Wow! Not only does Mike Meyers speak truth to power, but he has a wonderfully droll and wicked sense of humor (“The guardian of white advantage,” Oct. 15). A guy who can write that the president’s “great genes” are “sweet music to amateur geneticists who like to march by night, carrying smoldering grudges and blazing torches” deserves at least a weekly political satire column. The same morning I read Meyers’ hilarious piece, I read D.J. Tice’s column “Of Weinstein, Hefner and sexual revolutions as ambiguous things” and frankly felt like I had suddenly become dyslexic. I had no idea what Tice was arguing for, or against, or what his point was. I’m surprised it passed editorial muster.
Kate Johnson, Minneapolis
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I relished reading two separate pieces in last Sunday’s Star Tribune. The first was the front-page article “Enbridge pipeline debate divides DFL,” in which clean-water advocate Reid Carron was quoted as saying about northern Minnesota’s miners: “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” It’s a rare example of a liberal saying what he really believes. The other was the sneering, condescending opinion piece on white advantage by Mike Meyers. He didn’t bother even trying to persuade anyone; he was just interested in name-calling. As a conservative, I heartily recommend that the Star Tribune give Mr. Meyers a biweekly piece on your editorial page. I think working-class whites need to be regularly called out as the racist, ignorant hicks that liberals think they are from now until the midterm elections.
Al Tischler, Lilydale
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Meyers’ commentary advances a fallacy that any advocate of civil rights should be very wary of — that individuals should be treated a certain way because of their membership in a racial group.
Every single person who applies to a college is an individual, with his or her own unique collection of dreams, hopes, aspirations, abilities and priorities.
Not one of them has any control over the racial group into which she or he was born, and should neither be punished nor rewarded for that particular accident of fate.
The fact that one’s race has an average income that is higher than some other groups should be irrelevant to the decision of whether or not that person is qualified to attend a particular college.
President Donald Trump’s alleged abuses of his wealth and power are also irrelevant. It is between the aggrieved and Trump. Don’t make college applicants pawns in a game they have nothing to do with.
What is relevant is what he or she has managed to accomplish academically.
Guilt by association with a racial group is the problem, not the cure.
Randy McGregor, Blaine
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Meyers, a former Star Tribune business reporter, politically relieves himself within the Opinion Exchange pages that also include the D.J. Tice column on sexual revolutions. The Tice column contains observations about sexual mores and, implicitly, socioeconomics in general.
• In 1960, 5 percent of American children were born to single mothers … but today it is 40 percent. (Note: CNN’s Don Lemon claims that “more than 72 percent of children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock.”)
• H.L. Mencken is quoted — human experience “is still overwhelming on the side on monogamy; civilized men are in favour of it because they find that it works … because it is the most effective of all available antidotes to the alarms and terrors of passion.”
The Meyers commentary contains observations about poverty rates, high school dropout rates and inconsequential college affirmative action programs. (He implies that, somehow, these are linked to “President Preposterous” … aka Donald Trump.)
• Blacks are more likely to live in poverty than whites and face higher odds of dropping out of high school.
• Affirmative action has done a poor job of advancing the college opportunities of many minorities.
Meyers contends that President Trump is incapable of appreciating the plight of African-Americans because Trump’s sole “affirmative action” experience has been favoritism — within his own life and within his own klan. (Meyers acknowledges the spelling of “klan” as intentional.)
The Meyers counsel “let’s not facts get in the way” tees up a serendipitous observation within the combined Tice and Meyers pieces — that is, the correlation of family culture, academic achievement and socioeconomics.
Gene Delaune, New Brighton
Sorry, don’t think assault is part of ‘permissive society’
I’m not sure just what D.J. Tice was getting at in his Oct. 15 column, which the Star Tribune summarized online as “Considering male wrongdoing in the context of this era’s permissive society.” It rather sounds as if Tice is saying that sexual freedom leads to sexual assault. If that’s it, I beg to differ. I’m not sure he isn’t edging toward saying that women are asking for it, or at least contributing to it.
Sexual freedom works for both sexes. Not saying I approve. Not sure it’s my job to judge — but it’s a two-way street. I think it has a lot to do with longer lives, later marriage and access to birth control. Nothing, nothing, about sexual freedom justifies assault of any kind. No one is ever justified in claiming that it’s just a short step from adultery to rape.
Sexual harassment and sexual assault (and it’s overwhelmingly male harassers and female victims, although it can go the other way) is an exercise of power. That holds whether the harasser is richer or just stronger. It includes the kind of comment that some men think is OK even though they know it makes women feel uncomfortable, and at the other end of the spectrum, it includes rape. None of that has anything to do with sexual freedom.
To assume that sexual harassment and assault is something new is to ignore some pretty obvious evidence, including the prevalence of Genghis Khan’s DNA in Asia. Whether it’s more common than it was 50 or 60 years ago is really hard to determine. It’s more likely to be reported because victims are less likely to be powerless, and because we’ve all begun to understand that it’s not acceptable.
Patricia M. Reeves, Prior Lake
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Tice begins his column with a comment by Mencken regarding Americans being “resigned” to the nation’s being drawn into World War II almost as fully as they were resigned to “the common cold and monogamy.” Tice concludes the article with another Mencken comment about monogamy, stating that “civilized men are in favor of it because it works.” It works, according to Mencken, “Because it is the most effective of all available antidotes to the alarms and terrors of passion. Monogamy, in brief, kills passion — and passion is the most dangerous of all the surviving enemies to what we call civilization … .”
The definition of an antidote is “a remedy to counteract the effects of a poison.” The definition of passion is “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”
Passion is not the root of all evil and does not warrant the burden of “male wrongdoings,” as Tice eludes. What we need is more passion and less resigning, to live our lives from a place of truth and vitality with respect and honesty, and to take responsibility for our actions resulting from poor judgment. Not finding excuses for them.
Passion is not “the most dangerous of all the surviving enemies to what we call civilization”; on the contrary, passion is most likely what will make our civilization not only survive but thrive.
The most dangerous enemy is fear.
The need for power, which is a need for control, which is driven by fear — the real danger to our civilization.
Sue Stock, Eden Prairie