Letters for the week of August 18-24, 2004 

The author of 1906 disavows Titanic. A real-life former Republican comes clean. The Superfest committee takes offfense. And more on Christian hip-hop.

"Guns, Bombs, & Magic 8-Balls," Books, 3/31

Denial of disaster novel
I just sent a similar letter to Ms. Anneli Rufus, regarding her back-handed mention of my San Francisco earthquake novel, 1906, in which she claims my book was based on a movie treatment and inspired by Titanic. Her dislike for all historical fiction is well noted, but those facts are inaccurate and insulting. What I sold to Hollywood was a 38-page outline for the novel, of which six chapters had been completed. Selling unfinished and/or unpublished novels to Hollywood is not uncommon. I began the novel years before anyone ever heard of Titanic: the inspiration was Gladys Hansen's marvelous Denial of Disaster (1989), which disputed virtually all of the elements in the official records of the 1906 earthquake.

Critics are entitled to their opinions: they are also obligated to accurately convey fact, not fiction, in the underscoring of their vitriol. Taking the low road only puts you on the low road, and all alone at that.
James Dalessandro, San Rafael

Anneli Rufus responds
Obviously I did not mean to imply that Titanic inspired the plot of a novel about the 1906 earthquake, but rather that it spurred the novel's route to publication.

As Dalessandro has said in interviews, Titanic's runaway success inspired him to quickly adapt his then-embryonic novel into a film treatment which he offered to Hollywood production companies and sold to Warner Bros. After selling the film treatment, he returned to the novel, which he finished several years later and sold to Chronicle Books.


"Watching Doug Watch Tom Watch John," East Side Story, 8/4

That's for the agony
Thank you for sharing your wonderful evening with the local Repugs with us. My wife and I spent it at the Dummycrat headquarters in Alameda, so we were with a different group of party hacks. But it sounds like yours was the more trying, so we salute you.

As a former Republican, I now see that intelligence is no longer a requirement for membership in the GOP. "Baby killer" ???!!! Abortion has long been an old Republican liberty and practice. "We won the Cold War?" Excuse me, the other side unilaterally dropped out of the race. It was bankrupting them and came close to doing the same for us. They should have been wearing T-shirts that read "We Get All of Our News from Rush." Certified shitheads.

Again, thanks. It was agony, but then that's what you get the big bucks for.
Michael Hardesty, Oakland

"Life's a Mess," Scenes, 6/2

Funwise, I beg to differ
This is a long-overdue response to Jonathan Kiefer's article about CDT's Superfest International Disability Film Festival. Although we welcome Express coverage of disability issues and events, we expect that the coverage will be accurate and fair. Mr. Kiefer's brief article is snide and disrespectful.

Rather than provide objective information that could inform readers about a community event, Mr. Kiefer's article is an exercise in negative assumptions and stereotypes about disability and about this long-standing and respected disability community cultural event.

In response to our impressive 24-year records, Mr. Kiefer writes, "an impressive distinction -- not because there are many such film festivals in America, but because people still seem to go in for this one. Funwise, this fest isn't exactly a barrel of monkeys." Without ever having attended any of the 23 prior festivals, Mr. Kiefer has no real knowledge about the quality of the experience, yet he serves up his prejudicial opinion that it is no fun, assuming, of course, that films exploring disability experience are necessarily boring or depressing.

He later adds, "Yes, you are allowed to be morbidly fascinated," exposing his biased assumption that to be interested in the experiences of people with disabilities is not simply a normal desire to understand other members of the human family but something darker, more freakish.

We believe that any good reporting should be devoid of language and attitudes that denigrate any group. It is no more acceptable to print "able-ist" writing than that which is racist, sexist, or homophobic.

We hope that you will make a greater effort to assure that reporters assigned to cover disability community issues and events take the job seriously, do their research, and leave their prejudices out of the story.
Cheryl Marie Wade, Superfest committee member, Berkeley

"Jr. Jay-Zs for Jesus," Music, 7/21

A ministry through music
I would like to thank you for this e-mail and all its content. I know that you speak truth and I feel that you are led to say the things that were said through the direction of the Holyghost.

My name is Darnell, aka Alexander Missouriino of the Missouriino Family of Saint Louis in CHRIST! We are a Holyghost-led-and-anointed family that has, by the direction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, been faithful and obedient to His will. We are Holyghost Rappers, singers, poets, ministers, and teachers of the word of GOD. Missouriino.org

We are a ministry that performs street ministry and Holyghost Rapping events throughout our city as a matter of fact any and everywhere we're lead. Please pray for our ministry that many souls will be won for His Glory. ... May God continue to bless you. Amen.
Darnell Alexander, St. Louis, Missouri

A ministry through clothing
I really enjoyed reading your article on Christian rappers. I can also personally relate to what the rappers are doing, because those of us in the Christian apparel industry are facing the same issues. But I think you hit it on the nail when you talked about this as being a ministry first. That's been the whole foundation of our business at Gospel Sports Wear. God gave me the vision of doing the clothing line to encourage people to read, study, know, and live according to the Word of God. Our desire is that people have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and that's when lives are really changed.

Keep those powerful articles coming and check out our Web site to get more on our ministry: GospelSportsWear.com
Joe Peters, Sugar Hill, Georgia

First Ebonics, now this?
That whole idea is outrageously unnecessary -- maybe even offensive for those who grew up in the sphere of hip-hop and call themselves intelligent human beings.

I grew up in the hip-hop culture, but I never felt the need to translate a Bible in "hip-hop" terms. I try to evangelize and exhort unbelievers and believers on a daily basis. Myself and the hundreds of believers I know have done fine in the suburbs of Dallas to the projects of Chicago, with our NEW AMERICAN STANDARD version.

I understand the desire to make things culturally relevant, but do it when it is needed and beneficial. And this does not meet the criteria for either. Why not use that same energy to teach kids in the 'hood how to read properly and exegete the Scriptures? This from the same area that wanted to bless us with Ebonics. It hurts to be a California native.

Greatly offended,
Amisho Lewis, Denton, Texas


POSTSCRIPT
After we published "Notes from the Underground" (East Side Story, 8/11), we learned that John Martin was in fact survived by his father, Jerome Martin of Washington state. John Martin was buried last week at San Leandro's Santos-Robinson Mortuary. No services were held.

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