Letters for April 25, 2002

Bad deeds go noticed

Re “A Catholic Affirmation” by Patrick Powers (SN&R Guest Comment, April 18):

Thank you for running Mr. Powers’ commentary. It has the most even analysis I’ve read yet on the scandal.

I too am a lifelong Catholic. I was also an altar boy and attended Catholic school for 12 years. It is very interesting that bad deeds are more celebrated than good deeds.

Kevin McKenna
via e-mail

That was abusive

Re “Field Guide to Sacramentans” (SN&R Cover, April 11):

Your newspaper’s personal attack on a local Greek-American was insulting, mean-spirited and an abuse of free speech. While you have every right to criticize a person’s public statements or activities, this piece clearly crosses the line. Sexual and physiological derision along with baseless accusations of criminal wrongdoing constitute malicious gossip, not journalism.

Everyone has a duty to reject such hateful, racist, anti-ethnic, anti-cultural or otherwise bigoted expression, particularly in an era of national concerns about xenophobia.

You owe us all an apology.

Terry Phillips
via e-mail

Don’t sow seeds of hate

Re “Field Guide to Sacramentans” (SN&R Cover, April 11):

As a proud Greek-American, I was indeed appalled and saddened by the racial ethnic slurs and personal targeting in the “Greek Developer” entry published in your newspaper’s recent article “Field Guide to Sacramentans.”

Such an article not only offends the entire Greek-American population, but cultivates the seeds of hate and discrimination in our society, which has so much suffered lately precisely due to messages and acts of hate crimes.

Our community is expecting a public and prominently published apology from SN&R regarding this matter. Anything short of that would be unacceptable.

George Chryssis
Weston, MA

Ed Note:

We apologize if we have offended Greek-Americans with our satire in the “Field Guide to Sacramentans.” It was not intended to cultivate hate or target any one person. We did intend to hold up all developers to derision for their actions.

It worked for me

Re “Field Guide to Sacramentans” (SN&R Cover, April 11):

I found your caricature portrayals very funny! I am a long-time state bureaucrat and in no way was I offended. Don’t pay attention to those whiners who don’t have a sense of humor.

Jim Avila
via e-mail

Get the fat guy in jeans next time

Re “Field Guide to Sacramentans” (SN&R Cover, April 11):

I just read your Editor’s Note (April 18) regarding the unexplained disappearance of the SN&R from newsstands last week. I, myself, am a state employee, and thought your cover story portrayal of Bureaucratus minor was hilarious! You couldn’t have been more accurate.

I believe that if it was, in fact, a state worker who eradicated your newsstands, then you just proved exactly how accurate your portrayal was. The truth hurts! I am, however, a little disappointed that you focused solely on the female state employee. What about the overweight, mismatching, blue-jean wearing, chain-smoking, unshaven male state employee? Oh, well, maybe in another issue.

Bill Mullinax
via e-mail

Get the fat, hairy guy next time

Re Streetalk “What are you doing in preparation for bikini season?” (SN&R Streetalk, April 11):

Wow. What a sad commentary on Sacramentans (if the five people who answered the Streetalk question can be considered a sample) and the SN&R.

“Bikini season?” From the answers printed in the paper the question may as well have been “How do you feel about showing your body in public?” Or, “How much do you feel you have to alter your body before you show it in public?” And what business does the SN&R have asking a 7-year-old how she feels about showing her body in public? Obviously this little girl is starting to fall prey to the same body image insecurities that have been imprinted on the other four women in the survey. Did the interviewer ask more than five women this question, then narrow it down to a representation of inbred cultural insecurity to further support the notion that women must alter their bodies to fit the expected image perpetuated by media everywhere? Why were no men asked? I’d love to see a fat-bellied, hairy biker tell me how he’s going to tan, shave and lose weight before he hits the beach.

I wish I’d been asked this question because here’s my very sane answer: “Bikini season? What’s that? Do you get a license to hunt them, then mount them on the wall? Or do you mean prepare for summer fun? In that case—I’m preparing by stocking up on sunblock, scouting out good places to swim, planning some backpacking trips, and lining up dates for big barbecue parties with my friends who don’t give a damn how pale or fat I am.”

Jennifer Greenman

Writer violated our privacy

Re “Prisoner of Love” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Cover, April 4):

It was with horror that the family of Darlene Russell read the inaccurate events of the day of our beloved family member’s death. This was the hardest thing that most of us have gone through and to have to revisit the day by reading false information and quotes from a family in grief is horrifying.

You did not give Darlene the dignity she deserved. She cared for her parents for 15 years until the day she was hospitalized and had her 104-year-old father at her bedside the day of her death. She did not give you permission to place her picture in this tacky paper, nor did the family give permission to have a reporter in the room. Most of us thought this reporter was a guard mandated to be there because of Terri Galipeaux’s furlough. If Terri gave him permission to be there, then his story should have focused on Terri and never touched on the events of Darlene’s death. The reporter wrote inaccurate information regarding both Darlene’s and Terri’s father’s death. In addition, it was tasteless for a family in mourning to have to relive the hardest day of their life.

Many family members stayed away for a reason. Now the entire family has a picture of Darlene’s last moments publicized and must live with questions from others. In addition, this paper is easily available for our children of any age to see. It was difficult for Darlene’s 11-year-old great niece to see her; now we have to explain why Auntie looks this way to our children regardless of age or maturity.

What can one expect from a reporter with previous articles with titles such as “Can’t Beat the Meat” and “Hiding the Salami.” It only appears that this is an attempt at dramatic fictional writing.

And for the record, Darlene raised both Chez and Adam for most of their childhood, on her own, with much love and support from her family, especially Uncle Gene.

Catherine Estampa
North Highlands

R.V. Scheide responds:

It is unfortunate that the Estampa family found “Prisoner of Love” so upsetting. However, any allegations that I made up facts or identified myself as anything other than a reporter are erroneous.

Piss off the almighty

Re “State Workers Working” (SN&R Editor’s Note, April 18):

The April 18 issue of SN&R included a commentary regarding vanishing SN&R issues from newsstands a week earlier. The Editor suggested two possible motives for the missing papers: a satirical piece about the state workers, or a guest commentary critical of Israeli policies in the Middle East conflict.

I think there is a simple way to ascertain who caused the vanishing newspapers. I suggest the SN&R run another guest commentary critical of Israeli policies in the Middle East in a couple of weeks and if the papers vanish again, then you have your answer. However, if you do not wish to piss off the almighty pro-Israeli lobby in this country, it might be safer for you to run another satire about the state workers, and if the issues remain on the stands, then you have your answer again. Good luck in your search.

Mark Schaeffer