Thank you for Brian Miller's insightful article on the departure of AtomFilms from Seattle ["The last picture show," 3/22]. It was timely (especially>"/>
Thank you for Brian Miller's insightful article on the departure of AtomFilms from Seattle ["The last picture show," 3/22]. It was timely (especially with the departure of Boeing), but also just the latest wake-up call in a longer history that we are doomed to repeat if we don't change our short-sighted ways. Seattle will never have a thriving, sustainable media industry if we don't support the education and development of current and future media artists. We don't have a film school connected to a university, and we lack the collective vision to develop a world-class education system that supports media literacy and the arts (which are the building blocks of media production) from grade school on up.
As Miller points out, AtomFilms was just a distributor of media, not a production company or film studio, but it did, as Joel Bachar confirms, give Seattle a bigger buzz recently in the independent media scene internationally that will eventually fade with its departure. Seattle needs to grow its own educational and economic infrastructure that supports creative media talent, and not just hang its hopes every five years or so on commercially driven companies.
As a media arts consultant, I'm happy to report that I am seeing the beginnings of a new generation of regional media education initiatives and resources, mostly focused on teaching digital 2- and 3-D animation, at places as diverse as the University of Washington, Bellevue Community College, 911 Media Arts Center, and Clover Park Technical College in Tacoma. But it will take a concerted effort over time to bring those educators, artists, and students together to connect to the larger international creative media community, and to begin to communicate, cross-pollinate, and support the growth of a regional media industry. Let's hope this time Seattle will finally get it right.
Seattle: Obscure, drizzly
Seattle is not San Francisco. Seattle works best as a boutique city, smaller, more remote, quainter and cooler than the Megopolises to the south and east. The departure of Atomfilms ["The last picture show," 3/22] and the Boeing HQ [see "Bye-bye Boeing," p. 17], for example, serves Seattle well. Let Houston have the inflated property values and long commutes caused by salaries up in the egosphere. When Micro$oft finally pulls the plug and moves to Canada it will be the end of the beginning of Seattle's return to its true nature.
We are way up here in the corner of the country for a reason. WTO and Mardi Gras are examples of Seattle's discomfort with its new Big City Shoes. If we were still obscure, drizzly little Seattle, a place people went on their way up to Alaska to fish, no one would have packed their hooded sweatshirts and backpacks full of Anarchists Manifestos into their VW microbuses and driven all the way up here (from Portland?) to break the windows at Starbucks.
Having all the rich and famous among us get out of our hair so we can go back to enjoying our little secret life in the Northwest will be a great gift to Seattle. Now if we could only get rid of those pesky Seahawks before we have to deal with the whole stadium thing again. . . .
Now that breast-beating free-trade booster Phil Condit has cut the corporate heart out of Seattle in the name of globalization [see "Bye-bye Boeing," p. 17], maybe you'll finally understand what 60,000 anti-WTO demonstrators were protesting two years ago. It's worth remembering that Condit was one of the two co-chairs (with Bill Gates) of the Seattle Host Organization that welcomed the WTO. But hey, what's good for business is good for us all, right?
Reporting: How about it?
Your recent column about the Hutch's reaction to the Times' allegations of mal/misfeasance [News clips, "All the news that's fit to mint," 3/22] was good for a nice belly-laugh. But in all fairness to the Hutch—for which neither I nor anyone in my family works, and in which I have no interest, financial or otherwise—you should note that the hospital did take out a full-page or near-full-page ad responding in some detail to several specific points in the Times' allegations. So contrary to the implication of your column, the Hutch's reaction does not constitute a case of 'he says, she says'.
So now that we have all had our laugh, I would be interested in a rebuttal to the Hutch's response about the clinical trials that are at issue, in particular, a rebuttal of the points in the Hutch's ad.
In other words, now that we've all had our fun at the Hutch's expense, how about some honest-to-God reporting?
JAMES R. COWLES
Integrity: Let's get some
Geov Parrish rightly points out that the neighborhood "movement" (mini-movement?) has been co-opted [Geov Parrish, "HoodWinks," 3/22]. Let's just say that a sufficient number of citizen activists have been co-opted by the city to the point where any effective political counterbalance to big business is pinned firmly under the big foot of said corporate power. I would disagree, however, that Paul Schell is the "explanation," and that "there's not necessarily anything wrong with being co-opted—it means you're getting something for the hood."
Paul Schell is merely the result; the explanation lies with the human nature of all of us. Geov, you should tell everyone to just look in a mirror. We like to have our villains clearly labeled—to act as if they are is a way to evade responsibility for the status quo. Trouble is, there are rarely any true villains, and we are the ones responsible. Schell, a thoroughly co-opted politician, has been successful, not only because he was fortunate to come after Rice and Royer, who successively built the stage for co-optation of neighborhood politics, but because he comes out of a co-opted political system, from bottom to top. The bottom is us.
Good people do bad things. Not from evil, but from human weakness. We have co-opted leaders because we don't actually demand integrity—because we don't have integrity ourselves. Co-optation is a 2-way street. I personally know neighborhood "leaders" who, previously outraged at injustice to themselves, have fooled themselves into thinking that they won something—because they effectively "threatened" to expose the city in one area, if the city didn't provide in another. And the city gave! Silence is the quid pro quo for getting your little agenda item. I even know "leaders" who have been willing to go beyond silence, to actively undermining other critics of the city, through rumor or outright public lies. (Oh, excuse me: In "nice" Seattle, it would be inadvertent misrepresentations.)
No, there will be no neighborhood movement, not for long, ever, until that movement is built on honesty and integrity and it's goal is justice for everyone, not just one's own. Let's start by calling co-optation what it is: selling out. And acknowledging that it's not somebody else's fault.
Punk: Fucking bullshit
I like Kurt's other 'articles' but this last one about punk should have been titled: 'Suburban pseudo punk grows up' or 'Memoirs from a self-proclaimed punk: The revisionist' [Two Ears and a Tale, "Punker than thou," 3/22]. Punk has always belonged to the street. Not a writer's ideological sense of 'punks for change' uggggh! What fucking bullshit!!!! I am not a punk but that doesn't matter. Is John Lydon still a punk? He never was. Johnny Rotten was. Grow up in silence and leave punk alone. Great article about freaks though ["More freaks, please," 1/11]. That was one of the best rants I've read in a long time. Bravo on freaks.
Let me be the first to say that "The Encyclop椩a of Evil" isn't funny. Or clever. Or even very evil [see this week's humorless, stupid, good entry]. This is especially disappointing, because it takes the place of Seattle Weekly's long-running and usually interesting "At Large" column.
I don't think I'm the only reader who used to start browsing the Weekly from its back page. There, "At Large" once offered the paper's most heartfelt and least snide prose. It was a half-page forum for fine first-person writing, whatever the topic—from the relationship between Seattle's dreary weather and sex, to the unexpected joys of living with bats, to intensely personal musings about the demise of family members or the agonizing disposal of accumulated love letters. You never knew what you'd find there, which was a significant part of its charm. "At Large" gave the Weekly a hint of an eccentric but warm personality. True, in recent years its offerings had pretty much been restricted to humor. But the column remained a worthy contrast in style and tone to bomb-throwing political screeds and the paper's predictably negative reviews of Mayor Paul Schell's every waking moment.
Now "At Large" seems gone for good. And "Evil." Seattle Weekly is poorer for its loss.
Eds. note: In the March 22 edition, two pages in the letters section were accidentally transposed, victimizing two letters with random bizarreness. We apologize for the error and any resulting confusion. Here are the casualties in their entirety:
Nina Shapiro's "Race judgment" [3/15] ends this way: "Given how little we know so far, African-American and religious leaders seem justified in trying to downplay race as an issue, which they have done while generally deploring the violence and organizing a vigil for its victims. Unfortunately, their corresponding attempt to deny what people could see with their own eyes will likely make race more of an issue, not less."
This is an awkward ending. My own point of view is that BLACK RACISM is rampant and the only way to tone it down is to acknowledge it and talk it through, especially in black churches. This, in my opinion, is what gave rise to the gangs of black thugs attacking and sometimes maiming white individuals at the Mardi Gras melee.
If you want to see evidence of black racism, pick up black newspapers, or better yet, go to a bookstore and stand in front of the African-American section and pick out book after book on black history, black politics, and even black poetry and see how far you can get before you can come across something free of hatred towards whites, the blaming of whites for this that or other misfortune, or the white mistreatment of blacks carried to the present day. This is a black obsession. We whites are lucky we are not in the minority—we would have been wiped out.
Cheap and hackneyed
It's too bad that in your satiric projection of cost-cutting at Nordstrom, "May we help you?" [News clips, 3/1], the oh-so-politically-correct Seattle Weekly had to resort to a cheap, hackneyed ethnic slur: "Sure, you can have a full refund—if you can get past our new Returns Department bouncers: Guido 'No Neck' Gambino and Freddie 'Fractures' LaMotta."
May I suggest a little creative versatility in the future, if only to spread the stereotyping around a little; how about Armando "Bitch Slapper" LaFontaine, Pedro "The Blade" Alvarez, and maybe even Yoshi "Yellow Peril" Yoshimura?
I'm sure you get the idea.
Letter o' the week
I would like to personally welcome you and your readers to the Human Being Society. We have even more members than the United States has citizens. All Human Beings are lifetime members. We meet everywhere, in every moment. We grow in every imaginable way. And we hold every imaginable belief.
Yet we are ONE.
Our purpose is to remind everyone of their membership in the Human Being Society. And as an important news magazine on the West Coast, we hope that you will always remember too.
Grow well, and remember our motto: "WE ARE YOU"
Love & Blessings,
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Send us a letter and we'll try to print it properly. Write to Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include name, location, and phone number. Rarely do we print anonymous letters or ramblings unrelated to material in the Weekly. Letters may be edited.