A Multidimensional Monster
"Fleshed" out, indeed: I appreciate the well-written articles SF Weekly puts out. It's refreshing to read articles with a full scope of issues along with in-depth descriptions, compared to all the slop that circulates as news in the typical press.
A story about a gay porn star known for his big unit, his crystal meth addiction, and the Bay Area gay party scene would invoke an immature, juvenile story by most other media outlets ["The Rise and Fall of the Monster," Ashley Harrell, Feature, 10/1]. The judgmental, moralist agenda I'd say 80 percent or more of the media would tag to this story goes along with the rest of the short-sighted articles pumped out daily by the agenda pushers that report news.
This story, in contrast, shows a very human element struggling with human flaws and weakness. The compassion Michael's supporters show for him as he continues in a cycle of triumph and failure is very inspiring. It shows a depth of human resolve in spite of overwhelming circumstances. It's nice to read stories with a fleshed-out glimpse of a human experience, rather than stick-figure dribble about "left versus right" talking points. If more people were able to think in these spherical terms rather than linear ones, we'd get somewhere with social issues.
SF Weekly is the kind of media outlet that writes these kinds of fleshed-out stories. I hope more writers follow suit.
Fallen but not felled: I was extremely sorry to see the Michael Brandon story in your paper. I'm unhappy, of course, for his suffering, but I'm much more unhappy with the overall story.
First of all, he's not dead. The title implies it's all over — he's dead, gone, lost forever. No. He's still alive. Despite the overemphasis on his dick size, he's another drug addict struggling in the grips of a terrible disease.
I always tell people who are coming back from a relapse, "As long as you're breathing, there's hope." And don't even try to tell me about the pain and suffering that comes from the countless deaths that come to all segments of society, rich or poor, famous or not-so-famous.
I know very, very well. I'm a drug addict and I've been clean for many years (with one relapse about 10 years ago), and I want to scream from the top of the highest point in San Francisco to the reporters, the people in recovery, the men and women who are struggling and find themselves in relapse: "Don't measure your recovery by length of clean time alone! Keep trying, and if you 'fall,' keep on trying."
I know it makes for bigger headlines for the press when "famous" people die of addiction, but many thousands die every year from this disease and most have families, partners, kids, etc., who suffer. Singling anyone out for scrutiny is unfair and helps no one get better. To paraphrase a quote from the best recovery program going: "It's not a shame if you relapse — it's a shame if you don't keep trying/come back."
Keep trying, Michael.
But are there classifieds on the ceiling?: I really wish I could get back the minutes I just wasted reading this column ["Union Buster," Matt Smith, 10/1]. Staring at the ceiling would have been more edifying. It's one thing to support Sal Rosselli in this feud — certainly, lots of reasonable people take that stance — but it's another thing to just write completely inane things that are disconnected from reality.
Matt Smith never mentions that Andy Stern didn't invent the organizing strategy of pressuring companies to let workers have a free and fair choice for forming a union. Just about every union that is organizing is trying to do the same thing: the Communications Workers, the Teamsters, the California Nurses Association, and the Auto Workers, among others. Indeed, much of UHW's new membership has come from these "backroom deals" at Catholic Healthcare West, Tenet, and other hospitals. Lots of "backroom" deals let workers have a union.
Correction: In last week's cover story, "The Rise and Fall of the Monster," Michael Halyard was incorrectly identified as a psychologist. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist.