Letters to the Editor

Week of September 3, 2003

Oink, Oink

Sexist piggy alert!:I don't know where to begin to respond to Matt Smith's shallow, sexist excuse for an article on Green mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez ["The Chick Factor," Aug. 20].

Smith implies that the women who were at Gonzalez's campaign mobilization meeting recently were nothing more than a bunch of fawning debutantes only there to brush elbows with the "sleepy-eyed" candidate with the "dreamy" ideas. Well, Smith can take his misogynous, brainless analysis and shove it. This is the Dan Quayle logic all over again and it's an insult to all women.

For his information, the women at that rally included Gonzalez's sister-in-law, his legislative aide, at least two Green Party activists or officeholders who are married with kids, and others who are simply dedicated members of the Green Party who were there, as always, to work for their party's candidate in the very unglamorous tasks of registering voters and handing out info on city street corners.

To presume that they were all single and "besotted" with Gonzalez reveals an age-old chauvinism that I didn't expect to find in progressive, modern San Francisco. And if this is the extent of Smith's depth of analysis of the mayor's race and Gonzalez's candidacy, then he should spare us his own frat-boy hang-ups and quit writing about the race now.

Smith's ignorant characterization of the women working in Gonzalez's campaign trivializes our serious efforts to fight for a progressive mayoral candidate who shares our own dedication to issues we care about -- alternative energy sources, equitable treatment of the working class and poor, improving the local economy, instant-runoff voting, etc. It also makes Smith look like a first-class idiot.

Looking at all the gushy adjectives he uses to describe Gonzalez, I think the truth is that it's Smith himself who is all aflutter over the Green Party candidate and his nonpolitical charms, and he can't wrap his inelastic little mind around the fact that politically active women can in fact be intelligent, committed to causes, and attractive.

S.M. Peters
San Francisco

A new low:Over time, I've heard Matt Smith be smart and dumb, progressive and backward, but until this article never catty. Did I miss something? Was there a contest for the top hunky politically opinionated public figure named Matt in San Francisco? That would explain your columnist's involuntary spasm, with its cheerleader-mom halitosis. Sorry to tell you this, Mr. Smith, but you're no Matt Gonzalez.

Valeria Sand
Mission

Grrrls who read:Congratulations are in order to Matt Smith! His sexism approaches that of H. Brown, the guy who's currently doing press (oh, unofficially to be sure) for Matt Gonzalez.

Now, does Gonzalez, as a "progressive" -- which I suppose still includes the feminist cause -- intend to reply to this insulting piece of work and show people what he's really made of, or does he just intend to replace Brown with Smith?

Women do read this stuff, you know.

Lesslie Evans
Richmond District

Stud vs. unstud:Do I detect a faint note of envy in Matt Smith's musings on the Gonzalez campaign? He must be a bit irate that the attention of these "better-than-average-looking women in their 20s and 30s" isn't going toward his own journalistic crusades.

Smith's disregard for young women having brains in addition to libidos is certainly cause for dismay. (It may also explain why he doesn't have more "fans.")

Jae Starr
Mission

More than a hug:"He's the kind of guy a girl just wants to hug"? HUG? Think again, dear Mr. Smith. Gorgeous "disenfranchised" babes in their 20s and 30s in S.F. want more than a hug!

Come on! I'm over 50 and voting for Gonzalez based on his artistic flair, plus the fact that he published the late, great street poet Jack Micheline's last book!

Still, you are right on the mark about the chicks. But believe me, they want more than a hug!

Joie Cook
Tenderloin

High Life

Who lives in these things, anyway?: I was fascinated by Brock Keeling's notes on the Paramount, a fine example of what City Hall wants us to think is the future of San Francisco's rental housing scene ["Champagne Tastes," Dog Bites, Aug. 20].

There is a similar project (condo combo 2?) nearing completion across the Third/ Mission intersection and I believe the powers that be are pushing very hard for bigger versions farther downtown. So how is the "exemplar" doing? I work on the block and it looks deserted to me. At night there are no lit windows, and during the day no sign of occupancy. Did Brock ask how many neighbors he would have if he took a unit? I'd love to hear the "answer."

My bet is the place is virtually empty after two years. Why are we giving away big time to developers of DOA projects with no hope of success? Where will the people come from to fill up these units? And when they get here, where will they be able to buy groceries? I don't get it.

R. Grabstein
Downtown

Humorless SWM Seeks Dull Chick

Maybe he can date Scientology babes: Friendster.com CEO Jonathan Abrams wouldn't be able to sit down anywhere. The suction would prevent him from standing back up ["Attack of the Smartasses," Aug. 13].

Mr. Abrams' inability to meet women stems, I fear, from deeper problems than online dating services which don't meet his personal criteria. The last two paragraphs of Lessley Anderson's article are quite telling: He badgers the writer, asking if she has "any cute single friends." And -- having been presented with an opportunity, via Ms. Anderson -- immediately dismisses this opportunity, on the grounds of a graphic on a Web page.

Hopefully, Mr. Abrams is honest in his own Friendster profile. It should read: "Dour, clenched, humorless, anal-retentive software programmer seeks cute single girls with similar personality traits. Must be dismissive of creativity, hostile to sarcasm & wit, and have a nice set of nay-nays."

Hell, Mr. Abrams is missing a vast pool of potential dates. All he has to do is join the Ayn Rand Society and/or the Church of Scientology.

Dean Du Pont
San Pablo

Fun Facts About Finland

Or waste of Letters space? You be the judge:I would like to point out a couple of mistakes in Jean Oppenheimer's review of the film The Cuckoo in your Aug. 13 issue. Oppenheimer tries to explain the cultural and historical context of the film, but unfortunately incorrectly.

First, the indigenous people of northern Europe are called "The Sami" rather than "Lapps" or "Laplanders" and they speak Sami, not "Lapp."

Second, Oppenheimer explains that Finland surrendered to the Allies in 1944, which is not true. Finland, which gained its independence in 1917, has never been occupied by any foreign army. The Second World War between Finland and the Soviet Union ended in an armistice that took effect on Sept. 5, 1944.

Third, the Finnish protagonist's name should be spelled "Veikko," not "Veiko."

Katri Tuori
Nob Hill

Editor's note:Tuori is correct that Finland did not surrender in World War II, although the history of Finnish involvement in the war is more complicated than she suggests. The Finns fought twice against the Soviet Union during the conflict, first in 1939-40, the so-called "Winter War," and again from 1941 to '44. Both engagements ended in peace treaties with harsh terms for Finland, which remained an independent nation but gave up large chunks of its territory to the Soviets. The 1944 armistice also required Finland to pay heavy reparations to its powerful neighbor. Under Soviet pressure, the Finns then turned on their former German allies, attacking Nazi troops stationed in northern Finland in what was called the "Lapland War."

As to the spelling of the protagonist's name, the movie's PR materials use "Veiko."

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