Letters

Beauty and the Biz
When I walked into the conference for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, I have to admit, my stomach welled up in my throat -- as I'm sure Tom McNichol's did ("Beauty Knows No Pain," April 26). With all that injecting and sucking, bandaging and implanting, it seems that soon humans could be made from scratch using inert ingredients and discarded portions of other humans.

However, as the daughter of a plastic surgeon who studied from the old school of plastic surgery, I feel it necessary to make a couple of important points that are being outshined by the glitz and glamour of the industry.

The conference you attended was the Hollywood carnival of plastic surgery. My father (who has seen many conferences in his career of 30-plus years) refers to ASAPS members as "the peacocks." Beauty is their business. But, contrary to the growing generalizations, this certainly does not define plastic surgery. Once you filter out all this fluff, you get to the heart of what plastic surgery is all about. Unfortunately, nobody mentions the other societies; groups such as Physicians for Peace, who travel to Third World countries to teach and perform fundamental procedures in reconstructive surgery for free. Or, the Society for Maxillofacial Surgeons, who focus on facial bone reconstruction due to severe accident contusions and deformities. These members are not out to make the extra buck or leak into the society page; they are talented surgeons who are honestly interested in correcting physical deformity.

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I also have to say that I was disturbed by the glib toss of the term Hippocratic Oath -- do no harm. Bear in mind, surgeons do not "take perfectly healthy people," as you put it, and do them harm. This is elective surgery, fueled by outside images of (most commonly) the perfect woman with which we are bombarded every day. Behind every saline implant is a woman (or man) who has made the choice to take the risks of plastic surgery.

I'm sure the conference made it easy for you to write the lengthy article. And, some of what you wrote had some validity. However, what you failed to do was research the industry in its entirety and see where this conference fits into plastic surgery as a whole. I find that irresponsible.

Jennifer V. Schultz
San Francisco

Heard It on the Radio
What Enemy? Your article is a gross misrepresentation of the operation of the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services (Paper Trails, April 26). The OES strongly advocates emergency communications, and amateur radio emergency communications efforts in particular.

Because I have been an active member of the group that formed the amateur radio portion of the OES and have had frequent interactions with the OES staff, I am familiar with OES operations. I see no evidence that any part of our operation is involved in gathering any form of "military intelligence" and "diverse communities." The building you call the "bunker" on Turk Street is built as an earthquake-sound building with security consistent with a facility that would become a vital nerve center for all city agencies in an emergency; it is not, as your article implies, some staging area for spy operations by the retired military officers who happen to comprise the primary OES staff.

Within that Turk Street building, the OES has provided a fully equipped amateur radio facility and it is installing additional amateur radio equipment in a number of fire stations to provide complete communications coverage within the city. These facilities, intended primarily to serve the people of the neighborhoods and those many diverse communities that are San Francisco, will provide additional communication lines during an emergency, when regular public safety channels become overcrowded. In order to utilize the facilities effectively, amateur radio operators of the city OES are now actively engaged in encouraging more operations.

Your distorted view of the OES certainly does not help our efforts. Your article does a great disservice to many dedicated individuals who have volunteered their time and energies in preparation for surviving the major earthquake that we all know will happen here. By focusing on alleged past group affiliations of these staff members and implying that they bring ultraconservative agendas to the OES, you totally distort the operations of the OES.

Kitchell Brown
San Francisco

This Week's Smart Feller Flap
It is disturbing to me that a mean-spirited and unfunny comic strip is spending so much time making fun of citizens who recently wrote in to voice concern over the strip's treatment of the driver/pedestrian issue (Smart Feller, April 26). Of course, we are supposed to understand that the continuous barbs at Mr. Musso to "watch his back," etc., are meant to be funny. The saddest thing is the acceptance of Smart Feller's humorless sarcasm as anything but lame and spiteful. Social satire? Irreverent and fearless humor for these hard-edged '90s? Smart Feller may try to be either or both, but it is neither.

I've often found that people without a sense of humor will use sarcasm and meanness for a laugh. It's too bad SF Weekly celebrates this unfortunate phenomenon by publishing Smart Feller.

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