My thrill upon receiving the Freaks videotape today turned to dismay, resentment, and then to uncharacteristic sadness — not about the so-called freaks acting or being protrayed but to think that I too am a freak because I was unable to follow, unable to understand, the full import of the story.
This new edition of Freaks is NOT closed-captioned. How could this have happened?
David A. Anthony
[We ordered Freaks in a closed-caption version, and believed that’s what came to us. The video had in fact never been captioned at all. We apologize and promise to be more careful. — Mouth]
Your Kansas article [on Medicaid cuts] was sad, doubly so because it’s happening everywhere. As soon as the money stops flowing at the old rate, it’s people on the margin who get cut, people who don’t have the money to maintain big lobbying staffs in the state capitals.
Unfortunately, this is the American Way. We have and have always had the best government money can buy.
And we are success crazy. A success is a person who is outstanding in some material way — for instance makes a lot of money. Freaks, monsters, and maniacs, besides being out of the norm, don’t often found successful businesses, hold big jobs, have 2.2 kids, two SUVs and a big house. If they did, they’d be OK. When they don’t, they have no value.
It’s the downside of so-called individualism, which means that the individual has the opportunity to succeed, and if he or she doesn’t then they should please not bother us. This is the land of opportunity. Succeed or get lost.
Please don’t hate me but I have to ask: [in answer to Mouth’s appeal for help] has Mouth outlived its usefulness? I don’t know the answer to this and maybe nobody does. But. It seems to me to be repeating itself somewhat. Not in individual articles necessarily, but in tone and attitude. This is both subtle and gross. There are hints of weariness and defeat in the writing. Like: your ‘Confessions of an Unrepentant Editor.’ Great writing, but showing a lot of stress and exhaustion.
Actually, what I’m worried about is not the magazine, which you should get a Nobel prize for, and won’t, but you. Is it time to move on? And to where? These questions probably seem even more daunting and threatening than just soldiering on. But people do quit, throw in the towel, say, ‘Coach, take me out.” And it works for them, one way or the other. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it.
I dunno but I want you to know that it’s showing, it’s looking out at us from the magazine.
E. Neil Vanover
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[Must be time to reinvent Mouth. We’ll get right on it, guaranteed. But I ain’t quitting. — editor]
I’d like to thank you for a job fairly well done. If you lose your house, your rent is prepaid here. It’ll be hard, but with a lot of help from God, we’ll figure it out.
[Mouth gives thanks to Patricia and all the readers who helped us out of our financial mess. Thanks to you all, we won’t be homeless any time soon. See “Mouth House.”]
Dennis Harkins Madison, Wisconsin
The helping hand you extended when Mouth was going under in a flood of debt has brought us to shore and even put us in an 8-year-newer Mouthmobile. (We named him “Mr. Right,” because this is true love. He’s a 1991 Mercury Gran Marquis no less, with midnight blue leather seats and only about 80,000 miles on his clock. What a deal!)
Many of our scariest debts are paid in full, we’ve paid the MouthHouse mortgage on time for three months in a row, and here we are again, more or less back on dry land. (Then last week the MainMouth computer breathed its last, and we went back into debt. So don’t get the wrong idea; help
is still way
a kidney transplant (!) when she sent some help and wrote that she’d read that last issue cover to cover. “What would we do without the Mouth? I never feel so crazy and alone after reading it.” After her illness, she has decided, “There will be no more bad days. Difficult or challenging, but never bad!”
Brenda Klauditz sent news with her check: that when her son Daniel went off to cast his first ballot, “Guess what: STEPS! They told me there were plans for a ramp, next year. One bimbo said, ‘Well, that’s why there is absentee voting!’ We all know,” Brenda continued, “that no one gives a toot about the disabled. The Mouth must go on.”
On the memo line of his check, Duane French wrote, “Our voice will not be heard without a Mouth.” Joelle Brouner said, “Many thanks for the powerful contribution to our personal and collective struggle for liberation.”
Billy Golfus wrote, “Thank God for you and your vitriolic Mouth. You build the gimp community, helping so many know that they are not alone.” Then he quoted Harry Truman, “I don’t give ’em hell. I tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”
“Mouth is part of my 12-step program as a recovering bureaucrat,” according to Dennis Harkins. “ I have no choice but to pay up.”
Joe Caviano of the CIL in Watertown, NY, wrote, “We
Along with your help came your moral support. Here are a couple of highlights from the giant stack of love mail still waiting to be answered:
MOUTH MARCH -APRIL 2002 PAGE 39