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Letters for June 26, 2003

Left her sense of humor at home: Upon reading the article "Olive Spoil" (June 12) by Jen Karetnick, I was deeply troubled by the reckless abandon displayed throughout. As an African-American who has attended ePoetry at the Wet Olive, I was completely appalled by the not-so-veiled attempt to vilify the organizers of this event. It is one thing to be uncomfortable in a room of people with different backgrounds and cultures, but to use your own residual fear of the unknown and try to label it as reverse racism is completely and utterly unacceptable. OK, so she uses the opening line of a risqué poem to draw readers into her article... Journalism 101. But instead of writing a sincere piece about urban professionals gathering at a contemporary restaurant to share and listen to erotic poetry, she chose to write what I consider to be a mean-spirited piece of fluff fueled by her own insecurities and inhibitions.

The mere fact that she referred to the condoms that were given out as "Rasta-colored" begs the question as to what her true concern really was. The comments about her race were completely tongue-in-cheek. She was not the only Caucasian person present, and to be quite honest, the setting was light and upbeat... basically equivalent to that of a comedy show. I take great offense to the fact that Ms. Karetnick referred to ePoetry as "Sex and the City" set to a "rap cadence." From this, am I to assume that all black people listen to rap music or that all black people are Rastafarians? The fact that she waited until the end of the article to comment on the food confirms to me that she really wasn't interested in attacking the restaurant. She was interested in attacking the event because someone hurt her feelings. Well boo-hoo, Ms. Karetnick. Perhaps the event organizers will put up a disclaimer for people like you that reads: "Leave Your Inhibitions at the Door."

Micheale Washington

Pompano Beach

An ePoetic existence: I'm white, and I get ePoetry. Admittedly, the author, Jen Karetnick, doesn't understand much about the black experience, but my question is, has she tried to? I was one of those "white folks by the window" that night at the Wet Olive but certainly didn't feel the same racially charged energy that Ms. Karetnick and her group experienced. But then again, I also know that sex in all of its manifestations has always been a part of the black experience. Yes, at times the poetry didn't leave much to the imagination, but neither does prime-time television, and at least the event was labeled with the e for erotic in front of poetry.

Poets told poignant stories of the struggles of fatherhood and the beauty of monogamous love, and there was a female poet who challenged her male counterparts to step up to their responsibilities. These themes were addressed as clearly and as frequently as were the sexual poems -- although our author may have missed those while sucking down drinks, gorging on appetizers, and trying to nail down her waitress. My wife and I skipped dinner that evening. After indulging in the verbal experience, we went home and worked on what we learned. Sounds like Ms. Karetnick should have stuck around a little longer -- maybe even have taken notes.

Jon Nieman

Pompano Beach

Uptight and pretentious, maybe, but talented: Since when is it a literary requirement that poetry be "serious," and who the hell walks into the Wet Olive, at Federal Highway and Oakland Park Boulevard, and seriously expects to hear "Neo-formalist poets"? And if her ear is so discriminating, why not ask at the door what the night is all about? I'm positive no one at the door misled Ms. Karetnick into thinking that Wednesday night at the Wet Olive was about "serious, Neo-formalist poetry."

Ms. Karetnick is all dry. Literary history is replete with tongue-in-cheekness, raunchiness, naughtiness, and straight-up dirtiness in every culture -- even by some authors whom Ms. Karetnick might recognize: Ovid, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Marquis de Sade, the Kama Sutra, etc. There have been some excellent ePoets. There have been some sexy poets at ePoetry. There have been some irreverent, lewd, lascivious, lustful, and indecent poets -- all protected by the First Amendment. I really feel sorry for Ms. Karetnick's companions on the night she walked into the Wet Olive. What a boring experience, sharing dinner with such an uptight, pretentious, haughty character.

Anna Torres

West Palm Beach

But whose? I am counsel for Rozanne Sonneborn and Michelle Subwick. I read the article titled "How Much Does Credibility Cost?" (Wyatt Olson, June 12) and noted that there are two errors regarding my clients' cases:

First, the article states that Ms. Sonneborn was fired "a couple of months" after she objected to the inclusion of Bible quotations in her pay envelopes. In fact, it was a matter of days. Second, the article states that Ms. Subwick "had witnessed another employee being accused of having allowed Satan to 'infiltrate' her life." This is incorrect. As is set forth in her complaint, this statement was made to Ms. Subwick about her, not another employee.

Please take whatever steps are necessary to correct these errors.

David Spalter, Esq.

Law Office of David H. Spalter, P.A.

Via the Internet

His kid is no rude boy: I started to read the article "Little League at 60 mph" (June 5) by Eric Alan Barton with great enthusiasm but was later disappointed and concerned. First, let me point out that I have been involved with this sport for at least 26 years, and my son is a third-generation karter in the cadet class. He was also the winner of last year's event at Jacksonville for the cadet class.

The problems noted were "$10,000 for a cadet kart." No way; a complete cadet kart will cost you only $2,400 to about $3,600. Karting is one of the cheapest motor sports available. Fifty thousand in expenses? Maybe if we all flew first-class and lodged at five-star hotels. As for the mechanic's costs, I do all the work for my son's kart, as do many other parents; it's no big science. This helps my son and me get closer. The best thing for me is that at the end of the day, he always says, "Thanks, Dad."

As for the bumping, that really hit home. My son races in that class and is one of the many conscientious kart racers who never consider hurting anyone on the track. I would hate to see a driver get hurt because someone thought that bumping is the right thing to do. To hear that other driver(s) may believe that is an option is unacceptable. This is karting, not NASCAR. During a race, any driver found bumping intentionally is disqualified from the race. Presenting the bumping fact in the article as if it were common among kart racers is misleading. As for the number of deaths and injuries, I have never heard or seen those numbers stated.

I can go on and on here, but in essence the article contained many misleading issues and could have been well-presented if your reporter would have done proper research with experienced karters. Many experienced karters who were present at Jacksonville would have been able to provide a good background in karting. What we have here is a black eye for karting families throughout the United States.

Steven Quinones

Pembroke Pines

Outing vicissitudes: It was fascinating to see the twists and turns that "Out with the Truth, 1-3" took (May 8-June 5). It reminded me of watching an idea get turned into a piece of legislation and then become law: By the end, you don't even recognize things.

I must say that I agree with Norman's first column. I'm not sure if you "outed" Foley -- because I don't know what it takes for something like that to be official -- but he made a good point: When a politician makes sexuality an issue, then the public has the right to know everything.

Duane Bonifer

Via the Internet

Outing Bob Norman: I understand one of your writers believes it's the right of the public to know whether Rep. Mark Foley is gay or not ("Out With the Truth, Part 2," Bob Norman, May 22). Well, it's none of his damn business or your newspaper's business either! If Mr. Norman believes it is his right to know, I suggest he start the ball rolling and explain some of his own sexual practices.

Cary Adams

North Hollywood, California

Outing Bob Norman's greatness: Bob Norman is a great columnist. I appreciate his candor and willingness to tell it like it is. Hope to see something from him soon about the FCC and that lousy son of Colin Powell's.

Stephanie Desir-Jean

Via the Internet

Outing sarcasm: Of course, if Mark Foley were a Democrat, this article would never have been written, right? So much for "tolerance" by a media liberal.

Rich Conklin


Outing sarcasm, part 2: Hey, Bob: I like to masturbate while watching Cirque du Soleil, and I have reason to believe that Carrie Meek does too. I sure wish she would come out about it so that I could feel more comfortable with my decision to tell you this. I thought that we had established during Billary Clinton's eight-year orgy that the sex life of politicians was not our business. I think we should respect Mr. Foley's privacy and let gay kindergartners find another role model.

Stephen Lezcano

Delray Beach

Outing the doctor, the garbageman, and the candlestick maker: Foley's coming out would not serve his interests. How hard is that to understand? His coming out would have very little impact on Bob Norman's life. Norman reported that Foley's being gay has "been widely speculated and mumbled about for so long, and yet it's not hurt him," so what he really wants is not for him to come out but to come out Norman's way.

Does Mr. Norman demand that actors come out of the closet? Doctors? Garbagemen? Sports personalities? And why not? They all have an impact on your life. And they are all role models as well. Foley's voting record speaks for itself. If he can win election based on that, then who really cares how out he is?

I know I don't want the government to regulate what I do in my bedroom with my husband. I also know I don't want Bob Norman attempting to do the same.

Stephen Roberts

Winter Park


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