Letters for April 19, 2007

Walk in another’s shoes

Re “A mother’s prayer” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, April 12):

Wow! What can I say? This article was amazingly written!

There are a lot of good points brought up about the area of Valley Hi that a lot of people, including myself, fail to realize. “A mother’s prayer” is definitely an eye opener. Articles like this can bring more awareness to hurting neighborhoods and by this, more people may be willing to step up and help make a difference.

Another reason I commend this writing is that the reader gets a chance to understand the reality of the “streets” as seen through a mother’s eyes. A job well done!

Toccara Rudley

Don’t overlook this one!

Re “The survival & revival of Sacramento’s independent bookstores” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Feature Story, April 5):

Thank you for the piece on Sacramento’s independent bookstores.

How Ralph Brave could have missed bookseller Richard L. Press is beyond me. Richard has been slugging it out as an independent here in Sacramento for more than 25 years, and his shop is a mere three blocks from SN&R’s office. The bookshop is a true treasure and for many bookhounds a veritable cultural institution. I’m sure Richard’s contribution to your article would have proven both valuable and colorful, and it’s a shame he was overlooked.

Next month, Richard L. Press Fine & Scholarly Books on the Arts is moving to 19th and F streets. Let’s hope the new location will be easier for book lovers and journalists to find.

Dutch Falconi

Bravo for the little guys

Re “The survival & revival of Sacramento’s independent bookstores” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Feature Story, April 5):

Ralph Brave’s story was excellent. There is another very important aspect of independent bookstores that was not mentioned: their willingness to work with small-press authors.

As a rule, the chains and big-box bookstores want nothing to do with a book unless it comes from a major publishing house, is backed by a lavish advertising budget and has a cheap price tag. Indie bookstores feature publications by relatively low-profile authors who, although perhaps not famous, write books as good as (and many times far superior to) anything on the shelf at Costco. These store owners bend over backward, not only for their customers but also for local writers, providing books that the reading public might otherwise never find.

How do I know? When my first book came out, both the Avid Reader and Next Chapter were kind enough to host book-signing events for me, in order to boost awareness of my work.

Candy Taylor Tutt

Indies care about literature

Re “The survival & revival of Sacramento’s independent bookstores” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Feature Story, April 5):

Thanks for your comprehensive story on independent bookstores. I traveled to Sacramento, Davis and points all along Highway 49 promoting a book I had recently published. The experience at chain stores selling books was not much different than chain stores selling shoes. The main difference was that owners and staff at independent and used bookstores were dedicated to literature and readers, while chains seemed to be narrowly focused on cash register volume alone.

B. Delbert Williams

Jeff’s a whore …

Re “The Sacramento Union” (SN&R advertising, April 5):

It’s interesting to note how your ad regarding the Union buying space in SN&R uses the terms “liberal” and “conservative” to describe the agendas of each publication.

While SN&R’s political slant is fairly transparent, I’ve always believed the publication espouses the virtues of a free-thinking press. In fact, I have been led to believe that SN&R was an unbiased paper by the editors themselves—your current tagline is “Think free.” Isn’t it hard to think free while constrained by liberal or conservative ideology?

But you marginalize your publication the same way you attempt to marginalize the Union. I don’t buy your “excuses” to your “outraged” readers. Why not just tell the truth? Your liberal, anti-commercialistic, anti-free-market views don’t matter when it comes to your publication.

Let me say it plainly: Jeff vonKaenel, as the person who apparently made this decision, is a whore for taking money from a group that he vehemently disagrees with and is couching it in the defendable guise of being a patriot. Hilarious—and typical of many liberals—the rules are for everyone else.

SN&R would have had far more credibility if vonKaenel simply stated: “Hey, their money is just as green as all of the hookers and pimps we collect from.” Isn’t it a bit peculiar that you are defending the publication of ideas instead of all of the other crap you advertise (hookers, hookers and gay hookers)?

I guess SN&R’s enlightened readers are more offended by “free thought” than anything else—again, typical of many liberals.

Please don’t take this personally, but I see hypocrisy all the time and this smacks of it. You can rail against rock stars compromising their integrity by selling out to huge multinational corporations, but when it comes to ad revenue for a publication in pretty dire need of a shot in the arm, it’s OK. Not buyin’ it, Jeff.

I have been a loyal reader for at least 13 years. I don’t know why—oh yes, I do. SN&R is free!

Christopher Faris

… but he gets kudos!

Re “The Sacramento Union” (SN&R advertisement, April 5):

To borrow a phrase from the lexicon of conservative America: Kudos on your decision to allow the Sacramento Union to advertise in SN&R. No truer test of tolerance can be found than the extent to which dissenting viewpoints are given audience. It is through the juxtaposition of ideas that those with the most merit are illuminated. Ideologies vacant of substance and sanity are best exposed by presenting them side by side with expositions of inclusion and understanding.

The complexity of thought and diversity of opinion that have long been hallmarks of SN&R have nothing to fear from adding yet another voice to the dialogue. Censorship, which the wise SN&R readership has routinely disavowed, is a practice best left to others.

Thanks for practicing what you preach!

Doug Edwards

In his faces

Re “Matsui’s restraint” by Douglas C. Miller (SN&R Letters, April 12)

There’s nothing like the crackpot calling the mettle whacked.

Miller suggests the folks who recently staged a sit-in at Representative Doris Matsui’s office in an unsuccessful effort to convince her to vote against further bankrolling the Iraq war should consider themselves lucky to have done so in their country of residence (can you even imagine such cheekiness?) rather than that of “some tin-horn dictator.” Otherwise, they “would have been shot, bludgeoned or simply would have disappeared for eternity.”

Hmm. What might such a despot look like? Ngo Dinh Diem? Fulgencio Batista? Ferdinand Marcos, maybe? How about the Shah of Iran, or the entire House of Saud?

Saddam Hussein, perhaps?

I wonder if Miller sees a connection between the straw men dissident-disappearing meanies he invokes and the very real, very murderous puppets ceaselessly propped up by the but-what-have-you-done-for-me-lately school of (corporate-run) U.S. foreign policy whose drearily predictable results are unremitting blowback and untold misery.

Of course he doesn’t; he’s much more interested in “being more collegial with those on the other side of the political aisle.” This, right before he labels as “Mao-inspired banshees, Bolsheviks or anarchists” the protesters who, in reality, sat quietly and respectfully in Matsui’s office for 51 days.

It is germane to ask why Miller appears far more disturbed by an ongoing, lawful protest than its target, the Iraq war, a crime of catastrophic dimensions in clear and direct violation of international law that has resulted in the deaths of over 650,000 innocents.

Part of the protesters’ disgruntlement revolves around the “sincere” and “fair-minded” Matsui wanting to have it both ways (like any tin-horn politician, I guess): She says she’s anti-war yet votes to refuel the slaughter with boxcars full of taxpayer dollars.

This seems a tad, um, inconsistent, and even, gasp, a mite hypocritical.

Thus, the peaceful civil disobedience at sit-in’s end that resulted in the arrests of seven protesters for reading aloud the names of those senselessly killed in Iraq. On a related note, here’s a little something Miller should ponder: Liberties have never been freely given, they must be taken.

And that’s just what the protesters, and the rest of us who pledge solidarity with their actions, are doing.

Finally, since Miller seems insistent on everyone knowing his or her proper place, here’s where he should know we’ll be: in his faces (both of them), and plenty others like them, for a very long time.

Mark Drolette