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Normal Schooling

Posted 7/25/2001

Leo Williams of Baltimore appeals to logic as the science of reason when he says that homosexuality is not normal (The Mail, July 11). In fact, logic is a branch of (pure) mathematics and is an extremely precise science. The term "normal" is not a term from logic as such and therefore would require a definition. Perhaps a good definition of normal would be, "Something that is naturally occurring with a statistical reliability." Homosexuality has been documented in just about all societies and populations--including hundreds of animal species--and has been shown to follow the same laws as other genetic traits. I would therefore suggest that logic comes down in favor of the homosexuals, not the ignorant.

Phill Wall
Annerley, Australia

Leo Williams extols logic, which, he claims, makes it impossible to equate natural, or normal, heterosexuality with unnatural, abnormal homosexuality.

Well, let's see. . . . Wearing shoes is unnatural, and wearing shirts is unnatural. (We aren't born wearing either.) But the alcoholic liquor that comes from fermentation of grain and fruit arises through entirely natural processes.

Obviously, logic demands that we ignore the signs that say shirts and shoes required when we enter a bar and instead party naked. Ain't logic grand!

Rick Gilmour

Most scientific evidence indicates that heterosexuality is inherent and perfectly natural. Having acknowledged that, some of us are unhappy with the way heterosexuals behave in public. If they had any respect for themselves, they would restrict kissing, holding hands, and carrying on in the privacy of their own . . . closet.

There is a larger problem too with "heteros." For the past half-century they have been reproducing like, well, heteros! When God said, "Be fruitful and multiply," I'm sure She had no idea how heteros would, shall we say, "overindulge."

Worse, some 90 percent or more of their offspring are likewise straight. Like father, like son, we can expect that same sort of irresponsible behavior. (Haven't these people ever heard of birth control!) If we don't somehow restrict them from mating, how are we to survive overpopulation?

Now let me make this perfectly clear: We mustn't hate the heterosexual--we must hate what they do!

Unless we set up some church program to convert heterosexuals to homosexuals, our species is doomed.

A. Robert Kaufman

Wigs, Worms, Words
Dear brothers, sisters, and goblins in the struggle: As I clear my desk of papers and prepare to join the other lurkers at the threshold, I felt it imperative to write to you gentle folk in reference to the slightly miserablist take on Baltimore literary journals in your July 4 issue, featuring my moon-face picture peering (Books, July 4). In fear that I came off even more of a grumpus than my mother and friends say I am, I just wanted to iterate (and then moments later in a sillier voice, reiterate) that The Shattered Wig Review was born out of great excitement for all the unique literary and artistic minds that we saw in Baltimore and wanted to spread to the world, or at least Pottsville, Pa. It continues for that same reason and has had the bonus of introducing me to great oddballs throughout the world and even helped me to lure them to read here in Baltimore at the Shattered Wig Night. Sure, life's a big ol' crazy can of worms, but I'm sucking on a night crawler.

OK, now I can get some sleep. Yours in inkstuff,

Rupert Wondolowski
Editor emeritus, Shattered Wig Review


Editor's note: When he's not making sure we're not too miserablist, Rupert Wondolowski is an occasional contributor to City Paper.

Mail à la Mode
While I'll admit I frequently disagree with many of the critical takes on film in City Paper, I must say that I found Adele Marley's piece on A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Film, July 4) to be the most concise and clearly argued review of the film I've seen so far.

Marley effectively recognizes that the film, while daring and profound in many ways, fails to complete the circle that Steven Spielberg no doubt desperately wanted to in his discussions with Stanley Kubrick. Haley Joel Osment's performance is the grandest one-note performance I've seen in a long time (that's a compliment), and the script contains some surprisingly pointed dialogue written by Spielberg. That the film ultimately fails in certain respects takes nothing away from its most enjoyable aspect, namely that it's simply too intriguing to ignore, however depressing or indecisive it may be. A.I. is an engrossing and confounding attempt at greatness by two extraordinarily gifted visual storytellers.

On the other hand (here I go), Ian Grey's essay on Depeche Mode and its enduring popularity (Music, July 4), while suitably researched, loses all credibility midway through when Grey mistakenly identifies Mode lead singer David Gahan as the vocalist fronting the song "A Question of Lust." The song is actually sung by Depeche's primary songwriter, Martin Gore. Even a moderate fan would have known this; it's an unforgivable error in a piece that purports to call for a greater validity and recognition for the group. [Editor's note: A correction of this error appeared in last week's Mail.]

Also, Grey's failure to elaborate on (nay, even mention) longtime member Alan Wilder's invaluable contribution and influence on every aspect of Depeche Mode leaves his theory with a hollow shell. Wilder (a member from 1982 to 1996) had been undervalued for years by particular bandmates, thus his departure soon after the Songs of Faith and Devotion album and tour, arguably the band's darkest and most brilliant hour. Grey's reference to Songs as Depeche Mode's creative high point is correct, but his failure to credit Wilder in the album's conception, recording, and (nearly all of its) mixing is inexcusable. To not recognize Wilder's major imprint on the band's history (particularly in sound design) is like ignoring George Martin's influence on the Beatles. Martin Gore's songs have always been, and will no doubt continue to be, quite great, but without Wilder Depeche Mode is essentially a Gore solo project featuring Dave Gahan on vocals. (Wilder recently said this himself in an interview.)

Grey has clearly shafted Alan Wilder's reputation and importance (as if it needed it), as two unnamed members of the band continue to do. I'll give you a clue: Neither of them are named Dave.

Michael S. Duffy
Ellicott City

I'm a 22-year-old Depeche Mode fan writing to commend your great article on the band. The mystery of DM's unyielding success may still exist, but it was largely uncovered by the band's sold-out July 5 concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion. If anybody wanted an example of society coexisting peacefully and embracing differences, this was it. Dancing and singing along to everything from mainstream hits ("Enjoy the Silence") to die-hard-fan favorites ("Clean") was the most eclectic group of people I've ever seen assembled: blacks, whites, gays, straights, goths, and even some folks who seemed to be straight out of a Grateful Dead show. There were teens, seniors, and men and women of all shapes and sizes. The concert was amazing in every respect.

So Depeche Mode fans of the world stand proud--no shame here!

Liza Woods

Editor's note: Thank the Goddess: Our own Suz Redfearn, whose Germ Bag runs every other week exclusively on City Paper Online, has been awarded first place for online column in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2001 contest. You can check out Suz's much-honored oeuvre at the Germ Bag archive.

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