[RE: Letters, "What's Entertainment?" July 8-14] While I do understand Chef Kent's concern that his advertising is being lost amongst the sex ads, his letter was unnecessarily condescending to strippers. I am both an artist and a stripper, and one does not make me more worthy as a human being than the other. I've worked hard at both professions, neither is easy, but both have brought great rewards. Stripping is hard work. It is fast money, but it is not easy money.
Stripping has allowed me time and money to spend on my artwork that an endless stream of art jobs never did. "Family" and "Stripper" are not mutually exclusive concepts; we are all related to somebody. At least two thirds of the strippers in this town are mothers, their jobs allowing them to both support their children and have the time to actually see them. Their money gets spent at local family venues. I myself have been a frequent customer at the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse. When I'm making money I go out for pizza and a green iced tea. When I'm not, I don't. We return more to the local economy than you realize.
The stripping industry certainly has its flaws, but we are not as sleazy and awful as we are in your imagination. Working within the diversity found in strip clubs has awakened me to hypocrisies and holier-than-thou judgments I didn't even know I held. I've met mean, lazy and selfish musicians as well as kind, compassionate and hardworking strippers. You simply cannot judge a person by their profession. It is a tired, old stereotype that women who work in the sex industry are a dark and seductive "other" out to wring the soul of families and the good of society. We are everyday people out there among you who would feel more comfortable admitting what we do for a living if we would just get some respect.
This is in response to "Chef Kent's" letter regarding the placement of your entertainment advertising [RE: "What's Entertainment?" July 8-14]. I agree with him in the opinion that the adult ads should be separate from the more family oriented, being that the Alibi has such a wide audience.
However, one thing did upset me, his extremely judgmental and stereotypical view of exotic dancers. I have been a dancer, or "stripper" as some so succinctly put it, for four years. Contrary to society's popular opinion I am not, nor will I ever be, a lazy, depraved, drug addicted slut. I have been happily married for six years and have two daughters. We have a nice house in the country and a wonderful family life. Dancing allows me the time and money to home school my children and give them all that they need. This is my choice. My other choice being to clean hotel rooms all day for $6 dollars an hour while my daughters languish in day care and have nothing to eat at home. Is this a more respectable or worthwhile job?
The majority of my co-workers are hardworking, self-respecting women who dance to support their families and/or pay their way through college. Dancing is one of the few blue collar jobs that pay enough to allow us to survive above the poverty line in today's economy. Just because we do not fit into a perfect moral standard, does not make us bad people.
So my message is this: Please do not, wittingly or unwittingly, mock and criticize those that you do not know or understand.
Guilt by Omission
[RE: "If At First You Don't Succeed Lie, Lie Again," July 1-7] While most of the information in this article can be found elsewhere, one part of the article was quite disturbing. In the second to last paragraph, Doland writes, "We now have a Muslim world so united in their anger at the occupation that terrorists are praised for murdering any Americans they can find, gleefully dragging their charred bodies through the streets."
Really? The entire Muslim world? I don't see any difference between this statement and the following: "We now have a Christian world so united in their anger at abortion clinics that extremists are praised for murdering any abortion clinic employees they can find." Both statements are ridiculous and naive. Perhaps in a future article, Doland can inform the Alibi readers of the evidence she used to form this sweeping statement about the Muslim world. Surely she wouldn't want to be accused of "lying by omission," would she?
Gwyneth Doland replies:
Point well taken. A better writer would have more clearly expressed how our administration's actions have resulted in an increase in anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, including more support for terrorist activities such as bombings and beheadings.
In the Alibi for the week of June 24-30, which is the week in which Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 opened, the Alibi's coverage of the film consisted of a capsule which stated that "people should see and judge for themselves." And, the icon for "alibi recommends" does not appear.
However, in the next issue [the Freedom Issue, July 1-7], you ran a full page article supporting the film. Furthermore, the accompanying film capsule now includes the "alibi recommends" icon.
What gives? Did you decide we couldn't be trusted to judge for ourselves after all? Or did you just remember that film critics always give their subjective opinion, regardless of the opinion of the reader? Either way, I'm a little disappointed that the Alibi hadn't decided upon an editorial stance for the film in time for its release, despite the long run-up. I'd be really disappointed if you simply delayed your support and recommendations for the film in order to have them coincide with the civil liberties cover story that the Alibi ran for the week of Fourth of July.
It's real simple. The distributor didn't offer a prescreening. We saw it on opening day and gave an opinion.
Coffee Shop Haiku
Hey Dude Ranch Dressing
I know you're in there—hiding behind the label
(detective eaters pay attention to the weight of the bottle, you know).
Ah, the white waterfall!
Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651.