Thursday, October 4, 2007

Critical Mass: A Truly Self-Absorbed Concept

For those of you who don't know of Katherine Kersten, consider yourselves lucky. She is a "columnist" for the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis newspaper, who got her position presumably to provide a counter right-wing point to the paper's astonishing liberalism (fluffy articles about the newest gardening accessories and "diversity" at suburban pools come to mind). According to my boss, her column is actually read more by liberals, because it pisses them off, and hated by conservatives, because she is as dumb as a sack of shit.

Kersten isn't a reporter, or even a writer, by training or profession: she apparently was a lawyer. A religious conservative lawyer. Who now gets her own column in the city's newspaper. Makes sense? Right? Right.

Up until today, I had avoided her writing. That was, until a headline on the trib's website caught my eye:

Bike-riding mob owns the streets of Minneapolis

Immediately thinking the column had something to do with the unfortunate events of the August 31st Critical Mass debacle, I decided to click on the link.

Not ready to face the anger and disappointment in humanity that resulted from reading Ms. Kersten's musings on biking, "radicals" and environmentalism, I freaked out and wrote a letter to the editor. Which would have been much more below the belt had my co-worker not been there to talk me down from the tree.

So, ready to get pissed? Check out the article:

Needless to say, it made me want to run over that bitch with my three speed huffy. Or at least get her pubey hair stuck in my tire spokes.

Here is my rebuttal:

October 4, 2007

Dear Editor:

Regarding Katherine Kersten’s Oct. 3rd article “Bike-riding mob owns the streets of Minneapolis;” congrats Star Tribune, on pushing the right-wing agenda through a series of inconsistencies and ignorance.

Ms. Kersten claims that the face-less riders of Critical Mass are like civil rights protestors of the 60’s: self-absorbed, narcissistic and aggressive. Yet her issue with Critical Mass has to do with entirely self-absorbed motives: that a large group (excuse me, mob) of riders biking to raise awareness about pollution and the damage each and every car on the street does to our planet prevents her (or you or I) from getting to some specific activity that she must get to, by herself, using her car. Yes, you are correct Ms. Kersten, biking through the city to remind citizens about the value of pollution control is a narcissistic act. Being annoyed that you might have to wait a minute (or two!) in your car because of these aggressive, threatening bikers is truly a self-sacrificing act.

I question why she chose to use Richard Lichter’s musings on the psychology of the 60’s “radicals” to describe bikers.

One could draw parallels between using non-violent protest to bring awareness to a cause, or between the importance and immediacy of the cause for which is being protested about. She seems to forget that the protests of the 60’s were for, in the eyes of many, very important causes. Or, it could mean that Ms. Kersten holds African American’s in the same regard as a bunch of biker renegades.

If inconveniencing traffic is really the issue here for Ms. Kersten, maybe we should do way with all street celebrations, parades, sporting events and other happenings that make our city so appealing to live in.

Perhaps instead of getting annoyed that you have to sit in traffic for ten extra minutes (and may I ask if it is bikers who are the cause of stop-and-go traffic on the highways at rush hour?), we should start looking at the real issues at hand and work towards decreasing dependence on single car transportation.



1 comment:

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