Letters to the Editor
AS A FORMER psychiatric patient (Dominican Hospital, 1970), former local newspaper editor/publisher (The Sun, 1986-89), frequent reader of and occasional contributor to Metro Santa Cruz, I feel an unfortunate obligation to offer my perspective on the current uproar and outrage over DeCinzo's so-called cartoons.The trouble with DeCinzo's drawings is not that they are ugly, cruel, muddleheaded, mean-spirited and pointless—though they are all of these—but that they are not funny. The purpose of an editorial cartoon is to expose the hypocrisy of the powerful, reveal the absurdity of some social convention, criticize a specific injustice or make a joke at the expense of a public figure or institution taken seriously for the wrong reasons. DeCinzo's efforts seldom accomplish any of these aims. He merely attacks, with the moronic glee of a schoolyard bully, the most vulnerable people in town in order to prove himself impervious to political correctness.
I am all for political incorrectness, but it needs to be done with clarity, wit and sharp intelligence to accomplish its goal of deflating self-righteousness. DeCinzo contaminates your entire paper; his occupation of the valuable space on your letters page should be terminated. By placing his vile sensibility at the very front of Metro Santa Cruz, you set a tone that is at odds with what you seem to be trying to do as its new editor: to change the atmosphere of the paper from snarky and frat-boyish and oh-so-smugly cool and hip to a more responsible and authentic reflection of the complex spirit of what can loosely be called "the community."
I know many people who never pick up Metro Santa Cruz anymore because they don't wish to see DeCinzo's consistently and gratuitously objectionable drawings. Now that you are officially the editor of this paper, please show some judgment, courage, good taste and common sense. What you lose in hate mail (which I know from experience that editors love) you will gain in decency, respect, maturity, credibility and—most important—readers. Dump this punk and his poison pen before he irrevocably ruins every good thing you're trying to accomplish.
Stephen Kessler, Santa Cruz
Sez You, Pal
AFTER SEEING PEOPLE gang up on our favorite cartoonist and joy in our lives I am compelled to respond. My guess is all the letters against our hero were probably all friends or at least knew each other. The thing I would like most to point out in this day of suppressed journalism is that the cartoonists are the last remaining untouched voice. Remember the term "freedom of the press"? Well it's not allowed. So before you try to run our hero out of town, think carefully what we have already lost. Sorry he touched a nerve in you, the management. I wonder what the people themselves would say. I hope he has a book in the making. I will be the first in line. Thank you, Metro Santa Cruz, for having him.
Barry Marshall, Pacific Grove
You're So Vain
IT IS A TESTIMONY to human arrogance that you can write so confident a story on the "safety" of the LBAM spray without knowing its composition ("Test Your Moth Spray IQ," News & Views, Oct. 31)!And it is astonishing that a county judge could allow the spraying to go forward by placing the burden of proof of safety on the public, who stand to be harmed, rather than the polluters, who stand to gain.
I spent the better part of my adult life in international environmental policy, where I helped to evolve a norm in which the burden of proof of safety is placed on the polluter, not the public. That is why radioactive wastes are no longer dumped at sea, DDT is no longer manufactured, and the ozone hole is healing.
It is with profound sadness that I witness from afar (I live in Boulder now) as my home of Santa Cruz reverts to the Middle Ages in respect to environmental policy. Public exposure to any substance should not occur until it is proven safe—not by the public, but by the polluters—period.
W. Jackson Davis, Boulder, Colo.
Take Some Responsibility
LAST EVENING, my wife and I attended Robert Redford's film Lions for Lambs. We did so only because one of us was wise enough not to have read the review that appeared in your Nov. 7 issue ("War Is Heck," Film). There are probably some limits to your control over your staff, but we are writing to you now because you remain ultimately responsible for what your paper publishes.The message of this film is valid and articulate. It is not a war movie. It is not about movie stars. It is a lecture on responsibility ... addressed to you who create the media as well as who read. This clever but ill-considered "review" is a disservice to your readers. It insults our intelligence as well as that of thousands of Americans being maimed and sent to their death by aggressively uninformed leaders ... and by all of us who permit it to continue.
Charles C. Campbell, Santa Cruz
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