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Real Live Sexism

Posted 9/19/2001

We were surprised to see the caption "Real Live Cattle, Real Live Swine, Real Live Woman: Trisha Yearwood plays the State Fair" (Baltimore Weekly Highlights, Aug. 22). What would you say the point is for this caption? We all think it's sexist, and some think it's also a sneer at the State Fair/country culture.

The point of this communication is this: We would like you to report on sexism and snobby attitudes, not engender them. We all read City Paper and think you have better ideas than the ones that caption showed.

Ellen Adajian
Baltimore

The Guy Who Wrote the Caption Replies: The point of this caption is this: Trisha Yearwood sang a song called "Real Live Woman," and she is playing the State Fair, where there are real live cattle and real live swine. Where did you get your "we," anyway? And what's pejorative about swine and cattle? This is a pure projection of your own city-culture prejudices onto us. I grew up surrounded by corn, goddammit. I was in 4H. You want us to report on snobbery? OK: You're a snob.

Firepower to the People
Dan Greifenberger wrote "How much firepower does a law-abiding citizen need?" (The Mail, Sept. 5). Come now, Mr. Greifenberger, who will decide how much of anything (firepower, horsepower, tobacco, alcohol, sex, education, freedom, you name it) a law-abiding citizen needs? Will you? One can assume that you mean law-abiding citizens currently have too much firepower. Do you advocate limiting such firepower? Please explain how you will enforce reduction in the firepower of law-abiding citizens--at gunpoint, with those guns in the hands of government agents? Forget about need. What can it possibly matter, to you or to anyone, how much firepower any law-abiding citizen wants or possesses?

Harold Jenkins
Germantown

Editor's note: Between last week's press deadline (a few hours after the planes hit the towers) and this week's perhaps ill-timed Best of Baltimore issue, we have been unfortunately unable to get into print anything regarding Topic A. However, since the afternoon of Sept. 11 we have been collecting material about the World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks and their aftermath on City Paper Online. Go to www. citypaper.com and click on the "Special Coverage" button for stories and essays from City Paper contributors, pieces from other alternative newspapers and news services, and links to Web sites offering additional information and background. We will continue updating this special section in the weeks to come.

Another editor's note: This being Best of Baltimore, the usual columns, features, and arts coverage got bumped so we can bring you, uh, the best of Baltimore. All that stuff will be back in next week's issue.

Yet one more editor's note: Over the past week we heard from a number of readers dismayed by last week's edition of Tim Kreider's comic strip The Pain--When Will It End?, which depicted a swastika flag and the words "Heritage Not Hate." Perhaps an explanation is in order. The phrase is a reference to a motto of defenders of the Confederate battle flag, who maintain that it is not a symbol of oppression and slavery but rather a representation of the heritage and history of the South. Kreider disagrees with this notion, a viewpoint he expressed by equating it with a hypothetical argument that the Nazi flag is merely a historical representation of Germany's past, as opposed to a symbol of violence and horror. The cartoon was intended as a satiric criticism of bigotry and hatred masquerading as "heritage," not an endorsement of it. (For a statement on the matter from the artist himself, see his Web site, www.thepaincomics.com.) He and we understand that the point may have been lost on anyone unfamiliar with the phrase and its current political context; we hope this clears up any misunderstanding. If anyone is offended by the actual intent of the cartoon, well, we can always use more letters to the editor. As it happens, Tim is off this week; in his usual place is a special guest cartoonist. The Pain will be back at its usual station next week.

Last one, we promise: Finally, with this issue we bid a fond adieu to City Paper managing editor/arts editor Heather Joslyn. After seven and a half years, eight Best of Baltimores, and enough late nights at the computer to last any lifetime, Heather is taking her prodigious skills, dry wit, and endless patience to a well-earned cushy job in Washington. We wish her well and hope she'll still contribute the occasional movie review. Starting next week, music editor Lee Gardner and staff writer Tom Scocca move on up to arts editor and managing editor, respectively.

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