Letters to the editor

Feeling anal about Henry Rollins article Plus: Lesbian vegetarian invites Laura Fraser to eat bugs; not so fast with the Giuliani plaudits.

Published January 11, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

The softer side of Henry Rollins


Not in a long time has a Salon piece so tweaked my last gay nerve as did Cintra Wilsons review of Henry Rollins one-man show (which I have not seen).

First, since when did the adjective "faggy" enter the lexicon of acceptable
descriptives? I doubt the phrases "Damn, those tacos are spic-ish" or "Yo,
let me get some of those nigger rib tips" would pass muster. So why did
"the faggy aspects of personal home design" fail to catch someones
editorial eye?

Then, Wilson says Rollins "makes a lot of gay jokes" in his show. Her example? "Orrin Hatch really needs a finger up his butt." My question to Wilson and Rollins, then, is this: why is sticking things up ones or anothers ass "gay," let alone a "gay joke"? Plenty of gay people I know, especially lesbians, dont insert anything up, near, or adjacent to their asses. Call me anal, but I dont find "fag" funny or penetration pertinent.

-- Erik Piepenburg

Right on Cintra! My stomach fluttered when I read your article. I too was won over by Hank's softer side during his last tour. Hank seems to embody what a lot of women want -- a hard-ass, testosterone-pumping machine that deep down wants the wife, the house and 2.5 kids. He not only appeals to women (my sister and I were wondering where our Henry Rollins is) but he also amazed my boyfriend and other male friends.

-- Jen Shaffer

Rudy's Right and Rosie's Wrong


Jonathan Foreman's a film critic for the New York Post? Wow, and so he's an
expert on social issues? Before reading this article [about N.Y. Mayor Rudy Giulianis policies on homelessness] I had assumed that Salon featured news articles written by journalists with well-researched opinions. I think that in the future, Foreman's views on anything but film should be confined to the columnists' section.

"A similar homeless policy has been in place in Suffolk and other New York counties for two years and not a single child has been taken away from its parents," states Foreman -- incorrectly. The following is a quote from the Dec. 20, 1999, New York Times ("In Suffolk, Shelter Rules Force Two Into Foster Care"):

"On Dec. 7, in the office of the Suffolk County Department of Social
Services in Coram, two caseworkers and four guards took Billy and Dillon
Engesser, ages 8 and 4, into foster care. Officially, their mother, Eve
Engesser, who is unemployed and homeless..."

Foreman talks about at least one interesting program, but his lack of
research (he can't even be bothered to look up the quote with which he ends his
article?) makes me doubt everything else he has to say. Maybe next time Salon should try reading the New York Post before hiring their writers. It's a mockery of a newspaper.

-- Bridget Borsheim

Giuliani's "mysterious ability to attract bad publicity" isn't mysterious; it's the product of distortions and outright lies by Hillary Clinton's friends in the media (like Rosie ODonnell) and the administration (like Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo).

-- Richard Solomon

Don't you realize that publishing such an insightful article as this will
reduce [Salons] stature as Clinton sycophants? I might even get to like you!

-- Andy Devlin

Why I stopped being a vegetarian

Maybe it's because I'm a lesbian. Maybe it's because I'm a vegetarian.
Whatever the case, I found Ms. Fraser's logic quite amusing if not oddly

An individual's choice is hardly enough evidence to dismiss or support a
dietary lifestyle. Fraser made a decision for herself which is fine
and good -- she seems wildly enthusiastic about her new expanded menu
options. However, Laura, please don't take yourself so seriously as to assume that
what is right for you is right for everyone else.

So you decided pancetta is rather tasty. Now your strangely closed-minded, not-too-creative, and somewhat overly sensitive friends can invite you for dinner without having to feel uncomfortable about the "odd" dietary lifestyle of their wacky friend Laura. (You make it sound as though being a vegetarian is something truly unique or different. It's not. Some
people eat bugs which to me is much more racy. Why don't you give that a

I must admit though, I was a little skeptical from the moment I read your
rather loose interpretation of vegetarianism -- what with the fish and all.
Laura, you can have your damn chicken and nobody will ever notice or care.

-- Kelly Klawonn

I'm not surprised, just disappointed with your willingness to post the
"Flesh is good!" article by Laura Fraser. The article peddled the same old
tiresome perceptions and myths about vegetarianism that one typically sees
in more mainstream media op-ed pieces.

Fraser comes across like one of those people who make a misguided or poorly
executed attempt to change something about themselves, give up, and then
subject those who succeed to mean-spirited and erroneous criticism. Fifteen years of being a quasi-vegetarian is experience, yes, but not authentic experience.

The Vegetarian Societys definition of "vegetarian" is someone who excludes
meat, fish and fowl from their diet, and who may include egg (ovo-) and
dairy (lacto-) foods or not (vegan). That definition's been around since
1847. Nowhere in there does it say to act morally superior toward others,
to criticize others' food choices with the effect of alienating or
embarrassing them, or in other ways to exhibit bad manners.

Vegetarianism is a choice, not a mandate. As a vegetarian, I try to be
considerate of others whenever I can, whether I'm the guest or the hostess.
If guests want to bring a cooked meat dish to my potluck or beef patties to
my grilling party, that's fine as long as they let me know ahead of time,
so it's easier to accommodate them.

Vegetarians can be overweight just like everyone else, for the same
reasons: overindulgence, malfunctioning body chemistry, poor food choices,
lack of exercise and so on. Vegetarians who eat a sensible diet with a
variety of foods never have to worry about getting adequate protein.

We live in a time when it's never been easier to eat vegetarian, find
information about vegetarianism and cook using some of the greatest
cookbooks ever written -- books that just happen to leave out the flesh. Why
do non-vegetarians feel so threatened by this difference? Why all of the
misinformation and defensiveness?

-- B. Byers

The hall of



Julian Rubenstein left off the sickest sports story of the year: NBC's
rehiring of Marv Albert for its NBA broadcasts, presumably making good on
its promise of two years ago -- "Don't worry Marv, we'll bring you back as
soon as the dust settles and them feminists have moved onto something else
to get their panties twisted up about."

Picture how supportive NBC would be of [NBC sports broadcaster] Hannah Storm if she attired herself in male garb -- say a jock strap and combat boots -- invited some bellboy into her hotel room under some
pretext, and proceeded to bite him 30-plus times, then admitted it in court but
denied it on the courthouse steps. Yeah, right. I'm sure they'd be
rehiring Hannah! Sick, sick, sick. What skeletons in the closet does Marv have
on NBC execs?

-- M.K. Landry

I liked the piece on the worst moments in sports in 1999. However, glaring in his omission was [Atlanta Braves pitcher] John Rocker. I realize that the column may have been written well prior to publication and prior to Rocker's homophobic and racist implosion. Nevertheless, his willing public display of stupidity, xenophobia and sheer idiocy deserves mention.

-- Gavin Fritton

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