I agree with the general thesis that the message was muddled, although I disagree that there was no message at all ["Hard to Port!" News, Dec 15, recapping Occupy Portland's action at the Port of Portland]. The tactic is an old one, an attempt to show Those-Who-Own-for-a-Living that they are entirely reliant on Those-Who-Work-for-a-Living, not vice versa as politicians often like to declare in order to justify their constant kowtowing to the so-called "job creators." That said, not a lot of the general public bought or understood that analysis, and with mixed messages coming from the unions, it's not hard to see why the port shutdown was an imperfect action. If no one understands why you're blockading and striking, no one will side with you.

-posted by working class zero


DEAR MERCURY—In response to Sexual Politics ["Transgender Tweens," News, Dec 15, a Q&A with the director of the TransActive transgender youth nonprofit, regarding the optimal age at which to begin working with transgender youth]. When I was a girl, I liked to pretend to be a boy. If my folks lived somewhere like Portland, I may have been treated like there was some serious existential angst behind it, and been given puberty-blocking hormones. I'm glad that didn't happen. I understand transgender issues are important, but we're talking about kids here! Please folks, don't damage children by appeasing their young-minded desires—leave sex-changing medical decisions for adulthood when they have the ability to think critically about what they're doing. If my desires had been taken seriously at 12, I would have a Spice Girls tattoo! Eww!

-Lu Lu


When I first moved to Portland I was shocked at the number of strip clubs infesting what was an otherwise beautiful city ["Strip Maul," Feature, Dec 15, an outsider's account of her tour of popular Portland strip clubs]. As a woman with a high degree of self-respect, the misogynistic frat-boy mentality of the men in this town was appalling. Any time I'm in the vicinity of a strip club, men seem to think it's a license to ogle and make crude suggestions. This article trivializes a sad, exploitive industry catering to socially immature males who can't form normal relationships with women.

-posted by feminitsche

Strippers are professionals, doing work that pays better than most other jobs they could find in Portland ["Strip Maul," Feature, Dec 15]. If they do it well, more power to them. As a group, they are "exploited" only in the sense that anyone who does something for work that he wouldn't do for free is exploited. That covers most of us, I think. The critical comments here mostly seem to reflect a visceral discomfort with sex, wrapped in superficially plausible self-justifications. If you don't like strip clubs, don't attend—but it's absurd to critique them on the grounds that the girls only strip because they're paid to. That's how every other business in town works, too.

-posted by Quadrant


DEAR MERCURY—Wrapping children's Christmas presents with the pages of the Mercury is like masturbating in the woods: At first it feels good, but then you come to the primal understanding that you're exposing something good and pure to a sweaty, adolescent wonderland. My nephew must have a pile of faded Devils Point ads hidden under his mattress that gets sorted and rearranged on a nightly basis when the house falls quiet. Thank you Mercury for helping me over-sex the youth of America.

-Rob Pellicer

YOU ARE QUITE WELCOME Rob, although if your brother or sister ever asks, it is not our fault and it was all your idea. In the meanwhile, you get two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where the range of cinematic options includes good, pure, sweaty, and adolescent varieties.