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"Fausto Fernos is the most highly regarded species of human since the amoeba. His handshake alone is like greeting 10,000 years of human achievement."

Donations Talk

Comment on "A Zell of a Deal" by Ben Joravsky, The Works, January 3


"Zell... may have made a crucial misstep: he went to Blagojevich before talking to Daley."

Don't worry, Ben, Sam and Richie are communicating just fine, in the universal language.

Samuel Zell Revokable Trust

Two North Riverside Plaza

Chicago, IL 60606

Occupation: Chairman

Employer: Equity Group Investments

$100,000.00 11/21/2006 to Richard M. Daley Campaign Committee

Zell, Samuel

Two North Riverside Plaza

Suite 600

Chicago, IL 60606

Occupation: Chairman

Employer: Equity Group Investments

$10,000.00 2/21/2003 to Richard M. Daley Campaign Committee

$5,000.00 6/11/2002 to Richard M. Daley Campaign Committee


From the Obama Archives

I just read your story on Obama from 1995 ["What Makes Obama Run?" by Hank De Zutter, December 8, 1995; online at chicagoreader.com/obama/951208]. Reading these two quotes in a local paper from that long ago has reaffirmed my support a thousandfold:

"I am surprised at how many elected officials—even the good ones—spend so much time talking about the mechanics of politics and not matters of substance. They have this poker chip mentality, this overriding interest in retaining their seats or in moving their careers forward, and the business and game of politics, the political horse race, is all they talk about. Even those who are on the same page as me on the issues never seem to want to talk about them." —Obama

"It's as if it's his mission in life, his calling, to work for social justice.... I've known some of the most ruthless and biggest bullshitters out there, but I see nothing but integrity in this guy." —Johnnie Owens

Congratulations and thanks to the author and your publication for tracking this historic political movement at its genesis.


Is Savage Love So Hip It Hurts?

I'm referring to the Savage Love column, which I stopped reading a few years ago, because I didn't feel comfortable with [Dan] Savage's meanness in his responses to certain questions; this meanness was directed at the questioner or his/her religion. A few weeks ago, I took a second look, and there was the meanness again in his answer to a question, but to his credit, in response to his reader's feedback, the following week Savage admitted he can be an asshole.

Now let me be specific: the column in the Jan. 3 edition had a three-part question from "anonymous": "What is your definition of love?" "How do you know if you're in 'love'?" "How do you know if they're the 'one'?" Savage's response was that if your lover ejaculates on your face, and you don't clean it off, that's love. In reality, this question may well have been a hoax. If so, it appears Savage printed it just to take the opportunity to air his meanness.

But the bottom line is, when people have questions about sex, I believe the need to feel they're asking them in a safe place. Remember Dr. Ruth? She didn't bullshit, but you always felt humanized by her responses. On the other hand, if you think that my example of Savage's work is humanizing, then we may not share the same DNA. I think your premise and Savage's comes from the principle of freedom of speech; but you have to be naive or wet behind the ears to think that speech, especially hostile speech, is free—it has a polluting effect, and do we really need any more of that?

Finally, I believe Savage is the one who needs advice, and I'm not saying that to be a smart-ass; he has a lot to offer, and the meanness dilutes his gift. As for the Reader, I suggest the editors reconsider what is hip.

Michael Cain

Rogers Park

Two Ways About It

J.R. Jones ended his review of Charlie Wilson's War with the most stupid comment I ever saw a critic make: "But the legacy of the Afghan war is so ambiguous now that Sorkin and director Mike Nichols can't find a fixed perspective on Wilson's achievement, which seems alternately heroic, ironic, and tragic." This is exactly what Wilson's achievement was—all of these things. The movie is pretty clear about why the American involvement in the Afghan war could probably not have been any different from what it was. It is also crystal clear that America's not following up with support in Afghanistan after the war was a huge mistake. The movie portrays the richness of reality. It does not force a false, limited perspective about what happened.

This movie was made for adults, unlike most of the movies Mr. Jones likes. Adults should be able to think and deal with ambiguity. Certainly it is pretty much a cliche that there is ambiguity and differing perspectives in many great works of art (not a claim I make for Charlie Wilson's War). It is often said that the ambiguity in great works of art is what makes them great. I understand that movie critics must spend most of their time looking at products made for 12-year-olds, but they don't always need to think like them.

Peter Rekdahl


J.R. Jones replies:

The legacy of the Afghan war may be ambiguous, but Charlie Wilson's War is just incoherent. An artist can't render ambiguity, or much of anything, if he can't decide what he thinks about the subject.

Three Cheers for Feast of Fools

Comments on "Chasing the Bloggie" by Deanna Isaacs, The Business, January 3:


Fausto Fernos is the most highly regarded species of human since the amoeba. His handshake alone is like greeting 10,000 years of human achievement.

Patricia Fernos:

Fausto has been creating amazing images since he was a tiny tot and has been entertaining people since then too. I am amazed at the amount of work Feast of Fools takes on both his part and "husband" Marc's, but they love what they do and it shows.

Jim Pickett:

I love FOF. I have been blessed to be a guest on occasion and love the chance to chat with the boys about gay men's health, rectal microbicides, crystal meth, HIV prevention, and other random matter. They truly have created an online community and I love them love them love them, as do many, many, many others. Keep it up—and hey, when I am I coming back on the show? xxoo

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