In the past week, WW has received an interesting array of responses to our cover story on onetime Portland author Jim Goad ("The White Stuff," WW, Oct. 18, 2017).
On the right, we were threatened with a lawsuit by the attorney for the Proud Boys, and sent a demand for retraction by Michael Hoffman, a historian whose work calls the Holocaust into question.
The responses from our more progressive readers were twofold. Some told us they didn't read the story, but were offended that our cover featured a man they considered racist. Others read the story and felt that it gave too large a platform to a man with abhorrent views.
We expected strong feelings. We were more surprised to arrive at our office Oct. 23 and find one corner of our parking lot covered by a 6-foot-high pile of compost. It was topped with a sign: "SHIT RAG." We used the donation to nourish the plants at a nearby apartment building.
Here's what else people had to say:
Jim Goad, on his podcast: "An article like this, in a city like Portland, is pretty much an invitation to shoot me."
Darklady, via wweek.com: "Gotta love watching Goad play the same victim card after so many years. I guess it sells him books and gets him coverage in Willamette Week, but it sure gets tired."
Stephen Quirke, via Facebook: "This is a textbook example of how NOT to cover fascists and woman-abusers— making them the center of attention, highlighting their 'successes,' dramatizing their failures, and ultimately giving them and their supporters (in this case literal neo-Nazis) the vast majority of narrative space while providing ZERO for their victims."
Rebecca Hall, via Facebook: "It's hard for me to buy into the 'it's good to expose them' argument anymore. By now, most people that pay attention know that these kind of ideologies have a wide and growing audience. I don't want to see this scumbag's grinning face plastered around my neighborhood and outside of my work, not because I need a 'safe space' but because I expect more respect from our local paper."
Angelique Rochelle Davis, via wweek.com: "What a great article. Completely reminiscent of actual journalism. Presenting FACTS without bias. It doesn't matter to me that people don't like the content. The writer did a fantastic job."
Jason Wilson, journalist for The Guardian, via Twitter: "Great @wweek story on ex-Portlander, ex-con, & alt right favorite Jim Goad."
theoretical huxtable, via wweek.com: "Like it or not, Jim Goad is a past part of Portland's ugly tapestry, as much as Mulugeta Seraw's murder, Jeremy Christian, Tom Metzger, East Side White Pride, and Ken "Death" Mieske. To ignore how the book he wrote while living in Portland has had an effect on our current state of affairs is sticking your head in the sand."
BlackAvengeroftheSpanishMain, via wweek.com: "As someone who is both interested in issues of social justice and transgressive art, I was actually somewhat interested to learn a bit more about Goad. Nevertheless, this piece really does feel like it's giving him unnecessary exposure, and presents him in a light that could be interpreted as positive to exactly the wrong sort of people. It definitely didn't need to be a front-page article."
Adrienne Graf, via Facebook: "This is a new low even for you all. I am heartbroken to read that you give this violent abuser free publicity in your community magazine. Research empirically shows that articles like yours, with a blasé handling of a very serious violent offender, are a part of a culture that normalizes and condones violence against women, non-binary and trans people, and children of all genders."
Labor and Local Food Can Co-exist at PDX
Based on a false premise, lacking basic understanding of modern airport concessions, and misrepresenting Unite Here's positions, the article about airport restaurants ("Final Destination," WW, Oct. 18, 2017) gets almost every relevant fact wrong.
We refuse to accept that the taste of poverty is part of the unique local flavor at PDX. We refuse to accept the idea that good jobs are incompatible with a unique airport.
According to the author, Unite Here wants to kick local businesses out of the airport. If the author had done his research, he would have learned that almost all his examples, like Deschutes, Hopworks Brewery and Tamale Boy, will be operated by multinational airport concessionaires like SSP America and HMS Host.
We do not want to limit PDX to just two concessionaires. There are very few airports that operate that way anymore. Unlike the port staff, we have moved with the times and learned how to work with all airport stakeholders. As a local union representing local workers, we want good local jobs, successful businesses, and satisfied customers.
Finally, it is not our goal to raise prices on customers. Most airports have some pricing restrictions on their restaurants. But low prices should not come on the backs of low-wage workers. It is dishonest to say that street pricing doesn't pose a challenge for both workers and small businesses.
The Port of Portland must get beyond its mistaken belief that this is an either or situation. We need a good-faith effort by those in charge to actually seek creative solutions that benefit businesses and workers. For more background, visit www.unitehere8.org.
Vice President for Oregon Unite Here Local 8
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