Illustration by Alex DeSpain


RE: "The Sanest Arguments Against Fluoride... and Why They're Still Wrong" [Feature, May 1], in which the Mercury endorsed a "yes" vote on the fluoridation of Portland's water. The measure failed by a wide margin, but the fallout continues. The following correspondence began just hours after the proponents of fluoride conceded the vote.

HEY PORTLAND MERCURY—Now that fluoride has been voted down, I thought I would take a moment to tell you how much I used to enjoy reading your paper. I have lived in Portland for three years, am an educated professional, and was a self-confessed junkie of both Ann Romano and Dan Savage's columns. I will find Dan's column elsewhere and drop Ann's altogether after the [most] outrageously biased MAINSTREAM pro-fluoride argument I have ever seen. Super blech!!!!


DEAR PATRICIA—Wait... you were waiting until after the vote to tell us this? You really should have packed your bags weeks ago.

Wm. Steven Humphrey, Mercury editor in chief

HI DAN [SAVAGE]—I love you!!!! But I cannot support the Portland Mercury. I will go to your website from now on. Thought you may like to see my recent correspondence with them...


DEAR PATRICIA—Please don't read my column anymore. Sooner or later—and probably sooner—I'll write something that you disagree with, and you'll fall out of love with me too. Any newspaper that only prints things you already believe 100 percent of the time isn't worth reading. Any reader who only wants to read things she already believes isn't worth having.

Dan Savage, Savage Love columnist

The following morning, Editor in Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey posted Patricia's original letter on the Mercury's blog under the headline "Gloaters Gonna Gloat" [Blogtown, May 22]. Below are some of the comments from that post.

So, Patricia is going to limit her news intake to celebrity zingers and sex advice so as not to encounter an opinion contrary to her own. Sounds like another well-informed voter in the making.

posted by pdxMB

Cheers to Denis [Theriault] and the rest of the Mercury staff for taking a position on a controversial issue that most likely alienated a large share of your readership. I'm sorry to see some readers of your rag retreat further into the ether of extremism and science fiction—if they think the Mercury is mainstream, they should try living in Branson, Missouri, for a bit—but, you win some, you lose some. There are some interesting and very relevant articles out on the web today that shed some light on the peculiar and tragic outcome of the great fluoride debate of 2013. "Why Rational People Buy into Conspiracy Theories," in yesterday's New York Times has some salient observations applicable to the anti-fluoride camp and even the gloating going on in the wake of the election. NPR (another "mainstream" news outlet) has a piece today on the fallout of the anti-vaccine movement in the UK—in short, a measles epidemic. I have lived in Portland for three years and will continue to read the Mercury, the Oregonian, the Willamette Week, NYT, WSJ, Mother Jones, and whatever Noam Chomsky's currently peddling, because dismissing reputable journalism because you disagree with an op-ed is a fast track to ignorance. Again, thanks for your stand and keep up the good work.

posted by Keyser Söze

Portland Mercury has shown itself to be a failure at recognizing the truth, or worse yet just complete sellouts... [Etc.—Eds.]

posted by Jay Sun

This is not gloating. I truly would wish that everyone who is spouting things about the "crazy, anti-science conspiracy theorists, fear-mongering paranoids who hate the kids and are racists" take a real listen to what we have been saying. This should not be a divisive political issue... [Etc.—Eds.]

posted by Jay Sun

@Jay Sun, So glad you wrote these florid midnight-to-1:05 am screeds about an election that's already decided. Who could possibly think you're all batshit dum dums now?

posted by Commenty Colin

Jay Sun, if you were my neighbor I would have eaten 20 tubes of fluoridated toothpaste the minute I saw you coming, just so I didn't have to listen to your screeching voice tell me about TEH CHEMICLES again. The election is over, there's not going to be fluoride in our water, now STFU.

posted by pdxMB