Letters for March 13, 2014

SN&R's readers chime in on nerds, McKinley Village, East Sacramento's city council race, and Sacramento County's neglect of the safety net

Awaiting the mother ship

Re “Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!” by Janelle Bitker (SN&R Arts&Culture, March 6):

I was mildly interested to note that this issue focused to some extent on the ongoing Wizard World comic con here in SuckTown. Your article was of particular interest, since the thesis of your remarks therein seems to be the question: Are nerds achieving true peer social ascendancy, or is it all about money?

I must conclude that your question is posed rhetorically, rather than earnestly, since you obviously appear to know the answer to that. It is in fact all about money, since this is, after all, America, home of hard bottom-line corporate capitalism and Goebbels-style soulless commercial propagandizing. To seriously propose anything else is pure naiveté, since corporate capitalism has a long-proven track record of quickly co-opting any newly emerging social trend or currently popular youth fad so as to rapidly generate massive economic profits.

I was, in my own youth, a science-fiction fan. Back in those days (late ’50s and ’60s), we also were a very small, exclusive (though frequently ostracized by our school peers) group, who sought refuge from being different through our mutual interests and interactions. We published amateur fanzines, wrote sci-fi stories, attended conventions and found considerable comfort keeping the company of our peers, since back in those days, there were pretty much only two categories of youth: the conventional sports jocks and cheerleaders, and us sensitive, perceptive and highly imaginative oddballs.

After a while, however, us sci-fi fans came to the attention of Hollywood, with Star Trek shortly thereafter coming into being as a popular TV series. Before you knew it, we were no longer a small and exclusive peer-support group, but the subject of a corporate shark feeding frenzy to capitalize on our interests.

Today, this same model operates continuously at any given moment, and the true aim of any youthful subculture ought to be to resist this commercialization and corporate exploitation at all costs, if it is to remain pure and aesthetically fulfilling. Otherwise, the game is up, and Big Money is once again hard at work turning youthful ignorance into big profit margins.

I’ve always felt that I am, in reality, a marooned member of an alien species (only superficially resembling Homo sapiens visually) who waits forlornly for the mother ship to return and save me from this barbarous planet, with its semicrazed primitives who slavishly worship The Big Buck and little else.

Thanks for some interesting comments on the Wizard World phenomenon. Keep the faith.

Kalikiano Kalei

via email

Who wants a $50K gig?

Re “Full-time work” by Nick Miller (Editor’s Note, March 6):

I was under the impression that we already voted in 2002 to make the mayor and council full-time positions (see www.lwvsacramento.org/education/Mayor_study/mayorstudy.html). Perhaps by some definition the city council jobs were not strictly speaking thus defined as full-time, but nonetheless council members are now paid far more than the previous pittance. And it appears to me that the quality of the city council’s work has if anything declined since 2002. There are surely many people in Sacramento who would be happy to spend 40 hours a week as a council person for the current income.

Muriel Strand


County MIA when it comes to safety net

Re “Watch your step” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R News, February 20):

The article is fascinating. Where has Sacramento County been? And just after forming the blue-ribbon commission on the disparity of deaths of black children, why would they vote to gut the inclusionary-housing ordinance? What will it take to change deficiencies in low-income housing and other aspects of what we call the safety net? Since the economic downturn, what’s changed? What needs rebuilding?

Readers have a chance to weigh in powerfully at the board of supervisors’ State of the Safety Net Workshop on Wednesday, April 9, at 2 p.m., at the Sacramento County Administration Building, Board of Supervisors Chambers, 700 H Street.

Frank L. Topping