Letters to the Editor

Holy War in Aisle 9

Tempest in an herbal-tea pot: As workers and customers at Rainbow Grocery, we find the flippant attack on Rainbow, our health-food store, unacceptable ["No Peace Prize for You," Sucka Free City, July 19]. Your paper takes seriously the word of someone known by us to be a troublemaker with a trumped-up complaint. On that basis you diss the store as "hippy-dippy." Is that because it is a worker-owned coop and takes political stands?

We also object to the way this article makes light of such a life-and-death issue as the Palestine/Israel conflict. How dare your reporter write about this in such a dismissive way? It is appalling to us that when people are dying in such numbers, your paper would devote an entire article to such a divisive non-story. Contrary to what Lauren Smiley states, many of us are Jewish shoppers. We shop at Rainbow Grocery because it is more than just another supermarket. Some of us are Jewish workers at Rainbow and, to set the record straight, we wouldn't tolerate any hint of anti-Semitism at Rainbow.

Peter Altman's quote is particularly ill-informed and destructive. He is equating defense of Palestinian human rights with "tearing Israel to shreds." Also, workers at Rainbow are free to have opinions and this cashier's wearing such a message does not demonstrate that she or Rainbow is advocating the destruction of Israel. Debate and discussion are central to Jewish thought, but Altman's attitude does not permit this.

To allow such an uninformed and shallow piece of journalism on such a crucial world issue is irresponsible or worse.

Rachel West, Jean Pauline, Tom Brown, Mara Rivera, David DeNeef, Lori Nairne, Sonia Siegal, Nell Myhand, Janice Rothstein, Xian, Daniel Chimowitz
San Francisco

Slow food and quick tempers: I'm not really sure what Lauren Smiley's point was in her story about a Human Rights Commission investigation of a Rainbow Grocery employee's alleged use of an anti-Jewish slur against a customer.

Smiley says nothing about the formal investigation, but does admit that the customer approached the pro-Palestinian employee on no fewer than two different occasions to get her views on the Middle East, even when the employee told him she didn't want to talk about it. Smiley also admits that an HRC spokesperson says the store has a "pretty good record" of only one or two complaints in five years, but she then accuses the employee of having "some major attitude" when called to talk about the incident, leaving readers utterly in the dark about what is meant by "attitude," while mentioning as an afterthought that the employee firmly stated that everything said about her is false.

Creating still more confusion about her motives, Smiley appears to frame the story in terms of concern for customers who might be hurt by the harsh words of discriminatory employees, but then turns on those very customers herself by calling Rainbow Grocery "hippy-dippy."

Her story is either a tired, bias-filled propaganda piece that tries to slur all anti-Zionists as anti-Jewish, or a clumsy attempt to make her seem more liberal than the true progressives of Rainbow Grocery.

Myke Cardoza
San Francisco

Bummer of Love

A fate worse than death:Sean Nelson's review of the Monterey Pop show ["TV Eye," July 25] cracked me up, but I wish he had just out and out said it: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd. [by the Monkees] is a much better record than Sgt. Pepper's. It's got at least seven good songs to the most-overrated-record-of-all-time's one. The Monkees are more interesting than any incarnation of the Jeffersons, and cuter! This nostalgia for the Summer of Love is more depressing than anything Pink Floyd ever did — and anyone feeling it deserves to listen to Hair again, without any chemical aid!

Gwenn Carter
Oakland

Consider the source: As a cult connoisseur and editor of the forthcoming book on the Source Family (The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and the Source Family), I concur with Angela Sawyer ["Cult Rock Rules," July 11] that Father Yod and Ya Ho Wa 13 are among the most stylish of the cult rockers from the '70s.

But to correct the writer, far from being "deeply inept," the cream of the Ya Ho Wa 13 music has been judged by critics and collectors (Byron Coley and Julian Cope among them) to be some of the best experimental psychedelia ever created. Their classic album Penetration is more akin to Neu! or Cluster than '70s Stones, and 35 years later, still sounds prescient.

Jodi Wille
Los Angeles

 
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