Letters to the Editor

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"How Swede It Is," Tuyet Nguyen, November 23

Swede and Sour

If Tuyet Nguyen is so dense she can't see the irony of a Swedish rock band that sings its songs in English and is marketing itself in the U.S. complaining about American cultural "oppression," she really needs to find another job.

Give me a break. Do people even think before they start reflexively spouting off garbage? If the Swedes in the Sounds were so worried about American cultural "oppression," you'd think they could have picked a better vocation than "rock star."

And if that's all your reporter can write about this group, it's a shame you can't find better.
John Newman

Playlist, Glenn BurnSilver, November 23

Icon See Clearly Now

I just loved the JJ Cale & Eric Clapton Road to Escondido review. It's great when writers let us know how icons like Eric Clapton "saved his floundering butt (career)." If anyone knew who Glenn BurnSilver is, I'm sure we could take his opinion a little more seriously. Can you say "chutzpah"?
Dave Ginsberg

"A Pizza the Action," Jason Sheehan, November 30

Gambling Man

Two and a half columns on a pizza joint in Rochester that probably is no longer there -- and even if it was, Rochester is not on anyone's holiday trip. Then this verbose critic goes on to talk about a local pizza place, raves on for one column about how terribly the place is situated and doesn't critique the food, just raves on about where it is.

Come on, Jason Sheehan, get over yourself. Overall, I've enjoyed your reviews once I've scanned through your verbosity on your past experience that two columns later relates to the subject, a local eatery. Maybe Patricia Calhoun should give you only half a page and we wouldn't be so bored with your ramblings.
Paull Kupler

"Bum's Rush," Jason Sheehan, November 16

Mind Your Manners

Ah, Jason Sheehan is at it again -- waging a noble war of attrition against all that is pretentious in the restaurant world. Then again, sitting in the ivory tower and taking pot shots at the plebes must make fighting the good fight pretty easy. Seriously, Jason, it would be a lot easier to swallow your attack on the haughty and snotty if your own bleating indignation weren't laced with such palatable arrogance. Such a martyr, you.

If we were to distill your little two-page tantrum into something more manageable, we would end up with this point: Clothes don't make the man. No matter how a guest is dressed or what they order, they deserve to be treated with respect. More than that, every customer should be served with an establishment's highest standards in mind. Agreed.

A guest's behavior, on the other hand, does matter. And the ratio of rude customers to snide servers is a monster number. Really, if a guest wants to handcraft their own entree from components menu-wide, fine. Accommodating a slew of complicated requests is no problem. Just say please and thank you, please. Dressing well is no longer protocol for going out to a nice dinner, and thank God for that. But manners should be. Is Jason honestly advocating that the kind of baboon-like behavior that goes on in restaurants should be tolerated? In fact, things have gotten so bad that asking for manners might be aiming too high. For a server, it would be a small victory if every guest on a Friday night conducted themselves with a minimal amount of decorum. Politeness is a waning virtue in the world; let's try to ask a little more of ourselves. So, Denver, if you can't bring a bit of civility and a touch of class with you when you leave the house, then get the hell out of my dining room.

The condensed version of this rant: Treat others as you would like to be treated. We all, in the dining community and elsewhere, would do well to remember that old rule.

Finally, Jason, another (perhaps pretentious) note of propriety: Writing words like f*ck and douchebag doesn't make you sound edgy, nor does it ingratiate you with the restaurant rank and file. Writing like that just makes you sound like a certain celebrity chef with a taste for vulgarity. So please, Jason, give Mr. Bourdain back his pen. Like Asian-fusion cuisine, Bourdain's shtick hasn't been new or fresh for quite a long time. His impersonators are really starting to clutter the landscape. Go on, take those copies of Kitchen Confidential out from under your bed, where you stuffed them in the early '00s.

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