DEAR MERCURY—Look, I know I'm the only one, but can we please quit using the words "geek" or "nerd" to describe people ["Geek Week," Cover, July 28]? Not only is it insulting and alienating, but also it's unfair. Why don't you describe the gay-pride celebration as "fag week" or Juneteenth as "darkie days"?

-Matthew Cagle

EDITOR WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY RESPONDS: "Geeks" are neither a race, nor a group that's routinely a victim of institutional discrimination. Instead of worrying about being called a geek, you should be thinking about what kind of person would compare the plight of being a nerd to that of being dragged behind a car because of their sexuality, or suffering roughly 160 years of slavery.


DEAREST "ANN ROMANO" OR WHATEVER YOUR REAL NAME IS—Realizing that it would completely knock the wind out of your snarky little sails, is it at all possible that you could refrain from use of phrases like "tattooed slutlets" or "ink-covered douchebaguettes" to describe women with tattoos [One Day at a Time, Aug 4, in which Ann Romano describes Jesse James' paramours]? Thanks, dear lady, for helping to contribute to the general misogyny of the masses these days, prior, and in the future. Perhaps much to your confusion, not all women who dress wild and have tattoos are "sluts" or work in strip clubs (not that this is anything "bad"), take recreational drugs on a regular basis, have any interest in other women's men, or other forms of what may be perceived as lowered standards.

 -Obviously Slutty Completely Brainless Tattooed Douchebaguette

ANN ROMANO RESPONDS: Anyone can be a slut or a douchebaguette—regardless of the ink on one's body. So pause your hyperbole for a moment and check for the following: Does Jesse James currently have his penis inside your vagina? If not, we're not talking about you.


DEAR MERCURY—I was under the impression that the I, Anonymous column was a place to call out asocial, narcissistic assholes, not a forum for asocial, narcissistic assholery ["Small Talk," Aug 4, in which the author complains about the friendly banter often experienced at the checkout counters of New Seasons Market]. This week's letter writer should stick to the self-checkout lane at Freddy's lest he be forced to endure (shudder) friendly human interaction. Be on notice: Being an asshole is not a virtue, it's just being an asshole.

-Lighten Up

DEAR ANONYMOUS—I agree with you wholeheartedly ["Small Talk," I, Anonymous, Aug 4]. It is always just a horrific experience when we must interact with another person. Ugh.


DEAR MANY WHO WORK AT NEW SEASONS: I am so glad that a store like this exists in my community and that our relationships have gradually and naturally moved beyond employee-customer forced friendships to actually being a part of each other's meaningful lives ["Small Talk," I, Anonymous, Aug 4]. I understand not everyone is as grateful for the consistent social positivity in the air at New Seasons but I certainly am.

-posted by crushtomer

CONGRATULATIONS TO CRUSHTOMER for pointing out the virtues of a friendly grocery store community. It is so much more pleasant than the swirl of insults and alienation that has consumed the rest of this week's letters page. That's why you win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at the People's Sandwich of Portland, where nerds, queers, African Americans, sluts, and tattoos are all welcome.