Dueling messages

I spend a great deal of my time here at work combing through my e-mail. As I’m sure you can imagine, the inbox of the editor at a medium-sized alternative weekly newspaper can fill up fast, and you have to stay on top of such things before they get completely out of hand.

Many of these messages come from various mailing lists that I am put on, without anyone asking me whether I want to be on them. And the juxtaposition of two such mailing lists made me laugh my tail off during this one day in question last week.

First, I ran across a message from something called the Traditional Values Coalition. According to the signature at the end of the coalition’s e-mails, the group is “an inter-denominational public policy organization comprising over 43,000 member churches” based out of Washington, D.C.

Apparently, “traditional values” means “anti-homosexual to the point of obsession.” One e-mail I recently received from this group was headlined “President Bush Must Restore Ban on Gays in Military.”

Last I checked, there still was a ban, but hey …

The last e-mail I received from the group spoke out against tolerance, citing an example of a university student who claimed he was put in a mental ward after protesting against a school play that depicted Christ as a homosexual. The e-mail lacked any description of what the student did to be put in that mental ward. The e-mail ended with the sentence: “To be ‘intolerant’ of moral corruption is the most loving thing we can do as Christians.”

Am I the only one frightened by such a sentence?

A few e-mails after the “Traditional Values” screed, I ran across an e-mail from another list I did not ask to be on, this one from a group called “Squirt.”

This is how the e-mail begins:

“We are guys who love to cruise and—if we’re lucky—have sex with other guys. Unfortunately, cruising is still a risky business almost everywhere. That’s why we, at Squirt, try to provide you with the tools (no pun intended) you need for a hotter, safer cruising—which includes posting warnings provided by our own cruisy members. Go ahead, have fun, take care.”

“Cruising” refers to two men meeting in some public place—a rest stop, a bathroom, a park—and, well, doing what is explained above.


Talk about two completely different ends of the spectrum, two ends that I want to be about as far away from as possible … and I can’t help but laugh at the fact that these two groups both felt the need for me to be on their e-mail lists. I have never been happier to be a so-called centrist in my life.

Now, how to go about unsubscribing from these lists …

On a completely unrelated note, you may have noticed the absence of The Price Writes from the RN&R for the last month or so. This absence is due to the fact that the column’s author, Mike Price, has been having some near-crippling back problems—so bad, in fact, that he couldn’t sit in front of a computer long enough to write his column.

He was scheduled to go under the knife this week to correct the problem, and he pledges to be up and at ’em within a couple of weeks.

Shortly before his surgery, Mike wrote me a brief e-mail filling me in on the situation. He also posed the question: “What’s the Canadian word for banana?”

Um, well, anyway, we wish Mike the best and look forward to the RN&R’s contributing curmudgeon’s return to health.