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Poison Pen
The recent article "Poisoned Probe" (Dec. 3) written by George Cothran is rife with inaccuracies and lies. I am the chief investigator for the Rat Dog Dick Detective Agency and have been so employed for over 3 1/2 years. Cothran's characterization of Fay Faron's motives, "Self-promotion, it seems, had become at least as important as catching the bad guys," is clearly a falsehood. A serial murder case gone unheeded by police officials prompted Faron to go public with the story. Years of frustration and the deaths of six elderly men prompted Faron to reach out to the public for help, not self-promotion. Ms. Faron has not reaped any financial benefit from this case, nor does she plan to.

For John Nazarian to state, "But for her to play this holier-than-thou, rights-of-the-elderly thing is just a crock of shit," and for your paper to print that, is appalling. Ms. Faron and I recently formed a nonprofit organization called ElderAngels. This organization was founded as a direct result of cases such as Foxglove and seeks to provide assistance to victims of financial elder abuse. Both Faron and I have personally funded the costs of running this organization and have spent countless hours promoting our cause. Neither of us has taken a dime from this organization. Our organization counts amongst its ranks local district attorney investigators, state police officers, private conservators, private attorneys, and other dedicated professionals.

Your paper has clearly shown that sensationalism sells, not the truth. The truth is that Ms. Faron is an advocate for victims of elder abuse and she will continue to fight for what she believes is right, no matter the cost.

Ann Flaherty, Chief Investigator
Rat Dog Dick Detective Agency
San Francisco

Serial Complaint
Boy, "Gypsy serial killer" sure has a more exotic ring to it than just plain old "serial killer," doesn't it? At least, that's the only reason I can think of for George Cothran's "cultural analysis" in "Poisoned Probe," wherein he cites a book and an old folk tale (told by whom?) to prove that Gypsies are more likely to be scam artists than, say, S&L bankers. The repeated refrain of "Gypsy perpetrators" reminds me that when Jeffrey Dahmer's case was in the papers, the biggest news was that he was a homosexual. At least then I didn't read any "news" stories trying to prove that queers were culturally predisposed to murder.

The story stands well enough on its own that it doesn't need this kind of racist sensationalism. SF Weekly, you can do better.

Thia "Fish" Jennings

Um, the Grandstanding Is at the Other Weekly
Why did SF Weekly find it necessary to print a cover photo accompanying its Dec. 3 cover story concerning the Foxglove case ("Poisoned Probe") that referred to the ethnic origin of the alleged perpetrators of the case? Were the accused of a different ethnic or racial origin, would you have as unreservedly described them as "WASP perps"? "Asian perps"? How about "black perps"?

As recounted in the article itself, Gypsies have suffered a centuries-long history of extreme persecution, and yet repeatedly the article plowed the same field in broad sensationalistic strokes, repeating derogatory fables going back to the time of Christ portraying the Gypsy people as thieves. (I thought that I must have inadvertently picked up the Daily News when I read the line, "By the summer of 1994, the Foxglove case had apparently fallen victim to some sort of Gypsy curse.") How noble of the Weekly to acknowledge that "Not all Gypsies are scam artists, or murder-minded elder abusers."

Perhaps the next time SF Weekly chooses to write another grandstanding article railing against those who oppress underrepresented minorities, it will take a look in its own back yard first.

Bob Rousseau
North Beach

And We Like Your Newscast
I enjoyed George Cothran's "Poisoned Probe." That took a lot of work, and I was very impressed with the tale he was able to weave.

Dan Noyes
Channel 7
Via Internet

Dog Bites Hilarious: Reader Gruntled
So just where on the Web do the Disgruntled New Media Workers of S.F. hang out? I've been unable to find the CNET memo and commentary so hilariously reported by Dog Bites ("More Holiday Fun in Cyberspace," Dec. 3). I need more. Disgruntlement is all I live for.

Thank you for your help in uncovering further disgruntlement and may you long be disgruntled.

Jonathan E.
Via Internet

Dog Bites replies: Sadly, the Disgruntled New Media Workers of San Francisco seem to have gone underground since their protest page was removed from We, too, eagerly await further news of disgruntlement.

Facts of Wired
As a free-lance fact-checker at Wired magazine, I feel compelled to correct you: John Batelle was deputy editor, not managing editor ("Wired Frays," Bay View, Nov. 19). That position was vacated by Russ Mitchell.

Kristen Philipkoski
Wired Magazine
Via Internet

Art of Noise
Matt Smith's article on Bay Area "noise" practitioners ("The Sound of Noise," Nov. 12) was a travesty. Smith's obvious disdain for the subject, his unfortunate use of unflattering physical descriptions of his interviewees instead of thoughtful commentary, and his invention of a pretentious "cafe society" surrounding them all point to one thing: Smith has more of an ax to grind (you'll pardon the usage) with his subjects, perhaps simply for being generally "uncommercial," than any interest in presenting their work objectively.

The Haters' GX Jupitter-Larsen is "portly" and "brutish," lives in a "grimy cubbyhole," and yet is somehow polite and well-spoken. Maria Moran is "tiny," and is "nervously trying to occupy her delicate hands" (and is unflatteringly compared physically to the girlfriend in Rocky). Thomas Dimuzio is "pallid." And, perhaps most egregiously, AMK is "short, slightly tubby, scruffily dressed" and is described as (and I almost can't believe that I'm quoting this, it's so absurd) "the crass, cash-driven commercial underbelly" of the Bay Area noise scene. Never mind that, according to Smith, he painstakingly makes handmade packages for the works he sells, he's been targeted for copyright infringement/annihilation by a huge oil conglomerate, sales are down, and ... he's homeless! Quite a cash-rich music mogul, that AMK (I guess Smith's never heard of Merzbow, or that artist's rumored limited-edition-of-one CD encased in a Mercedes-Benz for $150,000).

Naturally, Smith betrays a complete lack of knowledge of the history behind contemporary "noise," "noise music," or what have you, and is seemingly ignorant of the pioneering artists (in various mediums) who are this generation's forefathers, from Varese and Stockhausen to Tod Dockstader and John Cage, to mention very few. This doesn't stop him from criticizing the music (and the underground, elitist audience which pretentiously feigns enjoyment of it) by repeatedly denigrating his subjects' works, and leading off the whole piece by calling their "aesthetic proclamations" "truly appalling." The end result of all this is having to ask yourself why this guy is writing this article in the first place. His occasional use of the word "wonderful" as a description doesn't jibe with a single facet of the story and smacks of an editorial decision (trying not to alienate everyone after all?).

Peter Conheim

Eric Lenchner's name was spelled incorrectly in last week's Riff Raff column. SF Weekly apologizes for the error.


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