Thursday, April 26, 2001
No ClassYour normally issue-sensitive magazine suffered a rather anesthetized "Moment in Time" last week (Street Talk, April 19-25). The column's stated premise was Aaron S. Birk's ability to arouse people's memory of their "perfect moment" by "hitting them with a salvo of questions and a little inspiring talk." Mr. Birk was far from his perfect moment (in much more than an "inappropriate non-sequitur," editors) when he asked teenaged "Slacker" Frank Koamaros, "If you could kill off dogs or cats, which would it be?"
What POSSIBLE connection did this question have to the rest of the "great moments" column, and how grossly insensitive and idiotic is it on so many levels, given the climate in America's social psyche today? It was an absolutely inappropriate question posed in a totally uncalled-for manner. Think about it, Mr. Birk. You asked a teenager, "If you could KILL OFF..." To kill off means to annihilate, destroy, eradicate. The cat or dog issue is inflammatory at best, but moot to the crux of the issue. You might easily have asked: pigeons or parakeets, jocks or Goths, girls or boys? Have YOU been living in a video game? Should your co-workers be nervous if you are ever fired? Why would a reporter who is even remotely attuned to the problems in our society today pose such a question to anyone, let alone to a directionless teenager?
Sorry to use the term directionless to describe Frank "Slacker" Koamaros, but the only correct answer to Mr. Birk would have been, "What a stupid question. I wouldn't KILL anything!" And sorry to you, Mr. Birk, but the correct question for these readers now is, "Why don't we kill off column inches for reporters who have their heads so far up their pathetic butts that they are unable to hear the tactless ringing of stupidity in their own questions?"
--STEVE GEIB AND TERI TIDWELL, SEASIDE
JENNIFER LOPES, SALINAS
Nope, No Class At AllThis is written in defiant response to the article written by Aaron S. Birk ("A Head of the Game," April 12-18). The writer states in regards to Diane Wegner as a new musician, "I passed her off as just another little female musician trying for some great folk-enigma in the sky..." He goes on to say she indeed proved him wrong, but I am nevertheless unimpressed by slanted comments such as these that do not benefit the musical community.
As a school-age music teacher, I work hard at balancing gender issues within the classroom. I usually don't take articles written with narrow reviews seriously, but comments such as the above are offensive when girls are socialized to minimize their abilities and strengths. I do not come from a feminist stance, but rather a humanistic perspective in which I find pseudojournalistic rants do a disservice to our community. I am a big, tall, female musician (not "just another little one")--and proud to be so.
On the same "note," I do not feel Street Talk (written by selfsame "journalist" Birk) does a lot of service to the community as well. This entertainment column is a direct misrepresentation of Monterey County's ethnically diverse community. Not only white people have something to say about life here in Monterey County. I feel the Weekly could do without this MTV rambling and stick to more important issues that affect humanity and are inclusive of our community. The media can empower and inspire the world, or it can be an insult to society. I challenge the media to be more responsible and responsive to a diverse and complicated society.
--CAROLYN BURLEIGH, SEASIDE
Forewarned is ForearmedIf the residents of Salinas and the Monterey Peninsula think the cost of housing is high now, just wait until the CalTrain extension becomes operational. Unless Salinas wants to become a bedroom community for the Silicon Valley the extension must be stopped. Furthermore, the proposed light rail system linking Salinas, Marina and the Monterey Peninsula will be akin to adding an extra bedroom, but many of us may find ourselves being put out with the cat.
--HELEN OGDEN, PACIFIC GROVE
Wise UpThis is in response to a cover article about Carrie Klein ("Cage of Innocence," April 5-11). While I am glad to hear this girl is trying to not be so silly and irresponsible, did her ridiculous story really warrant a front page article? I am so sick of hearing about kids that screw up. Instead of seeing this girl with all of her tattoos on the cover, why not use the space to showcase all the people that do not get themselves into trouble? What about all the people who make good choices in their lives? And why do we need to know all the gory details? I think Carrie's entire experience should be embarrassing, not celebrated.
--ERIN BEAN, CARMEL