Letters for the week of August 16-22, 2006 

Where were the examples? What is the difference? Who are you kidding? How original is that?

Page 4 of 5

Savage OFTEN makes me very angry ... but then I think of his honesty and I am disarmed. You don't spend much time in your article explaining how he worked tirelessly in the beginning of AIDS right alongside his gay male friends to help find a solution. He deduced that the bathhouses were largely responsible, and he's still RIGHT about that. Gay women were giving blood in barrels full to help gay men. I stopped because it was like throwing money away ... and blood is more precious than money. I've heard him say frequently that he has no ax to grind with two adults in a mutually chosen relationship.

Like him, I too get irritated with the gay brigade behavior. I know that science has not proven gay is genetic. However, running in the opposite direction as a "chosen lifestyle" is a bit off the mark too. There are no advantages to being gay except a lot of time on your hands to be successful in a chosen field.

His historical and cultural perspective is pretty darn on the mark. He's not a revisionist and I like this about him. It appeals to my pre-'70s college education.

He gets pretty angry that white men are bashed. I do have to say that in my own experience the nastiest things that have happened to me both personally and professionally have been by white males. Unfortunate but true, so I have to be honest.

As far as calling Allen Ginsberg the devil, I find that amusing. This notion that SOME teenage boys or young people may want a sexual relationship with an adult is lazy and stupid. Since when does any adult with half a brain give a kid something they want JUST BECAUSE THEY WANT IT? I haven't raised my own children, but I've participated in a lot of childcare in my family. Kids are always wanting what isn't safe or good for them.

PLEASE GIVE US SOMETHING NEW ON SAVAGE. Your article is bovine cud. It's already been chewed to death. Savage is a pain in the ass, but he isn't an idiot. Your article is nothing but an ax to grind with his popularity. If a throat cutter was coming at me, I'd step to Savage's side and not to some "Pollyanna" lib who wants to talk IT ALL OVER A LATTE. GEEZ, what happened to the working-class Democratic Party I grew up in from the '50s to the '70s? Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy were not weak-kneed. This is a big BITE in the SAVAGE BIT. Dissect his positions, NOT his past.

Everyone has a past, even you.
Marie Victoria, Berkeley

Such a thin skin
I am a former New Yorker, born and raised in Queens, now an "expat" living near Cincinnati. I have also been working within the radio industry, from the AOR-rock format to the current format evolution known as "active-rock," for nearly 35 years. However, my earliest memories of radio include talk giants Jean Shepherd (whom Savage dares compare himself to), Barry Farber, Bob Grant, and many others.

Long before Rush Limbaugh, talk formats were indeed a place where diverse opinion could be exchanged, along with topics from the bizarre to the comically entertaining. All existing within a climate of civility, in a world and nation that also was being torn apart. Remember 1968? I hear Savage/Wiener locally and evaluate his "program" as a radiophile and atypical Savage listener. At a time when the state of not only this nation, but indeed the world, demands the opposite, the kind of hate speech Savage spews is devoured by ever-increasing numbers.

The irony of his incredible ratings in New York on the same station which presents a host with a polar-opposite viewpoint [Lionel, WOR; where Jean Shepherd's compelling program aired nightly four decades ago], simply speaks to the notion that a radio company will broadcast ANYTHING within the bounds of FCC tolerance, to boost ratings. Savage is dangerous. I listen not because I agree with him, but because his program opens an otherwise closed door to a very different world than the one I exist in. The Savage Nation is populated predominantly by the disenfranchised "angry white man" (and some women) who are in need of a focus for their frustrated hatred. An all-too-familiar scenario that validates hatred and furthers the divide among the diverse soul of this country. Part of what I hear, from both sides of the political spectrum, is beyond simple partisanship. It is a fracturing of the culture, where accepting an opposing view means your viewpoint may be incorrect, or ... perhaps needs more thought and perspective. This segment of society simply can not admit to or accept that notion.

A fundamentalist believes without question, as do most of those who agree with Wiener. If someone is totally supportive of the Bush administration, to admit the failure of his policy is to also admit their own fallibility.

I think it's another dangerous and very sad commentary that this man is as popular as he is. Thanks for this very interesting and necessary article. I hope others find it as I have. I heard Savage reference a recent article on his show last night [7/24], and a Google search revealed yours to be the most recent. I'm assuming this is the story he was so angered by, suggesting the author sought no "positive" comments. Poor Michael. Such a thin skin. Another example of his damaged ego.
Joel Moss, Batavia, Ohio

"Need Work? Swear on the Dotted Line," Cityside, 7/19

Solutions for the oath
I understand Jackson's concerns about signing this oath — the practical point especially — could this be construed and/or used as a consent to enter the military? I worked for the County of Alameda for over seventeen years and I don't recall being required to sign such an oath, though it may have happened. I did avoid being fingerprinted for several weeks because I considered it to be degrading and criminal-oriented. The wording of the oath does raise serious concerns if someone thinks it through.

Mr. Jackson is a unique and original person and it is good, I think, that he has brought this to light. I have two solutions:

1) A person could sign the oath and add a statement similar to this on the paper: "My signature on this document shall not and may not be taken as consent to military service for myself. It is not necessary to take up arms and do other things involved in military service in order to 'support and defend the United States and California constitutions against all enemies foreign and domestic.' Indeed, to support and defend often means to watch out for political maneuvering that will undermine what is good, rather than to be sent to kill and die." (Notarizing might be added.)

2) The oath itself should be rewritten in a standard form that specifically states that signing the oath shall not and may not be taken as consent to military recruitment and/or military service, which is a separate matter form loyalty and support for state, country, and constitutions thereof.
Name withheld, Berkeley

"The Quick and the Dead," Feature, 7/26

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