A FAIR PUNISHMENT
RE: “Beloved Karaoke Joint Chopsticks III Shutting Down Forever This Weekend” [Blogtown, March 16], Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey’s eulogy for the karaoke bar on Northeast Columbia Blvd. Chopsticks III’s crowd, Humphrey wrote, “was a welcome mixture of old-timers, hipsters, drunks, lesbians—a virtual rainbow of bar diversity that’s hard to find in other parts of the city.”
I got beat up at Chopsticks once or twice. My tooth is still jammed into the side of the bar. A group didn’t appreciate Flock of Seagulls.
RE: “Stephen Hawking Died, and I’m Sorry for That Dumb Joke in This Week’s Mercury” [Blogtown, March 14], an apology for the ASTRONOMICALLY AWFUL TIMING of Managing Editor Erik Henriksen’s joke in last week’s issue—a joke in which Stephen Hawking’s “computerized wheelchair sprouted chainsaw arms, murdered him, and then slowly rolled around and murdered everyone else.” That piece was sent to press on March 13. Hawking died on March 14. “As of last night, that dumb joke seemed fine,” wrote science nerd Henriksen on March 14. “And like one that Hawking might’ve even appreciated, maybe?”
I think it’s fine, but I also think this is a nice apology and a great tribute to a great thinker and complicated human. (And I think you’re right that it probably would have made him laugh as well.)
OVER THEIR HEADS
RE: “Things To Do Film” [Film, March 14], which included Bobby Roberts’ blurb about a screening of 9 to 5 as part of the Hollywood Theatre’s Feminist March series. “The sheer size of 9 to 5’s popularity is hard to understand almost 40 years after the fact, but it was a monster,” wrote Roberts. “It would have easily been the highest grossing film of 1980–if The Empire Strikes Back hadn’t been released that same year.” And also RE: “A Chat with Colossal Director Nacho Vigalondo” [Film, April 12, 2017], Marc Mohan’s interview with the director of the 2017 film.
I enjoy your movie reviews, but I have noticed a trend of feminist films being poorly understood by your male critics. I just read that the popularity of the classic feminist powerhouse 9 to 5 described as “hard to understand” and I was reminded of your previous review of Colossal, in which the themes of toxic masculinity and domestic violence went right over the male reviewer’s head. I would suggest female reviewers tackle feminist films, since they are more likely to understand the content, appeal, and themes.
RE: “Hall Monitor: That Old Dusty Trail” [News, March 14], former news editor Dirk VanderHart’s final column before he betrayed the Mercury and went to work as a reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting. “In my time as news editor, I’ve tried to make us a paper that talks the shit that needs to be talked, that speaks for the marginalized, and that’s out in the streets ducking tear gas with the rest of you,” the treasonous VanderHart wrote, adding: “Okay, and just one last thing, since it’ll be impossible for me to say at my new job: Fuck.”
Oh no!!!! Dirk, thanks for your years of service at the Mercury and for helping to keep Portland politics transparent. Good luck with your new job! Also, I’m pretty sure you can write “fuck” in an I, Anonymous if your fingers are ever itching to get back into the Mercury.
Your Hall Pass Please
Your dental sacrifice to the gods of karaoke is hereby rewarded, FYI, with the Mercury’s letter of the week—and two tickets to the beloved Laurelhurst Theater! Conveniently, the Laurelhurst is located right next to the former site of the original Chopsticks... so when you’re there, FYI, pay tribute. IN BLOOD.