RE: "Fingers Crossed" [News, Oct 16], recounting the ongoing problems with the Morrison Bridge's faulty decking.
DEAR EDITOR—The repavement of the Morrison Bridge was always money wasted. Yes, you had the odd motorist from Vantuckey on I-5 coming to vomit in Old Town or from Grue-some on I-84 spinning out on the metal grates, but that's just Darwin at work.
Brian Allan Cobb
RE: One Day at a Time [Oct 16], regarding Kanye West's thwarted effort to get his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
DEAR MERCURY—Kim may not have her own star on the Walk of Fame, but you know who does?? That's right, none other than Edith Head. She celebrated her 116th birthday on October 28, and if it weren't for the Google doodle honoring her, I wouldn't have even known who the eff she was. Perhaps Kanye can get Google to show some love and people will be more likely to recognize her star qualities, but I'm guessing no.
RE: "Homeless, at Home" [Feature, Oct 23], in which News Editor Denis C. Theriault spends most of a weekend at the Right 2 Dream Too homeless rest area in Old Town.
I think Denis approached it exactly as it needed to be. A lot of privileged, upper-middle-class white people in Portland love to lament this city's issues with homelessness and the lack of diversity. I don't doubt that they would like to see these things get fixed, but I think most people prefer to see it in the abstract instead of involving themselves, talking to people, learning how they can make change that goes beyond donating money. What's happening with R2DToo, the city, and the Pearl District seems to be amplifying some serious class issues we're facing here, and it's an important thing to investigate.
posted by a.n.a.
DENIS C. THERIAULT—That's probably the longest article I've ever read entirely through. In fact, I meant to skim through most of this one, because what do I care about a bunch of crybabies who'd rather piss and moan than get a job, but my attention was rapt. Honestly I'm really sick of people coming up to me and asking me for money in Portland, especially in grocery store parking lots. Maybe if my lackluster job that I fucking loathe hadn't cut me down to 32 hours a week almost three years ago, on top of not giving me a raise in six years, I'd give a shit about someone else's need to eat or take the bus. It's safe to say that while tumbling through my own financial hardships, my heart has hardened toward my fellow man. I think you've brought to light the humanity of people I considered selfish scavengers. I had no idea how dedicated, hard working, and rightfully proud the members of R2DToo were. Respect.
RE: "Now You See Your First Mistake" [Music, Oct 16], in which author Lisa Wells considers the connection between Portland and Elliott Smith on the anniversary of his death.
DEAR MERCURY—In her well-written rumination on Elliott Smith, former Portlander Lisa Wells ponders the relevance of place and time (Portland in the '90s) on art (the music of Elliott Smith). We winemakers have a useful word we've ripped off from the French: terroir. It means the soil, aspect to the sun, wind, rain, and other factors—including the temperament of the people—that affect the growing of the grapes that make a wine of a specific vineyard or a specific vintage. For many, that is what makes wine special, especially with the more sensitive varietals such as pinot noir (which grows so well in Oregon). Artists in the vein of Elliott Smith seem to me a lot like these wines, and I would say that place and time is hugely important in their output. Portland in the '90s was Elliott's terroir, and I might add, even more pretentiously, it was a great vintage.
Ben in Portland
NICELY DRAWN PARALLEL, Ben! In gratitude for your thoughtful response we're giving you this week's Mercury letter of the week! We're also giving you two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can—get this—drink wine with your movie!