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A Few Cross Words

Posted 12/17/2008

That is it! Enough! Every other week, it seems, there is something wrong with the crossword puzzle! Clues from last week's puzzle; missing clues; and this week, clues that don't match the puzzle grid! Is there someone in charge of editing the crossword, or do you just shove it in the back section five minutes before going to print?

Maybe this is a nerdy, insignificant thing to complain about. It doesn't have the "settin' feminism back" flair of complaining about the American Apparel ads, nor does it have the stark polarization between the pro-Mr. Wrong and the anti-Mr. Wrong factions. (I belong firmly in the latter camp, but that's another letter for another day.)

Despite my issue's lack of glitz and glam, can you please respond? Is there anyone who checks the crossword puzzle for errors, and if so, can they please start doing a better job?

Nikki Cimino

Editor Lee Gardner responds: We already apologized in this space last week for the Dec. 3 puzzle page snafu, but, once again, sorry about that. There is someone who checks for errors, and yes, do a better job he will.

The Butler Did It

You must print Larnell Custis Butler's letters to aggravate people. Surmising from her letters, she may want to consider taking my Quantitative Logic course.

In the Dec. 10 issue, she states that she's a "pro-choice Catholic." There's no such thing. Also, she's a "progressive liberal"--what the heck is that??

We both agree that, for Ms. Butler, "the next four years are going to be a serious mental challenge. . . ."

She mentions "America's brand of bigotry Christianity." Is she talking about the preachings of Revs. Wright, Sharpton, Jackson, Farrakhan, etc.?

"Capitalism has not erased racism." One is an economic concept and the other is an inclination of the mind. Do they have any relationship?

Ms. Butler seems to have a few intellectual issues. She may not know that in all fields of human study--biology, physiology, etc.--there is no such thing as race. I suggest she read the works of Dr. Spencer Wells, a geneticist and leader of the Genographic Project. She will learn that there are evolutionary DNA differences between the Bushmen of Africa and Northern Europeans. These genetic differences also affect the "Darwinian Circuitry"(brain).

I have now spent too much time out of my lifespan on Ms. Butler's rantings. Sadly, most of Baltimore agrees with her thoughts.

Bronowski, in The Ascent of Man (1973), talked about the "Democracy of the Intellect." He put forward that there is no absolute truth, not even in science. A person should be constantly learning. Ms. Butler may want to reflect on this principle and her own myopic certainty.

Neil J. Ham

Re: the last gem from Larnell Custis Butler ("Stuck on Stupid," The Mail, Dec. 3)--I'm the last white guy on earth you need to sell on the idea that black folk have gotten the short end of the stick. I'm as liberal and civil-rights aware as you can get, I live and work in and around Pigtown, I wrote my senior philosophy seminar paper on Malcolm X, etc.

But for cryin' out loud, how self deluded can you be? Maybe the reason Murder Ink is, to use your diction, so full of "non-light" skinned folk is that this is a majority black city wherein the black population (for whatever socioeconomic reason) commits more than its fair share of the violent crimes. Maybe the reason "light" folk are underrepresented in Murder Ink isn't racist white cops (a silly idea in and of itself when you consider that plenty of black officers work for BPD) but that whites are a minority in this city and not as culturally predisposed to commit violent crimes?

Until the Larnell Custis Butlers of the world quit looking to the Big White Boogeyman in uniform and address the cultural problems and challenges black people face head on, all the social programs in the world, nor all the useless witchhunts for racist white cops (in a city where black people already have tons of political power and influence in the BPD) will fix what ails your people.

There are plenty of white people like me who would love to see the black community in Baltimore right the ship--but we need you to knock off the bullshit, Ms. Butler, and focus on the real issues, the cultural changes black people need to make. Until that happens, the rest is window dressing of the worst order.

Sebastian Sassi

The College Dropout Gets Schooled

I read with a slow and thoughtful reasoning, as well as a calm spirit embedded in my black female's soulfulness of dignity and respect, the article "Some Girls: 88 Keys Takes on a Whole Gender, Kanye's Stuck on One Girl, and Both are Sort of Jerks" by Brandon Soderberg (Music, Dec. 3). Some reads are informative, but have enough conflict of opinions to prick a reader's last nerve.

I have come to make a request: Can I speak the honest truth about singer Kanye West, and some black brothers who love black women only to satisfy their own selfish dysfunctional hatred of their own black mama, female family member sisters, past or present female teachers, female ministers, and every female on earth who is not spontaneous enough to buy their lies of "You're the reason I ain't nothing" as a black man?

As an Afrocentric feminist, I must confess that the adult male singers I listen to right now are John Legend, Terrence Howard (who knew he could sing?), and the white male tenor Nathan Pacheco.

I am a grown black woman who wants to hear beautiful music to feed my soul out of moments of despair, or to make me believe that I am a woman worthy to be loved by a specific man, or have a friendship with a man.

I am not willing to be in a relationship to be your mother, your housekeeper 24/7, or to be in an affair with a married man who needs some sex on the side because his wife doesn't understand him or his need for porno-kinky pussy.

To tell you the truth, I listen to some rap artists, especially singers who inform their listeners about "social control," poverty that the government is using to institutionalize political militarism in America.

Believe it or not, I do not listen to rap music that sells pussy-getting as a sport or to dehumanize the human essence of black women as a shameful vessel of disgrace to the black race. I will not listen to a rapper who lashes out at a woman because he does not "respect" a black woman (especially an unattractive one), such as Kanye's lashing out at his alleged girlfriend or "ex."

Until Kanye really grows up to be a man who understands that maybe he failed his own black mother, who died during plastic surgery because he could not see her struggles with her own feelings of inadequacy.

I want to ask this one question to Kanye: Why didn't you tell your own black mama "You worry about the wrong things?" From childhood to black male adulthood, Kanye West should have told his mother how wonderful she was as a black woman with African features, and his appreciation for her physical signature.

Kanye, your money has not made you rich enough, and your college education has not made you "common sense" smart enough to kill the self-hatred that returns to your psyche. Such a man corrupts every woman he touches.

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