Letters

Nursing Home Tragedies
Thank you for the incisive, accurate, and heart-rending article by Matt Smith on the Mill Valley nursing home ("Diagnosis: Eviction," June 9).

After caring for her at home for five years, it was there that my mother lived for the last four years of her life. I loved her immensely. Even before the changes in ownership, conditions were poor, in spite of the best efforts of overworked and underpaid staff. I was her only family member and participated actively in her care.

My mother was blind, in a wheelchair, a victim of strokes and Alzheimer's. Plead as I did, never would the administration of the facility commit to 15 minutes a day of personal attention for her (a few words, some affectionate touch, you know, TLC). This is just one of many shortcomings.

The tragedy is that this is more the rule rather than the exception in nursing homes across our land. My heartbreak is equaled only by my anger. Millions of abandoned, low-income elders are left to languish in neglect and die of loneliness. Who will help? Who cares?

Ernest J. Thalinger
El Sobrante

Dating. It's Complicated.
Joel Engardio's piece on South Asian-American dating practices is perhaps the most boring treatment the subject could have received ("Union Shopping," June 2). This subject is much more complex and varied than the story of Bella that he presents. Clearly, no attempt was made to get at and expose the deeper issues and contradictions at hand.

Bella's experience is a narrow view of a much wider spectrum. Many people have had to deal with much stronger pressures from their family, and many people have families that are magnitudes more enlightened than Bella's. Even given the material at hand (Bella's story), Engardio fails to deal with the complexities present. Why did Bella's parents become more conservative in the United States?

This is an important question. With further research, Engardio would have come across a very interesting artifact of immigration. Immigrants often remember their homeland and its culture as it was when they left it. This means that South Asian-Americans born and raised in the United States have parents living with a 1950s Indian mentality.

Young people of the same demographic (upper-middle-class urbanites) who grow up in India often have more progressive viewpoints than their counterparts raised in the United States. Bella's mother claims that all that matters is a partner who is willing to accept Indian values, yet she rejects a "Patel" simply because of his last name, and jokes that her kids might have "slanted eyes." How did Engardio fail to see the mismatch between her high-level rhetoric and the realities of her clear prejudices?

When push comes to shove, which is going to win out? What would have happened if Bella started dating a vegetarian, pacifist, black man? I'm betting her false progressive attitudes would have crumbled pretty fast. These are the types of interesting aspects to this story that Engardio misses.

Ketan Mayer-Patel
Berkeley

Uh, Careful Kathy. That's the Mayors' Ass You're Calling Sorry
Just so you know, Puni captures the quintessential Muni experience. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who rants and raves. The commentary should be sent directly to Willie Brown's sorry ass.

Kathy Pettit
Sunset

Is This a Colldge Course, or Just a Freaking Sequel?
I will admit, taking the sequel to Austin Powers at face value leaves little praise for the movie ("It's Awful, Baby, Yeah!" Film, June 9). But what Patrick Williams seems to miss is that the humor and brilliance of the movie is so deeply intertwined, that it's almost counterproductive. The reason some parts of the movie seem so cliche and cardboard is that, ultimately, Myers is spoofing James Bond movies which always were and always have been fake. Like Shagwell, she who has no personality, Bond Girls are curvy, beautiful, not so bright, and easily enraptured by the spy.

Also, the reason that Powers has a new girl in this movie is that Bond always had a new love of his life with every picture. The movie is an homage to those cheap spy flicks of the '60s, that was what inspired Myers to create such an outrageous character. The humor comes, not entirely with the potty humor or references to male genitalia, but with the contrast and clash of '60s idealistic/fantasy movies with the harsh "get real" '90s. And potty humor, need we go there.

Williams, the in-touch movie critic, is unaware that potty humor is the thing now? Need I mention There's Something About Mary? South Park? The enduring torture that is Beavis and Butt-head?

For Myers to capitalize on it is just a brilliant play on the current moviegoing psyche. And probably Williams' lowest attempt to discredit this movie at all were the opinions of a 10-year-old. Listen, most 10-year-olds are familiar with sex enough to laugh at the sexually based humor of this movie. Last time I checked, it was rated PG-13. Besides, kids' attention spans rarely extend the length of a two-hour movie. Why do you think the Teletubbies is only 24 minutes a shot?

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