Leagues of Gentlemen

Wrong On Man U

Kate Silver's article about pubs where Seattle-area residents can enjoy British soccer games [Nightlife, "Leagues of Gentlemen," Oct. 26] includes statements that call into question her fitness for the job of reporter at a publication of Seattle Weekly's stature. It is not her mistakenly lumping two Manchester United rivals into the one misunderstood name of "Liverpool Arsenal" (Liverpool is, of course, based in the city of Liverpool, while Arsenal is a London-based team) that brings her competence into question. Anyone who does not follow the English Premier League might be allowed one or two misunderstandings. Nor is it her blind acceptance of the rantings of displaced Manchester United fans who seem to believe that Manchester United can still regain some lost ill-gotten glory from the past. Rather, it is her tendency to become— however bandwagonesque—any sort of Manchester United fan at all that brings her entire existence, not to mention her competence as a reporter, into question.

Her casual comment about United "pummeling" Arsenal is offensive to right-thinking humans. If she had done her research properly, she would have realized that United does not "pummel" anyone these days and that the team is in the middle of a much-deserved crisis. United harbors more than a touch of evil in its stadium, and with the resurgence of teams like Arsenal, Liverpool, and current champion Chelsea, it is at long last receiving its own pummelings—often at the hands of Arsenal. If Silver simply wants to write about nice pubs in Seattle, she seems competent to handle the job. The fact that she was taken in by sly, desperate United fans, and the idea that she would enter into the suspect world of Man U fandom herself, brings up many questions about her character. I do not want to pass judgment on her as a person, but she makes it hard when she so blatantly jumps on the bandwagon of one of the most horrible sports franchises on the planet.

Peter Wick


Too Much Espresso?

Regarding Emily Page's review of B&O Espresso [Nightife, "Thinking, Not Drinking," Oct. 26], I just have to disagree that this is a good place to go talk. I recently got together there on a Thursday night with six friends. Although the coffee and desserts are absolutely divine and generous in portions, the atmosphere was not conducive to conversation. The layout highly increased the ambient noise, the music was a little too loud, and the waitress was rather brusque. All these contributed to our next get-together being a potluck at my house, where we could hear ourselves think.

Meghan O'Connor


Scandal Scorecard

Thanks for Rick Anderson's breakdown of the Valerie Plame case ["Meet Mr. Valerie Plame," Oct. 26]. I also went on to read Anderson's "Choctaw Cash" [July 6]. He did such a great job at connecting the players. I haven't had the time to read every article to come out about the leak, but Anderson's article really summed it up for me. Great, thorough reporting.

Tara Rankin


Get Some Balls

Good luck on the merger ["Our Ownership in Flux" and Mossback, "Alternate Realities," Oct. 26] . . . Seattle Weekly needs some balls! Phoenix is corrupt? Seattle? King County? Olympia? Hello? A Pulitzer a day awaits those who dare challenge the status quo here and bend over to lift up a few rocks. Welcome, New Times!

Sharon Gilpin

Bainbridge Island

Schoolmaster GAtes

Knute Berger's Buzz paragraph in the Oct. 26 Seattle Weekly gets part of the story correct. The Gates Foundation people can be nasty. What he overlooked in The Seattle Times story re shutting Seattle School District's water off is the last half of the piece. Tom Vander Ark actually acknowledges, believe it or not, that maybe he and his staff were too top-down, too prescriptive, too cookie-cutter. And so on.

On one hand, he blames the Seattle School District for all sorts of crap, but then, rather offhandedly, admits that the organizational change strategy wasn't appropriate. How kind of him.

There were plenty of people who tried to tell Vander Ark and his crew that top-down would not work, never has worked. But they were too damned smart, they knew everything, and there wasn't any chance to get through. Vander Ark says that he's learned some lessons. There were lots of folks he could have listened to way back when they were concocting their Procrustean strategy, but that's not the Gates Foundation way.

With the Gates Foundation, you get an operating foundation, not a foundation in the traditional sense. When they say "jump," you don't have to ask how high because they'll tell you exactly how high, how to bend your knees, how far down to crouch, how to push off, how long to stay up in the air, and where to land when you come down.

Roger Soder


Abusing the Vulnerable

Anyone who pays attention to patients' rights issues will stand up and cheer for the editors of Seattle Weekly, for their summary rejection of Initiative 330 on the November ballot. I-330 is just another example of the control insurance companies are trying to exert over doctors and patients. I-330 is a blatant attempt to get voters to hand over their rights. Passing I-330 would be a handout from the pockets of Washingtonians to insurance companies. It would force patients to void their own constitutional rights in exchange for medical care just when they are most desperate. Doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, dentists, and insurance companies would be allowed to require that patients sign a waiver of trial in order to get treatment. That is an abuse of power over a group of people who are by definition vulnerable.

Steve Strauch


Steve's Smart Commentary

I was a bit disappointed to notice Steve Wiecking's departure column [Small World, "Goodbye," Oct. 26]. Admittedly, I didn't read Small World; my current fidelity to Seattle Weekly has been the result of Wiecking's reviews. His dissections of local theatrical events are on par with those of any other critic in the city and stand alone because of their strong theses and careful precision. As an aspiring critic myself, I take his analyses as models, so I'll miss them. I hope that Wiecking continues to provide quality reviews elsewhere—the theater needs smart commentary in order to rethink itself and ultimately survive alongside more popular competition.

Nicholas Hubbard


Nasty to the End

I personally hope that Steve Wiecking finds another line of work, as he seems to rely on negativity and nasty comments in the name of journalism [Small World, "Goodbye," Oct. 26]. I am a Clay Aiken fan, and nothing that anyone could say would ever change that. I just can't understand why people like Steve feel the need to make fun of Clay and other stars. When I was in school, this was the definition of a "bully." I was taught by my parents that if you can't say something good about somebody, then don't say anything at all. Steve evidently wasn't taught the same thing, or maybe he was just doing it to get attention. "Bullies" do that, too. I'm glad he's gone and hope he stays gone. The only good thing that I can say about him is that he stayed true to himself—he was nasty to the end!

Susan Baker

Churchville, VA

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