Letters to the Editor

Week of Wednesday, April 5, 2006

MDMAngry

Not feeling it: Rachel Swan's article "Feelin' Their Thizzle" [March 15] promised to explain "how the culture of Ecstasy has changed as the drug moved from raves to hip hop," but Swan concluded that what changed is the purity (or lack thereof) of the drug. If that is accurate, then the social context in which people take it has little or nothing to do with the different effects of the drug in the two populations — it's merely that one group is ingesting a different set of chemicals than the other.

Thus I find it irresponsible that the article began with ominous allusions to the sinister nature of hip-hop culture that causes black hip-hop fans who take Ecstasy to drive poorly and have unsafe sex (whereas, apparently, white raver kids who take Ecstasy do nothing more sensual than "[cuddling] and suck[ing] pacifiers" — I'm sure nobody has ever had sex with somebody they met at a rave). What could have motivated this, other than the Weekly's desire to cater to its white readers' fascination with the supposed iniquities of black culture?

Kirsten Chevalier
Berkeley

We're Doing Our Part to Create a Safe Space for Women

And our readers couldn't be happier: I love the cover this week ["Just Desserts," March 29]! The girl in the suit, or should I say taking off the suit? How come you don't post your covers on your Web site? I'd love to see that cover online so I can use it for my wallpaper! HOT GIRL! I'm sure we'd all like to see the face behind the girl. Maybe you can do a follow-up and post the entire picture, too, or even a bunch of photos from that photo shoot!

Carlos Quintero
Union City

Lost in Space

Kind of like our dictionary?: Ryan Blitstein referred to the PARK(ing) project as a "spatial anachronism." The word he was looking for, analogous to anachronism (for something misplaced in time), is "anachorism" (for something misplaced in space).

Anonymous
Via e-mail

Fresh Eats

Robert's first fan mail: Finally, a local food critic who writes about food ["Pie High," March 15] and does not use the column to reminisce about everywhere they've been and wax on and on about family members and friends who also sample the restaurants. Those were painful reviews.

Now I can go back to reading the column. Thank you! Thank you!

Annemarie Domizio
San Francisco

Killer Understatement

A Zodiac enthusiast sets the record straight: In his movie review "Cold Serial" [March 15], Bill Gallo wrote, "Today, there's an active Web site for amateur cybersleuths (ZodiacKiller.com), and half a dozen 'researchers' continue to cook up more elaborate theories than the assorted crazies still crawling around Dealey Plaza and the wastes of Roswell, N.M."

Did you just pull that info out of thin air? My message board has more than 100 registered users, not six, and the site as a whole has eclipsed 3 million hits per month on a regular basis. Site users include the friends and family members of the victims, retired and active detectives, true-crime authors, news reporters, actors, and students.

Tom Voigt
ZodiacKiller.com
Portland, Ore.

Hocus Pogue-us

A $2,000 "honest mistake"? Now who's naive in the extreme?: Pogue's recent columns spell out his mistake and make clear that the New York Times paid for the service. If Matt Smith thinks most journalists who review products are free from bias, based on freebies they get, he is naive in the extreme. Have you ever looked at the consumer electronics press? Check with manufacturers and see how many review products are returned.

As far as I know some journalists are above reproach — notably those working for Consumer Reports, the LA Times, and the NYT, and I'm sure Pogue made an honest mistake. A reporter of his stature is not going to jeopardize his position in the community for $2,000.

Phyllis Eliasberg
Boston, Mass.

Ethics is about the disclosure of conflict, not "sportsmanship": I understand your query about ethics in print "journalism." There is very little of it, and it is sad to see even the smallest part seem in danger. However, did you do your homework or is this professional jealousy? Is there any evidence that the "glowing" review was directly related to the discount? Did Pogue get a genuinely good result or a genuinely bad one? Did DriveSavers request to see the article in print before doing the recovery?

I have worked with DriveSavers and the quality of their work is excellent, bordering on magical. They are able to recover data I thought was long lost. Pogue may have given them a good review because they are actually good. DriveSavers employs suicide counselors on their helpline because customers are often severely distraught after losing data. This is a level of customer care not often seen in today's "let India handle it" tech-support world.

Pogue goofed, but I am not convinced that you have done anything more to support good ethics than complain that you did not get the free data recovery first. Poor sportsmanship is also an example of poor ethics.

Jonathan Magnus
Houston, TX

 
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