Prohibition During the Depression
Less drink, more think: In an era when people are losing jobs and homes, schools are being shut down, arts and education programs are being cut, and all other manner of mayhem is happening due to the economic downturn, how dare SF Weekly run a story that glorifies some douchebag who blows $500 a week at a bar ["The Regulars," Katy St. Clair, Feature, 8/19] and not have a theater section in your listings? How dare SF Weekly give half a page to the only thing in this week's edition even smacking of newsworthy ["Towing the Line," Lauren Smiley, Sucka Free City, 8/19]?
I understand that it's the job of weeklies to be "cool" and thus, in this city, pander to intellectually shoddy, self-absorbed (but not self-reflecting), overprivileged hipsters, but I would hope the line would be drawn at publishing four-page articles that only further underline the larger world's general conception of us as a bunch of smug limousine liberals too partied out to think straight or do much more than endlessly justify in quips and faux-edginess (but precious little action or upholding of standards) the golden pedestal we constantly put ourselves on.
The worst part? I'm a pretty loyal fan of SF Weekly and weeklies in general, and I'm a local theater artist who has done well by SF Weekly. But I'm willing to put all that on the line and forsake the support of this publication, because I'm that disappointed in what I see going on here. It is the job of the alternative weekly, in my opinion, to save the fluff for a column or, better yet, the Chronicle, and provide an articulate forum for local politics and support for local businesses and artists.
Profiling the local party boys as if they're worthy of the paper the story is printed on is questionable at any time, but at this moment in our society — when so many are struggling to do good against all odds and journalistic integrity is already under so much fire — such a decision is not only irresponsible but also flat-out reprehensible.
See you at the bar.
Teaching to the Choir
Different point of Yoo: I think offering controversial, diverse-minded teachers is the sign of a good school ["Civil Debate?" Peter Jamison, Sucka Free City, 8/12]. Liberals often preach open-mindedness and diversity, but can't put up with right-wing politics. Open-minded means open-minded, and I actually don't believe many people are.
The fact that Professor John Yoo inspired a student to take action (even though it was against Yoo) proves his power as an educator: He has caused law students to fight for what they believe in, which is why they are there in the first place.
You're Calling Us Kooks?
Adjust your attitude: Apparently Lauren Smiley and SF Weekly were out to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of their preconceived notions about public-access TV and its producers by referring to us in the subtitle of the piece as "kooky" and then proceeding to write a story in such a way that would have the uninitiated believe that it's true ["Adjust Your Television," Lauren Smiley, Feature, 8/12].
In the mention of shows on public access, the easy stereotype of sex, nudity, and irreverence is far from the truth of what most of the shows are about. As it is an alternative-media outlet, I would have thought SF Weekly would be more circumspect in these characterizations. Should we judge SF Weekly merely on the adult classifieds and sex toy ads in your paper? Then why pigeonhole us?
Many of the shows on public access have won regional and national awards, so it's not just us taking ourselves seriously, as the article noted; apparently others do too! One of the many issues we took up at the meetings about public access was that an Internet-only source of distribution will exclude the very demographics some of us serve on our shows, as the digital divide is real, and some of the constituents who are best served by public access will be the ones who will be left out.
We are trying to be proactive, and as producers we feel that we have been shut out of the dialogue, not just by the Department of Technology, but by others in power. We want to be positive and work together with others, but we need the chance to at least be included in the discussion. There is a reasonable assumption that we would have much to contribute to the future strategy, based on our combined years of experience at the station. Many of us spoke of these matters both with Smiley and at the meetings, but these views were not included in the article.
Producer, Newsroom, on Access SF