Readers respond to Diablo Cody's Fempire

Diablo Cody's Fempire: The new new feminism

I disagree with Emily Kaiser's commentary on the New York Times article titled "Hollywood's New Power Posse," which features the four up-and-coming screenwriters Diablo Cody, Lorene Scafaria, Dana Fox, and Liz Meriwether, and profiles their professional successes and parallel friendships ("The Fempire Strikes Back," 3/25/09).

Kaiser characterizes the Times article as trite and lacking substance because of the underlying subtext regarding the quartet's public image and outré fashion sensibility, and because it makes mention of some of their raunchy party behavior. I don't find that the article panders to the women's sexuality nor—like Kaiser—do I sense that the women cite a litany of complaints due to unwarranted attention brought upon by their own inappropriate self-promotion.

Kaiser reveals a strain of Midwest provinciality by showing suspicion and distrust of a local who has made it big on one of the coasts. Furthermore, she projects a disservice to women who've struggled to form any sort of allegiance in the working world. Frankly, she seems to have missed the entire point of the article. Does it matter that Diablo Cody made her living as a stripper before she penned her Juno script? Why is this any worse than succeeding while a well-intentioned husband puts a roof over your head? And what's wrong with being successful, provocative, and smart? Men do it all the time. If George Clooney is entitled to his modern-day rat pack, I say bring on the Fempire. In spades, please! I've been waiting for it.

Marcia Germ

Minnesota lags in racial equality

I was glad to see two Twin Cities legislators, Rep. Carlos Mariani and Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, listed in your article ("State Capitol Facebook," 4/1/09) as "challenging colleagues to talk about racial issues" and "tireless fighter for people of color" respectively. But the important point to be made here is that racial equity in legislation and policy making—especially during challenging times—is a shared responsibility of all members of the House, Senate, and also of the governor.

A recent report by the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, "2008 Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity," lists 25 of the 30 legislators profiled in your article as champions and leaders for racial equity. These lawmakers should be celebrated for sponsoring multiple bills that positively impact all Minnesotans, disproportionately people of color and American Indian people.

But today, Minnesota's racial disparities are among the worst in the nation across issues like education, civil rights, healthcare, and economic justice. These issues can and must be systematically addressed through public policy but require the explicit attention and leadership on the part of our elected officials. These 25 lawmakers are taking leadership on one of the most important justice issues of our time, and should be commended for it. Minnesota's cities, suburbs, and rural areas are visibly changing. By 2035, 2 in 10 Minnesotans will be over the age of 65, with this growth occurring primarily among whites. Meanwhile, one in four Minnesotans will be a person of color or American Indian. The future of Minnesota depends on leadership today.

Jermaine Toney

Veggie tales

"Lacking the creamy, sweet coconut flavor I'd anticipated, the dish tasted hopelessly...vegan" ("The Cocktail Revolution," 3/25/09). Apparently Rachel Hutton and I have different concepts of the word "vegan." She uses the term in a derogatory sense, implying that the dish was inadequate and bland. When I think of vegan cuisine, I think of an entire range of possibilities—just as an omnivore can produce a complete culinary flop, so can a vegan chef. Similarly, both omnivores and vegans alike can produce delectable creations that delight the palate.

I'd like to invite Hutton to experience the many delicious vegan possibilities in Minneapolis—an entrée from Jasmine 26, a curry at the Himalayan, or all-American comfort food at the Triple Rock Social Club. If she's still not convinced, I make some pretty delicious vegan desserts and baked goods. The only "hopelessly" vegan thing about my cinnamon rolls is that they are hopelessly addicting. Strangely enough, "creamy, sweet coconut" is completely vegan. Had Hutton possessed a deeper understanding of vegan cuisine, I believe she would have chosen a different, more open-minded adjective. Using "vegan" as a putdown is a cheap shot.


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