After scanning your "Best of the Triangle" list (April 6), I'm wondering if you have any readers outside of Raleigh. Certainly not many of the 1,300 responders are from Durham or Chapel Hill.
I'm a skateboarder, so I can't speak for other "alternative sports" (I wouldn't characterize skateboarding as a "sport" in a million years). But speaking for skateboarding as a culture, I was saddened to see "skate style" included in your recent cover story on fashion. Skateboarding is so much more than a fashion, and when you only show that side of it, as the media tends to do, you detract from its real meaning.
To straight society, skating is only a financially lucrative trend. That's when it's popular, on TV, in video games and so on. That's when it's fashionable. That's when the vultures move in. But when the popularity of skateboarding is in a slump and the only skaters still around are the real skaters, that's when the same people who used to try and market our culture are the first to harass us, the first to call the cops on us when we skate on their property, and the first to shun us and our modus operandi.
If the Independent wants to run stories on middle of the road subjects like liberal Christians, uninspiring moderate politicians and fashion, that's one thing. But skateboarding isn't middle of the road. So unless you intend to do right by a truly independent culture (something I would think you guys would understand), please, I beg of you, leave skateboarding alone.
Shop 'til we drop
I hope that Gabrielle Charbonnet's "Is nothing sacred?" (March 30) was her way of poking gentle fun at herself, her shopping jones and the quaint Southern tradition of observing holidays. But in case not, a few observations:
1. We're having enough trouble with the concept of separation of church and state without Ms. Charbonnet adding to the confusion. Granted, for many people shopping serves some of the functions of religion. But our civil liberties are not in danger if Target chooses to give its workers a day off. Target is not the state. Yet.
2. It bears remembering that our inalienable right to buy dreck whenever the fancy strikes us is purchased at the expense of actual, real live human beings who get to stand at the cash register through the wee hours for our shopping convenience. Had Eckerd stayed open all night, I'm guessing that some Eckerd employees would have welcomed the overtime. (What? You say most American workers aren't paid overtime for working on holidays?) Others probably enjoyed a free, if unpaid, afternoon off. Easter, Ramadan, whatever, it's a break.
3. Let us pass lightly over Ms. Charbonnet's deeply offensive foray into comparative ethnography. (Yeah, Loehmann sounds like a Jewish name, but your Southern Jew is just as ignorant as a Presbyterian.) Ms. Charbonnet suggests that her real problem is that she is here and not in New York, or some other less backward, benighted, congenital-idiot-infested section of the country. I agree. And I suggest that she not let the screen door hit her on the way out.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.