No sympathy for the artist: I have to say that the tone of A.C. Thompson's "Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man" [June 21] was a little overboard in its sympathies. As an artist myself, I would be ecstatic to have any of my pieces hanging in a museum or sold through galleries. However, that wouldn't mean that my pieces would have any guaranteed worth. Christopher Lane didn't pay his rent and the landlord had to file a claim against him; what could be more clear-cut?
The facts that Lane is depressed, and that his works have been shown in museums are both moot. His paintings are worth so much more than the past rent? Who's to say? If they are, then making a serious attempt to sell them is in order. Christopher Lane isn't portrayed in this article as somebody who is making any effort at all to help his situation. He's living in a shelter on Social Security checks, but fires his pro-bono lawyer? What? C'mon guys, this story goes from sad to foolish pretty quickly.
Let the poor landlord do his best to get what is owed him, or have Mr. Lane's kin come out to help him sell his existing works at what they feel to be a fair price.
Rick Lopez Oakland
From khakis to fatigues: I enjoyed Matt Smith's article on Donald Fisher and KIPP schools ["Filling the Civic GAP," June 21]. I appreciated that Mr. Smith appeared to grasp one of the more interesting ethical problems KIPP and other charter schools raise: the purportedly charitable destruction of the public school system.
I think there's another issue with KIPP, too, that begs to be considered. KIPP espouses a six-days-a-week, 10-hours-a-day program and an extended school year. KIPP uses a more than slightly militaristic model of education and generally proposes a Horatio Alger model of success. And it's only being offered to (forced upon?) poor students of color.
I'm deeply concerned about the racist implications of such a model. Perhaps I'd be less so if KIPP's august supporters were eagerly subjecting their own children to this kind of education. They're not.
Appliance Rock A catchy Scandinavian virus: Hey, just read Tamara Palmer's Hurra Torpedo review ["Kitchens of Distinction," June 21]. Did you know their U.S. tour last winter was part of a viral marketing campaign by Ford? I saw an ad [for a concert] on the MSN homepage. Knowing full well that "fucked-up Norwegians" couldn't pay for that, I started investigating. It was clever. Rather than create their own viral marketing campaign, [Ford] found an Internet oddity that already existed and built on it. At the end of the tour, they gave away their Ford Fusion (or whatever car they were pushing) and Hurra Torpedo went back to being a real band again. They even had a fake documentary crew following them around. I admit, I enjoyed those videos. Definitely entertaining.
And how can we take our letters to the editor seriously if the people who write them don't?: I thought that the Weekly took its Best of the Bay [sic] awards seriously, and awarded them very selectively: to the best place. So I was troubled and disappointed, when reading Meredith Brody's article, "A Banquet Is Best" [June 28], to discover how the Best Chinese Restaurant award was allocated: after one single visit. Further, the reviewer admits she was at the time under the false impression that the restaurant was new. A quick search on the Weekly Web site shows that her last review of a Chinese restaurant was in March 2004. A single meal at a single Chinese restaurant over two years a Best of the Bay [sic] makes?
Not to take anything away from South Sea Seafood, but there is not even here the pretense of objectivity, or the homework required to decide what is the best. How can we take the Best of the Bay [sic] award seriously if the people who award them don't?