While Francis worked on Apocalypse Now far from San Francisco, Hinckle and company wrought havoc on the staff and, ultimately, the entire endeavor. Warren, who referred to subeditors and other anonymous laborers on his behalf as "pigfuckers" within their hearing, was at that time disorderly, irresponsible, and utterly without charm -- far and away the least admirable character I have encountered in a long publishing career. (To put that statement in context, be aware that I spent a couple of subsequent years working for Larry Flynt.) If he was in fact a genius of some sort at that point in his career, the impact was utterly lost on those of us obliged to clean up his messes. As a copy editor pulling repeated all-nighters waiting for Warren to file his copy long past deadline, I yanked him off my share of barstools unassisted by the lackey whom Boulware claims Coppola assigned that unappetizing chore.
Having subsequently occupied positions of equivalent authority at other publications, I have used my memories of Warren to guide my actions: Whatever he would have done in a given situation, be it one requiring editorial decision-making or simple human interaction, I am careful to do the opposite.
Jonathan F. King
I can't believe the weak arguments against the China Basin ballpark ("Take Me Out to the Rock Show?" Shafer, Feb. 7). In 1989, all I heard was "Let them pay for it." Well, they are and you still pick it apart. Other parts of the country are building new parks with various tax bond measures. The Giants are privately underwriting the project. There will be no sweetheart deals, land giveaways, or hidden costs! As far as the gridlock fears, this park will be one of the most public-transit-accessible facilities anywhere. Not to mention the jobs and tax revenue it will generate.
Gosh, what new ballpark scandal will SF Weekly uncover next ("Take Me Out to the Rock Show?")? First you say that the Giants don't know how to run their business, and now we're shocked by the possibility of live musical entertainment, and perhaps another (the horror!) brewpub. Hell no, we can't have that in San Francisco, whose simple, down-to-earth citizens frown on too much fun, preferring instead to cocoon in front of a nice warm PBS special.
The scare tactics in Shafer's article emulate the mouth-foamers among the anti-baseball crowd. Whether it's his Rolling Stones-at-the-ballpark fantasy or the picture of sports- and beer-sodden nonresidents descending on that suddenly genteel, hoity-toity neighborhood, we're led to believe that it's all gonna be a holocaust.
Well, I may just be an old-fashioned optimist, but I'm confident that there are enough levelheaded San Franciscans who will see what a boon the ballpark will be to the city as a whole and, yes, to South Beach in particular! The tiny handful of whiners down there may possibly wake up one morning and realize that they moved into a vibrant, growing urban environment, not their personal Club Med neighborhood, and they'll either be grateful to the forward-looking citizens who revitalized our rotting waterfront, or else they'll be grumpy Shaferheads and move out.
Gary W. Moody
Dogpatch (not Potrero Hill)
No Marx Brother
Greg Plagiartaud's "Laboring Under a Misconception" (Letters, Feb. 7) is as phony as a three-dollar bill bearing Marx's (Groucho's) face. His pseudo-intellectual babble about class struggle and Theatre Concrete's shortcomings is hardly that of a "disinterested" reader philosophizing atop a proletarian soapbox. Plagiartaud is a poet-and-playwright wannabe who traipses through life cleverly disguised as a Haight Street hipster lurking in the shadows of his own mediocrity.
The trendoidy article ("The Laborer-Saving Device," Bay View, Jan. 24) that Plagiartaud was purportedly commenting upon also kept readers in the dark. Paul D. Kretkowski apparently never got past Go-Boy's and Humper's infectiously humorous facades to grasp the underlying horror of their charred skeletal corpora. With their ever-growing robotic red-light district, [Frank] Garvey and crew are unleashing some of the most provocative guerrilla theater in the city. And since Kretkowski's piece annoyingly omitted an address or phone number, people can check out Theatre Concrete for themselves: 550 Natoma, S.F.; 621-4068.
Harry Roche, Art Critic
San Francisco Bay Guardian
In the Name of Fair Play
In "What's in a Name?" (Eat, Feb. 7), the restaurant I work in, 2223 Market, was reviewed. I realize that the food section may be of less importance than the "harder" news, but I think I have some valid criticisms/suggestions.
Allowing your reviewers to criticize the name (or lack thereof) of a restaurant is similar to criticizing the name of a book or play or an author. Inappropriate.
On one hand, Paul Reidinger declares: "While the nameless place clearly pretends to a certain culinary sophistication, mainly it's cruisy." In the next breath, he touts the "imaginative and unpretentious" food and then states it "isn't bad." Can we be cruisy, pretentious, unpretentious, imaginative, and not bad all in the same visit? I suggest you take a look at the editing going on in this department.
As the general manager of a restaurant, I can understand that you do not have your eye on every little detail at all times. I can only hope that letters like these shed some light on how your publication is experienced, however biased it may be. We live in a subjective world and offer our opinions of it freely. I'm hoping mine counts for something.
Mug of Muck
I appreciate satire as much as the next person, however I feel that "Coffee Achievers" (Slap Shots, Jan. 31) turns ugly as a personal attack on the poor Starbucks employee who was unfortunate enough to take Jack Boulware's phone call.
If Boulware's original concept for the article was to prove a point about Starbucks' expansionism and corporate policies, then it must have short-circuited somewhere between his brain and his dialing finger. The article would have been much more absorbing (not to mention legitimate) if Boulware had not misrepresented himself and had instead voiced his views of Starbucks directly. Boulware's article treats Kevin as if the act of working for Starbucks has turned him into some kind of aphasiac. Even worse, Boulware takes it upon himself to portray this person who is only doing his job as not only "in league with the devil" but as a "soulless, ball-less little fuck."
Does Boulware feel that it is his journalistic prerogative to dehumanize and humiliate another person in pursuit of an entertaining column? I realize that one of the reasons for writing Slap Shots is to incite a strong response from readers. It makes me uncomfortable, however, that this response has to come not at the expense of an inanimate corporate entity, but from the denigration of an individual who should have the right to be treated fairly by the media.
Lee Ann Manon
Stuck in Reverse
As an independent reporter researching journalistic ethics, I read Jack Boulware's report of his conversation with a customer relations representative of Starbucks ("Coffee Achievers") with great interest. But I'm afraid this nasty little expos worked in reverse for me.
It is the height of hypocrisy to assume a tone of moral and political superiority when you are the one lying to your source in order to demean him in print. Does Boulware think this style of "reporting" is somehow funny, hip, or revolutionary? Does he think it's actually going to change anything? About the only change it's likely to produce is a lowering of readers' respect for Boulware, SF Weekly, and journalism in general. As long as reporters continue to pull such stunts and editors approve them, that's as it should be. Is it any wonder that people trust reporters even less than politicians nowadays?
D. Patrick Miller