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"Love is more than skin-deep, but hey, skin is the first layer. It's hard to completely ignore."

In Praise of Harold

The recent lightening of the Reader masthead drives me to add comment to the already considerable response [Letters, December 13; also chicagoreader.com]. We all live and consume in a media world. Whatever our personal or professional interpretation of that world might be. With a little effort we can see different perspectives of what makes up and determines that world. In this case, the newspaper, its history, its sale, and the reconfiguration. Not to mention the financial and media environment it populates. The new owner's views on surviving in the environment will direct the living and working of that newspaper. As it is in any company or industry.

The absence of the four recently laid off writers—Steve Bogira, John Conroy, Harold Henderson, and Tori Marlan—will be felt. As I'm sure have the layoffs and departures of previous staffers.

With such hardworking talent, it's unlikely they won't land with their hands on the keyboard. So a quick observation about one writer, Harold Henderson.

A search of the [20-year online] archive makes clear his output. A search of "Harold Henderson" brings up 1,405 hits: cover features, inside features, restaurant boxes, City Files, calendar sidebars, Field & Streets, These Parts, essays, years in review, Critic's Choices, Snips, Our Towns, and perhaps summing up, Miscellany. A combined search of his name and "feature" brings up 165 hits. My guess is Mr. Henderson enjoyed and flourished in the forum the newspaper offered. My second guess is that the writer needs the Reader less than the paper needs people who will fill the space vacated.

Aside from the obvious curiosity and engagement that drives such a writer, something anecdotal comes to mind. A few years ago, I attended a Reader Book Swap at the Logan Square Auditorium [November 2006]. While browsing the book tables, I heard someone call out "Harold." A bearded man in a Reader shirt carrying a large stack of books was hustling from table to table. Were it not for the shirt and the name, I might have thought it was merely a voracious reader taking more than his share.

One of the most prolific writers for the Reader distributing books for a room full of local readers at a Reader event. Only circumstance and a writer's involvement could construct such an accurate visual metaphor.


The Dope-Dough Equation

This letter is in response to the articles appearing recently regarding the Mitchell report, which detailed the scope of steroid use in Major League Baseball [Hot Type, December 13: the Sports Page blog, December 14].

What drives the use of steroids in sports? Is it the obsessive desire to obtain millions of dollars and celebrity at the expense of an even playing field? Or is there a more serious underlying problem with entertainment in general?

One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host, team owner, etc, brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted, they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and tribulations, as did the jesters in the king's court during the Middle Ages. But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable.

Our society is also subjected to the "profound wisdom" of these people because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this problem and an alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe, and shelter those who cannot help themselves would be to tax this undeserved wealth.

Entertainers could keep 1 percent of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor and 99 percent could be deposited into the public coffers.

The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment above everything else; isn't it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.

Joe Bialek


Comments below culled from our Web site, chicagoreader.com.

Breaking News

Re The Works by Ben Joravsky, December 13

This isn't correct: "Other than Eighth Ward alderman Michelle Harris, whose committeeman is Todd Stroger, Waguespack's the only City Council rookie not running for committeeman."

Is Brendan Reilly running for committeeman in 42? Um, no he isn't.

47th Ward

"Um, no he isn't"—[only] as of yesterday [December 12], according to his office. Brendan Reilly filed his nominating petitions on November 5, and was in the 42nd Ward committeeman's race when we published this story.

Ben Joravsky

Ben should be forgiven for getting the Reilly part of it wrong. Reilly just filed his official withdrawal papers yesterday, and the Cook County Clerk's office hasn't updated their Web site yet.

Dave Clarkin

Big Fat Debate

Re Savage Love by Dan Savage, December 6

All these weepy fat ladies need to get over themselves. If you can't take someone telling you're fat ... um ... I guess you'll just have to be fat forever and everyone will have to pretend not to notice.

I also find it interesting that everyone defends the feelings of the overweight "woman," but not the feelings of the fit man who feels the need to drug himself to have sex with the person he loves and is frightened to say anything for fear of hurting her. Love is more than skin-deep, but hey, skin is the first layer. It's hard to completely ignore.


Face facts. We Americans are pigs. We consume far more than our share of the world's resources, and we have super-sized ourselves into being statistically the FATTEST PEOPLE OF ANY NATION IN THE WORLD.

But are we willing to face this reality? No, we respond to it by embracing rank idiocies like "fat acceptance" and waging a stupid and futile emotional war against reality. It's the same psychology that put George Bush in the White House, a pathological American need to avoid the truth and embrace BULLSHIT.

But the reality is simple. If you can't keep yourself in reasonable shape for your spouse, you are a self-centered FATASS, period.


It's nobody's job (male or female) to change their body to please someone else. In a mature relationship where you learn to see your partner of either sex as a whole person instead of a pinup for your pleasure, you will generally be able to find something attractive about them even when they no longer look like they're 17.


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