Letters and Comic
Reading this paper is like going home and I’m happy to be here.
Life is not a fairy tale, Ashley. This is the real deal.
The beauty of art is that it reflects even the most roguish truths of life.
Feels like home
I read with concern your letter to The Rogue Voice editor [“Backwards tripe,” November 2007]. I’ve worked out in gyms and I know that many of the men and women who go there may as well be going to a bar or nightclub. Gyms can be a place for a person to show their stuff and meet potential mates. Gyms today even serve beer and wine.
I don’t see the Rogue as glorifying “oppression” of women. That comment from you seems a little rash. These stories describe life as it is. You mentioned men objectifying women. I know some men who would feel that I’ve objectified them too, and they would be right. Life is not a fairy tale, Ashley. This is the real deal.
Apparently you feel the Rogue writers are all sexist male homophobes. I believe that I write with what you describe as a “roguish voice” and I am a woman. When I read this paper it is like I am going back in time to a place where being politically correct is not the primary goal. It’s a place that is comfortable and familiar to me, where I read words written by people who describe characters who are like those I have known and loved, my friends, my family, myself. I drift back to a simpler place, where the feelings are raw, whether good or bad, and I can feel them, deeply. Reading this paper is like going home and I’m happy to be here.
There’s so much to discover in this world, Ashley. There’s no need for you to wallow here with us. We want you to be happy. Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
South SLO County
Life’s roguish truths
Your recent letter to The Rogue Voice claimed that all of its writers are “sexist, homophobic men.” Really? Did you not notice that the very same issue you scorned so disgustedly featured two local artists who happen to be women? I’m sure that Lisa Terranova and Doris Loiseau would appreciate a little recognition from you, Ashley.
You also assessed that all of The Rogue Voice writers “seem to believe that discourse on sexuality means objectifying women and bashing homosexuals.” I shall assume that you missed my piece in the August issue [“Fear and flogging in Las Vegas], in which I wrote about exploring the culturally imposed bounds of my own sexuality. I am a woman, I wrote about sexuality, and I did so without berating homosexuals or seeing myself as a mere object for a man’s desires. Rogue women do exist in the pages of The Rogue Voice, Ashley, despite your vitriolic attempts at ignoring us.
While I may agree with you when you state that women “don’t walk down the street for men to objectify them,” I feel strongly that censoring the rawness of reality from print publications will not make them go away. Nonfiction literature is not intended to make you feel safe walking down the street, Ashley. The beauty of art is that it reflects even the most roguish truths of life. Men objectify women; women objectify men. Your distaste for these facts of human nature does not excuse you from slinging ad homonyms at rogue writers just because we tell it like it really is, and not as your rose-tinted spectacles would have you see.
Try a book or two
New Times arts editor Ashley Schwellenbach’s long letter might be further proof that our world has in fact entered a strange alter-universe causing humans to actually lose their ability to discern between truth and fiction—meanings become reversed and reality inverted. (Ho, Ho, Ho.) I thought she had some momentum for the first few lines, but was disappointed when she suddenly took a zealous tone, then promptly veered off the track to enter an extended diatribe concerning the dialogue and points of view expressed by a character in a story. The truth became apparent. Poor Ashley. Another victim of the bizzarro-language-universe disconnect. Holding the Rogue’s feet to the fire for homophobic, or any other views expressed in “story” is the same as saying New Times is homophobic or misanthropic for printing letters to the editor that reflect such views. I suggest that Ashley try reading a book or two. Maybe start out with something easy. Beautiful Joe might be a good one—favorite when I was a kid—remember that one?—nothing too naughty—bad guy cuts the dog’s ears and tail off—that one got me oh yeah.
Morro Bay, Calif.
Thank you, Ashley
Dear Rogue Voice:
Ashley Schwellenbach’s accurate critique of The Rogue Voice was insightful and refreshing, and a long time coming, thank you very much. It’s time somebody who can actually write put in words a per-fect capsule of this amateurish rag, and we’re glad a professional from a legitimate paper (with stuff you can actually read), New Times, did so.
Doug and Anne
Flab-boys and feminists
Dear Rogue Voice readers:
Three months ago I infiltrated The Rogue Voice hierarchy with my pro-SLO-values article, “In defense of the SLO life.” Two months later I hit them again with “A response from Duane Hagabee” by Duane Hagabee, which they conveniently re-titled [“Your port of sunlight,” November 2007] to suit their agenda. It didn’t stop me from making an impact. Like-minded readers began sending in letters, and a conservative physician even wrote a piece ripping socialist flab-boy Michael Moore a new one. Most recently Ashley Schwellenbach from the Christian publication New Times chimed in with a scathing letter calling out The Rogue on its counter-progressive attacks on hetero-normativeness. Not surprisingly, she was pounced on for voicing her opinion and subsequently invited to partake in the chemical pleasures of a so-called “Rogue party.” Could there have been a more sexist response?
Ashley’s intelligent letter simply echoed what I and others have been saying all along about The Rogue “writers.” They think just because they experience something that we need to hear all the details. Being a freelance writer myself I can offer some advice so they can avoid negative backlash in the future from discriminating readers like Ashley.
First, keep it local. In SLO we like to hear about SLO and don’t need to be reading about some fitness gym in Santa Cruz from a guy named Talmage Jarrattee. Keep your Santa Cruz stories up in Santa Cruz with your overflowing dumpsters and giant raccoons. Is Santa Cruz on the list of America’s most livable cities? SLO is. If you want to write something, write about that.
Secondly, steer clear of conflict. In Jarrattee’s story [“Tiger wins again!” October 2007], he had a black man arguing with white women over a TV station. Well, he missed a perfect opportunity to show racial harmony. Instead of an argument full of racist, homophobic, sexist terms, the characters could have calmly discussed their problems in clear English and in the process learned about each other’s cultures. The story could have ended with a compromise where they watched a cooking show about ribs or a benefit golf tournament for menopausal hormone therapy. Maybe during this dialogue the black man drops his towel, and in a typical SLO pay-it-forward act of kindness, everyone in the gym runs to pick it up for him. Realizing they can’t all pick up the towel, it causes great humor in the story. Oh I forget, this story was in Santa Cruz.
Another option is to make characters less stereotypical. Make the black man rational and articulate while making the aging women less emotional and physically repulsive by giving them breast lifts and erasing their crow’s feet. Or, make the women masculine and trans-gendered while making the man effeminate and homoabnormative. After the story is properly resolved, you never know what could happen between them. I don’t know about Santa Cruz, but in SLO we are very diverse and have few taboos.
Unfortunately, the closest Ashley Schwellenbach will come to finding feminist thinking in The Rouge Voice will be in the writings of yours truly. There she will find happy endings, romance, family, marriage, and frequent references to things like skin care, crystal aromatherapy, and Sex and the City. At least there’s one Rogue Voice writer able to keep SLO women uplifted like the beautiful, tender butterflies they are, fluttering freely in the safe, clean skies above SLO.
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Let’s go hunting
To The Rogue Voice:
After reading Duane Hagabee’s second article[“Your port of sunlight,” November, 2007], I can say I am happy he is now writing for your rag, though I am starting to wonder about Duane, even if I do agree with most of his conservative values. When he referred to me in his own mind (he’s never met me) as a “large, broad-shouldered man with rough hands and a musky North County odor,” I got the creepy-crawlies, and so did my wife, Abigail. Also, the way he backed down like a sissy from that black man who stared at him in the supermarket, well, I was wondering if I shouldn’t try and get a-hold of him for a hunting trip, which I wanted to do. The real way to judge a man, in my book, is go hunting together, but I’m not sure I want to be alone with Duane Hagabee.
But keep on writing, pard.
Paso Robles, Calif.