Try a Little Tenderness | Letters | Chicago Reader

Try a Little Tenderness 

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Hey editor,

I have a real problem with your new feature "Savage Love." What is the point of addressing the letters with "Hey, Faggot"? When I first saw this, the feeling I got was identical to what I've experienced in the past when I see people taunted by morons because they're "different." I felt betrayed by the Reader, because as a Chicagoan, the Reader has become a valuable guide to the "human" side of Chicago. But any way you slice it, "Hey, Faggot" is dehumanizing. I could not see you getting away with a similar column with letters addressed "Hey, Nigger" or "Hey, Kike" or "Hey, Bitch." Maybe this is an indication of how low gays are on the totem pole.

It has occurred to me from the beginning that "Hey, Faggot" was an inside reference that I wouldn't be privy to because I wasn't gay or "hip" enough. So I put it to a gay friend of mine. When I told her about a feature promoted as "Advice for the Lustlorn," she chuckled, and when I told her about letters addressed "Hey, Faggot," she screamed "WHAT?" She said there may be a group within the gay community that thinks this kind of self-scorning is hip, but in the end, it is offensive, and certainly not what you'd expect from the Reader. As for "hipness," I'm reminded of a documentary in which the trumpet player Wynton Marsalis was instructing a young student. After listening to him play, he said, "You must be a hip person! A hip person is somebody who could've been hit by a car, but you wouldn't know it, because he's so cool, he's not going to show you his feelings. Play with feeling!"

So in conclusion, I would much rather see the Reader be feeling instead of hip, not just for my sake, but for your own and your readers. In reality, I know "Hey, Faggot" will remain in the Reader regardless of my opinion, but if you want to surprise me, I won't stop you.

Michael Cain

N. Bosworth


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