pentheus (pentheus) wrote in seattlebikes,
pentheus
pentheus
seattlebikes

A rant

I wrote a rant. I'm hoping it comes across as well-reasoned and polite, but firm. I just submitted it to the Seattle Bicycle Paper, which I've never really found very helpful, but will glance through from time to time. Their columnist, Maynard Hershon, really irritated me last month, so I read some of his other articles and was disgusted. I suppose I'm posting to ask y'all if I'm way off base or what. Here's what I wrote:


I resent Maynard Hershon, and nearly everything he writes. His opinion pieces are little but screeds and epithets, designed to polarize bicyclists and alienate drivers, politicians, and other non-bicyclists who would be our advocates.

I read his piece, "Viva Roadies!" before leaving work one day last week, in which he sloppily generalizes that his road biking friends wearing lycra jersies with logos as law-abiding, respectful, life-long riders, while other bicyclists ("Tourists, commuters and New Urban Cyclists") are none of those things. On my ride home, which turned into a 30-mile tour on such a nice afternoon, I rode for a while near a man wearing logoed spandex and riding a carbon bike who blew every light on a busy street, scraped by pedestrians, cut off cars, and seemed to take every opportunity to be a menace. I watched and considered how this "roadie" put lie to Maynard Hershon's prejudiced essay, and how destructive that essay is.

Especially in his piece, "You Got a Problem, Dude?" he elaborately discusses how young cyclists who aren't his particular clique are universally rude, uncommitted and dangerous. This article is just another example of his balkanizing propaganda, pitting bicyclists against each other on the basis of lies and stereotypes, but it isn't even his worst, most egregious work.

From his piece, "Are They America?" in your paper: "A black Suburban, Chevy or GMC, passes me. If you’re a cyclist, you know Mr. and Ms. GMC; they’re vicious and proud of it. 'We’re America' [sic] is their point. 'We’ve got ours. We didn’t get it on any damn bicycle. Get out of the way.'" Gross stereotyping like this only villainizes his targets, and encourages mutual intolerance and hatred. In the incident he described, he didn't present a shred of evidence of any harmful intent of the driver. He only manipulated facts to support his chauvinism and hate speech. Later in the article, he sickeningly equates "bullying" drivers to terrorists, and passing close to bicyclists to suicide bombings. This isn't an example of reasoned argument. It is at least a rabid, fearful, hateful person spewing filth, and at worst an unhinged mind fanning fires of intolerance and hatred.

Please remove him from your pages. If one of your goals is to connect bicyclists, his essays only drive them further apart. If you would like to advocate for bicycling outside the cyclist community, his paranoia only pushes possible allies away. Please allow your paper to grow into its true potential and stop printing Maynard Hershon.
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