As a student of the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science (“The Student Body,” March 22), I am appalled at the comments of the students interviewed and the reporter who showed the poor taste to quote an ignorant few.
I doubt that there is a stronger critic of the school than myself, as it does have considerable need for improvement. I will admit further that there are many unpleasant tasks involved in the procedures required to prepare a case for viewing in a safe and dignified manner. That does not change the fact that most of those in the industry take pride in what they do and offer a value to the community and families they serve.
Those you interviewed should never be licensed, and your reporter should be censured for bad taste.
L. Alan Dvorkin
As one who has been almost run over both on crosswalks and sidewalks while exercising my rights as a pedestrian, I feel Smart Feller (Letters, March 22) would be well advised to reflect a bit on the real costs of an autocentric society before lambasting those who choose to walk.
Smart Feller's continuing diatribes against pedestrians best exemplify what I find most creepy about automobiles. That is, a motor vehicle's ability to turn a seemingly sane person into a sociopath, forcing one to regard other persons as opponents to be bypassed or run over, under the delusion that surrounded by all that glass, steel and chrome, might does after all make right.
Paul Allen Musso
Be Beautiful or Die
Here's a quick bit of advice for Ubereditor Jack Shafer on how to spice up the SF Weekly's tepid pages:
1. Grab a copy of the PacBell business-to-business yellow pages.
2. Open to the heading called Graphic Designers. Notice there are nearly 10 pages of single-spaced listings in this category. Lots to choose from, Jack, because San Francisco is home to some of the most prolific and talented visual artists in the country.
3. Using your Ubereditor's blue or green highlighter — not yellow, Jack, because the pages are printed on yellow paper — mark a few names at random.
4. Call some of the people you've selected. Odds are excellent any of them can make the Weekly look better than it does now.
In the words of one local Design Immortal, God forbid it should originate in San Francisco and not look drop-dead beautiful. Welcome to Cali, guys, you've got lots of work to do.
Sex and Bagels
In response to “Cyberpornocopia” (March 15): The article needed to explore seriously the relationship between the online culture content of misogyny and sex torture and the off-line content of lifestyles, advertising images, videos, movies, news programs, sex documentaries or television broadcasts in our image-based culture. Our collective psyche is saturated with perversely designed and mass-marketed kitsch image products targeted to millions of faceless consumers by entertainment conglomerates. In another context, image-based techno-culture requires sexual imagery and violence as indispensable marketing tools.
SF Weekly pimps sexual titillation not only by publishing degrading sex images for the 900 numbers, but in a daring salute to free speech, by publishing a cover feature article on cybersleaze legalities and reprinting the XXX contents as part of the article for our pleasure in browsing over coffee and bagels.
Tail in Two Cities
McNichol's premise in “Cyberpornocopia” — San Francisco is cool, Memphis is not — is flawed in its simplicity and exhibits ignorance of both locales.
McNichol is amazed that “None of the [Memphis] jurors had ever been online” — Bubba, most of us S.F.ers ain't never been online. Further, the suggestion that persons not participating in cybernetting due to apathy, poverty or ignorance should have no say in issues involving its use is as democratically absurd as that which would disenfranchise citizens without pilot's licenses from any say on regulations involving air traffic.
While owning up to the illegality of child porn, McNichol does not draw the necessary line between golden showers and rape in pornography. Given the difficulty in convicting the child rapist, pursuing their little slime trails through the mail, skirting — even rounding off the edges — of the First Amendment is a necessary evil, like chemotherapy or amputation. Porno using actual children as its subject abets rape. Sex with animals is unlawful in most places. And Thomas' selling recordings of it promotes the crime.
Now here may be the real difference between S.F. and Memphis. Memphians, more than most Americans and many Southerners, understand the need for the national will to overrule local predilections. If no national standard is to be met, then what? Fucking collies and kindergartners, so acceptable by some people in either town, would be legitimized as soon as it is downloaded?
Thank the devil for the New Times!
Having spent the previous eight years in Providence and D.C., I was appalled to reach San Francisco, supposedly the world's openest, freest, most diverse city — and find the mealy-mouthed, left-wing lung cream that passed for alternative urinalism around here.
Kicking the same dead horses every week, with the merciless whining of a first-grader who's had his lunch money stolen, papers like the S.F. Bay Guardian and the old Weekly set new standards for boring, myopic polemic. The 700 Club was less predictable.
I got used to it after a while. Like everyone else, I held my nose and flipped to the club listings. But last week's cyberporn battle marked the last time I ever pick up a Guardian. Your cyberporn story was about people, not politics. It explored the moral gray areas behind the pornography industry in a searing, human and amazingly objective story. The style reminded me, more than anything, of the film Hoop Dreams.
The only strike against the new Weekly is its layout. But, hell, diversity is always ugly.
At last! Thank you, thank you, thank you.After months of keeping SF Weekly readers in suspense as to whether “their” paper would retain its verve and journalistic integrity under the new editorial regime, or devolve into mass-market gutter flotsam appealing to the lowest common denominators of literate society, you've finally lifted our burden and provided an unequivocal answer.
“Cyberpornocopia,” a meagerly investi-gated, out-of-date, sophomoric feature on Net pornography — replete with a pointless sidebar that only glorifies “the depths of cybersleaze” — demonstrates the depths to which you'll desperately dredge to manufacture a hook for your readers. You've finally revealed your true nature to us.
Thanks also for finally labeling those silly little doodles as what they truly are — mere “comics” — and relegating them all to one page at the back of the bus where they don't have to interrupt our reverie with their annoying perspectives on reality.
Oh, and thank you for the new masthead. It couldn't represent its contents any more aptly: lowercase, undersize, sickly and non-descript, devoid of any claim to be “San Francisco's News and Entertainment Voice.” Every Wednesday, it'll be a welcome reminder of the many reasons why I have no further need to pick it up.