RE: “Overkill” [Feature, Jan 17], Jenni Moore’s story about Portland’s obsession with taxidermy. “At least in Alaska, the showcasing of bears, moose, and bobcats makes some logical sense,” Moore wrote, adding that in ways notably less authentic, “a growing plethora of Portland businesses have embraced deer heads and other taxidermy mounts as an integral part of our aesthetic identity.” Moore continued, “For me, Portland’s majority whiteness has something to do with the explosive prevalence of this ‘woodsy’ vibe. As a biracial person (half Black, half white), I’ve noticed I’ve never had to worry about seeing taxidermy decor in a Black or brown person’s home or business—but if you know of any, I’ll take note and steer the fuck clear.”
I’m Black and I collect bones and taxidermy. I find bones on hikes and only purchase vintage taxidermy pieces, as I don’t wish to contribute to trophy hunting. I’m not really sure why you felt the need to generalize collectors as you did, but we come from many different walks of life—and yes, some of us are Black.
I think its fair to say that people whose heritage includes slavery and living in constant fear of being murdered by a white man with a gun who sees living things as nothing more than objects to be possessed and hung on the wall have every right in the world to be creeped out when they see a dead animal’s head glorified as a trophy.
Moore’s fear of taxidermy is completely rational. What more direct an emblem of white colonial predation is there than a room full of exotic heads? What person wouldn’t feel at odds with blazing neon signage that announces, “My respect for others is predicated on what I can prove about myself through killing them”? The broader question is, “Why the fuck are the rest of us cool with this?”
Why hasn’t someone filled the niche for vegan taxidermy? Imagine stuffed and mounted heads of cauliflower adorning the walls of your favorite plant-based business. Potatoes skinned and filled with sawdust (recycled, natch) in daring poses that capture the look of wild potatoes. Someone needs to do this STAT.
THE NIMBYS STRIKE BACK
RE: “Hall Monitor: Incoming Calls ” [News, Jan 17], Dirk VanderHart’s column about Lake Oswego attorney and Pearl District resident Jeff Merrick, who’s hoping to unite Portland NIMBYs against homelessness. One of Merrick’s proposed solutions: “How about we do what they did in the 1920s and 1930s?” he asked, referencing the Multnomah County Poor Farm, where the county once sent its destitute and disabled to work the fields.
Providing work opportunities should be on the table. After all, countless homeless advocates continually claim that a large percentage of the population is homeless due to a job loss, lack of ability to pay rent, or some other such misfortune, rather than drug use, not being willing to follow the rules of society, etc. So let’s help the people who want to work.
Being poor and homeless is not a crime. Work farms are the same thing as prison—they deprive people of freedom, in violation of due process and other Constitutional protections.
Dirk, please delete the intellectually sloppy term “NIMBY” from your vocabulary. NIMBYS = voters, residents, neighbors. To pretend that untreated schizophrenics defecating on your lawn and tweekers stealing the grill from your apartment balcony are something that Portlanders should humbly accept is bullpucky. When you call people in Lents NIMBYS for being upset about campers, you are taking the kind of faux-progressive snobby position I can’t stand.
Reverend Bite Me
Mercury has never been against name-calling those with whom they disagree. Name-calling is a tactic of one who has no valid argument. It’s childish, immature, and petty.
Quakerpracter, your vegan taxidermy idea has all the signs of being Portland’s next stupid fad! Congrats. You win the Mercury’s letter of the week—and two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where the only trophies on the walls are some pretty neat movie posters.