I'm writing to second the opinion of letter-writer Sarah Nelson regarding your paper's use of the term "autistic" as a laff-getter in a cover headline describing the film 2001: A Space Odyssey ["Beer Bash," WW, Feb. 1, 2012].

I've learned to shrug off a certain amount of lowest-common-denominator (and not funny) humor in your paper, but this is terrible. Making matters worse is Aaron Mesh's tongue-tied response defending the supposedly non-pejorative use of the term while congratulating himself for skewering the hallowed image of 2001. 

I don't know what world you live in that 2001 is considered some sort of hallowed, unassailable work. Very few people I think, beyond having a positive regard for the film, believe it to be some sort of sacred cow. It's simply a great and thoughtful sci-fi film. What's more, your "joke" does zilch to contribute to any discussion of the film. 

Ultimately, though, what makes this truly reprehensible is that you're using "autistic"—setting aside the use of "gay" as a second gag in the title—as an ill-informed adolescent shorthand rather than acknowledging that autism is a real thing in real people's lives. There's really no way to defend such a crass statement. You're trying to describe an “affectless” performance? Then say “affectless.” 

This is one of those cases where Mesh might consider simply acknowledging that a mistake was made in lieu of making it worse by explaining his thinking behind the mistake. He's just digging a deeper hole.

Northeast Portland


Political compromises are one thing, one state forcibly exerting such pressure on the residents of another state to accept a financially failing light-rail system is another ["The 2.5 Billion Bribe," WW, Feb. 29, 2012]. Internationally, wars between countries have been fought over such actions. CRC needs to come to a screeching halt and a Department of Justice investigation should be launched.



The average age of Portland residents (according to the state and the city's own data) is 35.2 years old—and it's rising ["Dr. Know," WW, Feb. 29, 2012]. That's right—Portland's getting older. And more childless. And, sadly, the middle class is being hollowed out to leave more at the bottom and a few more at the top. The problem is people mistake the loudest for being the largest. In fact, the pop culture that gets tirelessly promoted by outlets like WW is a fraction of the populace.

—"Dr. Noitall"


The name of Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) was misspelled in a story ["No Such Thing as Free Coffee," WW, Feb. 22, 2012]. WW regrets the error.

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