MISSING KEY POINTS
EDITOR: Erica Barnett's article on a recent gathering of women to discuss how to use consumer clout to protect the environment was right on the money in one regard: We do have a long way to go to make a difference ["A Little Bit Doomed," April 10]. However, Barnett completely mischaracterizes my suggestions for ways to use the marketplace to benefit the planet. If she had read my book closely and actually listened to the conversation at the gathering without preconceived notions, she would have noted that both the book and the gathering's participants advocate consumer activism not because big policy changes aren't important, but because they're just not happening. Barnett missed one of the most important points of the discussion: Rampant consumerism—which is at the heart of many environmental problems—needs to be reined in, not only to reduce climate change, but to protect air and water quality, wilderness, and wildlife as well. She also chose to overlook another key point: Many laws on the books simply don't do an adequate job of protecting people and the planet from environmental threats. Until their dying day, manufacturers will oppose legislation and regulations that would make them more environmentally responsible. Using our consumer clout to make manufacturers toe the line is the most immediate way we have to protect ourselves and the planet.
Author, Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World
RIGHT ON, SISTAH!
ERICA C. BARNETT: I just read "A Little Bit Doomed" and I just had to say, "Right on, sistah!" Talk about oblivious! It is so frustrating because if one spouts off at these women, they call you a wacko environmentalist. But if we don't grab them and shake them (verbally, most likely) until they wake up, this whole damn thing is going to hell in a disposable plastic bag. Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one who is frustrated and rightfully pissed off.
THANKS FOR THE SMILES
BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT: I just wanted to tell you that I'm reading The Stranger on this lovely overcast Thursday morning and your "Whisky Afternoon" [Bar Exam, April 10] was completely colorful and made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the smiles.
AN UNCOMMON VISUAL FLAIR
BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT: You should be writing books or painting. I have been reading all restaurant/bar reviews in Seattle for the last 20 years, and yours are some of the best. They have an artistic quality that brings an uncommon visual flair to the article.
LIKE A BUNCH OF TEENAGERS
LINDY WEST: Bad films, sure, we get it. Another thing that's pretty trashy is amateurish criticism. I could find more objective work in some random high-school paper out of middle America [Concessions, April 10]. Just so I'm clear, are you criticizing the plot devices on their artistic merit or on your own inability for suspension of disbelief? I also saw the film [The Ruins], and while not high art, I found it well done for the most part. The teenagers displayed some complexity and nuance, and the whole scenario is pretty compelling. Who cares if it's a talking plant, or a willful mold? It's a device.
Criticism is about recognizing and identifying degrees of good or bad, not taking a gratuitous crap on a film just because categorically it's an easy target. Here's a more interesting angle of dissecting this film: What does this new horror trend of epidemic and quarantine scenarios say about what scares us? Do we the audience really want a happy ending for a potentially contaminated victim? But that's all self-indulgent masturbation in contrast to your succinct, laserlike critical eye. It's nothing personal; I've felt this way about The Stranger in general for years. You guys need perspective. Stop writing like a bunch of teenagers.
NO NEED TO PICK UP CLUB
EDITOR: I wanted to commend Kelly O on her selection of drunken-girl picks for the past couple weeks. By that I mean, uh... I'll put off buying Club magazine for another week due to the online color and clarity of this week's lucky winner.
It actually hadn't occurred to me that drunken girls should get equal coverage in the column; and due to the backlog of aesthetically less-appealing, hairy, and bizarre guys, I think the pendulum of coverage should swing to the fair sex for a few months.