[Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced a contest in which readers could offer suggestions on how to save our crappy paper, and here is our winner! For his great ideas, "Gullwing" will take home $25 and a box of light bulbs. Thanks for the ideas, and congratulations!]

DEAR MR. HUMPHREY: In response to your solicitation for ideas to save the Mercury from choking on its own fecal-umbilicus:

Fire Dan Savage. Instead of running with the good idea of a gay romance-sex-advice column, he has been featuring shit-eating for a month. It was funny at first, but now it's dead. Stop beating it.

Please review theatres when you review films. Many of us go for the environment and need your acerbic insight.

Don't back off the porn. Feature/review strip clubs and interview sex-industry workers.

Review stuff we don't already get in other publications--comic books, web pages, restrooms, puppet shows, etc.

FEATURE LOCAL GUEST COLUMNISTS! You don't even have to pay these saps and P-town is full of opinionated people. And finally, if you really want to save your precious paper, do one simple thing:

Hire me. I work for cheap and I'll whip your paper's ass into shape. I hear there's an opening for a gay romance-sex advice columnist.

Gullwing Mangold


TO THE EDITOR: Today I was enjoying my weekly dose of the Mercury when I happened to look at my fingertips. They were black! What the FUCK? My favorite 'zine was bleeding ink on my hands! What kind of shit is this? Are the publishers such tight-fisted assholes that they can't buy decent, not-coming-off-on-the-hands ink? It pissed me off! But not nearly as much as when I got home and found black smudges all over my face from my fingers. You Assholes! Fix this! NOW!



TO THE EDITOR: Thanks for your extensive verbiage concerning gay and lesbian issues. It does my dyke heart good to see a not-exclusively-queer newsrag give us so much coverage.

I'd like to come to a small defense of our community which is faced with pressure on all sides to include and embrace our trans brothers and sisters ["Trans-Genders Go Home!" Katia Dunn, June 14]. While I think most people in the queer community feel that transfolk should be included in any crusade for rights, it is easy to see how we may not feel totally comfortable embracing transfolk into our scene.

We have recently been forced, again and again, to watch our beloved dyke sisters turn from "one of us" (dykes) to "one of them" (straight men). We are expected to watch these newly transformed straight men act out every macho stereotype. We are expected to flirt with these men. We suspect them of abandoning us. We suspect them of imposing themselves on us like men, who we don't date. And we are expected to do all of these things without batting an eye or saying out loud that we are uncomfortable.

We are not closed-minded and hateful, as your article would have its readers believe. But we are concerned and trying to suppress the creeping feeling that we have been betrayed. I don't believe that anyone is trying for a "separate but equal" situation. We are, rather, pointing out that these men are not dykes. They are men. If they transition and it is a necessary and positive experience in their lives, more power to them. But please do not berate the lesbians they have left behind because we cannot shout "hurrah" about another straight lesbian-wanting man entering the world.

Portland Dyke


TO THE EDITOR: I am writing in response to Patricia Barrera's letter [Letters, June 7] criticizing Monica Drake's article "Taking Back The Night" [May 24].

Ms. Barrera has concerns with Drake's scope and language. Barrera also seems to think that Drake should have consulted other sources for her story, and that her use of language "'cover(s) up' the cruelty of prostitution."

Drake's article is a report about two human rights activists who flew to South Africa for a conference, where the goal was to "start a conversation" about issues related to prostitution in that country. The article was NOT a be-all, end-all expose of ALL the issues. To broaden the scope of the article would be to further complicate the many positions on this issue.

In my opinion, Drake's use of language is genius, and if five "men" begin to think about their choice of "pain relief" (use of prostitutes) differently, then Monica Drake and the Mercury have done a great job.

Mike Healey