Letters for January 15, 2004

Off the hook
Re “In a stagnant pond,” [RN&R, Film, Jan. 8]:

I have read your reviews for some time now and have disagreed with you in the past, but I must say your most recent review of Big Fish is where I draw the line. I will not even attempt to argue all the merits of this movie with you, because it is obvious that it was not exciting or interesting enough to hold your imagination. However, I would like to point out that you are dead wrong when you castigate Big Fish for being a “whitewash” of the South. Are not all fantastical tales whitewashed in one way or another? And the moral of the movie is not that it is OK to bullshit your children through life, it is that people (especially parents) need forgiveness for their shortcomings and eccentricities.

Too often it is evident that you walk into movies with a narrowly defined set of preconceptions as to what the movies you see should and should not be. If a movie does not capture your attention or your interest, that movie is immediately trashed with little reasoning besides your own little gripes. While I admit that subjectivity is an unavoidable evil in your profession, I find your reviews soaked in it.

Josh Hartzog

Bad words
Re “Reel thrills: 2003,” [RN&R, Cover story, Jan. 8]:

I recently read a review of the year’s movies in the RN&R. I have to conclude that the “kid” who wrote it is obviously around 23 years old with the insight of a stick of furniture. I can’t believe you allowed the use of the word ‘mother-fucker,’ which indicates to me that not only is he a kid, but uneducated as well. Print carries a responsibility of telling society what is acceptable and what isn’t. As a blackjack dealer, I was constantly having trouble telling kids what language was acceptable in public. Many times they would actually argue with me saying it must be OK since it’s used on TV or in magazines and other print media formats. This writer’s lack of experience is obvious from what he wrote about the movie Calendar Girls. He reveals himself to be incredibly self-absorbed with a lack of insight to the human condition.

I am disgusted with your lack of sense of responsibility to your public. For shame.

Susan Smith

Put Cashell in panties

Re “Council TV,” [RN&R, News, Dec. 31]:

I read with interest the RN&R story on Reno Mayor Bob Cashell looking at possibly cutting the Reno City Council broadcasts on SNCAT. The mayor feels there may be better options for keeping the citizens informed than the broadcast of complete and unedited council meetings from gavel-to-gavel.

While it is true that city council meetings can be tedious and lengthy, the broadcasts of these meetings does demonstrate the many hours our elected officials give to the public’s business. I support the continued broadcasts for no other reason than these broadcasts create a permanent visual record of “open government.”

If Mayor Cashell wants to increase ratings, he should look to other successful reality TV shows and incorporate elements from hit programs.

· A new city ordinance could be passed requiring the licensing of spandex, g-strings and thongs and require applicants to model before the council for approval between agenda items.

· Rotate council meeting locales. Have a meeting at the Adventure Inn. Who wouldn’t tune-in to see the council sitting in the jacuzzi in the Congo Tiki Boom-Boom Room?

· Hire a back-up band, dancers and costumer for Sam Dehne. It won’t change Sam’s opinions but they will at least have better rhythm, style and presentation.

· Have themed council meetings with costumes and props. Imagine the council dressed as the cast of The Wizard of Oz. Who would be Dorothy? Or the Wicked Witch or the Wizard himself? “I’ll get you my pretty … and the funding for your program, too!”

If the mayor really wants success with these broadcasts, he could also incorporate elements from TV game shows. For example, he could have city budget managers bid on agenda items à la Price is Right. “Managers, come on down!” The one closest to the actual price without going over gets their project funded. Or, he could dress like Groucho and choose a secret word for public comment. “Congratulations … you said the secret word, now here’s a hundred dollars.”

The work of our city government is important. We deserve to see it in all its glory and wrinkles. For better ratings, just give it a little show-biz spin.

Jimmer McGrath