Crowther is ageist

There are at least two aspects of Hal Crowther’s essay deserving of comment (“Cast away,” cover story, Oct. 29). First is his somewhat old-fashioned and woman-blaming discussion of “cocktail-dress adventuresses” who target happily married men. Those cultures that subordinate women, requiring them to hide their bodies in public, base these practices on the corruptibility of men, thus shifting the responsibility for initiating culturally improper sexual behavior to women.

The second problematic aspect of the essay is Crowther’s statement that he’d “never vote for anyone over 60 for president.” He justifies this strange assertion by noting that he is over 60 and that “any honest person over 60 knows exactly why.” Apparently the author feels he has some age-related deficiencies that would disqualify him from serving as president. I’m certainly sorry about that; however, I’m wondering why he feels it necessary to project those deficiencies onto all those over 60?

As most readers of the Indy are aware, there are an almost endless number of intelligent reasons for opposing the candidacy of John McCain; for example, his willingness to embrace endless war and his seeming lack of understanding of the current economic crisis. Yet Crowther, and unfortunately many other commentators, seem to be latching on to one based on prejudice and stereotypeage.

While there are certainly age-related conditions (which are not, by the way, automatic) that would render a candidate unfit for office, these show a wide range of onsetfrom starting at an age much younger than 60 to never making an appearance at all. Ageism comes from exactly the same sort of reasoning as racism or sexism: treating all people within a certain demographic category as being representative of the current cultural stereotype of that category. The sad thing is that this process often results in the stereotyped person accepting the label.

No, Mr. Crowther, I do not feel I am disqualified from anything because I am over 60, nor do I accept your assertion that my refusal to accept your attempt at stereotyping makes me dishonest.

Richard Wark

Crowther is sexist

I lost respect for the Independent as a progressive voice some time ago. While your weekly sometimes addresses injustices in progressive ways (e.g., stories on economic or racial inequalities or problems with the prison system and capital punishment), it too often reinforces the heterosexism, sexism and racism found in conventional journalism (e.g., stories lambasting the “accuser” in the Duke men’s lacrosse case or the condescending annual “pink” issue, which makes the paper’s ignoring of, and perpetuation of, heterosexism throughout the year all the more apparent). Thus, I find it ironic and silly when the newsweekly persists in touting itself as the progressive alternative for the Triangle.

Hal Crowther’s portrait of John Edwards (Oct. 29) confirmed my assessment. I’ve found the Independent‘s sustained interest in this irrelevant former candidate and slick trial lawyer puzzling. But, that is beside the point. There was no journalistic need for Crowther to go on a sustained and misogynistic rant against Edwards’ “other woman” and, more broadly, all women who find themselves in affairs with powerful men like him (whom Crowther refers to as “big game hunters”). I stopped reading the article at this point. Isn’t that type of screed clearly sexist and offensive to you? This rant was clearly motivated by Crowther’s bias and over-identification with Edwards, his own bitter contempt toward women, and his refusal to hold the men themselves responsible for the outcomes of their behavior. (And, I’m writing this as someone who, like Crowther, finds our delight in politicians’ downfalls and intrusive interest in their personal lives highly problematic.)

I don’t find Crowther’s rant substantive, newsworthy or respectful to your audience.

Tara Kachgal
Chapel Hill

Crowther is anti-Republican

For the first time in ages, I picked up the Independent to read “Cast Away” by Hal Crowther. The cheap ink that came off on my hand while carrying the paper reflected the cheap article by Crowther. After throwing in a few Greek names to sound like he is a scholar, Crowther uses the article to degrade John McCain, Sarah Palin and the Republican Party. He went over the top with his scurrilous, crude and cruel remark about Cindy McCain. Crowther uses a poison pen to savage all Republicans, dead and alive. The article was not worth the cheap ink used to print it. It will be the last Independent I pick up to read.

Evelyn Poole-Kober