". . . that's exactly what passive-aggressive, conflict-avoiding Seattle needs now—a mayor who isn't afraid. . . ."


This guy [Greg Nickels, "Do Nice Guys Finish First?" July 5] is mush. He has the same problem Schell has—the inability to speak using the language of action, and I mean words like 'move now,' 'complete the action,' 'break ground and get it done,' and such. Most politicians have the same problem, and their actions follow their discourse, meaning there isn't any action. I've heard both Sidran and Nickels during interviews and the contrast is amazing.

Sidran is direct and he doesn't care who gets in his way, and that's exactly what passive-aggressive, conflict-avoiding Seattle needs now—a mayor who isn't afraid of getting photographed sitting in a bulldozer chomping on a cigar.

If Schell is re-elected or Nickels is, then Seattle deserves exactly what it won't get.

Philip Siers

via e-mail


The Weekly's negative capsule review of A.I. [Film Calendar] does an excellent job of detailing a core tension in this film. Mr. Miller first complains that Spielberg has over-warmed Kubrick, and then Miller complains that Kubrick has made a film with no heart. It is this seeming contradiction, of warmth of cynicism, of a very common human mix of traits[. . . .] Just as the sheer will of imagination that Kubrick used to pin his films to represent a cold philosophy was itself a contradiction, so is a man dreaming of building a machine that dreams of love, and the man loving the thing that he is building. In the end, the only thing that really matters is the force of imagination that created it. A most human contradiction.

P.S. You missed Sexy Beast too, but the Weekly suggests ugly violence like Titus? Oh well, to each their own, is how it's supposed to go.

Willam Ferren



To the extent that I had given it any thought, I had suspected Sherman Alexie to be a mediocrity for highly cynical reasons, namely, that a certain premium is applied to the work of minority artists in the interests of diversity and inclusion. And to be Native American when there's an unfortunate dearth of Native American authors getting recognition would seem to amplify this. Of course, having never read him, I understood how unfair my suspicion was. But his remarkably clumsy and sophomoric missive regarding the Kennewick Man controversy [Letters, July 5] just leaves me baffled. This oft-repeated line that science is just another religion, putting him in the august company of creationists and new age crackpots, is nonsense. He doesn't really need someone to explain to him the difference between theory based on empirical observation inviting refutation in a search for the truth on the one hand, and superstition institutionalized and (sometimes violently) resisting all dissent, reasoned and otherwise, on the other, does he?

I've never heard it put forward by anyone in the scientific community that science is infallible; in fact, the great majority of scientists are a sober lot more likely to dampen enthusiasm than to seek to raise it. Reasonable people have always known that science isn't perfect and that it wasn't equipped to supply spiritual succor, it's only from the unreasoning reactionary that we hear that science has promised the world and failed to deliver. The clumsy verbiage he uses is strangely offensive ("archeology evidence"?) as he plods to his conclusion apparently oblivious to the huge contradiction in suggesting that scientists devote their energies to curing cancer (now he apparently has faith in them, so long as their goal is plainly practical). If Mr. Alexie is fortunate to live to a ripe old age, I guarantee he'll only be too glad to accept the science which is applied to making his life longer, more pleasant, and more fruitful.

The search for knowledge, whether it be directed at the heavens or back through the trail of human history, is among the most noble of human endeavors, and to me bears little resemblance to nostalgia. I can only hope for Mr. Alexie's sake that his glibness is concealing a greater capacity for understanding this.

Dennis Dale



Hey, Nina Shapiro's back with another day-care diatribe ["Child Care Costs," June 28], this time about how sorry we should feel for working parents who can't really afford to chronically abandon their kids. Her last stuff on the subject ("Think You'll Be a Working Mom?" Nov. 4, 1999) was some hand-wringing about how hard it was to find quality day care. Interestingly, she ended by unwittingly declaring that the "most wonderful, loving, and joyous caretaker imaginable" for her child was not herself.

Ever the feminist, Ms. Shapiro invokes Betty Friedan's baby boom—era housewife discontent to champion tax-subsidized baby-sitting for children abandoned on a daily basis. But consider Friedan's napkin-scribbled mission for "[taking] action to bring women into the full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men." The best parts of feminism as it evolved through the 1980s have since been absorbed by the mainstream culture, with the unworkable parts discarded. Among the latter is the notion (yet to be widely debunked) that gaining socioeconomic equality with men is somehow compatible with the fundamentally nonmasculine process of nurturing children.

I'm not afraid to call bullshit on the whole thing. Parents like Ms. Shapiro have just become life-support units for institutions that produce chronically sick, aggressive, and detached cr裨e kids. Liability and health insurers, real estate concerns, and advertisers all love the day-care industry. Child and family psychologists, pediatricians, and, no doubt, the makers of behavior-control drugs like Ritalin are getting their piece of action. Everybody loves day care—except the kids, who have to get used to it, and who may in time prefer it to the 10 minutes of "quality time" that Working Mom allots them between vidiot box and bed.

I shudder with pity and rage when I see those miserable, confused 2- and 3-year-olds being hauled around town on a cart or led on leashes like animals. Incredibly, Ms. Shapiro hopes that the state will legislate even more tax money to prop up this horror. I anticipate single-issue voting against Gov. Gary "Sure, Whatever" Locke for another Tim Eyman tax-cut monstrosity, for no other reason than to try to undermine subsidy of the oxymoronic "family with day care" lifestyle.

Alexander Stoll



Though I enjoyed such sentences as, "When we allow it to degenerate into participatory performance art, when we become mere passive witnesses to the process of our own entertainment, sensuality evaporates," I failed to actualize what the review [Side Dish, June 21] meant. The alliteration in this sentence made me crave a Popsicle. I've been left to wonder what is the food like? I know that writer may or may not have recently been in Chicago (extraneous information) and that words like prix fixe cost $75 to $100. What I really want to know is, if I go to this restaurant, and I am not a pompous gourmand, can I achieve a state of satisfaction? Would I require one or several of the masqueradees to assist me with the menu? What would they suggest? Perhaps a slice of reality pie should be served avant le repas.

Nate Kasper

via e-mail

Letters loves pie! Write and/or send pie to Letters, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206- 467-4377; or e-mail to letters@seattleweekly.com. Please include name, location, and phone number. Letters may be edited in the event that you are long-winded.

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