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Barry Bonds Steroids Satire Prompts Acclaim, Criticism of Elk Semen Drinking 

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Editor's Note:

We've received a number of comments regarding last week's feature. The piece was a work of satire. Here's a sampling of comments we received via e-mail:

Fun with anagrams: It took me half way through the article ["Steroids Confidential"] until I decided to check on the validity of the authors. Sad that most people won't even notice Nic Foit and Ira Tes are "Fiction" and "Satire." So, how much does Elk splooge really cost?

Why, thank you: Usually, when a publication prints such an obvious piece of fiction, they label it as such. Elk semen? I'll admit, that one is rather creative.

David A. Hoag

San Francisco

The boy who cried "elk?": Hilarious article regarding the alleged abuse of steroids by Giants player Barry Bonds. I am not up to date on the ongoing accusations and revelations surrounding him and so read the article believing it until looking closely at the authors' names. Fiction and satire make for great styles in writing — interesting, entertaining, and engrossing — but one major flaw comes to mind. As I'm sure for a significant number of your readers who are not following every step of San Francisco's finest, the blurring of fact and fiction in this bizarre case can be difficult to perceive. If one is willing to inject a known harmful substance into their ass then how far of a stretch is it to believe they will drink the semen of an elk (or Rocky Mountain Oysters, etc.) for an extra hormonal edge. 

The point is that using satire in your cover story certainly creates a hesitancy in your audience in trusting your publication. Certainly you can argue that the reader should "get it," but for those who don't and then later find out the truth, it will be difficult to ever have them look at you as a serious respectable news source. Maybe the cover article from the previous week was just a joke on the family of murdered citizen in an attempt to smear his name and legacy. This is always the possible pitfall of writing satire, I am not sure if this would not have been better situated in the middle of the magazine and not on the cover. I have always enjoyed following the free city publications (such as the Village Voice, Gambit, Creative Loafing, etc.) who are not afraid of committing ink to worthwhile stories which the networks and major papers do not cover. Or maybe the editors of the SF Weekly believe there are no major news stories to have their writers investigate. The article clearly proved the writing talent is there, maybe just the editorial oversight is deficient.

"Satire"'s butt buddy is actually "Irony": To "Satire" and his butt-buddy "Fiction": Very fucking funny! Bravo! But, don't you think there will be dumb-shits out there who aren't going to figure it out? Until the elk semen part, I was partially buying into it myself. Very good stuff. Hats off to whoever wrote this!

Branding as a Second Language

Regretfully, this letter does not mention elk:

In response to the homework I assigned my Japanese ESL students, [my student] Koichi Tsuge wrote about the "Golden Gate for Sale" article [Sept. 17]. Not only is an outside perspective interesting but it is simple and straight to the point. If it is possible to publish this on the letters page, he would be delighted:

"I found an article about Golden Gate Bridge in a free paper. The content was about the public agency that oversees the bridge to decide whether to allow corporate advertising. I thought the situation was ironical. I don't agree with advertising on the bridge. It will get revenues for corporations but scenery of bridge will become so bad. It is as if a face was rubbed in mud. I hope the agency makes a sensible decision. The symbol of a city is not a thing of corporations. It is a thing of people."

Lauren Visconti

San Francisco

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