Letters for the week of July 16-22, 2003 

Move on, Mr. Thompson; next up, the Continental; diagnosis isn't straightforward, nor are the car dealers.

"The Rise of Point & Click Liberalism," City of Warts, 7/2

Touché, Thompson

Move On, Chris.

Chris Thompson's pan and putdown of the efforts and achievements of MoveOn.org are another installment of Thompson's almost-a-conservative cynicism parading as cool analysis. For example, he's ignorant of the fact that East Lansing, Michigan, turned out 250 antiwar protesters in below-freezing temperatures when he asks whether MoveOn activities will play in East Lansing. Chris, there are enlightened enclaves all over the USA; furthermore, their ties to MoveOn don't preclude direct action.

Next, Thompson lays down an old-left challenge in the sand when he mentions disparagingly that the urban, sophisticated secularists of MoveOn have so little in common with the culture of Kentucky. However, since "Kentucky culture" has contributed little to progressive social change, it's Kentucky's responsibility to catch up. The civil rights movement and the hippies proved you need only a critical mass to make massive cultural shifts and that mass is a surprisingly small number.

James Baldwin once said that the revolution always comes from an unexpected quarter. Those "quarters" are emerging. Will Thompson ever recognize them?
Maris Arnold, Berkeley

"Hip-Hop Vérité," Feature, 6/25

Burn, Hollywood, burn

Thank you for that wonderful article on hip-hop films. So many people fail to see beyond flicks like Boyz N the Hood, or whatever gangster rap movie is out. But there are a lot of real visual artists out there informing not just the hip-hop community, but the global community, about the hows and whys in the urban art scene. Good job.
Adisa Banjoko, San Jose

"Libris Abundus," 7 Days, 6/25

Oakland, meet Costco

Does the $5,307 the Oakland Public Library paid for three hundred copies of the latest Harry Potter book really reflect "a hefty discount from the publisher," when at Costco three hundred copies at $15.79 each would cost only $4,737?
Robert Lauriston, Berkeley

"Living Large," Feature, 6/18

Where you from again?

The life of Dan K. does not seem like fun to me at all. To be so caught in the need to be seen, no matter what, and so caught in the need for substances to escape his life feels painful and difficult.
Ernest Isaacs, Berkeley

"Put That Sucker in a Garage," Letters, 6/18

The Money Sweepers

Despite Mr. Benedictis' letter regarding the parking fines during street sweeping and his Marie Antoinettesque comments, the issue is not all that hard to describe: Government trying to do good but screwing things up.

Sweeping past logic, the city has decided to clean up the streets in my neighborhood four days a month. Somehow the expense and pollution of thousands of cars being moved and circling for combined hours, meter people and their vehicles and labor, street sweepers and their labor and expensive vehicles, posting ugly street signs, frustrated residents and their parking fines, with City of Oakland accountants adding it all up, are worth cleaning up a few bits of dirt and leaves.

There is no motivation to change this coming from the city, because they make a lot of money off of fines. To some people, the fines are already a lot of money and if they increase, it just shows the greed has no limit. There are more low-tech and green solutions to the problem, but they wouldn't make as much revenue and so they'll be ignored.
Bob Giles, Oakland

"Bad blood is the key," 7 Days, 6/18


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