The Mexican's Wife-Smacking Joke Went Too Far

I quote from "Ask a Mexican" (Aug. 9): "A Mexican man who allows his mujer a say--now I've heard everything! But she won't need the backside of your hand to see things your way."

I am not a frequent reader of this column, but I think it's a great idea: Create a space for "dumb questions"; provide information; increase understanding; clear up misconceptions; reduce hate. But the above jokes ... wow, especially the joke about spousal abuse. In this context, coming from the Mexican, it's just not funny.

It's not funny in this context, because the Mexican is a representative and a spokesperson. If his persona inhabited a different niche in the social order, a joke about spousal abuse might work. For example, if his persona was that of a "perennially disappointed outsider" (like Jon Stewart on The Daily Show), or "total idiot" (the character Sarah Silverman often plays in order to represent brutally stupid racism or classism), he could get away with many more jokes. But since the Mexican's persona is that of "authority" and "diplomat," there is going to be a lot less funny stuff at his disposal.

I really, really wish the Weekly had not published this wife-beating joke. I sort of can't believe it.

Cybele Knowles

Danehy Should Keep Bragging, Turn on the A/C

I've finally got it figured out: Tom Danehy is a braggart!

And that's not all bad. Actually I find myself agreeing with much of his bragging. Tom brags about his family a lot, and rightly so. His children are successful, well-mannered and respectful. I brag about our kids when they bring home an award or score a goal. Tom brags often about the sports teams he coaches, that they play the game with good attitude, well-developed skills and a proper sense of teamwork. I've coached basketball and soccer as well, and I know how hard it is to motivate youngsters these days. I'm with you, Tom!

Tom occasionally brags about growing up playing basketball in the 'hood. I remember many times where I was the pale face amidst a crowd of hoopster brothers. We hooped, Tom! Tom bragged recently about how he shamed thoughtless cell-phone idiots who disrupt folks in public waiting rooms (June 7). Man, I couldn't support you more with those efforts! You rock! Tom will mention his round body type and penchant for less-than-wholesome foods. I'm proud of my body, too, but I'd be more of a Stan Laurel to his Oliver Hardy, minus the cheesy fries. He also brags at every opportunity how he's never tried alcohol or drugs in his life. Good for you! I'd have to plead the Fifth.

Tom's most recent brag is where we go our separate ways: Tom bragged about not using his air conditioner in his car during the summer (Aug. 9). Are you nuts?! A/C is not a luxury; it is a necessity! I think the heat affected more than your CD collection!

As Ben Franklin said long ago, "Beer is God's way of telling us that he loves us." I'd have to feel he would have included air conditioning in that equation as well. Be cool!

Milo Borich

'Weekly' Needs Someone With Insightful Perspective, Not Danehy

I have lived in the downtown area, off and on, for 13 years. If I didn't wish for its decent future, I certainly would not have ventured into the morass of Danehy's recent piece (Aug. 2), where he plays the mock goon full of himself and the deluded animal aggravated by a few thorns stuck in his jockstrap.

In this latest scribbled evidence for a future insanity plea, Danehy speculates on what he might accomplish with a writing nook in, say, the Steinfeld Warehouse. May his nook dream be fulfilled! For those of us subjected to his juvenility and various athletic absurdities, we fervently hope that such isolation inspires the collapse of the iconic basketball hoop on his head.

From his swollen head, radiating outward to other parts of downtown, I think we can make some great improvements. The Weekly should seek out insightful perspective on the downtown area: Please, let's not finger Danehy for this important task.

Samuel Johnson

Claim: Fundamentalist Churches Are Slandering by Misrepresenting Facts

I am responding to the letters from two gentlemen in the Aug. 2 issue of the Weekly regarding The Cool Church and the issue of homosexuality ("Even Though We Equate Homosexuality With Sinning and Pedophilia, We Do So Lovingly," and "Claim: If You Believe in the Bible, You Think Homosexuality Is Bad," Mailbag, Aug. 2). Both men are missing the point: The storm over this did not arise because of The Cool Church's moral objection to homosexuality, but because of how the church uses data to characterize homosexuals on its Web site.

They are misusing and abusing published information on homosexuality and using misinformation generated in unscientific ways by Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute. For example, their Web site indicates that the rate of homosexuality is 1-2 percent. In the last two decades, more than two dozen studies have generated data that can be used to assess this rate. Each study asks several types of questions regarding sexual behavior or sexuality. For the rate of homosexuality, conservative Christian churches reference rates that are the lowest among more than 100 published values that are available. Cameron himself determined the rate to be 5.5 percent in his Ph.D. dissertation, and he does not use that figure, because using 1 percent allows him to increase the rate of health, criminal and moral difficulties experienced by homosexuals by a factor of 5.

This is just one example of the many ways in which Cameron and conservative Christians misuse and abuse data. Using data and information in this way is a form of slander, and this is the real issue here. Slander is considered a sin in the Bible, and it is just as great a sin to slander those you consider morally objectionable as it is those you consider morally upstanding.

Norman M. Meader

Healthy Heteros Shouldn't Worry About Homosexuals

Religious fundamentalists tend to assume that they possess inerrant understandings of "the inerrant Word of God" and that they are appointed to speak for God and for all "true" members of their faiths.

However, many Christians understand and relate to the Bible differently and are capable of distinguishing between consensual and nonconsensual behavior, between loving behavior and crime, and they do not take it upon themselves to demand lifelong sexual abstinence and celibacy of neighbors unlike themselves. Religious fundamentalists inevitably fail to grasp that in making their religions about other people, they make their religions the business of those other people. And when the targets of their insulting and destructive judgments respond with anger, they inevitably believe that they, themselves, are the poor, aggrieved, misunderstood victims of persecution.

Sexual orientation is the part of one's core identity related to sexual love, not a matter of choice (like religion). Healthy heterosexuals do not spend their time obsessing about homosexuality, homosexuals or the supposed sexual sins of others (like Ted Haggard). There are some dramatically different understandings of what it means to "miss the mark."

Terry Towne

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