May 01, 2002



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PG&E and the California energy crisis

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By Amanda Nowinski

Tiger on beat
By Patrick Macias

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By Paul Reidinger

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Give Sandoval a break

I find it disheartening the way the left is coming down on Sup. Gerardo Sandoval for his Home Depot vote ["Calling Sandoval," 4/10/02]. I mean, here is a guy who really has no business being the supervisor for that part of town if he is going to vote the way he does 9 times out of 10. Did everyone forget that Dan White used to represent them out there? Sure, Sandoval got elected with progressive support. But you don't keep going to the well until it's dry. It's OK for Tom Ammiano to move to the center so he can run for mayor. Why not let Sandoval moderate a little? Even the San Francisco Tenant's Union has to compromise and support a Kim Burton once in a while. Folks want Sandoval to vote like Sup. Matt Gonzalez, but Gonzalez has the luxury of representing a heavily progressive district. The Outer Mission is a long way from the Haight. If progressives keep putting Sandoval on the spot, they will have Tony Hall out there quicker than you can say Amos Brown.

Brendan Wen San Francisco


Not a brothel

I am writing this letter in response to the review of the new movie by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away, that premiered here at the San Francisco International Film Festival ["Critics' Picks," 4/17/02]. Although the review was generally good, I take issue with the assertion that Sen was working in a brothel, even an implied one. Unfortunately this just shows once again that Americans have a critical lack of understanding for other cultures. She was working at an onsen, which is not even close to a brothel but rather a spa.

No wonder Miyazaki doesn't really like to release his films here. The New York Times branded him an "anti-globalization curmudgeon" because he wouldn't grant them an interview or even tickets to the Miyazaki Museum. I say better to be a curmudgeon than a free-market whore.

Michael Moss San Francisco

Patrick Macias responds: Without question, the modern Japanese massage parlor industry (a large component of the Japanese sex industry) emerged from the "health spa" culture of the traditional onsen. And in fact, Yubaba, the owner of the onsen in Spirited Away, wears (according to Japanese film and cultural critic Tomohiro Machiyama) "the traditional garb of a madam from a 19th-century brothel." So the implication that Sen is working in a brothel is far from subtle. In fact, Spirited Away may in fact be a much darker and complex work than its pastel colors and fairy ambience may suggest.


'The Trespasser' sucked

Regarding The Trespasser: You have got to be kidding ["Critics' Picks," 4/17/02]. Did we see the same movie?

This was a critic's pick? I went to see this movie after careful examination of the lineup at the San Francisco International Film Festival, since I have been so often disappointed at crappy festival fare, and reading the review (which seemed interesting at the time).

I paid $9.50 to see this movie, based largely on the Bay Guardian review. It was nothing of the sort the review described. It was a badly put together, boring, pretentious, amateurish, slightly-better-than-film-school piece of crap. What "quick, tense jump cuts"? You are drawing comparisons to Bad Lieutenant and King of New York? What planet are you from?

Miklos Philips San Francisco


Angle of incidence

We artists expect the media to enlighten and to expose what we artists shade and value ["The Mission School," 4/10/02]. The story was a perfect angle of incidence, where the establishment filters down to the groove and reflects back the art to the reader.

All in all, it was a very good article!

Rob March Harper Oakland

The church's problem

The fundamental cause of the current crisis in the Catholic Church is that the authorities of the church – priests, nuns, bishops, and the pope – have no real understanding of what human sexuality is or how it affects people's lives. The reason for this is simple: they don't have sex. Many of them have never had sex. Sex for them is a theoretical abstraction that they attempt to force into a procreative model that is centuries old.

Based on their belief in the redemptive power of confession and faith in Christ, the Catholic authorities have routinely treated each abuser simply as a sinner, guilty of a sin like any other and subject to the standard "treatment" for sin. That is: the priest confessed and was then absolved, counseled, and moved to another parish. The church considers all confessions sealed, and would thus see nothing wrong with concealing the priest's misdeeds. Because members of the church hierarchy have no personal understanding of the force of human sexuality, they are nonplussed when an offending priest "backslides" and commits another act of abuse.

The church's leaders do not entirely comprehend the damage done to sexually abused children because church doctrine devalues sex itself as a worldly, regrettable necessity. All sexual sin, therefore, appears similar to them.

Ian Wood Astoria, N.Y.