LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

THE VISITOR

RE: "Be Ashamed" [Letters, Sept 20], in which "yearly visitor" Brian writes in to express outrage at Portland's number of homeless people.

BRIAN—The amount of people begging for dimes and food here in Portland actually stands as explicit testament to the quality of our weather this summer, but more so unto the very generosity of the hard-working and compassionate folk scattered unsparingly about our fine city, that those who are asking may find enough here to live well enough to ask another day, another week, another year. Many of those whom you reference are chronic rather than acute cases, seasonal at that, as someone who resides here permanently can attest to, Brian, my serially visiting fellow human.

-Nicolas

A WHISPER FROM BEHIND BARS

RE: "The Fall of Romneyville" [Feature, Sept 7], a report from the Republican National Convention.

DEAR EDITOR—Loved Andrew R Tonry's piece. It seems like you have the talent to become an important little paper if you wanted to by including more feature-length articles. I, for example, really wish you'd start doing a little poking around in the Oregon Department of Corrections. If only you knew what goes on here.

-DL

STRIPPERS FOR IAN

RE: "Portland as Fuck" [Feature, Sept 20], in which comedian and writer Ian Karmel sizes up Voodoo Doughnut and Portland strip clubs, declaring the latter "just fucking fun!"

The strippers of Portland would like to thank Ian Karmel for his refreshingly positive shoutout to us in his recent guest article "Portland as Fuck." Dude, you totally rule!

-The Strippers of Portland (via Rocket, co-producer of the Strippies)

BONA FIDES

RE: Up & Coming [Sept 20], in which author Morgan Troper unfavorably previews a Matisyahu concert.

MORGAN—Your hostile preview of Matisyahu's recent show in Portland is both obnoxious and offensive. Are you aware that Matisyahu is actually an observant and humble Jew living a private family life (when not touring) in a religious enclave of Brooklyn? You may not like him or what he stands for, or you may be like most of the writers for the Mercury, supporting punk, metal, and the melancholy indie scene, which is fine. But don't take your aggression and possibly anti-Semitism out on Matisyahu, even if you don't like his music.

-Ezf

ODD JOBS

RE: "Portland: The Place Where Young People Are Underemployed" [Blogtown, Sept 21], regarding a study showing that, contrary to popular saying, young Portlanders are more likely to be underemployed than unemployed. For more on the subject, see News.

This is an awesome piece, and I could not be more appreciative of Sarah [Mirk's] recognition that a 40-hour workweek isn't everyone's idea of utopia. I remember a couple of years ago when I was temporarily unemployed and living in New York City, and I felt like my friends there either (1) felt sorry for me or (2) thought I was a loser for appreciating the time off. Back visiting friends in Portland, though, not a single person looked askance at my unemployment-by-choice. The problem with the way we think about calculating un(der)employment is that we work from the baseline assumption that working 40-plus hours a week is everyone's ideal. Instead of the baseline being "works 40 hours/week," the baseline should be "works as much as s/he wants to work." If the city is able to provide the range of jobs that the community demands, then that should be our mark of economic success. If Portland can figure out how to provide for and embrace both these types of people—and if it can control gentrification and promote socio-economic diversity in the inner city—then I think it'll be in good shape. At the very least, it's got the right attitude already.

-posted by Linn Davis

SPEAKING OF ATTITUDE, Linn, we like yours. We don't know if you're right, but we applaud positive thinking. That's why you win this week's Mercury letter of the week, and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where the underemployed enjoy recent films at competitive prices.

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