Letters

Defaced

I was outraged by your cover of Dr. Eugene Turner asking if his is the face of a baby killer ("Angel of Death," 1/28). The man was acquitted and his actions vindicated as humane. Instead of putting this episode behind him your paper has plastered his picture on the cover and raised the question again. What has happened to your paper in the last few months? Instead of more "with it" your paper is turning toward the shallow, sensationalism of other "news" sources. I'm sorry to see the integrity of your paper go.

Devon Vose Rickabaugh

via e-mail

The Editor responds: For the record, the story appeared the week before prosecutors dropped the charges, not after.

Angel of mercy

For the past year my one wish was for reporters to get their damn stories straight before they publish them. "Angel of Death" (1/28) is a prime example. Nowhere in this story did I read where Dr. Rowan was taking medication for depression, nor did it mention the insurance policy that he had taken out on his wife just before her murder.

The article also said the local paper was picketed. I'm sorry, but that is just a flatout lie. I headed that support rally, and there was not one picket sign. But once again you had to elaborate to sell the all-mighty story.

I have known Dr. Eugene Turner for 23 years, and he would sell his soul to the devil to save the life of a child. He was the main caregiver for our son Jason for the 11 short years of his life. Never have I seen a more dedicated physician, friend, and human being. The compassion he showed for our son is something I can't express in this letter.

For the life of me I don't understand what we expect of our physicans. We beg them to show more human compassion, and when they do, they find an attorney waiting at the door. To all of you doctors out there, please have a heart and go out of your way to give all you have as a doctor, according to the oath you took. Though in the end it may cost you dearly. If nothing else, you could end up sitting in front of a reporter's camera as well.

Patti Filion

via e-mail

Mike Romano responds: As far as Dr. Rowan's medication, I apologize for the omission, but many people do take mild antidepressants without killing their spouses. As far as Mrs. Rowan's life insurance, I wish my readers would be more careful before lambasting me, as her $500,000 insurance policy, which came into effect the day of her murder, is very much part of my story.

Raising cane

Many people were offended by Geov Parrish's recent columns. Perhaps if they had read more attentively, they might have noticed that Parrish breathed not a word of anything but compassion for John Stanford and his family; his barbs were only for Stanford's absurdly overblown media canonization (Impolitics, "The Death of St. John," 12/3/98). Parrish's point is that such hagiographic coverage drowns any real discussion of school issues in saccharine platitudes. Is it really not possible to question a messianic approach to public schools without being branded a philistine? Parrish's follow-up column on proposed illnesses for other politicians needing good PR (At Large, "Local Leaders Get Sick," 1/21) was everything satire should be: biting, insightful, and very funny. Hang in there, Geov, I'm sure Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal was not considered to be in good taste in its day either. If you want truly pointless mean-spiritedness, try The Stranger, for which Parrish was far too good. Please don't prove him too good also for the clueless readers of the Weekly. Or go ahead and cane Parrish. Just make sure you do it For the Kids.

David Stoesz

Seattle

Hoppin' mad

As the author of seven business books, including one best seller, The Nordstrom Way, I was offended by Eric Scigliano's indirect characterization of my role in The Ale Master as Bert Grant's "amanuensis" ("Sighing in Their Beer," 1/21). My dictionary defines "amanuensis" as "an assistant who takes dictation or copies something written." I have known Eric casually over the years, but I am unaware of any book that he has authored. Consequently, I must assume he lacks firsthand knowledge of the process. Suffice it to say, Bert didn't dictate anything to me, nor did I copy anything. (I believe they call that plagiarism.) In addition to doing a considerable amount of research, I conducted many hours of taped interviews with Bert—sharing great beer and great beer stories—and several other beer experts, including Michael Jackson, Peter Stroh, and Charles Finkel. That, Eric, is how you write a book.

Robert Spector

Seattle

Eric Scigliano replies: I've always associated the term "amanuensis" with Johnson's great chronicler/recorder Boswell; I thought Robert Spector might find the association flattering. Since The Ale Master is presented as Bert Grant's first-person memoir (written "with Robert Spector"), one might have thought Bert had more to do with it. But I'm glad Robert takes such satisfaction in it.

All worked up

In Jackie McCarthy's review of Peter Guralnick's Elvis Presley bio, Careless Love ("All Shook Up," 1/21), McCarthy manages to misrepresent Guralnick, Chuck D., and Presley—all in the opening paragraph.

First of all, the lyrics McCarthy sanitizes and misquotes (from Public Enemy's "Fight the Power") actually say:

"Elvis was a hero to most

But he never meant shit to me

Straight up racist that sucker was

Simple and plain . . . "

McCarthy seems to endorse a similarly stereotypical, uninformed view of Presley, writing: "Elvis' success was mostly a function of being in the right place at the right time. If he hadn't been around to make black music palatable to rebellious white teenagers, somebody else would have done it."

Guralnick's work destroys once and for all that tired old canard about Elvis being nothing more than a white boy who capitalized on African-American culture by "singing black." In the introduction to Careless Love (which McCarthy apparently did not read), Guralnick explains why this longstanding popular myth of Elvis Presley as poster boy for "cultural theft" simply does not stand up when you look at history and listen to the music.

Listen to those early Sun records. Read both volumes of Guralnick's biography. And you'll never be able to accept the standard line of simple-minded bullshit about this music again. Thank goodness for the insight and scholarship of books like Guralnick's that illuminate the more profound and complex truths about the development of music in 20th-century America.

Jim Emerson

Seattle

Jackie McCarthy replies: I think you misunderstand the purpose of my Chuck D. quote (radio-edited or not) and the ensuing devil's-advocate lines decrying our societal obsession with Elvis. I should have perhaps made it clearer that I was reiterating the popular arguments that Guralnick debunks in his book. (I grew up in Memphis, so believe me, I'm well aware of Elvis Presley's achievements and cultural significance.) The whole point of my review was that Guralnick's scholarship forces the reader to reconsider his or her preconceptions, and in the end, see the human being behind the icon.

Gave 'em shelter

A primary point of accuracy and clarification is missing from Catherine Tarpley's "No Home for the Holidays" (12/24/98). Many agree that $500,000 is not enough to end homelessness in our community. However, the funding designated by Mayor Schell's administration has provided the emergency shelter for homeless children and their families that it was intended to provide. We see this as a significant, incremental step.

Unfortunately, Ms. Tarpley quoted us out of context, implying that we said Mayor Schell's money is not being well spent. For the record, Family Services provided emergency shelter and case-management services to 138 homeless families (508 individuals). Twenty-two percent of the families we served during this period moved from emergency shelter to permanent housing. Mayor Schell's funding made this possible. Emergency money was never intended to give homeless families a home of their own. It was designed to get families off the street and ease the overcrowded shelter situation. It certainly has done that.

In addition to the 22 percent who found permanent housing, another 15 percent were appropriately relocated so that more than a third of the families we served were out of the homeless system altogether. Yet another third of families were either in longer-term, service-enriched shelters or transitional housing at the end of their emergency-money-usage period.

The mayor and his staff are asking for our help in identifying next steps and new goals. The true test of this community will be to see if we can recognize the diversity of needs our families have, put aside individual agendas, listen to each other, and create solutions by working together. We encourage Seattle Weekly to play a role in this by providing thorough, accurate, and unbiased information, to establish an effective forum for public discourse that can benefit everyone.

ruthann Howell

ceo/president, family services

sandy lowe

VP, community-based services

family services

We welcome succinct letters commenting on articles in Seattle Weekly. Letters may be edited for length. Please include name and daytime telephone number for verification. Write to Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Avenue, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to letters@seattle weekly.com.

 
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