I do, however, have a problem with your redesign. What kind of a soulless, Bauhaus-induced, angular-obsessive nightmare of a newsprint landscape is this? The desolate feel and glaring negative spaces of the pages make reading a bleak and uncomfortable experience. As my housemate commented, "It makes my eyes hurt." Some sections, like the Eat pages (32 and 33), are so type-heavy as to present unfriendly regiments of harsh alphanumerics, without a solitary gray-tone or graphic to break up the space. That was one positive effect of having the cartoons distributed throughout the entire end section in the first place, instead of installed in their own hidden ghetto on page 54.
Your Romance ads look unromantic. Real Astrology now appears fake. Savage Love seems tame. The Back Page reads like an afterthought, and smacks of cheap desktop publishing. I have perused corn flakes boxes at the breakfast table with more personality and better graphic presentation than the latest Weekly incarnation.
To call the layout "ugly" would be praise. Is this only the first of many steps toward a corporate "blanding" of your publication? Ponder that possibility as your circulation drops like crumpled newsprint into a toilet bowl. Allen White
Yikes. Did you people let the students of "Layout 101" cut their teeth in redesigning the new SF Weekly? Quite inventive. I must say. Wonderful graphics. Looks a bit like The Advertiser, but not as accomplished. Nice job, kids.
From the unnecessary printing of the misogynistic bulletin boards that your cover-story cyberpornographers were arrested for ("Cyberpornocopia," March 15), I can only determine that the all-new SF Weekly is nothing but a cheap, disguisedly pornographic sex rag that is not worth any attempts at salvaging.
Unless your new market is pornographers, sex creeps and teenagers and/or children who mistakenly venture into your porn rag, I'd call it one reader down, a few hundred thousand more to go.
Adios, SF Weekly. You can't give it away free.
Not for Your Eyes
When I came downstairs this morning, I found SF Weekly opened and read with dismay the sidebar, "The Depths of Cypersleaze" (March 15). What the hell is this about? In a smarmy intro, author Tom McNichol opines that opened-minded San Franciscans would find the materials disgusting, then reprints the graphic descriptions. You can have it both ways because it is printed, and thus protected under the First Amendment. Carleen and Robert Thomas cannot, because they peddle their wares in cyperspace. I find it ironic that the Thomas' BBS is pretty inaccessible: You must subscribe to it, understand the hardware and software requirements for downloading, negotiate the Internet, etc. SF Weekly is on the street corner, free.
My 10-year-old daughter never came across the Thomas' materials on the Net; all she had to do was open up SF Weekly on the kitchen table. Thanks for the eye-opening article (for my kid). As for me, I know not to bring your reckless, sensationalistic rag into my home again. Or if I do, it will be in a plain brown rapper.
Slouching Toward Cali
Your cover story "The Case for One Daily" (March 1) does not give this reader cause to consider the Case for One Alternative Newsweekly in San Francisco. After you and the competition weigh in with competing cyber-cover stories (March 15), the impression of the Weakly as a pale and increasingly superfluous rival only deepens.
As your editorial voice has, with the new management, faded into laconic autism, I guess it would be too much to hope for a new mission statement or declaration of purpose. I mean, what is your reason to exist and dampen newsprint, apart from hoping to score big here in "Cali"? (Sure you didn't miss a turn at Albacoikie?) Certainly there are better and more consistently engaging sources for local news and entertainment information.
To set the record straight, I am that Sacramento talk host Bill Mandel purported to cite in SF Weekly ("The Mandel Card," March 8).
He got it wrong. Phil Bronstein, the Ex's executive editor, faxed me Mandel's piece, not because he was bragging about his role in it (he wasn't), but because I asked him to.
Further, I feel betrayed that Mandel would take a private conversation, distort it to use as a defense when confronted with another of his "inconsistencies," then feed it to SF Weekly while denying he had.
When I confronted Mandel, his response was to accuse the editor of SF Weekly, Jack Shafer, of betraying him by printing what he claimed was comment not meant for publication, a charge you vigorously deny.
If there isn't a recovery group for survivors of Bill Mandel, perhaps the three of us should start one.
TALK 650 KST
Alarming Disarming Trend
Your article showcasing the proactive and courageous youth/gang work of Michelle Scully. victim and widow of the 101 California shootings ("The Anti-Gun Club," March 1), was touching and convincing. The problem I have, though, is that our reactions are sometimes tainted with rage and lack of forethought. Though I am just as concerned as the next guy when it comes to gun violence, gun-control legislation is not the answer. (I have never been a member of the National Rifle Association, by the way.) No matter how left-wing, radical and socialist I may be, I never lose sight of the precious libertarian principles our country is founded on. Criminals will get guns and use them no matter what laws we pass. This trend toward disarming our population, stripping away our constitutional rights and liberties for the sake of a false sense of security, is very short-sighted. History shows over and over that fascist governments have taken power soon after their people were disarmed.
Out of ControlThe letter from Michael Lorton (March 15) criticizing the efforts of Michelle Scully and Handgun Control Incorporated was far more instructive in what it did not say than in what it did.
His diatribe did not offer a single suggestion about what might be done to curb the alarming level of gun-related violence in our country. Is this to say that the thousands of gun deaths every year are acceptable to him, or is it that he has no ideas to offer?
More disturbing was the implication that since Latinos and African Americans are treated more harshly by the law than "well-heeled whites," gun control would mean more effective repression of minorities. Putting aside the sad fact that the underclass is killing itself with guns, Lorton seems to be suggesting that being armed is a remedy for social injustice. What are we talking here? Insurrection? Civil war?
The incontrovertible fact is that countries with tough gun control, like England and Japan, have a tiny number of gun deaths compared to countries like Colombia and the U.S., where guns are out of control.
Hedley G. Prince
In "News Advisory" (March 15), the name of Chronicle reporter Susan Sward was misspelled.