Liar, liar, pants on fire
I read your "The Year of the Liar" headline (12/30/99) with interest—then the article with mounting disgust. Al Gore is a liar on the front page, but on page 24 you merely ask the question; why, advice of counsel? If he made an inaccurate statement about his role in the Internet, would you be so good as to cite it and explain how you learned that he knew it was inaccurate? He is not responsible for the exaggerations, false conclusions, and fabrications of others, including yourselves. Did Nethercutt (the Cynical and Stomach-Turning) intend to deceive, or did he simply break a promise? That may or may not be as bad as a lie, but it's certainly not the same. Mariners—same question: How do you know they never intended to pay for cost overruns? Gates did not make the statement attributed to him on page two; he asked what Boies' definition of "definition" was. You aren't doing this to sell papers, since your publication is already accurately priced. Epistemology is a major part of the essence of your trade; is it possible that you don't know what a lie is, or are you lying?
MICHAEL J. COREY
Several readers wrote to express dismay about what "The Year of the Liar" said about Al and the Internet. He in fact told CNN in March of 1999, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." The Internet was created nearly a decade before Gore entered Congress. —Eds.
This article's for you
For a corporate media organ, the Weekly has surely done a decent job of reporting and editorializing on the WTO protests and related events; Mark D. Fefer deserves special mention (while Geov Parrish deserves a gale-force countervailing wind should he ever work up the gumption to deliver on his cowardly threat to spit in anarchist John Zerzan's face). But I'm concerned that in Fefer's "Looking for justice" (12/30/99), I was quoted a tad out of context.
While accurate as an answer to a direct question, that quote, "I personally didn't see any physical brutality in jail," was delivered in the context of a long interview, in which I regaled Fefer with stories of police "physical brutality" I had witnessed from Tuesday morning 11/30 through early the following Thursday, at which time I had been on a bus with 73 others at Sand Point for 15 hours. I was very much under arrest, though not yet "in jail," when, after driving the bus out of sight of television crews on the scene, officers in riot gear stormed the bus, picked up one person by the hair, used pain holds of various kinds on him and others, and calmly and methodically pepper-sprayed another in the face. As in every such incident I witnessed that week, none of these arrestees was exhibiting violence or otherwise threatening the police.
While I'm at it, allow me also to address the thrust of the section in which I was quoted. Anyone "shocked" by police brutality must not even casually scan the headlines every now and then, much less understand the job description of police officers and jailers. Far from isolated "excesses," such incidents of violence are simply part of the job, logical extremes of how the state "keeps the peace" in the face of people's daily experiences of corporate violence and structural, institutionally imposed disparities. Without the threat of state terror, along with demonstrated commitment to make good on that threat, it'd be pretty tough for government and corporations to maintain the elaborate organized crime operation that is global capitalism.
The police are surely in place to, in the words of one policeman, "protect life and property." But police officers and others would do well to experience the epiphany that can follow from asking the next question: Exactly whose lives and property do the police primarily protect? Events surrounding the WTO ministerial and its aftermath provide some decent clues.
HENRY HUGHES A.K.A. JOHN WTO #199055673
Mark D. Fefer responds: As I stated in the story, my intention was to examine what happened in the jail specifically. I did not intend to dismiss the brutality that hundreds of people clearly experienced at the hands of the cops. This writer's response is brought to you by Anheuser-Busch.
Where the boys are
I'm certainly not one to demand quotas when the rest of the field is serving up sub-par work, but can you honestly say that no female artists deserved to even make honorable mention status in your "Critics' Picks" (12/30/99)? Never mind the fact that ODB's latest disc knocked Mos Def's "Black on Both Sides" off the critical mantle: How can "Nigga Please" possibly make the cut while MeShell N'dgeocello's "Bitter" doesn't get so much as lip service?
If Fiona Apple and Cibbo Matto hadn't dropped albums this year, perhaps I'd see this as something other than unconscious bias. But from professionals who have a responsibility to exercise personal taste while STILL acknowledging something higher, I expect more.
Sad for our bird friends
As I was reading "Beam me up" (12/30/99), which addressed the concerns of astronomers and birders about the impact of the light show from the Space Needle on New Year's Eve, I was overwhelmed with sadness—sadness for what has become of the Seattle I came to in the 1970s. I moved here because this was a city that really cared about the unique natural environment we have. That Seattle never would have dreamed of putting on a show that would endanger as much as a squirrel, let alone disrupt the migratory patterns of birds. That Seattle protected its assets—didn't squander them for momentary gratification. Shame on you, Mayor Schell and the City Council, for forgetting what made Seattle great—it's natural beauty, not its man-made pretensions.
M.L.K., poor choice
I THINK IT'S TIME TO HAVE A NAME CHANGE FOR KING COUNTY. HAVE A CONTEST COUNTY WIDE FOR NAMES. SECOND BRING IT TO COUNTY VOTERS TO DECIDE.
M.L.K. IS A POOR CHOICE FOR KING COUNTY ("M.L. King-maker," 1/13/00). FIRST M.L.K. DID NOTHING FOR KING COUNTY. SECOND M.L.K. WAS NEVER HERE IN KING COUNTY. THIRD M.L.K. IS A POOR CHOICE FOR A NATIONAL HOLIDAY!
IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE IN THE NEW MILLEMMIUIN!
TIMOTHY JOSEPH BLAIR
Changing the county logo to the image of Dr. Martin Luther King ("M.L. King-maker," 1/13/00) may be a nice thought but. . . . The cost of doing so is alone is a good enough reason not to do it. The replacing of the crown logo would be quite an undertaking. The article mentioned patches, signs, and stationery, but let's not forget badges (at around $75 a piece for over 650 officers), business cards, patrol cars, ID badges, the list could go on and on. Our dollars should be carefully spent, I-695 is proof that the public will not tolerate foolish spending, there are many other things that need attention before we blow money on a symbol. I would hope that those who will make this decision will remember the phrase, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
M.L.K.—we're not worthy
What makes us think we deserve to have the great Martin Luther King Jr.'s face bestowed on the seal? What local heritage, what local history, and what have we done in our community that allows us to DESERVE this honor?
I am appalled to find a straightforward sports article (The Lesser of Two Evils) on page 39 of the January 6 issue. If this is a result of the new Weekly ownership, it is a bad omen for your future. With The Stranger going down the tubes, the Weekly remains the last vestige of serious mainstream journalism in Seattle. I even read the article twice, thinking I missed some ironic political commentary. Nope. Just a boneheaded sports promotion. I used to enjoy sports until I moved to Seattle four years ago. Now I boycott all sports teams. A billion public dollars of new stadiums, a basketball team that refuses to pay rent in a city so desperate to be "world-class" that they overthrow democracy to placate insatiable corporate greed. Pathetic.
When Nelson Mandela visited here, he asked an African-American boy, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" "A baseball player." he replied. Probing deeper, Mr. Mandela asked, "And what do you want to be when you can no longer play baseball?" The boy answered, "Retired." This is what pro sports does for Americas' youth today.
Meanwhile,Congress pushes to lower immigration barriers for high-tech workers from India and other developing countries. It seems the "Third World" has a better education system than we do in this country, where our children kill each other for athletic shoes. Thanks, Michael Jordan! Thanks, Nike!
I want the Weekly to join my boycott and never run another sports promotion article. But if you must, then use a real journalist like Ron Judd. Someone with the conscience and courage to challenge one of the most destructive forces in our society today—the parasitical professional sports corporations. We do not need them!
Some minor corrections and clarifications re: Soyon Im's "Palm pilots" (1/6/2000): Having been born in Tokyo, raised in Texas, Germany and the Northwest, I don't claim Tacoma as my native home. And as a licensed Astrologer since 1976 and former member of the NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research), I do have a responsibility to clarify my comments about the Aquarian Age, which is not "all about sexuality." Aquarius is a highly intellectual sign that tends towards asexuality. However, because of their experimental nature, Aquarians favor bisexual and even trisexual—as in, 'I'll try anything'—activities.
YAYOI LENA WINFREY
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