Gay Old Times

Do gay men suffer higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide because of the bigotry they face? Or is it a result of bad lifestyle choices? Patrick Range McDonald posed that question in last week's cover story (“Gay Happiness, the New Frontier”).

Some readers, like jasons0660, were receptive to McDonald's argument. “I think the gay scene itself contributes to depression,” he writes. “Most gay meeting places are built on a sex act. I can't think of anything more depressing than building your social life on a sex act. There's also a lot of appearance fascism on the gay scene — if you don't look a certain way, you're not wanted. It's bound to make you feel depressed when you're rejected simply for not looking a certain way.”

Abramsrl disagrees. “Since being psychologically abused as a child causes psychological problems for adults, one knows that we gays will have a rather high incidence of psychological issues. One grows up in a society where leaders in Congress and in churches and often in our own homes blame everything on us, including 9/11. Aren't we the ones who coined the phrase, 'He has issues'?

“My party days are over, and I loved them when I had them, but they were not ones of desperation and drugs. We were mostly young professionals and business owners with some med students, law students, etc. We had our businesses to run in addition to our daily gym visits. Since I don't drink or do drugs, if drug abuse was happening on a large scale, I did not really notice.

“If there is one thing I do know about being gay, it is that Gay is Good. Gay is Great! I do not recall deciding to be gay, but if I did make that choice, it was the best choice I ever made in my entire life.

But reader Annoyed believes McDonald is on to something. He repeats a quote from the article: “Too many gay men are competing with each other and tearing each other down.” He writes, “Absolutely true! One needs to go no further than to see this. Being the outcast, bullied gay kid in your high school is nothing compared to the hate spewed on that website. The website is the embodiment of the self-hatred endured (and thus projected onto others) by gay men in West Hollywood.

“I'm glad gay culture is dying. We once needed a community we felt a part of, that would protect us and stand with us in the battle against bigotry and hatred. Now we need loving family and friends, gay and straight, to protect us from that community.”

The $700 Million Hangover

As Gene Maddaus reported, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa inked a deal in 2007 that has meant big raises for city union workers — a package that ultimately will cost L.A. $700 million (“The Villaraigosa Hangover,” Sept. 21).

Of Villaraigosa, Phil92508 has this bleak thought: “The people elected him. Twice. Bankruptcy is the only way out at this point, as anyone running as an independent on a campaign of fiscal responsibility would be savaged by the unions.

Budgetwatcher snipes, “It would be nice if reporters would point out the details of how city workers have worked with city management by 1) renegotiating their contract two years ago to eliminate some raises and defer others, 2) agreeing to pay more for retirement contributions, 3) paying more for healthcare, and 4) furloughs. That is rarely if ever reported. Some balanced information would be nice to counter the perception that city workers are unwilling to help with the city's financial problems.

Suureee isn't buying Budgetwatcher's argument, beginning with his name. “Budgetwatcher? 'Moneytaker' is more like it,” he snipes. “City workers took too much, and have no cause to pat themselves on the back for 'deferring' some of the excess. Or for their contract that slapped L.A. with a multimillion-dollar penalty if excess workers were laid off. Or for boasting of 'furloughs' — non–paid time off. In the real world, you do the same work for less pay. New York in the 1970s, Detroit now and L.A. not far behind: That is the legacy of public worker unions, and the craven pols who allowed them to run the city instead of working for the city.”

Jack90020 adds, “The public-sector labor unions seem to forget that salaries will have increased 35 percent during the Villaraigosa era. So givebacks and sacrifices are all relative. The Mayor Who Broke L.A. is another moniker for the 11 percent Mayor.”

L.A.'s Video King

We got a belated but still share-worthy response to Karina Longworth's Sept. 14 cover story, “Video Paradiso” — about the migration of the contents of New York's top video store to Sicily — from Alex Van Dyne. “Interesting article about Kim's Video,” he writes. “As one of the managers of L.A.'s local video legend Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee, I can verify that Quentin Tarantino has rented from us without any of the snotty strictness that probably aided in Kim's demise. But we're snotty too, I guess, because when we read that Kim's had 55,000 VHS tapes and DVDs, we were not impressed.

“We have more than 100,000 in our collection, not to mention nearly 2 million news and show business photos — the largest collection of movies and photos in the country in private hands. Truth is, the bricks-and-mortar movie rental business is spiraling down, and in this economic climate nobody is immune. We were one of the first to rent movies (starting in 1978) and soon may be the last one standing. Then again, in the not too distant future, don't be surprised if there's a news story about the massive Eddie Brandt collection going on the block. Anybody got room and time to sort through five tons of movies and photos?”

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