DEAR MERCURY—I'm a year-round bike commuter and recreational rider, and I've frequented every intersection that you mention in your article ["Failure to Yield," Feature, Nov 1]. What is not being said in this discussion of the so-called "right hook" problem is the difference between what the law says you can do on a bike and reality. The best solution to this problem is for bicyclists to be more careful. Your life depends on it.
DEAR MERCURY—I don't obey all traffic laws on my bike. This is partially because they are written for cars, and it's safe for a bike rider who can see and hear his or her surroundings to run a stop sign if it's clear nobody's coming, for instance. The rest of the reason? It keeps y'all hermetic motherfuckers in cars nervous. If you're nervous, twitchy, always checking your blind spots (like I am on my bike), you're more likely to see me.
"FUCK YOU" DAY
DEAR MERCURY—Riding my bike for the last couple of years in this city has me thinking about the mental state of this city. The conclusion I inevitably come to is there is an underlying loathing for our fellow Portlanders and despite our outward laidback demeanor there is nothing but contempt under the surface. Maybe it is time that we become more honest with each other and have a "fuck you" day. On this day we can greet each other with a "fuck you" with total amnesty and then the rest of the year we might just be able to have respect for each other.
A Rosa Font
NOT HAVING A BALL
DEAR MERCURY—It seems that, like most public sex events, the organizers of the Portland Erotic Ball might have some difficulty attracting the interest of female participants. And it is no wonder, considering their offerings, [which include] a grand prize free trip to the Bunny Ranch. My question is, why is the Portland Mercury, a supposedly progressive newspaper, cosponsor of this prize? The problem is that sex work will always be shaped by the type of men that support it, generally men with unhealthy and/or plain ugly sexual interests that want their gratification at the expense of a woman's pleasure or human dignity. We can never be equal in a society when half of us are compelled to take our clothes off for the other half so we can be on the same economic footing.
Call Me Crazy
DEAR MERCURY—So you'd say that Rakim, Brother Ali, and Ghostface all deserve an ENTIRE write up, but then you would restrict each of them to a third of one, so that you can make space for one of your writers to write about their friend's band [My, What A Busy Week!, Nov 1; "Hollywood Ending," Music, Nov 1]. That amazingly billed show is probably going to undersell based on the way you treated it. What, is Wu-Tang too corporate for you guys? Now back to the "Portland is a cultural melting pot" commercial known as your paper.
TAXING THE POOR
DEAR MERCURY—I have to say something here. Measure 50 is nothing but a sneaky way to continue taxing the poor ["How You Should Vote!" News, Oct 25]. If Oregon cared about health care, we would have strengthened OHP, not stripped it dry. The amount of money wasted on useless programs could work miracles. Oh, and don't forget to emphasize that it's for the kids. Smokers: bad. Kids: good.
DEAR MERCURY—Fucking "white guilt." I am sooooo sick of hearing that phrase every time I want to talk about race ["One Day at a Time," Nov 1]. Not having to talk about race is a part of white privilege. This creates a hurdle for people of color to be heard—the need to speak to a listener from a different community, the white community—and when white people are the overwhelming majority, as in Portland, this means most people seldom or never hear a person of color's perspective.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ROBBY for writing two whole separate letters to us this week on separate issues, and thereby snagging the Mercury letter(s) of the week based on sheer quantity. Robby gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish!, where you'll dine on large quantities of fish-shaped sandwiches.