Frank X. Mur
Vets Deserve to Be Seen
Regarding Tara Shioya's story "The Invisible Veterans" (July 16), whether you're a cynic or idealist, and disregarding the structural integrity of the sociopolitical machine that feeds war, you have to believe that it is society's and therefore government's responsibility to make a show of good faith to the people who defended and died for that structure.
I consider it an abomination of justice that these "invisible veterans" have been treated the way they have.
It was clear from the start of Matt Smith's article "Art of Betrayal" (Bay View, July 16) that he was confused about the facts. Jon Rubin and I are not San Francisco artists, and my first name was misspelled. I'm not an "avant-garde painter," and most importantly we didn't betray anyone.
We did talk to Smith for over an hour, but we were not "evading and obscuring" our work; we just didn't tell him what he wanted to hear.
I resent Smith's comments that farmers "speak elliptically for an hour or so before getting down to brass tacks." I'm not sure where he got this pejorative stereotype from; my experience with farmers is that they are articulate and to the point. My education at UC Santa Cruz's agroecology program certainly didn't train me to be obscure.
When we talked to Smith about our installation "A Few Months in Fairfield" Jon and I told him that we liked the people in Fairfield, had enjoyed our residency, and want to show the installation there. We also told him that our show was a fiction based on factual experience, and that its consumer-oriented images could be applied to any place or group of people in the United States, including ourselves. Of course Smith didn't include this information in the article because it would have destroyed his predetermined agenda -- to describe our show as a "brutal critique of the consumerism found in suburbia" based on a "sublime act of betrayal."
The real act of betrayal (to us and SF Weekly's readers) belongs to Matt Smith for misrepresenting our intentions, and reporting on a show that he never went to see. This fact is made clear by his mention of images that do not appear in our installation. At best this is a case of sloppy journalism, and at worst it is irresponsible, deceptive, and sensational reporting.
Matt Smith replies: My grandpa (a John Deere dealer), my other grandpa (a dairy farmer), and the growers and ranchers I used to visit with when I worked as agriculture reporter for the Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News usually spoke elliptically for an hour or so before getting down to brass tacks. For them, this was a matter of courtesy.
Editor's note: SF Weekly regrets misspelling Mr. Fletcher's name.