Thank you for making Ralph Ellison and my article on Juneteenth the cover story of the June 3 issue. The space you gave Ellison's work was generous and your photos were terrific, especially the cover shot. I'm a little concerned, though, that the blurb stating that editor John Callahan "turned Ellison's voluminous notes into a finished novel" might have left the impression that he wrote some of Juneteenth from the notes. Callahan used the notes only as guides to help him sequence the chapters of the book-length narrative he lifted whole from Ellison's work-in-progress, and to help him choose pages that would flesh out the story from elsewhere in the unfinished work. The writing throughout Juneteenth is entirely Ralph Ellison's.
You probably already got a million e-mails like this one, but Mark D. Fefer's "Last Words" article (Books Quarterly, 6/3) would have been better had you run a search on Amazon, the Library of Congress, or some comparable site, in which case you could have included a paragraph or two on those publications which plagiarized your 1989 "Long Road Home" title before you actually wrote it—rather an impressive feat.
A couple of examples: Long Road Home: A China Journal, Vera Schwarcz, hardcover, published 1984; The Long Road Home: An Autobiography, John Moody, hardcover, published 1975; not to mention any number of Harlequin paperbacks, according to Amazon. Better luck next time.
Mark D. Fefer responds: OK, you got me. I'm a fraud. No wonder I didn't get the editorial assistant job.
Think locally, act locally
I am a PCC member who, in person, voted against the China Boycott Member Initiative ("Red Scare," 6/3). All I have to say is that I wish the "activist" demographic of PCC members would put their angst and energies into an issue which actually affects our own community, as in the community of Puget Consumers! For example, they can start by replacing those "Free Tibet" bumper stickers with ones that say, "Support your local food bank."
I had read that the Seattle Art Museum was giving the Matisse back but was pretty sure that wasn't the whole story ("Au revoir, Odalisque," 6/24). I had been very impressed with the original Seattle Weekly story about the painting and was pleased to see your follow-up.
I am glad someone is holding SAM's feet to the fire and showing the story behind the PR. It's an example of what journalism is supposed to accomplish.
Towing the poor
Rick Anderson's article on "Unequal Impounds" of automobiles (6/10) makes a very telling point which needs to be highlighted.
The city is divided into six areas and there is a different fee (determined by adding towing and daily charges) for each area. A tow and three days storage results in a fee range from $91 to $137.50. The difference is $46.50. And the area with the highest charge is southeast Seattle, which is also home to the largest low-income, people-of-color neighborhoods.
It is bad enough that city fees and penalties are more difficult to pay if you have a minimum income, but to make those with lowest income pay the highest fees is discriminatory.
It is just this type of unequal treatment of Seattle citizens which I want to change as a member of the city council. All citizens, regardless of where they live in the city, must be treated equally by the city and its contract agencies.
As a longtime user of Linux I have to say—I loved Ms. Gunn's article ("Curse of the cultware," Kiss my ASCII, 6/10).
This opinion may place me in the minority in the Linux "community," but then again, I've been reading since I was six years old (1960). I think I might detect just a hint of sarcasm/satire here. The title of the column alone should provide a clue to any reasonable reader. If I'm wrong then, well, I'm wrong. But I thought I detected a backhanded kinda compliment there.
Regards, and tell Ms. Gunn to start wearing her asbestos underwear; the Linux zealots are headed her way, and most of them are quite humor impaired!
Taste of Kool-Aid
I found Angela Gunn's "Curse of the cultware" article (Kiss my ASCII, 6/10) vastly amusing and terribly, terribly maladroit.
As a systems administrator for a large academic library, I shifted our server base to Linux—not from some slavish devotion to a charismatic cult but rather from sheer pragmatism. Linux was very inexpensive, we could build our own machines from off-the-shelf-parts, and—wonder of wonders—Linux does a better job at the sort of tasks that we do than does Microsoft's NT. Using NT would have cost the taxpayers of my state somewhere around $10,000 more than using Linux.
Ms. Gunn can whine all she wants about true believers. I'm sure there might even be a few Microsoft cultists around, eh, Angela? Linux works better for what we do, it's cheaper—not to use it would be fiscally irresponsible. Seattle taxpayers might want to ask why their public institutions are not pursuing the less expensive alternative . . . but maybe they have to drink the purple Kool-Aid of Microsoft due to simple proximity.
Eric Scigliano in his Quick & Dirty column ("Gunning amok," 6/10) got it right that I backed the Whitney Graves bill in the Legislature. But he got it wrong that the bill required safe gun storage.
Whitney Graves does not mandate how or where a firearm must be stored. It creates exemptions in the current reckless endangerment law from prosecution if a loaded handgun, that the owner has reason to believe would likely be obtained by a child, is stored safely.
The reason it was not passed by the Legislature was because of the confusion caused by the misinformation that it required gun owners to lock up their safety.
I do not support a mandate on how or where an individual must store his gun. A one-size-fits-all law will not work.
The only chance of passage of this bill next year will be if the media can get the story straight.
Alan M. Gottlieb
Chairman, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Fear of objects
Now and then, while waiting in line for a big-corporation-made latte, I like to pick up the Seattle Weekly (thanks for going "free," although I miss Eastsideweek) and read interesting articles from the "let's slander successful local big businesses and symbolically save the whales/kids/damp areas" fringe group.
I hit pay dirt with the June 10 issue with two articles written by authors afraid of objects: Eric Scigliano's "Gunning Amok" and Mark Rahner's "It's for You," each in their own way plumbing the depths of their intolerance of others' freedoms while exposing their own irrational fears of things inanimate. Heady stuff! Thanks for the laughs, guys.
Well, I've got to get back to the real world where "inanimate objects don't perform actions, people perform actions."
P.S. Isn't it time for another "Big, Bad SUVs" article? Should be a hoot!
Anthony A. Robinson
Bear arms or else
If you had truly examined every aspect of gun ownership in America, you would not have penned your 5/20 article entitled "Targeted education: Your child's NRA lesson plan." The second amendment guarantees your right to keep and bear arms, which ultimately protects your first amendment right of free speech.
When private gun ownership is abolished and only criminals and a corrupt government have firearms, don't be surprised when an armed rapist attacks your significant other. Don't be surprised when the government brands you as a "subversive and dangerous" writer. Don't be surprised when government police break down your door, confiscate your computer, haul you to jail, and beat you in your cell. Don't be surprised when you can do nothing about any of it.
The first and second amendments cannot be separated.
John W. Kohler Jr.
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