Connie Tuttle's Sept. 25 column, "Best of Gender," touched a few nerves. Many folks didn't recognize the column was satirical; others did and still didn't like it. A few letter writers even went so nuts that they, well, ironically provided evidence to back up Connie's satirical argument. Here are some of the letters we received, followed by Connie's response.
Women Excel in Vindictive HostilityTo the Editor,
Connie Tuttle's "Best of Gender" article neglected one quality females excel in: vindictive hostility. And Connie is our queen.
I don't know if it's her time of the month, or if she has suddenly found herself single, but as the mother of a little boy who has a penis that resembles "animal scat," I'm upset enough to write this letter in an attempt to undo some of her damage.
The polio vaccine? Discovered by (drum roll) a man. Automobiles? A man. The typewriters and keyboards Connie uses to earn a living? A man. The person who helped me bring into the world my most important reason for living? A man.
It's a shame to have a wonderful opportunity to reach so many people with your words, as Connie does, and waste it with childish ranting. (Don't you have a special issue for that?) I hope one day Connie is blessed with the miracle of a son. At that point, my deepest desire is that she re-reads her article and realizes what an ass she has made of herself. Hopefully she will still be writing for The Weekly, so she can issue an apology to all the women and mothers out there who love and respect their men. Hopefully I will still be reading The Weekly to see it.
Cut off Your Penises and Send 'Em to ConnieTo the Editor,
I wish to express my sympathy to Connie Tuttle for what she must be going through. It really must have been a nasty break-up. I have had uncharitable thoughts about the fairer gender during such times. I think perhaps a cup of hot cocoa and a nice, 10-day woman's retreat in the White Mountains is just the thing for her. And while we're at it, as a gesture of true repentance for the unfortunate inheritance of that nasty-wasty Y-chromosome, I call upon as many men as possible to Bobbitize themselves and mail the spoils to Tuttle to help ease her through this rough time.
The Truth: All Us 'Weekly' Guys Hate OurselvesTo the Editor,
Sometimes I read The Weekly and I just scratch my head. I know you go to all the trouble to write it and publish it, but I'm never quite sure if you want us to take you seriously. I also wonder how Jimmy Boegle, Tom Danehy, Jim Nintzel and Chris Limberis feel about Connie Tuttle's opinion that the Earth would be a better place if they all disappeared ASAP!
As I read her piece. I was trying to figure out what level it was written on. Is she trying to be funny, satirical or just ideological? I couldn't tell for sure. As a 56-year-old male who is beset by doubts, fears and anxieties, I can't tell you how much I admire Tuttle for her certainties of what is right and wrong with the universe. I wonder if her wisdom makes her life easier--or more difficult?
Ideologues are so loveable.
And Up Yours in the Nicest Possible Way!To the Editor,
Reading Connie Tuttle's article today (twice) convinced me that she not only is a hateful person but also a very egotistical person. I know that this might come with the territory and being assertive about one's life choices is considered courageous.
However this article was way out of line.
Previously, I have enjoyed quite a few of her articles; they gave me a different perspective on life.
I run an organization that has more than 1,000 members, most of them very conservative, most of them over the age of retirement. They have nothing better to do than read and form opinions about how they want to spend their retirement. At our last meeting, we discussed getting the Tucson Weekly in for another viewpoint, to maybe stimulate conversation on some of the more controversial views of the Tucson Weekly's writers.
I can't speak for every member, but personally I'll never pick up another Tucson Weekly. I hope that your father, brother(s), cousin(s), uncle(s) and male friend(s) are very proud of the stand you have taken on "progressive feminism." (No, that particular hate crime does not deserve to be capitalized.) I also hope that all the accolades due you are coming from your friends who have read this article and agree with your point of view.
Oh, and on a personal note, from this one male, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and soon to be grandfather, and I hope from a lot of other males out there: Fuck you, bitch, and fuck the paper that lets you write such hateful shit, then prints it.
I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Your Satire Was Over the Top, ConnieTo the Editor,
I assume that Connie Tuttle's column was tongue-in-cheek, and I should not have felt goaded into any sort of response. But, even IF it was all in fun, I found it offensive.
I have shown the article to several friends of the opposite sex, and they all agree: It's over the top. The racist joking I was exposed to as a child in the Deep South was probably no more offensive to African Americans than this was to me. I do hope it was sarcasm, but, if so, it was not clear enough to me.
I guess that we should contact Webster's and demand that "misogyny" also be an applicable term for women who hate men.
'Joking' About Other Groups Wouldn't Be ToleratedTo the Editor,
I was amazed to see a column in The Weekly openly promote hatred towards part of our community. That type of language would never be considered acceptable (or humorous) directed at other groups, yet as a feminist, one apparently has the privilege of being allowed to publicly harass and stereotype others.
If the article was a joke, it was about as funny as the minstrel face painted on African Americans in the first part of the last century. If it was serious I have three things to say to Connie Tuttle:
1. The majority of women I know shy away from associating themselves with feminism exactly because of that type of rhetoric. It isolates the speaker from other women and produces a social stigma against being feminist. As a woman, this makes me furious.
2. If your experience with men consists of watching from afar and smirking, you'll easily reinforce the ugly stereotypes you delighted in last week. If you have the ability to let your guard down, you will find males who are wonderful, valuable people.
3. The taunting, sneering tone you took on is no better than what was directed at women in the past. The only difference is that instead of acting like a little boy, you are acting like a little girl, one unfortunately who is humored by The Weekly and others who refuse to acknowledge self-righteous, bigoted dribble for what it is.
Tuttle: A Penis-Envying Fat Lesbian?To the Editor,
Connie Tuttle is guilty of racism and should be fired immediately! Substitute the word "men" for the word "niggers" or "Jews," and her opinion likens to that of Hitler's. Obviously, either Tuttle is most likely overweight and unattractive and or just can't get a man, at least not one other than those living in trailers on the northwest side. Or she is a lesbian suffering from penis envy and has found that her strap-on just doesn't measure up to the real thing?
Take away men from this world and we would have a world where at least for a week every month, total chaos and irrational thinking dictated by the need of chocolate would rule our society.
Oh wait--we could just close the world for a week every month and force all theaters to show Beaches, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Terms of Endearment and other such cinematic gems, while serving chocolate and providing free boxes of tissues to all patrons. Sorry world, no decisions this week; it's our period--for as we all know, when there are only women in an environment, they all eventually cycle together.
I'm confused a bit: Are we not taught that if something bleeds for a week, we should kill it? No men also would mean no technology, nor hair dryers, curling irons, bras, microwaves, automobiles, airplanes or trains, just to name a few male inventions.
If we lived as Tuttle suggests, the world would be a bunch of women cooking over fires living in caves--oh wait, fire, another male discovery.
Once again, we men are thinking, "Too bad sheep can't cook."
Get Rid of Tuttle-- and Hire Me!To the Editor,
I am surprised you printed Connie Tuttle's "The Best of Gender opinion piece." There's a difference between an opinion piece and a juvenile rant. And isn't Tuttle's piece just what we need--something that simplifies, generalizes and grossly stereotypes?
Why don't you pluck that baby bottle of sour grapes you have Connie Tuttle sucking on out of her mouth? Or better yet, get rid of her as an opinion writer, and get someone who can do a better job at it, like me. Just my opinion.
Tuttle: Member of the 'Feminist Taliban'?To the Editor,
I read Connie Tuttle's screed, "The Best of Gender," in search of what should have been a punchline, but to no avail. After my second pass at this terribly unfunny joke, I came to the conclusion that this mullah for the feminist Taliban might actually be serious. In light of her apparently sincere bigotry and ignorance, I felt moved to reply.
It was richly ironic to read hyperbolic indictments of "the patriarchy" and the penis in the context of so many sexist generalizations about men AND women, or the condescending apology for "misogyny" on the part of we poor men, on account of our inability to "understand" things with our emotions.
Perhaps its hysteria (yep, craziness induced by the womb) that leads Tuttle to her raging penis hatred (shall we call it "misophally"), but I'm more inclined to believe she simply wishes for a world full of people just like her--one that wouldn't challenge her much, one that would be comfortable and supportive of her in spite of her profound intolerance. It would be beside the point to note that the leading lights in chaos theory are men, or that the scientists who discovered and pioneered genetics and cloning (her "liberation" technology) were also men. It also probably wouldn't change her mind to point out that there are many women who advocate being "efficient" and "industrious" as well as applying logic and reason to solve our universally human problems. Overall, neither gender has a monopoly on good ideas, regardless of their stereotypical categorization by folks like Tuttle as "feminine" or "masculine."
What seems most absurd, is that Tuttle espouses nature worship, yet wishes for the most unnatural arrangement of things imaginable. Recombinant DNA is the saving grace of ours and every species that relies on sexual reproduction (yes, we still do), and without it, mutations and genetic disease would have long ago rendered our branch of the evolutionary tree a stump.
I hope from now on that The Weekly will refrain from printing this kind of offensive vitriolic claptrap, lest we be treated in future issues to a diatribe on the idyllic Jew-free world espoused by your friendly neighborhood neo-Nazi skinhead, or a delightful literary romp through the all-white world of the KKK.
Don't Hate Based on AnatomyTo the Editor,
In response to "The Best of Gender," we would like to say that we are shocked to see such anger and hatred aimed toward a group of people based on their anatomical structure. As young feminists, we envision a world free of oppression--not men. Men are not the enemy; ignorance and hatred are, and as your article indicates, these characteristics can be found across gender.
Women can be just evil and corrupt as men, and men just as compassionate and nurturing as women. The language you use only serves to perpetuate stereotypes that lead to violence and oppression based on gender.
This world is balanced by the complementary feminine and masculine characteristics; without the two, we would not survive. Cloning our way out of the penis is not the answer to a world of equality. Only through unity can we achieve freedom.
--Jennifer Stone and Maureen Milazzo
Connie Tuttle responds
Oops. Apparently, my "Best of Gender" column didn't convey the spirit in which it was written. Here's some background: A group of women are at lunch. One of them brings up the difficulties she's having in a relationship. An outpouring of sympathy leads to an off-the-cuff remark to the effect of, "Life would be easier if we didn't have to deal with men." (It was much funnier than that, but I don't recall the exact comment.) Amid laughter and some further comments, my imagination is sparked. I think to myself, "Wouldn't it be fun to do a silly column on women?" I share the thought, and everyone present (all straight women) agree it's a fine idea. Boy, were we wrong!
The column was meant to be totally absurd. I'd hoped it would generate as much laughter for the readers as I had while writing it. For some examples of my serious writing, please check out "Tips for the Long Journey" (June 5, 2003), "Meaty Matters" (April 10, 2003), "Imagine" (Sept. 5, 2002) and "Genomania" (July 25, 2002), archived at tucsonweekly.com.
Honestly, if I'd read a column like "Best of Gender," written by someone who actually meant it, I'd be outraged, too.
Rich Needs to Re-Read 'Conspiracy Café'To the Editor,
This letter is in response to Leigh Rich's critique ("No Food for Thought," Books Sept. 11) of Tales of the Conspiracy Café: Barcelona. I have read and enjoyed this unique and creative piece of work. Lee Shainen demonstrates an original and engaging storytelling ability and insight into the human experience, all wrapped in a colorful and crisp wit.
From what Rich chose to comment on, I can't help but wonder if she actually read the entire novel or just picked at it. Surprisingly, she barely even mentions one of the most important characters, Sam, a deceased Delta blues man. Nor does she comment on some of the exceptional dialogue.
From Rich's toxic response, one can only surmise that her caustic reaction is really her own disowned personal "stuff" projected upon the author. For Rich's sake, we can only hope that she never reads anything by Kurt Vonnegut or Richard Braughtigan, and never ever goes anywhere near the novels of Tom Robbins.
Rich condemns Shainen for his witty repartee with a critique severely overdone with her own witty repartee. Clearly, she is more interested in appearing "better than," then being open to the genre of novel that Mr. Shainen wrote.
Ignorance, thy name is Leigh Rich.
Fix the Damn Potholes, Mayor!To the Editor,
If Mayor Walkup and the City Council are truly in favor of Tucson neighborhoods, as Valerie Greenhill attempts to explain ("The Mayor Likes Neighborhoods," Mailbag, Sept. 25), then why are the potholes on my neighborhood streets worse than those in most Third World countries?
This Week's Obligatory Danehy LetterTo the Editor,
In his "Zero Tolerance" (Sept. 18) article, Tom Danehy wrote:
"A Phoenix area idiot has launched a recall campaign against Gov. Janet Napolitano. It's really not surprising that some doofus would see the folly in California and attempt a me-too."
I agree, though I would not use "idiot" or "doofus" in describing such a person. Name-calling in that way is really quite juvenile.
"What sets this bozo apart is that he claims to be a citizen of the Confederate States of America. Hey, moron, there's no such thing. There was for a brief time, but they got their asses kicked because their cause was unjust and immoral. Their flag is a racist symbol, and that war would have lasted about an hour and a half if Robert E. Lee hadn't chosen to fight for the wrong side."
Bozo? Moron? Is Mr. Danehy always so eloquent?
"Their cause" was not unjust in any way. That war was not about slavery alone. In fact, very little of that war was about slavery. It was about taxes, politics, religion and all of the "normal" things that wars are about. The Northern and Southern states had different beliefs in many things, though not in slavery. (Lincoln was not the "great emancipator" that many continue to make him out to be.) With the difference in beliefs, the Southern portion of the states decided to exercise their constitutional right to secede. It was agreed early on that states had the right to join or leave the union of their own free will. This is why Jefferson Davis was not tried for treason after the war.
"Their flag is a racist symbol." Yet another misconception. It never has been, though it has been corrupted in the same way that the Nazis corrupted the Indian symbol for peace. The Confederate battle flag is exactly what it is called: A battle flag. Each state and infantry had their own rendition of the flag.
And lastly, you are correct that Robert E. Lee was an exceptional general. You may want to learn your history a little more thoroughly before going off on a rant of that nature.
--Sarah Nicole Houston