Letters to the Editor

Week of Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Art of Graft

Poguetry in Motion:In Matt Smith's column "The Free Press" [March 15], he quotes the New York Times' David Pogue as saying, "Every reviewer of services, of any kind — theater, music, restaurants, travel — gets free services for review purposes."

I don't know any restaurant reviewer or food critic of any reputable paper that accepts freebies. I've been eating dinners with Charles Perry of the L.A. Times for nearly 20 years, and he always pays. While Pogue might be an expert in the world of techie gizmos, he's pretty clueless about what's standard in other fields.

Kate Coe
Los Angeles

Gray area at the Gray Lady:This was a nice hit on Pogue. Had he worked anywhere else, Matt Smith might have gotten him canned. But I think Smith too blithely dismisses the routine plying of journalists with books, CDs, and DVDs. Many writers get this stuff, write about it or never write about it, but profit by reselling it to retailers. The racks of used book and CD stores in the Bay Area, and nationwide, would be much emptier without "review" copies. Is that ethical? I don't know. I asked New York Times ombudsman Byron Calame about this when he recently spoke out against the freebies available to NYT writers, but he never responded. There are a lot of gray areas in which journalists get questionable freebies, such as sportswriters who eat and drink on the teams they cover. Ever been in an NFL press box?

Name withheld
Tampa, Fla.

No Joy in Mudville

Nothing new under the klieg lights:Matt Palmquist's Q&A ["Giant Fake," The Apologist, March 15] is leading, boring, and representative of what nearly every other media drip is stating. Why is it that reporters have such a narcissistic complex — they don't seem to be able to move beyond their own lens. It is as if bennies weren't "the shit" for eons in baseball, half the league wasn't using some form of enhancing substance over the last decade, and Barry [Bonds] wasn't among the greatest players ever to walk on the field to begin with. Think context. Such quizzes should be saved for some conservative save-our-morals paper, not a progressive, balanced one such as this.

Chris S.
Berkeley

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Puni Night

So long, and thanks for all the hype:In 2002, I organized a Drinking Games between Marina yuppies and Mission punk rockers. Mr. Siegler was kind enough to satirize it, and my friends told me there was a comic strip about the ongoing "feud" between the two neighborhoods. I was honored that someone wrote cartoons to what I set up as a joke which became the most overhyped picnic of all time.

Aloysius "Al" Cummings IV
San Francisco

It's whatever:Well, Dan asked us to send in our thoughts about Puni and he said to be honest, so: I felt pretty indifferent about Puni. I didn't think it was much of anything really, it was just there. And I also thought that Dan thought it was more clever than it really was. Just my opinion.

Parisha
Via the Internet

Who wants sensible public transportation when you can have a weekly cartoon about the lack thereof?:Puni probably died of waiting for Muni to finish installing NextBus. We know the feeling. Puni was an early supporter of our NextBus project, and we will always appreciate [Dan Siegler] for that. We apologize to Puni and his family for the delay, but we have been willing and able to complete the installation in 90 days for over six years.

Ken Schmier
President, NextBus Information Systems Inc.
San Francisco

Correction

The illustration on last week's opening Night & Day page should have been credited to Grant Gilliland. SF Weekly regrets the error.

 
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