News and Features
June 7-14, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Seduced and Abandoned

I, ALONG WITH my friends and co-workers, was really looking forward to the Summer Reading issue of Metro Santa Cruz ("Hot Summer Reads," Cover Story, June 7). Not only because we were asked to participate, but on a grander scale it felt like we were finally getting a little acceptance from the Downtown Community.

Imagine our surprise when we saw that we were not included. Every bookstore in the downtown area was represented except for Borders. The employees who submitted suggestions were hurt, as some of them put quite a bit of time and thought into the assignment.

Apparently it was believed that our staff did not take the suggestions seriously. What does that even mean? The form you provided had dozens of categories. Even if some of the suggestions seemed silly, I refuse to believe that material we provided was useless. Some of the store spotlights featured only 2 to 4 titles. I myself submitted at least that many valid suggestions. Telling us that we were not included because we didn't take it seriously is completely ridiculous.

Mr. Kleffel's piece was articulate and engaging and we were truly saddened to be excluded. Working at Borders isn't easy. We get a lot of flak for things beyond our control. We are seen as corporate intruders on the Indie Downtown Scene. It feels a bit like being the nerdy kid at school who finally gets invited to a party with the cool kids and discovers, much to his embarrassment, that he was given the wrong location.

Amanda James, Multimedia Supervisor, Borders Books & Music, Store 387, Santa Cruz

No Control

I OVERHEARD OLDER women complaining about Bookshop Santa Cruz after they read the Staff Picks from Bookshop Santa Cruz on page 17 (Cover Story, June 7). They objected to the use of language, i.e., "Most Fucking-Great Summer Read." I let Bookshop Santa Cruz know and their response was that they had not used that language, that Metro Santa Cruz had used that language. Please set the record straight so that certain parts of the population won't punish Bookshop for something over which it had no control, and kindly let your staff know that that is unacceptable language, and that their irresponsibility can smear the good reputation of a good business. Thank you.

Gabrielle Smythe, Santa Cruz

Metro Santa Cruz came up with all the categories; respondents merely selected from the list which ones they wanted to answer. --Editor

The Problem With DeCinzo

OK, HERE'S AN example of the problem with DeCinzo (May 24, print version). It's not a matter of whose ox is being gored. It's a matter of irrelevance. I am a great fan of pointed satire, parody and irony. Emphasis on "pointed." Too often, I look at DeCinzo and say, "Huh?" Yes, I know about the salmon crisis. However, I am unaware of any local restaurants being accused of serving food under false labels, and mammal meat could hardly be passed off as fish. I can easily think of funnier versions of this cartoon, such as a smug kid in front of a fish bowl labeled "Goldfish 50 cents" with the label crossed out and replaced with "Nouveau Salmone $5 each."

Satire works because it takes a reality and reflects it in a funhouse mirror to enlarge it and emphasize some aspect. Too often, what DeCinzo does is merely theater of the absurd, with little or no connection to reality. He ends up skewering victims seemingly at random.

Shari Prange, Bonny Doon

Acceptable Intimidation

RE "This Modern World," by Tom Tomorrow (June 7, print version), "Rorschach News Test" about public attitudes toward U.S. military incidents of torture at Abu Ghraib and of massacre of Iraqi civilians: In the 1800s, when white men were settling the west, the Army did not have a problem with wiping out villages of Indian women and children. It was acceptable and gave the Indians the message that Americans with their superior power were going to take the land, so the Indians had better surrender and go to the reservations.

How much of the occasional outrageous and cruel behavior of some of our present military is looked at as acceptable intimidation of all the civilians in Iraq?

Patricia Rayne, Aptos

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