Magnetic personalities: I always read the Letters section of Westword but have never written until now -- which may seem strange, because I'm writing in response to a cartoon!
In the January 15 issue, The City comic, about burying the uncounted votes, had me laughing out loud. I promptly cut it out and hung it on my refrigerator. In the next issue, I read the letter from a gentleman who was very upset and obviously offended by this simple, four-frame comic strip. All I can say to that is: Lighten up! Getting that defensive over a cartoon is pretty frivolous, especially since political cartoons of this nature appear in Westword all the time (for example, the Halloween version of This Modern World referring to touch-screen voting machines as a threat to democracy -- also on my refrigerator).
Is it worthwhile to object to every cartoon you disagree with? Isn't the act of expressing ourselves what the First Amendment is all about? Derf certainly did a good job of stirring up some controversy, which is a good thing, no matter which side we're on. As for me, I'll agree to disagree.
Rude behavior: In your January 29 Off Limits, I was extremely offended by the line "leaving her thigh-high boots to sag away from her body like some tired old stripper's boobs at the Paper Tiger." Why?
I happen to work at the Paper Tiger; I've been employed there for eight years. I bartend and cocktail at this establishment, and on occasion, I dance. I think that you have been very rude to the ladies that currently work there. I'll bet you've never even been in the Paper Tiger! Before you are so quick to assume that we have nothing but run-down, old, fat, way too ugly or just plain horrid women at our club, perhaps you should see our women. Perhaps we aren't Penthouse pets, but give us a wad of cash and we could be. See, we could buy our breasts, our extensions, our tans, our nails, our expensive costumes that all add up to one thing: fake personalities out for one thing -- the man's wallet.
Sure, our club has a few women who have enhancements, but they at least have good personalities and can actually converse with the client. We have many return customers as well, because they don't like to be sucked dry. They like to come back because we're actually down-to-earth people. I think you owe the ladies, the patrons, the employees and definitely the owners of the Paper Tiger an apology. It's a shame that you have to bad-mouth another club just to promote another high-dollar club. It definitely shows your morals and values as a "writer."
Nancy Hopper Lovley
via the Internet
In praise of Sheehan: As an early critic of Jason Sheehan -- you printed one of my letters in the August 29, 2002 issue -- I feel it incumbent upon me to respond to the recent spate of letters that levy completely unjustified criticism upon him. Yes, Sheehan's early efforts were too much Sheehan, not enough food; however, there is no question that Sheehan learned from the complaints being leveled against him. There is no question that he is a skilled-enough writer to take the condemnation heaped upon him to refine his style without losing his unique voice. There is no question that his appreciation of and passion for food are of a level to qualify him for his job.
Now Sheehan uses his personal references to provide insight into his point of view. It is abundantly clear that he does this in the name of fairness, because, once having established this groundwork, his opinions are clear and unaffected. You may not appreciate his perspective, but he is never mealy-mouthed or ambiguous. He is a critic in the truest sense -- he believes the patron should have an exceptional experience, and he has no patience for form over substance. If you can't stand the well-chosen use of a "bad" word here and there, chances are you don't understand anything about his reviews and shouldn't be reading them. You should probably stick to your suburban Applebee's, etc.
Most of the recent kvetching about Sheehan's reviews has been unfair and unfounded, but the January 22 letter by Diana Hailey was particularly ill-informed. Sheehan's January 15 Bite Me did not contain a single instance of him making "jokes" about CJD. He merely pointed out the unarguable unlikelihood of contracting the disease. Pointing out the fact that one is unlikely to be struck by lightning is not the same as making fun of people who have suffered from such an unlikely event.