Letters

Please Remain Calm
I loved your article about bomb-threat checklists in Dog Bites ("Dial S for Stupid," May 3). However, I work for an oil giant at 575 Market -- Chevron. My company gave every employee one of those bomb-threat checklists a year ago. But guess what? I found out sometime last year that there was an actual bomb threat, and our fucking security or executives decided not to tell the occupants of this 40-story building. Could you see 40 stories blown up? I'm pissed that they didn't tell us! Again, dial S for stupid.

Name Withheld

Eat This
Why does it seem like every time I open your paper to Barbara Lane's Eat section, she's reviewing yet another $$$-$$$$ restaurant? Granted, many readers of restaurant reviews -- myself included -- read them purely for the sake of escapist fantasy, supping vicariously on what only the critic-with-an-expense-account can indulge in on a weekly basis.

However, I am getting sick and tired of reading about $23 entrŽes and $9 appetizers at chichi, nouveau and/or predominantly continental-cuisine-serving restaurants -- e.g., Julie Ring's, Elka, Vertigo, Socca and Flying Saucer (Eat, May 3). I mean, if I had the bucks to eat wherever I wanted every week, I for one would certainly try to visit a broader range of eating establishments and balance out my diet with food from more cheap-but-good-restaurants and/or more ethnically diverse cuisines.

Further, if I also happened to be a food critic for a free weekly, I would try to make my reviews more appealing and useful to a wider audience (especially across income brackets) -- unless, of course, I had some sort of disdain for low-end restaurants or the editors of my weekly are aiming for a readership that happens to be of the same income bracket that can afford to frequent the Cypress Club and Stars. (Hint: They read the Wall Street Journal and probably think free weeklies are vulgar anyway.)

Theresa Mah
Berkeley

Fact or Faction?
As practically the only person to go public with criticism of Factsheet 5 back when Mike Gunderloy was its idolized editor, I think I can claim a certain credibility to speak to recent criticisms of current editor Seth Friedman ("Ragging Factsheet 5," April 5). I was getting F5 when it was a single, double-sided ditto sheet, not the book-length behemoth it now is.

I see nothing in the claim that there is any truth-in-packaging problem in F5 aside from the fact that its new subtitle, "The Definitive Guide to the Zine Revolution," alleges the impossible. Seth Friedman ventures opinions as to whether you're good at what you're doing, not usually whether what you're doing is good, and he should be judged the same way. Of necessity, many of the reviews are stereotypes because, unfortunately, so are many of the zines they review. The good thing about zines is that anybody can do one. But the bad thing about zines is that anybody can do one. At its best, F5 has made the snap judgment into an art form.

In general, Friedman has implemented Gunderloy's principles (painfully worked out, I can say, by trial and error) as well as, and often better than, Gunderloy himself did, especially toward the end when the 80-hour weeks were turning Gunderloy into a robot. He's shed some (not enough) of the time-wasting side projects and is not afflicted with the abysmal columnists Gunderloy hosted just because they knew-him-when. Mostly, what's wrong with F5 (as with zinedom) is built in. If you don't like it, you can look elsewhere -- and F5's a good place to find out where else to look.

Bob Black
Albany, New York

To Feller, With Love
Certain oversensitive complex individuals seem to be forgetting that humor comes in all forms. I always look forward to my weekly dose of "sarcasm and meanness" from Eggers & Leon. They make me laugh. Fuck you, I love Smart Feller!

Chris Berens
Oakland

Prop Wash
I would like to know exactly what is racist about Prop. 187 ("La Cucaracha," May 10). I admittedly only read through the proposition briefly, but I never saw anything in it which said that Hispanics shall be denied health care and education. It said to me that all illegal immigrants shall be denied health care and education. It seems to me that it is being called racist because it just so happens that a large portion of illegal immigrants are of Hispanic origin. Your cartoon indicates that it is white America that is backing Prop. 187, which seems racist in its own right since it just so happens that the largest portion of middle-class America is white, and it just so happens that the middle class (of which I am a member) is the one that ends up footing most of the bill.

I am Asian and thus a member of a minority group, but I am really getting tired of minority groups (Asians included) waving the racism flag every time they see something they don't like, because racism is a high-caliber political weapon that carries constitutional ramifications. There are times when it needs to be done, but I think it is getting to the point of crying wolf in this country.

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