The Cosby Code
Mike Seely's article on Cosby sweaters ["The Cosby Effect," Dec. 13] came at the perfect time because I hosted a Cosby sweater Xmas party and it was the biggest hit. I've never had so many people follow the dress code and have so much fun!
Thanks for the fun, inspiring, good-to-be-alive article ["The Cosby Effect," Dec. 13]. One little thing bothered me: "Or, says Seattle Central Community College apparel design instructor Hisako Nakaya, maybe it's just a telltale sign that the days of a top-down, monolithic fashion industry determining what's in or out are over."
I think we need to back up her point by a few decades. The top-down fashion dictates were smashed by Brando's white tee, leather jacket, and jeans in the '50s On the Waterfront; when the '60s popped, so did minis and boutiques—rock inspired—while the top designers were doing Jackie O. suits and pillbox hats, until they realized the huge market they were missing. Enter the bohemian look of the '70s, and Yves Saint Laurent made news with his rich hippie looks. Lagerfield tried doing $2,000 grunge; it was short-lived but obviously street up. My last example is the skull of '70s punk making its way to the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog ('06) along with the Juicy label doing their version of skull and wings on the back of a hoodie. No, the great ideas from the street have been snagged by designers for quite some time, and the creatives who inspire don't often get the rewards.
Deborah J. Barnes
While I enjoyed Rick Anderson's article about the flaws in our justice system, "System of a Clown" [Dec. 13], I felt that there were some very important points that were not mentioned. First, the national epidemic privatization of our prisons. Because our prison system is turning into a moneymaking industry, acquiring lobbyists and so forth, more people are being locked up for longer periods of time for nonviolent crimes and misdemeanors, such as marijuana possession and auto theft. This is leading to the prison overcrowding that was mentioned in the article. For-profit prisons make more money the more people they have locked up. Therefore, the prison lobbyists are asking for and getting laws that cause more people to be in prison for longer periods of time. The prison population is growing rapidly, and has been for the last 10 years, but crime rates are comparable to what they were decades ago.
The second issue is education. Tax cuts and antitax sentiment are causing financial crunches on both the state and federal levels. In addition to public schools, programs for poverty-level and low-income children like Head Start are being cut. It is a proven fact that children who have access to quality preschool are far less likely to commit crimes as adults.
Claire's Quite Common
As a resident of northeast Seattle, I thought Mike Seely's review of Claire's Pantry was spot on [Bottomfeeder, "Oh, Claire," Dec. 13], but as a parent of an 11-year-old Claire, I take exception.
According to the Social Security Administration's "Popular Baby Names by Decade," the names Seely mentioned, in order of popularity for 2000–2005, are: Claire (No. 93), Lydia (134), Esther (299), Barbara (607), Hazel (681), Dorothy (876).
Did not make the top 1,000: Ethel, Wilma, Clementine, Beatrice, Lou Anne. If Seely's spawning a daughter anytime soon, he shouldn't choose Claire—it's too popular. I'd go for Wilma.
By the way, the No. 2 for boys is Michael.
Robert (No. 33) Strandoo
A Blast From the Past
Congratulations on an excellent piece called "Citizen Microsoft" by Jeff Reifman. While I must confess to have found little of interest in your paper since your new management has taken over, this article represents what seems a giant leap back toward a weekly that had real journalistic value.
The editor responds: Thanks, Kent! That article is indeed a giant leap back: It was published in 2004. Yup, those were the days.
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