Inbox — May 19, 2010

A story in last week’s Election Issue incorrectly identified the hometown of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo. He is from the Perry County town of Hazard.

Read Again, Mister
(Regarding Pawl Schwartz’s book review in the May 5 LEO Weekly): OK, mister, I’d like to see you write something better. First of all, the last five of Mr. Palahniuk’s books have been more than stimulating, as per usual. Nothing at all about his writing is mundane. Chuck Palahniuk paints an adventure, taking your mind through roller coaster-esque turns and drops. This reader of LEO and Palahniuk’s works has been nothing but impressed with the latter. As far as I’m concerned, Palahniuk has become a cultural icon — THE voice of Generation X. Don’t allow yourself to forget who wrote “Fight Club,” one of the greatest movies and books of Gen X. I will bet you right now that it will be years before you see a Palahniuk book being sold in a drug store. I’m sorry YOU weren’t impressed — that’s your loss.
Emily Newman, Shepherdsville

Free to Choose
I just wanted to take a moment to thank Pam Swisher for her column in the April 21 issue of LEO Weekly. I’ve been encountering what might be called “bi-phobia” in the gay community for three decades, and I have often tried to talk about it with people in the community. Members of the gay community will often say really negative things about self-identified bisexuals to each other, but most maintain a code of silence about it in talking to people outside the community.

Certainly I’ve never made much headway in discussions about it. Not being a member of the gay community myself, when I’ve tried to call out gay individuals I’ve known who are making negative comments about bisexuals, I get shut out. “You’re not gay, you couldn’t understand, and it’s none of your business anyway.” So basically I’ve been waiting many years for someone in the gay community to call bullshit on anti-bisexual rhetoric.

In the past 30 years, I’ve seen gay individuals alienated from the gay community for having committed relationships with bisexuals. I’ve heard gays call bisexuals “inherently untrustworthy,” incapable of commitment, heard it said that bisexuals are really just gays who don’t have the courage to make a decision, heard it said that no one who is gay should ever consider dating someone who identifies as bi, heard the term “fence-sitters” thrown at bisexuals, and more. The thing is, all rationalizations aside, this is nothing more than one more form of bigotry toward a group because of their sexual identity. If I have a pet peeve, it’s when people who have been victims of bigotry themselves then turn around and display bigotry toward others. It just seems like they should know better.

Ultimately, the battle for acceptance of homosexuality is a civil rights battle for consenting adults to be free to be who they really are. It’s a battle to render the labels what they really should be — irrelevant. You can’t be for civil rights for one group and against them for another. You’re either fighting for acceptance of everyone, or you’re not really fighting for acceptance at all. The refusal to recognize that sexuality is a continuum, and it’s quite possible for people to naturally fall anywhere within it, or even change position within it, is poisonous to the larger movement. Insisting that people choose one end of the scale or the other might feel like solidarity, but in reality, it eats away at the underside of the larger goal, which is accepting the right of people to follow their hearts when it comes to choosing partners, whether for the night or for life.
Joe Mays, Crescent Hill

An entire issue was dedicated to the 2010 elections (LEO Weekly, May 12), and I failed to see any mention of the candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives. There are four of them in the Republican primary, all with successful careers outside of politics. Two are from the Highlands and have very good name recognition. One owned a popular establishment for the alternative music crowd, and one served his country for 22 years and is a veteran of three wars. Yet, not even a mention in your election issue. The winner of this race has a real shot of taking out an out-of-touch, East End elitist politician who won in 2006 by only 5,912 votes. Still not a word. Why is that?
Todd Lally, candidate, 3rd Congressional District of Kentucky

Fingers Crossed, Not King
Last week, Councilman Jim King’s mayoral campaign peppered the Bardstown Road corridor with a number of illegal campaign signs on ambiguous plots of city-owned land and city easements (public property). Most of those signs have now been removed, presumably by city residents and officials, the latter costing taxpayer dollars.

Councilman King has shown through his involvement in his daughter’s election for judge, through the scandal surrounding the defamation of Ken Herndon, his unauthorized mailings to St. X alumni implying the school’s endorsement of him as their mayoral choice, and now through illegally placing campaign signs, that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to gain political office. Councilman King, if this is the way you’ll be playing ball as mayor, kindly spare us the embarrassment and step aside. Louisville doesn’t need the scar of a political opportunist’s actions putting us on the statewide or national radar.

As for my fellow Louisvillians, hopefully we don’t reward King’s actions with our votes, and instead look down the line to other more qualified and ethically sound choices for mayor.
Glen S. Dentinger, Irish Hill

VA on Zorn
Only two defining forces have been called to lay down their lives for you — Jesus Christ and the U.S. Armed Forces. Ninety-five percent of area vets, including Doughboy Rex, have voiced their desire to have the new VA Hospital built at the current Zorn Avenue site. It can be done! By the way, at least 70 percent of VA Medical Center workers want it there.

Despite the petty and unpatriotic politics of academia to have us believe otherwise, the new hospital is NOT for the University of Louisville or the city. We veterans are not going to be silent bystanders. We will let Washington know our strong feelings. I’m hoping non-vets will join our ranks.
Bob Moore, East End

Capitalism Fanboy
(Regarding an Inbox letter in the April 28 LEO Weekly): Our political and economic masters (largely the same people) have found a most obsequious fanboy in Tim Retallack; this individual should seriously consider a career in public relations if he is not already a PR specialist.

Retallack is, for the most part, correct that “representative republics with capitalist economies” do not go about murdering their own citizens en masse. They’re more savvy than this. But what Retallack neglects to mention are the millions of innocent civilians in Third World countries murdered by said imperialist countries throughout the world. What is imperialism, after all, but capitalism in its most articulated form? I suppose those non-American citizens aren’t very important to Retallack.

“The Black Book of Capitalism,” published in 1998, gives us a very conservative number of those people murdered because of capitalist economic policy: 100 million in the 20th century. Death tolls in Afghanistan and Iraq, combined, are encroaching upon 3 million. According to the United Nations, 25,000 people die of starvation daily, while the United States, according to a 10-year study at the University of Tucson, discards 50 percent of the food they produce. We also shamelessly, instead of making food a human right, spend $1 billion discarding the foodstuff waste while people die in the millions. That’s called supply-and-demand economics or, more pejoratively, “profit over people.”

Socialism means workers expropriate private property and control the means of production instead of the bourgeoisie, or capitalist class, a most noble endeavor that I unapologetically identify with. But we’ve only seen gross approximations of real socialism.

We can, however, witness the subtle and not-so-subtle violence and destruction of the finite environment (the U.N. also estimates climate change-related issues are killing 300,000 annually — we can put this on capitalism’s tab, too) caused by the hegemony of capitalism in real time.
Alex Bradshaw, Highlands