Letters for November 6, 2008

Letter of the week
Too late to stop him?

Re “Hey, switch-hitters!” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, October 30):

Judge Peter McBrien far exceeds the definition of laughingstock. Certainly, he is “an object of ridicule,” but his circle of madness has wide-reaching ripples.

Sacramento judiciary and family-law attorneys have willingly joined him as objects of ridicule. Here’s why: After McBrien’s conviction for vandalism and [his] embarrassing public reprimand by his oversight board, the Commission on Judicial Performance Sacramento judiciary elevated criminally convicted McBrien to the powerful post of presiding judge of family court. After a recall effort was begun against him, Sacramento family-law attorneys decided to nominate McBrien as Judge of the Year (fortunately, cooler heads prevailed). After a write-in candidate filed proper paperwork to run against him, McBrien neglected to file his own paperwork with the registrar of voters.

With wonderful irony, incorrect paperwork is exactly the issue McBrien used to forced litigant Ulf Carlsson out of his 20-year job. What goes around comes around.

Anne Hart

Warned about nothing

Re “We’ve been warned” (SN&R Letter of the Week, October 30):

Margie Phelps says practicing homosexuals “are going to awake in Hell when you leave this Earth.” For any dead person to awake in hell, something of intelligence must still live after they die. Religion calls this the “immortal soul,” a term not found in the Bible anywhere. Did God say the sinning soul shall burn after death? No, he said the opposite: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).

What is a soul? Moses tells us: “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Moses did not say Adam had or was given a soul, but that he became one. Adam was flesh and as a mortal soul that sinned, died.

Did he awake in hell? Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 states: “The dead know not any thing … Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished.” And Psalm 146:4 says that when a person dies, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” If a dead person is unaware of anything, has no feelings and no ability to think, how can he suffer for his sins after death? Impossible.

Diane Church

Freedom of religion and love

Re “Things to do in Sacramento with a megaphone” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, October 23):

People are completely crazy about this whole gay marriage thing and are looking at it from the completely wrong perspective. Some people support it and some don’t. It’s those who don’t that I really can’t fathom.

The people who don’t support this base their whole argument on their personal beliefs. Let me state that again: their personal beliefs. Doesn’t our Constitution grant us the freedom of speech and religion? No one cares if you are Christian, Catholic, atheist, Muslim, Islamic, Buddhist, etc., but people care who you love? This really has me stumped. We can believe or not believe in whatever higher being or whatever doctrine we choose, but cannot love who we want?

All you conservatives that believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman, what if the opposite were true? What if us heterosexuals were ostracized and condemned for loving and wanting to marry someone of the opposite sex? What if a woman was told she could not love and marry a man, or a man told he could not love and marry a woman? You see, it’s not whether your beliefs dictate what is right and wrong. It’s about how you would feel in the same situation. I know it’s a hard thing for conservatives to swallow and digest.

Leanna Mirick
via e-mail

Party switches

Re “Wild wild West Sac” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, October 23):

The smear campaign against Mayor [Christopher] Cabaldon and Mayor [Heather] Fargo should be no surprise. Cabaldon endorses Fargo. These McCain-like attacks on two Democratic incumbent mayors is nothing more than a bait-and-switch, getting people to believe a bunch of lies, and then conveniently leave out the truth about their accomplishments.

No surprise about the attacks on both of our Democratic mayors, especially Fargo, since five of the top people in Kevin Johnson’s campaign are fundraising for John McCain, not to mention he is endorsed by Assemblyman Roger Niello and Sen. Dave Cox. Let’s get real: K.J. has more Republicans backing him than Democrats.

Richard Wake

Nostalgia for the scent of … manure?

Re “Inhaling the city” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Arts&Culture, October 23):

Josh Fernandez’s sweetly sentimental essay hit me just were I live, and probably everyone where s/he lives, if they are paying attention.

I think it’s been proved that smell is the most potent stimulant of memory. For me it’s manure. Because when I was a child in Franconia in the northern part of Bavaria (which is part of “Bayern” only for political reasons, and resents it), every farmer in my village had a manure pile and the whole village smelled gloriously to high heaven. Those were pioneer green farmers, because these piles were the only fertilizer they used. So I still love the smell of good, clean, fresh cow manure (which is nothing like the smell of the denatured stuff those “contented” milk cows stand on all day long in the milk factories [a.k.a. “dairies”] you see driving south on [Interstate] 5).

By the way, our semi-native son Mark Twain wrote about German manure piles as if they were gold, either in “A Tramp Abroad” or in “The Innocents Abroad.” The story talks about a young man from a manure-deficient family who loves a maiden from a manure-rich family. He overcomes their refusal to allow him to marry his sweetheart when he finds a manure mine!

If you haven’t read those books, you’re missing something. Plus, keep on smelling!

Karl Jaensch

Griffith, learn from Disraeli!

Re “Things change” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Trust Your Ears, October 23):

Griffith was much too hard on himself in his farewell column. I’m sure that I am not the only one who enjoyed Trust Your Ears and will be looking forward to whatever Griffith writes in the future.

I take particular exception to Griffith’s idea that he is too old to write about contemporary music. I’d say that losing your edge is a prerequisite for writing good criticism. As a critic, you have to be ambivalent about your subject, because, as Susan Sontag writes, “No one who shares in a given sensibility can analyze it; he can only, whatever his intention, exhibit it.”

It is hard not to conclude from Griffith’s closing thoughts that he no longer relishes the role of the critic. This is understandable. Nobody loves a critic, and if you are a music critic in Sacramento, you will have to weather the occasional 7 trillion-word denouncement on Kevin Second’s blog (man, that guy is long-winded). You can’t blame a guy for wanting to say goodbye to all that.

It did irk me a bit that Griffith presented an olive branch to the musicians he might have “slighted or pissed off.” It made me cry out in my head, “Don’t kowtow to those swine!” It seems to me that the critic must share Disraeli’s motto: Never complain and never explain.

Jeff McCrory