Amanda Leigh Smith

AN ISSUE WITHOUT MEN

RE: “A Note to Our Readers On A Day Without a Woman (Or, Why There Are No Men in This Issue)” [Letters, March 8], Senior Editor Megan Burbank’s introduction to our March 8 issue, which contained stories, art, and photographs exclusively by women and nonbinary contributors.

The current president has left me feeling sad, nervous, and empty. But I picked up a copy of my favorite alt weekly newspaper and noticed ALL the articles were written by women and nonbinary writers. For the hour I read it I felt calm, enlightened, and loved. So a huge thank you from me to you, Portland Mercury, and a special shout out to Megan Burbank and the other AMAZING writers.

Robby B’V

I moved to Portland n 2004—back when Division Street was still a ghost town and “FoPo” didn’t exist. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with your paper since day one. As an “alternative weekly,” your paper has been a sincere disappointment. I find the vapid hipsterdom posturing of most of the writers you publish vain and boring. (The one exception: “One Day at a Time,” as celebrity fuck-ups are always fascinating to mere mortals like me. Ann Romano is funny as hell!)

This week’s issue is the first in the 12 years I was compelled to read cover-to-cover. I am thankful that nonbinary and women writers are getting ALL the bylines. There has always been too much bro-energy in your rag—a shame in a town renowned for being a “hotbed” of feminist activism. That being said, this week’s issue rocked.

I am thankful that you finally realize that stories by men are boring, and that women and nonbinary writers deserve to have their voices amplified. I challenge you to keep the high-level of journalism going. The City of Roses is listening. Challenge us. We are listening!

Julia Laxer


PROTEST FEELS

RE: “Love in the Time of Kool-Aid” [News, March 8], Olivia Olivia’s examination of protests and if they are obsolete. “Does marching still change the hearts and minds of our politicians or fellow citizens?” asked Olivia. “We march, but what have we done to merit our time out there, and what are we pressuring the city to do? What is the goal?”

Thank you for bringing to light what I have often thought of protest marches in the 21st century. Though showing solidarity is a positive thing that gives us all of the feels, these days it doesn’t change the fabric of society. Money talks, and donating, volunteering, or working for an organization that can help how the government and society work is step number one. In this brave new world, a focused effort of modern methods can bring about greater change than a well-meaning street protest.

pollo

Damn right, and about damn time someone put this into writing. There’s no reason not to march, but the real work isn’t in the march—it’s in empowering your community, showing them you care, showing them that their participation matters, and keeping the politicians on their toes and in line with the demands of the people.

mycelium

In your introduction to Olivia Olivia’s provocative piece, you posit two opinions: That some see “marching as vital to maintaining democracy” while others “believe it accomplishes nothing.” I suggest a third opinion: that rallies and marches most importantly impact those who participate and view the mobilizations. Protests allow us to feel our connection to others who feel the way we do. The larger the demonstration, the more powerfully it builds our confidence. Does it change the politicians’ direction? Not necessarily. But history shows us—Egypt in 2011, Paris in 1968, Russia in 1917—that mass demonstrations can inspire real, effective resistance, and can inspire the combativeness needed to bring our most powerful weapons into the struggle: civil disobedience, occupations, boycotts, blockades, strikes.

Jamie Partridge

Good point, Jamie! We’re giving you the Mercury’s letter of the week and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater. You win in part because your letter cited actual historical precedent (a rarity!) and also because you didn’t feel the need to preface your letter by telling us how much you hate us (also a rarity!).


Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at lovenotes@portlandmercury.com.