DEAR MERCURY: Sorry, it is NOT OK to insult and disparage rural white Americans, as you have done prominently for two consecutive issues. Just in case readers managed to laugh off the May 12 cover story ["A Hick's Guide to Red-State Summer Fun"], you came back the next week with a prolonged attack on Kenny Chesney ["One Day at a Time," May 19, in which Ann rags on the inbred hillbilly C&W singer]. No, I do not care for his music. But even lousy artists do not deserve ethnic slurs. If his new bride Renee Zellweger had married a black R&B singer, or a Latin salsa singer, would you have described her man using a series of ethnic slurs? I think and hope not. So please remove "redneck," "hayseed," "hick," "straw-chewing hillbilly," etc. from your list of acceptable terms for the magazine.


WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY RESPONDS: For hopefully the last time, hillbillies are NOT an ethnic group!! Why is this so hard to understand? Every country in the world has rural, backwoods, politically inept people they make fun of, and in America they're called HILLBILLIES. Augghh! You people are driving me crazy! But thanks for writing, anyway.

HEY MERCURY: I read last week's letter from "Hillbilly Morgan" ["Letters," May 19]. Though Morgan sounds like he is racist, I think you missed his point. The reason I don't like your magazine is because I think you have a class bias, and your use of the phrases "white trash" and "hillbilly" proves it. That's one of the reasons the right wing in this country can sway the proletariat against us liberals. This sort of classism could chase anyone off. Please check yourselves.


WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY RESPONDS: Another thing that proves I'm classist is that I've repeatedly admitted I'm classist. But for those just joining us, I HATE HILLBILLIES. I hate their music, I hate their fashion sense, and I hate their views on abortion, gays, and the war on Iraq. Therefore I'm more than happy to "chase" these hayseed dullards back to the shit-filled pig troughs from whence they came. Thanks for writing, though.

DEAR MERCURY: To the dildo perplexed by riders of fixed-gear bikes ["I, Anonymous," May 19 (and if you don't know what a fixed-gear bike is, then prepare to be confused--we sure are!)]: If your naive attempt to define riding these bikes was accurate, nobody would ride 'em. First off, to avoid pedal-strike on corner, we simply use shorter crank arms. Secondly, choosing a front-to-back gear size ratio that is comfy allows fix-ie riders to control speed and stop their bikes by applying backward pedal pressure. As for safety at intersections, there are fools on all types of bicycles who run stoplights, and--everyone knows this--so shut the hell up. Maybe you should set aside your starved ego and ride one. The transition to fixed-gear can be likened to pulling your lover out of bed to shag on the floor. The weird, initial rigidity is soon replaced by a fuller and deeper connection to how your steed responds to the bumpy, curvy road--and how you respond, in kind. Not to mention it's hella good conditioning. --

Wayne St. Pierre

TO THE EDITOR: I would like to commend you on the extremely important public service information you provided on page 45 of your May 19th edition ["The Truth About Babies," which included tips such as babies being able to communicate with feral animals, breathe underwater, and possessing poisonous bites]. The Council of Infant Awareness plays a critical role in ensuring we understand the mysterious community of infants. Young mothers, especially those living beyond the 82nd Avenue Frontier, are increasingly less aware of the poisonous enzymes infants can transmit to us through their nasty little bites. Many people are unaware of the potentially harmful powers that babies possess, and it should be the duty of all mass media to teach us the hidden dangers and secret bonuses of child ownership.

Martín Wilson

NO, THANK YOU, MARTÍN, for correctly recognizing the life-altering information the Mercury provides on a weekly basis. And for your recognition, we recognize YOU as our "Letter of the Week" winner, hereby bestowing two tickets to the Laurelhurst, a $30 dinner certificate to No Fish! Go Fish!, and two passes to see Lucero at Dante's on July 15. P.S. Hillbillies SUCK!