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Letters to the Editor 

Week of September 18, 2002

Burning Mad

Hey, some of our best friends have purple hair: Lessley Anderson's piece on the way Burning Man's people manipulate the press was an appalling example of the slack supposed "progressives" and "alternative culture" types routinely cut to anyone willing to give the time of day to people with purple hair or dreadlocks ["Burning Spin," Aug. 28]. This all-too-real practice, perfected by your competitors at the Bay Guardian, is an embarrassment for real progressives.

Indeed, what is so iconoclastic about Burning Man? No money? They do that at Club Med. Naked people? Harbin Hot Springs has them 365 days a year. Bad art? Well, there's the entire Bay Area art scene, if you're interested. Why go to Nevada?

No, it's obvious that Burning Man was, is, and always will be a frat party for people too geeky to have been invited to pledge. This is the only sensible explanation for the fact that interest in Burning Man skyrocketed during the dot-com boom, dovetailing nicely with the "bourgeois bohemianism" the dot-commers brought with them. No need to contemplate the cognitive dissonance entailed by sporting both a nose ring and an SUV. Just spend Labor Day weekend at Black Rock City and the other 51 weeks a year you can be as upwardly mobile as the traffic will allow. What a disgusting farce!!

Douglas Presler

Let's be prank: Your article contains two errors that I would like to address.

First, it states that when they started receiving numerous e-mails and phone calls about my CNN/MTV prank, the Burning Man office told me that I "had to do something about the prank." This is not true and is not what I reported to Ms. Anderson in our interview. The Burning Man officials simply notified me that they were in fact hearing from a lot of irate and confused people, but at no time did they ever tell me that I had to do anything. The decision to reveal the story to be a hoax was entirely mine.

Second, my name is David, not Daniel.

David Peterman
Seattle, Wash.

Next up, "Dryer Spin: How laundromats manipulate the pressing of your pants": Am wondering if we might see an article titled "Military Spin: How the U.S. military manipulates the press in Afghanistan -- and why it's important that they continue to do so" anytime soon? Be careful what you espouse or ask for.

Matt Klobukowski

Slipped Discs

Shouldn't foot-dragging have its own course?: Silke Tudor did an excellent job of capturing the etiquette and respect for nature that are integral to the game of Frisbee golf ["A Fling in the Forest," Night Crawler, Aug. 28]. What she missed was the foot-dragging on the part of the Park Department in not putting in a Frisbee golf course in Golden Gate Park. Three and a half years ago, a subcommittee of the Board of Supervisors told the department to install a Frisbee golf course -- a project that would take about two days to complete. We're still waiting.

Margaret Harris

Science Friction

You mean there wasn't a filk version of "Sweet Caroline"?: I enjoyed reading your post on ["Sci-fidelity," Night Crawler, Sept. 4]. However, I caught a couple of errors: "This year's Hugo Award- winning novel is American Gods by Neil Diamond" should read "Neil Gaiman." Also, the Civic Hall where the Masquerade was held had seats for 3,000, but only had about 1,000 attending. The convention itself had between 5,000 and 6,000 total.

Mike Willmoth
Science Program Liaison, ConJosé
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Think Deep

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of doing nothing: I liked Sandy Brundage's article on precautions for meditation ["Bad Vibes," Bay View, Aug. 28], though I must admit it left me with a feeling in some spots that I was reading a Jack Chick tract. I was concerned about your broadcasting this familiar [idea] that our drugs should suppress an understandably freaked-out response to a hostile environment (check out the Financial District during rush hour, for starters). Sitting and relaxing, breathing and doing nothing is a sovereign right. And things will come up. I agree with the idea that other people who are into some kind of "meditation" aren't necessarily the best guides into yourself. So it's kind of redundant to point out: Neither is a newspaper.

Sid Merid
Treasure Island

Salter in Her Wounds

Job opening: Moderate 34-year-old renting an apartment in the Tenderloin. E-mail Phil Bronstein: Thanks for your insight in your "tenure for columnists" column about [Chronicle writer] Stephanie Salter's demotion ["A Dog-Eat-Dog World," Matt Smith, Sept. 4]. You wrote my thoughts exactly. Can't they demote her because she is a bad writer with not much interesting to say or original analysis? Why does Media Alliance have to paint this as a conservative conspiracy? I, for one, am frustrated by the overabundance of media space given to the 58-year-old smug, white liberals with their old, tired themes who are completely unaware how out of touch they are with the people they claim to represent. My only hope is that Salter's space will be filled by some TRULY underrepresented media group. How about someone under the age of 35? Or for something really radical, how about someone who rents an apartment? Or lives in the Tenderloin? Or maybe -- and this is really pushing it -- a "Moderate"?!!! The possibilities are endless.

Name withheld

Huff and Puff

Hell, they could stop selling those damned dancing hamsters while they're at it: Regarding your article titled "Where There's Smokes There's Ire" [Dog Bites, Sept. 4], we can suggest a simple solution to Walgreens' problem of insisting on carding everyone who purchases cigarettes. Walgreens could stop selling tobacco products.

Pharmacies are in the business of providing products that ease people's pain and improve health -- so why do they continue to sell products that when used as directed only cause death and disease? Walgreens markets itself as the "Pharmacy America Trusts." How can you trust a commercial health care center that sells a product that causes over 400,000 preventable deaths in the United States each year?

Walgreens has repeatedly indicated that they sell tobacco as "a convenience" for their customers. Since it is no longer so convenient for their adult customers to show ID every time they purchase cigarettes to compensate for the chain's history of illegal sales to minors, we urge Walgreens to do the right thing and stop selling tobacco products. Frankly, it would be a lot easier to "Trust Walgreens" if they put their customers' health first.

Carolyn Martin
Chair, Prescription for Change
Noe Valley


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