The brilliance of American Idiot: Thank you so much for standing up for Green Day's latest album in SF Weekly ["Sunrise on a Green Day," Music, Nov. 24]. With this stupid and hateful war in Iraq tearing this country (not to mention Iraq) apart, this era's first relevant protest album was long overdue. While most so-called artists have been content to keep their views to themselves for fear of having Clear Channel deny them royalties by pulling them from the airwaves, let us not forget how courageous Green Day's critical album is in our current corporate/political climate.
As a rocker, I was getting seriously bummed that only the Dixie Chicks were generating any controversy. Sure there was also John Mellencamp and Living Color, but Clear Channel and MTV found the efforts of older groups and singers easy to ignore as long as they aren't the surviving members of the Who, Beatles, or Stones. Speaking of those Summer of Love icons, where have they been through all of this? Townshend has been content to just rake in the money from SUV commercials while McCartney has just been singing that jingoistic "Freedom" song. Once Lennon and McCartney were the de facto presidents of the hippies, but now the surviving member of that once-explosive songwriting duo stands silent -- content to eat his vegan diet and think that he is saving the world in the process.
American Idiot may just be the Sgt. Pepper's (or maybe the What's Goin' On) of the happy punk genre. As silly as this may sound to our fellow San Franciscans, maybe they should remember just how banal the Super Suckers and so many other bands that everyone in this town seems to love really are. Green Day tries something, and they more than succeeded with their new record, and no amount of hipster eye-rolling will take that away from them.
Also, in one last note, it felt really good when I went to the record store and bought AI and the new Shatner record. In years past, I used to love nothing more than going to the record store and picking up a pile of newer records, but for the last few years, the things that everyone around me was getting all excited about just fell flat. Nothing lived up to the hype in the weeklies, let alone the mainstream music press or what passes for it. The Green Day album has more than lived up to the hype (as did the Shatner disc), and I was glad that I could take home a new release and play it multiple times without wondering why I bought the thing in the first place.
Brugmann, Murdoch, Smith: peas in pod?: As a longtime reader who is usually provoked in a positive way by your regularly provocative column, I am moved to respond to your most recent effort regarding the 38 Geary ["Bus Stopped," Matt Smith, Nov. 24]. A glaring omission is neither your habit nor style, but maybe Bruce Brugmann and Fox [News] have won you over to the factually deficient school of activist journalism. Any rider of the 38 Geary knows this fact: the Limited.
The 38L [an express bus] does just what your pencil-pushing David suggests ... and it does so without removing those stops that the poor, the tired, and the infirm of the Tenderloin apparently require. While those healthy enough to walk a few blocks get a faster ride, the local riders have their needs met, too. How egalitarian of those Muni bastards, serving more than one constituency.
Treacle, treacle, little bus: Matt Smith writes an article that oozes treacle about how great it would be to give up five Muni stops going out Geary in the Tenderloin. "Those people in the TL are soooo selfish to not want to give up their stops for the greater good" or some such.
They don't have to give up the stops; Muni just needs to make a higher percentage of the Geary line into express buses. Why the all or nothing?
Roused rabble seeks direction: Your article on the 38 Geary dealt with an issue I've been irritated by for 15-plus years. Is there any site that has a counterpetition to oppose the stupid obstructionism? Maybe you don't want to list such sites in your column, but could you maybe list them as supplemental info in your column in the online version? You can also list sites opposed if you want fairness, but sheesh, this rabble is roused. Now I need a direction.
For management's purposes, a roused rabble -- with readers e-mailing each other your column with action points -- is a great grass-roots marketing tool for the paper.
David S. Wright
Editor's note: Management believes the best marketing tool for SF Weekly is quality journalism of the sort Matt Smith consistently provides.
Harmie? Harmie!!?: Harmon Leon has been thinking inside a box so narrow that all essential brain matter is squeezed out ["Wake Up, America!," Infiltrator, Nov. 24]. Take a deep breath, Harmie old boy, and don't take yourself so seriously. Here is a news flash: The issue that animates such a large portion of our population is illegal immigration, not legal immigration. No better demonstration than our recall of Gov. Davis. Exit polls show that 70 percent of the general population, 60 percent from union households, and 40 percent of Latino voters ousted Davis because he "pandered to illegals." More data from the racist, xenophobe, nativist front: A poll in Hispanic magazine asks the question, "Are There Too Many Immigrants?" Sixty-six percent of Cuban-Americans, 75 percent of Mexican-Americans, 79 percent of Puerto Ricans, and 74 percent of non-Hispanic white respondents said "yes."
It is no great achievement to "infiltrate" groups that are so widely dispersed along the ethnic, political, and economic divide, because all are welcome. Check out www.slowcaliforniagrowth.com to see what Sens. Feinstein and Boxer, President Clinton, columnists Walters and Lopez have to say about unrestrained immigration -- legal and illegal -- on every infrastructure upon which our quality of life is built.