, it burns me."

As I see it, McCain's campaign of "fear" is working. Poor uneducated white folks do not want to lose the mental belief that "white is right" and "capitalism is a white man's proclamation of self-importance" regardless of lack of influential intelligence.

This country's folks need a laxative to clean our souls from the toxic darkness of right-wing bigoted Republicans. A change of prophetic awakening is planned and anointed.

Larnell Custis Butler
Baltimore

Chewing The Fat

So, Michelle Gienow is now a nutrition expert? She implies as much in her article about lard (Eat Me, Aug. 6), but such a conclusion would be grossly wrong, just as her claims are.

While she is entitled to eat as she likes, and she certainly is entitled to her opinions, she is not entitled to pass her opinion as fact without supporting evidence. As a supposed journalist, she's even more obligated than most to cite sources, but she cites no books, no journal articles, and no credentialed experts, other than her grandmother the pie baker. Apologies to Grandma and her pies, but I suspect she doesn't qualify as a credible nutrition expert.

The government lumped trans fats in with saturated fats? According to whom? The Weston A. Price Foundation, the experts at cherry-picking data? In fact, saturated fats were linked to heart disease before the widespread use of trans fats (prior to 1950s and '60s), generating the first recommendations to reduce saturated fats in 1957. Although Gienow implies lard induces positive changes in cholesterol ratios, she conveniently ignores lard's strong atherogenic potential--that is, the tendency to clog arteries not by cholesterol, but by clotting. Omission of inconvenient truths is not an indication of quality journalism.

Lard's composition is about equal parts (40-48 percent) saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Differences may be claimed by some sources, but most qualified sources report the proportions are within 3-8 percent of each other--hardly suitable to state "mostly."

In short, this lardy piece of "journalism" is nothing more than opinion and food preferences masqueraded as fact. Perhaps she was pushed by self-appointed guardians of "nourishing traditions," but this does not relieve her of her journalistic obligations.

Mark Rifkin
Baltimore

Ad-Versity

I'm a high school student who reads City Paper religiously every week, and I'm not writing on account of any issue with the content of the paper. It's great. However, there is something that really bothers me about City Paper: the American Apparel ads. I am so friggin' tired of these ads. When I pick up the paper, I make sure to fold it so I don't have to look at them. As a woman they're offensive to me, and as a person they're offensive. They're incredibly condescending toward the women they feature, and I'm fairly sure that I'm not the only person around here bothered by them. I always regarded CP as a progressive news source, which is why they're especially incongruent; it's truly upsetting that such a forward paper would feature these ads, which reek of objectification, so prominently.

In the feminist blogosphere, American Apparel is notorious, and for good reason. I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with being sexual, but these ads aren't just sexual--as I said before, they give off a feeling of objectification and make obvious the fact that the photographers, or artistic directors who came up with them, want to appeal to misogynist tendencies.

Anyhow, I hope you'll think about the fact that they make people (assuming it's not just me) uncomfortable. Isn't there some other company that's not gross and sexist and encouraging of harassment whom you could give that extensive advertising space to?

Hannah Marie Hanmer
Baltimore

This is an appeal, an earnest appeal, for City Paper to cease displaying tobacco advertisements in its pages. In several recent issues, I was concerned to see overt, full-page advertisements for American Spirit cigarettes. Baltimore's alternative weekly is available freely to anyone who chooses to pick one up around town; this is one of City Paper's best qualities. However, this also includes youth who may be checking out their next all-ages show, only to be subjected to these predatory advertisements of the tobacco industry. In short, there is no way to safeguard young adults from these messages while they are in the pages of a free publication.

A significant amount of research indicates that youth initiation, smoking patterns, and desire to quit are highly influenced by advertising images such as those found in City Paper. The hallmark Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 between a majority of the nation and the tobacco industry strongly curtailed, but did not eliminate, opportunities where the industry could target youth through media. The American Spirit and other tobacco-product advertisements running in City Paper are just the type of forum that the industry has shifted to in order to ensnare thousands of new youth smokers a day. American Spirit is simply another tool of that ensnarement. Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., the manufacturer of American Spirit, is owned by R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest tobacco company in the United States. Given its lacking track record for honesty and integrity to its consumers, any claims of "additive-free," etc., must be viewed with distrust.

City Paper has long been a strident mouthpiece for social-justice issues. That being said, loyal readers of your publication have looked to City Paper to take up the banner for those who have limited ability to vocalize and act upon the agents of their oppression, such as youth. The tobacco epidemic remains one of the most threatening social-justice issues of modern times, especially to our young people.

You can do better, City Paper; naturally the advertisements that are run are a product of the cash that is paid. I implore you to ask yourself, what is the cost of the price paid by the tobacco industry or its interests? Does there not remain an alternative source for that amount? By refusing their funds, you refuse to be another vehicle by which to addict the very readers of your publication. Langston Hughes once challenged us all regarding unachieved potential that is stunted by social and environment forces by questioning, "What happens to a dream deferred? . . . Maybe it just sags like a heavy load." While City Paper cannot bear the entire burden by eliminating this pervasive and corruptive tobacco-industry marketing, you all can certainly lighten that load.

Ryan Coffman
Baltimore

Editor's note: This week, we welcome Baltimore freelance writer and foodie Mary Zajac and her new column Free Range, which picks up restaurant-reviewing duties for the paper where Richard Gorelick's Omnivore left off.

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