DEAR EDITOR: I never cease to be confounded by the illogical and ignorant stance that the majority of the public appears to have toward the automated public toilets in Seattle [In the Hall, Erica C. Barnett, May 22]. While the toilets may be a "magnet" for illicit activities, there are plenty of other places within Seattle that have been—and will continue to be—so-called magnets for illicit activity. Volunteer Park comes to mind; however, I don't hear the same people who are advocating for the removal of the toilets also advocating for the closure of Volunteer Park. I'm sure that there is also illicit activity that occurs underneath I-5 overpasses and the viaduct—yet the same people aren't advocating that those highways be removed. Perhaps it's because the automatic public toilets are in public places—where yuppies and other overprivileged people can actually see them? Can't have that now, can we?
God forbid that we actually do something about an economic system that drives thousands to homelessness and leads many others to drug addiction and prostitution.
TO PAUL CONSTANT: Loved the article, I will seek out and read Cory Docktorow's book [Constant Reader, May 15]. Some constructive criticism (unasked for), though. Ironically, on Friday, May 16—one day after release of your endorsement—at least two young males made their way through Pike Place Market and "lock jammed" nearly 20 businesses so they wouldn't be able to open on Saturday morning. (Superglue, wires, and plastic into keyholes.)
I grew up "monkey wrenching" in the 1970s, read The Anarchist Cookbook, stole Abbie Hoffman's treatise against commercialism, and subverted in my ways long before cameras and always against "corporate monoliths." Now I rage with my art and my mouth. Fuck Wal-Mart, fuck Hummer dealerships, I don't care... but mom-and-pop businesses where families work 12 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week to put bread on their tables? Fuck those kids.
Enlighten young readers to "targets" and to "repercussions." They were caught on camera (I've seen their faces and tattoos); it's only a matter of time, and their young asses will be sorry sitting in "big-boy prison" on a felony that only harmed a diverse group of sweating blue-collar workers. I was one of them. Their lives will change in many ways.
EDITOR: I am responding to the article "Against Protests Now" [In Art News, Jen Graves, May 15]. This article completely misrepresented Kiss Cafe and Oakley Carlson alike. The Kiss Cafe is indeed a "family place," and what seems like PG images to many may not be tolerated by others. In this case, the other was Oakley. And his decision to remove a picture was simply that: his decision. It should be noted, the decision to remove certain images was agreed upon before the show. The artist decided to remove the entire collection after he was unsatisfied with Oakley's request.
The Kiss Cafe is by all standards a liberal place, a place that hosts a diverse crowd, a place where copies of The Stranger are strewn about (ironic). Artistic expression is nurtured in a setting like Kiss Cafe. Visual artists and musicians are often given a chance to show off their work. To chastise a small, community- centric cafe like the Kiss seems to go against what The Stranger stands for. It is unfortunate the author took no measures to understand who or what Oakley and the Kiss Cafe represent. Instead, the author selfishly depicts Kiss Cafe as unfriendly and intolerant. With a little sleuthing, it may have been discovered that Oakley maintains friendships with what would so eloquently be described as not "the right kind" of people. Many of the customers by this same standard are not "the right kind." Around the Kiss Cafe, people are just people.
There are always two sides to every story. Kudos to the artist for throwing a tantrum and receiving some press, but shame on the author for blindly inciting negative feelings toward a cafe owner who accepts and supports all facets of the local community. Poor journalism hurts more than the readers; it affects the livelihood of three owners, a 4-year-old son, and a handful of employees working hard to make your "beer and a sandwich in Ballard" an enjoyable one.
Dear friends of the stranger paper alternative: Unliek the sleeping populass of seattle proper, I requesst to nowhere the perry bible fellowship has gon. It is particularly wierd considering a rahther profond showing at the recent Portland comic fest. So what's the dealie-yo?
AARON HUFFMAN RE-SPONDS: Unfortunately, Nicholas Gurewitch no longer draws a weekly Perry Bible Fellowship strip, but you can keep up with his comings and goings at www .pbfcomics.com.