Coming in at roughly 35,219th on the list of despicable things that Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon and the rest of the so-called “alt-right” have done is ruin the term “alt” for a lot of people. Even if it ranks relatively low on their list of offenses, as the editor of an alt-weekly newspaper, I’m here to tell you it’s still really bad. Alternative culture has always stood for inclusiveness and new, expanded understandings of how we define communities—it’s a term intended to add more identities to the larger conversation about the makeup of society. The rejection of diversity by Spencer et al. is anti-“alt” in every way, and the real shame in the mainstream’s willingness to let them use the term is that we already had a number of perfectly fitting names for what they are: racist, misogynist, homophobic, etc.
That’s why I’m so delighted by this week’s cover story. Oberon Zell is an alternative icon in the classic mold: brash, bright and genuinely anti-Establishment, he brought the goddess-worshipping, back-to-the-Earth modern pagan movement into the cultural spotlight in grand fashion. My favorite quote from Aaron Carnes’ story about him is from a local pagan describing how Zell boldly went down “the wizard route”: “He’s always been like, ‘yep, this is who I am.’ … he’s willing to be weird so that other people can see that it’s OK.”
Yes. I love when we can profile fascinating locals like Zell who have made their cultural mark in a way that our readers probably don’t know about. And what better week of the year to feature a legend of the occult arts? Have a happy and safe Halloween!
STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Letters to the Editor
Bigger Cause of Climate Change
I appreciate Stett Holbrook’s characterization of the changed risks associated with a changed climate as “the terrifying new normal” (GT, 10/18). I, like so many people, feel heartbroken, sad, and fearful about the extreme natural disasters that have become everyday events. The world is still reeling from recent devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding. And now, the fires are highlighting the horrifying reality of climate change right here in our home, California.
While I am grateful that I can count on the Good Times to report climate change as a reality, I feel sad that the scant references in the article regarding measures for mitigating climate change reinforce the prevailing conversation about climate change causation, rather than even mentioning the primary cause. When Holbrook asks the question about whether Santa Rosa will be “better built to reduce CO2 emissions,” or when he includes the quote by Richard Heinberg about investment in mass transit and green energy, he fortifies the palatable idea that to most effectively address climate change, we need to look to transportation and energy sustainability.
What he fails to do is to also interview an expert on the devastating impacts of animal agriculture, the leading cause of climate change and so many other environmental disasters.
There are many ways that people respond to humanitarian crises—prayer, opening one’s home, raising funds, donating supplies, etc., are helpful. It is essential that we provide support to those in need. It is also crucial that we take responsibility to address climate change. The strongest measure any individual can take to reduce her/his/their personal contribution to climate change is to adopt a plant-based diet. When enough of us do this, we will be able to turn climate change and its devastating consequences around.
As per your articles in Aug. 30 edition: Don’t forget that every American should have a voice in defending their name or views, whether unpopular figures or politically polarized. Be it taking a defamation case to court or deflecting support of any business or organization, irrespective of your personal opinion of such, we must, in keeping with a free society, defend all who exercise this right. GT needs to spotlight the corporate censorship of the politically incorrect and speech which you deem undesirable. It is not so important that we agree, but rather in the way we handle our disagreement. I totally disagree with the entertainer who asserted in your Aug. 30 publication that the opioid crisis is a red state/blue state issue. And I, for one, will tell you that addiction knows no party and concern for such and is not a monopoly of any particular political persuasion. There’s moral indignation everywhere; let’s not concentrate it in your brand of journalism. Your latest article on CBD was absolutely flawless, and I am greatly anticipating follow-ups in the future. Thank you for your attention to these medicinal marvels.