Retrieve mind from gutter; we're talking art here: Adrienne Gagnon's piece ["Outsiders In," Art, Aug. 18] was thought-provoking. Gagnon brings up the question of how America's fringe culture eventually merges with the general population. It can be a painful process when culture is repackaged and redefined to reach a broader audience. We often receive a diluted version that lacks the rawness and appeal of the original.
When fringe culture is digested for the masses, we will always hear people say, "I liked it before it was cool," as if the culture is now less desirable because more people like it. Being on the fringe before becoming popular has its own inherent appeal. So what does Middle America find exciting about the fringe? Perhaps it is just another way for the average American to live vicariously through others.
If the Judeo-Christian God exists, James may be in trouble: At first I thought Jonathon Keats' experiment with fruit flies and God was at best a mildly interesting waste of time ["God of the Flies," Aug. 18]. But the responses to his experiment by the theologian and the rabbi were thought-provoking. God is "peace" and "love"? Did these guys actually read the Old Testament? The Judeo-Christian God was known for slaughtering massive numbers of people and demanding animal sacrifice. Wiping out the entire planet in a great flood doesn't sound very peaceful to me. Yet that is only one example among many of God's apparent evil.
Maybe the experiment should be modified. Instead of looking for increases in size, Keats should watch for Inquisitions and religious wars. If the fruit flies divide into warring tribes and slaughter each other over differences in dogma, then he might be on to something.
Mission accomplished: Judging from a recent visit to the Mission, where I used to live, the local housing activists are doing a great job of preserving the character of the neighborhood ["Development Pressure," Matt Smith, Aug. 18]. It is just as filthy and degraded as it was decades ago. They have clearly succeeded at driving out those disgusting yuppies and greedy developers. My heart was warmed to see the same familiar drunks passed out on the sidewalk, colorful prostitutes and deranged people talking to themselves, the same charming residential hotels with their torn, stained curtains hanging at odd angles.
The city should give as much tax money as possible to housing activists so the Mission can stay this way forever.
Sad sayonara: It is with sadness that I learned of Silke Tudor's departure from San Francisco and SF Weekly ["Au Revoir, Silke Tudor," Mecklin, Aug. 18; "Last Crawl," Night Crawler, Aug. 18; House of Tudor, Aug. 18]. Night Crawler was convincing in its attempt to suggest that there were still people in San Francisco doing weird and interesting things for the sake of weird and interesting things, and House of Tudor highlighted the more noteworthy underground artists of today without a hint of the bitterness or condescension that seems to ooze from most music critics' pens. Of course, it did not hurt that she said such nice things about my bands (The Phantom Limbs, Black Ice)! She will be missed!
Indeed, I do not think SF Weekly has experienced such a loss since the exit of Dave Eggers' brilliant Smart Feller.