Letters for April 2, 2009

Letter of the week

Tweet big, tweet little
Re “Why Twitter sucks” by Alexander Zaitchik (SN&R Feature, March 12):

I both agree and disagree with your assessment of Twitter. It’s terrifying to imagine a society that settles on communicating in 140 characters. Like you said, it marks the decreased attention span of the 21st century. However, there are smart ways to use Twitter. Like most new technologies, people use Twitter literally—what are you doing? However, the technology should not be limited to answering that question or composing 140-character diary entries. Twitter can be used as a platform to share work with a collection of followers.

I write a blog, write and edit for my school paper and write for SF Weekly. When I write a new article, I send out a tweet, alerting people I’ve created new media. I wrote real pieces, 500 words or more, but I use Twitter as a platform to expose my work to a wide audience. My school paper uses Twitter to alert followers when we have new stories online and our views drastically increased when we started tweeting. I even found out about your story from someone I follow on Twitter.

Don’t accept that a technology is bad from the lowest common denominator of users; there are people using Twitter in great and exciting ways.

Melissa Baron
San Francisco

Austin, teach us

Re “SacXSW” by Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, March 26):

[South by Southwest] corporate? Sure, it attracts all kinds of people and companies, but did any Sacramentans traveling to SXSW notice the strength of local businesses?

“Keep Austin Weird,” a slogan now borrowed by Portland [Oregon] and other cities, is about supporting unique and often quirky local businesses. Did you notice that the airport has only local businesses, like The Salt Lick barbecue and Amy’s Ice Creams?

While I wouldn’t trade Sacramento’s bike trail or farmers’ markets for anything, Austin [Texas] has a lot to teach us about supporting local music and businesses. With the notable exception of [its] police department, Austin’s local government is a committed promoter of the things that make Austin interesting.

Not coincidentally, Austin has largely escaped the recession. The strength of local businesses helped shield Austin from the volatile national economy. Surely we can all get behind that!

And thanks for the great story!

Ruben Martinez

Try Google

Re “Right of refusal” by Maggie Coulter (SN&R Frontlines, March 26):

Perhaps the day will come when your magazine is of sufficient size to support a professional fact checker. Until then, might you refrain from printing claims that can be refuted by the simplest Google search? Maggie Coulter is a case in point. Put aside for the moment her apparent belief that the blood of Jews murdered by terrorists is of so little value that it does not merit a mention. Each of her articles to date contains claims that are quite demonstrably false. One quick example: “Muslims and Christians are not allowed to serve [in the Israel Defense Forces], with few exceptions.”

Actually, there exists no religious test for service in the IDF. Unlike other Israelis of all religious persuasions, Israeli Arabs are exempt from the draft [with the exception of the Druze, who as a community requested to participate]. Doubtless Mrs. Coulter would object if Israeli Arabs were subject to the draft. That aside, every year many Israeli Arabs volunteer to serve their nation. Indeed, Israeli Bedouin volunteers count themselves among some of the nations most decorated soldiers.

Try to check your facts before spending ink on falsehoods that might mislead your readers!

Jordan Magill
via e-mail

No pulled punches

Re “Carmichael uncensored” by Katie McMillin (SN&R Arts&Culture, March 26):

Great read. I listen to [sports radio deejay Carmichael] Dave [from] 9 p.m. to midnight … OK, to about 10:29 p.m. The dude is very entertaining, like a lot of other jocks at [KHTK] 1140 AM. Dave is hitting his mark, very funny stuff; the guy has the ability to listen to what a caller says … add to it, refine it, make it his own, make it the caller’s own. He has brought [mixed martial arts] and [Ultimate Fighting Championship] fighting to the spotlight more than any other person in radio or TV in Sacramento.

The dude does not pull any punches! Thank you for doing a great article on Carmichael Dave. News & Review, your next project at 1140 AM is Little Joe—he is the new kid on the block … run with this!

Kevin Kallvet (Lee)

Sushi revelation

Re “Unsustainable sushi” (SN&R Green Days, March 26):

This article is an eye-opener. Personally, I never thought of sushi as an unsustainable source of food, but yeah, it makes sense. The question is: How do we make the Japanese (and other Americans, for that matter) understand that eating this type of sushi is … well, basically the same as eating an unsustainable resource like oil?

George Goodwin
via e-mail

Coolness redux

Re “You are cooler than me” by Ginny McReynolds (SN&R Essay, March 26):

I can definitely identify with the author! I still don’t know how to answer text messages and have asked my grandkids to please not send them to me. It’s so embarrassing to go to my computer store and have them retrieve them for me.

Thanks to Ginny McReynolds for speaking up for some of us “seniors”! It was fun taking a trip down memory lane with her.

Arline DeFrank
via e-mail

Can we get an ‘amen’?

Re “Why I don’t go to church” by Mike Elliott (SN&R Sacreligious!, March 26):

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the perfect Christian.

Jim Kaza
via e-mail

No love for the spinners

Re “SAMMIES 2009: Sacramento Area Music Awards nominees announced here!” (SN&R Night&Day Blog, March 26):

I’m having a really hard time believing that there are categories for Outstanding Turntablist and Outstanding DJ Dance Night. Am I to understand that SN&R and its readers consider deejays to be musicians?

Do you really think a person who stands there and plays records is deserving of any kind of recognition? For what? Playing other people’s music?

Deejays are the musical equivalent of a retarded monkey. The biggest bunch of talentless wastes of time I have ever experienced. What could the requirements possibly be? Record players: check. Headphones and a hoodie: check. Bloated ego: Huge! I have a turntable here at home and I play records on it, does that make me an Outstanding Turntablist?

While the rest of us who actually play instruments, write music and bust our asses doing shows—usually starving, bleeding and giving everything we have in the process—mostly get overlooked (unless we have tits or blow Josh Fernandez), these assholes get recognition for … playing records.

Now we know for sure what incredibly low standards this town really has.

Chad E. Williams

Yes! Read it!

Re “Why Twitter sucks” by Alexander Zaitchik (SN&R Feature, March 12):

Wonderful article—bravo! Very well written, too.

What Twitter reminds me of most is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451—the future in which books were banned and no one read anymore anyway. Everyone had electronic wristwatches in which they, well, “tweeted” their every move: “I’m going to the bathroom now” to the boss. “Step on it, Hansen!”

Or something like that. Read it; you’ll love it.

D. Hembree

Soul-shrinking prospect

Re “Why Twitter sucks” by Alexander Zaitchik (SN&R Feature, March 12):

What I have not seen addressed in the piece or in the responses is the self-violation of privacy that Twittering entails.

We are rightly concerned about the government accessing our library files or tapping our phone, but Twittering relies on allowing—no, encouraging!—strangers to plunder your personal thoughts. Personally, I find it a soul-shrinking prospect.

Debra Ayres
Shingle Springs

Gorgeous discovery

Re “Cocktail tales” by Nick Miller (SN&R Drinking Guide, March 12):

It sounds like Krystal Seymour is the real reason to visit Mix [Downtown] and The Park Ultra Lounge for the latest and greatest in cocktails and fun times. She is not only extremely gorgeous, but knowledgeable and down to earth. Fabulous discovery, SN&R!

K. Brelje


Re “Schooling the Mamolas” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, March 5):

This piece is right on point. The Mamolas were well-loved teachers at West [Campus High School] who were shown the door for speaking up about inadequacies with the administration. Every school has issues, that’s a given; however, the way this transfer was handled was unprofessional. The Mamolas were vocal about important issues, including the admittance practices and the focus on test scores.

My daughter spent a year and a half at West until two weeks ago, when she transferred. For the most part, the majority of teachers my daughter had (with the exception of a few great ones such as Jennifer Mamola) succumbed to the mentality that had no enthusiasm or drive to help kids who can’t make 3.7 [grade point average] or above. Apparently, the goal is to weed out the undesirables. In my opinion, that’s exactly what the administration at West Campus wants.

It’s unfortunate that the Mamolas had to take the heat for speaking up. More parents and students should speak up when there is unfairness. According to my daughter, the jumphouse incident occurred during the school day and was off-limits to all of the students except [school principal Evelyn] Baffico’s son and basketball friends. That’s a teachable moment.

Karen Gunby

Last ones standing

Re “Schooling the Mamolas” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, March 5):

I’m so sad to see the Mamolas leave West Campus. I thought they were one of the school’s largest assets.

As a 1995 alumni of West, Mr. Mamola especially was one of my favorite teachers. I have lots of fond memories from his classes. And as of now, they were the “last ones standing” since I was there—everyone else there now I never knew of.

Well, all things must come to an end. I will definitely miss the Mamolas as part of West Campus. As foreign language, cultural and arts teachers, as well as Mr. Mamola being an excellent student-government leader, I would have to say that it’d be really tough finding replacements as good as them.

Dennis M. Andrade