Apparently not: Oh, the dramatic story: [artist] Travis Somerville transported at the tender age of 5 into "the heart of Southern redneck country," where he and his nobly liberal family suffered at the hands of those awful backward racists ("Southern Discomfort," Oct. 24)! A story complete with baroque details about slavery and lynchings and Martin Luther King Jr. I can't wait to see Somerville tell his tearful tale to Oprah.
Why is it that the South has produced such alienated whites as Somerville, parading their moral supremacy in exile as they proclaim how they had to leave Dixie because of all those evil, ignorant racists? Is there never an end to such people, with their "just so" anecdotes of hate and oppression? And is there never an end to gullible Yankee writers willing to peddle as authentic these biographies of self-righteousness cobbled together from "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Inherit the Wind"?
Robert Stacy McCain
Whatever. We like all the pretty colors: [Somerville's] art is wonderful. Let us also remember that an artist is best examined by his complete range and complexity over a period of time. The "mirror" we see when we look at a painting is really an internal window the artist provides for us, so we can be free to examine and understand what we believe we are seeing. Travis does this very well.
Rob March Harper
It was definitely fantastic and amazing. But spellbinding might be going too far.: [The SF Weekly Music Awards] at Bimbo's was definitely one of the best parties I've ever been to in my life ("Photographic Memories," Night Crawler, Oct. 24)! Fantastic entertainment lineup -- I was so happy there weren't any guitar-bass-drums rock bands. Every group was spellbinding. It started out great with the gamelan orchestra, and I wondered how it could get better than that, but each new group was amazing. The Extreme Action Marching Band, with their wild female choreography, was totally punk rock! Thanks for the most amazing lineup of local world-class talent.
The Maritime is forever: Thank you for writing a fitting eulogy for the tragic demise of Maritime Hall (Pop Philosophy, Oct. 24). Though the hall is gone, it will never be forgotten because practically every show performed there was recorded [on] audio and video. There are already over a dozen albums with Maritime recordings on them, and there will only be more to come. The legacy of the hall will be made immortal through these recordings. The Maritime is dead, long live the Maritime.
Recording engineer, Maritime Hall
A whale of a story: I have just finally dragged my weary eyes to the end of your article "Survival" (Oct. 17, by David Holthouse, about a whale hunt with Russian Eskimos), and I am exhausted right down to my picked-clean bones! I look at the world situation and am just about convinced that this is the end of the game. The trees are gone. The ozone layer soon will be. Children in New Zealand have to cover their bodies completely whenever they go outdoors. The whales are too stinky to eat and too sick to save. I was thoroughly impressed by your writing and by your stunning article. I hope everyone in the USA reads it!
He wants us to put that on his business card -- "Venomous, but fair": Well, I gotta give it to [Matt Smith]: You have waved the flag the way it should be, honestly. Your editorial about Osama and Bush, the geology, your grandmother, etc. ("Osama Was Here," Oct. 17), was so good that I am taking the time to [write].
In the past year, you have annoyed me no end with your positions on issues, but not this time. I will always defend your right to either speak truth or make an idiot of yourself. Everything you said about Bush is fair. Venomous, but fair. Thank you for the guts to say things in your column that could quite reasonably land you in front of a judge, in jail, or placed under federal surveillance.
Another great newspaperman once said, under even greater conditions of personal peril, "Those who would trade freedom for security do not deserve either." His name: Benjamin Franklin.
In our Oct. 24 issue, a capsule review of the movie High Heels and Low Lifes misidentified one of the film's co-stars. The actress' name is Mary McCormack.