RE: The Portland Mercury style guide, which dictates that in any piece, the first mention of Donald Trump—who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes—must include the fact he lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes.

My taste in music runs to opera and classical, so I pick up your newspaper for three columns: Love Notes, One Day at a Time, and Dan Savage. An integral part of One Day at a Time for me is “2,864,974.” If it is not in the article, the article is not complete. I hope to see it in every issue until January 20, 2021.

Peter Vennewitz


RE: “Fragile and White: What the Woman Who Invented the Term ‘White Fragility’ Thinks About Donald Trump” [Feature, April 12], Alissa Greenberg’s profile of social justice educator Robin DiAngelo.

There’s a completely different way forward for people who happen to be white and care about social justice. This article reveals the degree to which Ms. DiAngelo has projected her personal experience onto everyone she deems to be part of a cultural group. If I am white, and my viewpoint is different from hers, then it seems if I challenge her viewpoint she will call it “fragility.”

I am white, I agree systemic racism and implicit bias need to be fixed, and I have privilege, but DiAngelo is completely wrong in how she’s going about this. That does not mean I’m defending my privilege or in denial of it. I have thought about this deeply and have the life experience and the heart to say it with authenticity.


I have to agree with ztelthz. This piece talks some great sense, but overanalyzes the subject. I grew up in a highly diverse environment, so I understand many people don’t have the same benefit of getting to know a human being without a second thought to their skin tone or accent. But at some point, if this really matters to you, you have to submit to common sense. Remove race from any of the author’s exemplary anecdotes and you have a very common-sense example of basic social etiquette.

I know it sounds harsh to say, but social ignorance is social ignorance, no matter what color you so judiciously decline to not slap on it. Most people in the world are much more worried about the color red right now. I suggest the author take a year off to travel the real world and learn more about what makes a person a person.



RE: “Worst. Night. Ever.: Ecstatic Dancing and Lots of Dong” [Blogtown, June 24, 2014], Senior Editor Ned Lannamann’s still-popular piece in which he was forced to participate in an ecstatic dance event at a private home in Portland. This “weird sex ecstatic dance naked thing,” Lannamann wrote, “hit pretty much all of my remaining anxiety points: strangers, dancing, new age therapy, repetitive trance music, Burning Man hippie shit, and optional nudity.”

I recently laughed at an article in the Portland Mercury about one of your writers taking a visit to a naked dance event. The article humorously pointed out that the event had a lot of flapping dongs. I would suggest that there is something a good deal more insidious at the non-naked dances.

I have attended a number of the "Sacred Circle" dances and the events are well attended. I should say upfront that I enjoy ecstatic dancing and treat it as a spiritual practice. There is a Facebook page associated with the Sacred Circle Dance and I sometimes monitor it for dance times. Recently there was a post claiming that breaches in dance protocol were a function of “white guy privilege” and had a very shaming tone. I suggested that dance protocol issues in ecstatic dance should be treated on a situation-by-situation basis and not with a broad stroke shaming of the white guys in the group. In other words, if somebody is dancing out of control, make them aware of it. My suggestion that this was not a “white guy privilege” issue was met with widespread vitriol. I was accused of being a “privileged white guy,” a racist, and a variety of other names. My personal Facebook account was stalked and my personal posts were re-posted to the Sacred Circle site completely out of context.

Underneath the dancing there is a nasty mono-thought ready to launch at any opposing viewpoint. If you are there to dance and not to self-guilt about being a white guy, prepare to be attacked. It is a shame that sacred dance in Portland has been hijacked by a handful of angry crusaders. This is why professional ecstatic dance coordinators do not permit politics into their groups. It breaches the sacred frame. Imagine arguing politics in a meditation hall.

Mark Bennett

Okay, Mark. ANYWAYS, our letter of the week prize goes to Peter Vennewitz, for his always timely reminder that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes! Peter, you win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can see a movie, have a beer, and, for a few hours, forget about the fact Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes.

Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at lovenotes@portlandmercury.com.