Fur Greed

It was good to read the letter by Vivian Dunbar entitled “Good Dog” (October 22). It certainly made me feel a little better after reading the Reader's October 8 story on the inhumane treatment of our furry friends south of the border in Mexico (“Dogs’ Deathbed Gift,” “City Lights”). God knows they’re only here for such a short time. Why should we humans make it miserable for them or even make it shorter? Now if only those fur-greedy bastards in China could be stopped in their wholesale slaughter of dogs, puppies, and who knows whatever else they use the fur off the backs of. I learned of this through a letter describing this, along with photos of dogs and puppies packed together in barred crates awaiting their fate of being clubbed to death — or sometimes just unconscious — and then skinned, carcass thrown in a pile, some with their heart and lungs still working. Don’t believe it? Get in touch with PETA and ask them to send you some of their literature, but you better have a strong stomach because it’ll break an animal lover’s heart.

Jim Reeber
via email

Don’t Talk About Them

Re the letter “Worse Than Baghdad” by J. Kitchin (October 22).

I must have slept through this part in law class. John Kitchin writes, “[Issues about other countries are not reported] and cannot be, as comments about Mexico and Canada are not covered under free speech nor free press laws.”

WTF! Now, I understand that there are limitations (no screaming fire in a movie theater unless there really is a fire). But who made this new rule about not being able to comment on an issue, based on your own personal experiences, regardless of where said experiences take place? If I know (hypothetically) that Vancouver, BC, is a sweat gland on the anus of the world, based on personal experience, what is this bit that would prevent me from blogging about that?

This map shows the heart of the (alleged) sweat gland (aka Downtown Eastside, or DTES), http://vancouver.ca/ police/crimemaps/tfauto.pdf.

Here is the history of this (alleged) hellhole: http://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Eastside.

And to top it all off, the place is (allegedly) run by the Hells Angels. They (allegedly) control the drug traffic down on the piers and everywhere else, except where the Asian gangs (allegedly) run things, and much more (allegedly). http://www.canada. com/vancouver/vancouversun/ news/observer/story.html?id =f525bc8a-d80a-4ece- 9ffc-f5a2a55a43b0

Does reporting on this topic subject me to arrest in some way? Is he talking about Mexican laws? If so, why would they care about Canada? Maybe John Kitchin, or one of the editors at the Reader, can explain. Just curious. And you can thank me for the education. I have walked those alleys and stepped on used syringes and used condoms. Not a pretty sight.

Thomas Elliott
via email

John Kitchin replies: I first became aware of the exemptions of Canada and Mexico when the characters in Second City TV, a comedy group, said that they were not permitted to use the name Canada, nor Kanadian Korner, nor any of that. They had to settle for calling their sketch “The Great White North.” They said in interviews about the show that there are treaties, some of them part of a predecessor of NAFTA, which establish this exemption. I took note, as I write tourism books. As I understand it, from being arrested, it is the foreign country that can prosecute you. I was prosecuted in Mexico. Here’s the interesting part: Does internet publishing qualify someone as a “published tourism author,” and thus exempt from this treaty? I’m not a lawyer, but I have to know enough of the laws regarding what cannot be written because I do write and publish books. I got into a huge amount of trouble once for suggesting that Holy Communion consisted of more than just bread and wine.

Joke City

Evidently you were on vacation (in Mexico?), having a beer in Tucson, sailing in Cabo — but whatever you were doing, you were not tending the shop!

What an irresponsible!!!!! pathetic, boring, redundant, awful, sad article, “Rush Hour Spectacle” (“Stringers,” October 15).

Get a grip. S*** journalism, crass writing. Yeah, right, you’re reminding “us” (Joe Public) of all the horrible things going on in “local Mexico.” Well, guess what again, we all know what’s up in Baja. I traveled in Baja for the first time in 1964. I drove the Transpeninsular Highway before it was paved. My mother lived in La Paz for years in the early ’60s, on Madero Street near the zócalo. My sister had two children born in La Paz, and she and my brother (Mary and Charlie) went to preparatoria as the first Anglo children in that city. My mother later bought a small ranchita in El Triunfo and lived her last years there, in rural Baja. I remember Cabo before — long before — there was anything there! Just two very small pueblitos near the cape. Long before million-dollar lots and Cabo Wabo. Cabo Wabo is a nightmare!

I went with friends to mainland Mexico in 1959 all the way to Mazatlán and then to San Blas, the first to surf Matachin Bay. In the ’60s we all — San Diego lifeguards, surfers, and party animals — went to the bullfights and got drunk at the (original) Long Bar. It was safe, super fun, and drugs were never a problem. Well, those days are over — forever — because America needs to get high! I know Mexico. I’ve traveled there in the wild Sierra collecting folk art and writing about Mexico for decades. I was never afraid, but local Mexico has gone to hell! It is scary! I haven’t been to Rosarito for over two years. I used to go every weekend.

No more articles like “Rush Hour Spectacle.” It does not need to be told. We all know what a joke local Mexico is. It’s not safe, it isn’t fun, and printing stupid articles about death and a man hanging from a cable with his balls taped to his head is worthless crap.

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Comments

PistolPete Oct. 28, 2009 @ 12:45 p.m.

John Kitchin replies: I first became aware of the exemptions of Canada and Mexico when the characters in Second City TV, a comedy group, said that they were not permitted to use the name Canada, nor Kanadian Korner, nor any of that. They had to settle for calling their sketch “The Great White North.” They said in interviews about the show that there are treaties, some of them part of a predecessor of NAFTA, which establish this exemption. I took note, as I write tourism books. As I understand it, from being arrested, it is the foreign country that can prosecute you. I was prosecuted in Mexico. Here’s the interesting part: Does internet publishing qualify someone as a “published tourism author,” and thus exempt from this treaty? I’m not a lawyer, but I have to know enough of the laws regarding what cannot be written because I do write and publish books. I got into a huge amount of trouble once for suggesting that Holy Communion consisted of more than just bread and wine.

So let me get this straight. Because of some treaty,I can't say"F Mexico! It's a shole." and I can be extradited to Mexico to face charges?

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David Dodd Oct. 28, 2009 @ 1:06 p.m.

Kitchin's statements are unfounded. The sketch "Kanadian Korner" was filmed in Canada, by Canadians. From the very first episode the "characters" (note: written comdey) claimed that this was for "legal reasons". It was meant to be funny. Kitchin, you need to provide some sort of evidence that the Canadian Government made them change the name (after many, many episodes) to "Great White North", and counteract the evidence that the suddenly popular sketch collaborated with the rock band Rush (look this up, people) in order to co-promote two trending occurences.

Also: In Mexico, it is illegal for any foreigner to interfere in the internal affairs of Mexico. This means that you may not protest, you may not stand on a street corner and proclaim your religion, and you may not make public statements concerning Mexican affairs, unless you are a citizen of Mexico. I have no idea what you did, Kitchin, but it probably wasn't very nice. I've lived here for over seventeen years and have written EXTENSIVELY about Mexico (not all of it completely positive), and the Mexican government is aware of it and they've never said a word. Whatever you wrote or said or did to get prosecuted must have been pretty damned horrific, or they wouldn't have wasted their time with you.

The law applies in Mexico. Read this, Kitchin: IN MEXICO! You are free to cross into the U.S. and write whatever you want about Mexico (obviously, because you seem to delight in writing a lot of crap about it).

Mexico does not care what you do outside of their country. And I would advise you to just stay away from here, you seem to be trouble.

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PistolPete Oct. 28, 2009 @ 1:12 p.m.

Thanks for clearing that up,refried. I thought that maybe America had finally gone off the deep end.

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David Dodd Oct. 28, 2009 @ 1:26 p.m.

You're welcome, Pete. When I moved here, I felt obligated to make sure that I could be a law-abiding citizen. In the old days, twenty years ago, the Mexican Government sometimes controlled media output. I'm happy to say that this practice has ceased to exist. Now, foreigners are still scrutinized, and for good reason. Mexico's history is full of examples where foreign influence has had negative effects on the course of her legacy (the U.S. is implicit in most examples). But the latitude given to people like myself is much appreciated.

This post, for example, is probably going to be examined at least once in the next few weeks by a representative in Mexico's national security organization. I know they see it, and I also know that they have used some of my writing in a promotional way, because I have plenty of positive things to say about Mexico (and I have actually caught them doing it!). So long as their motives are true, it doesn't bother me at all.

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PistolPete Oct. 28, 2009 @ 1:28 p.m.

The more you talk about Mexico,the more it intrigues me....

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David Dodd Oct. 28, 2009 @ 2:30 p.m.

Pete, Mexico really is a wonderful place. But, it isn't the United States of America, and I think that a lot of Americans that come here - whether to visit or to live - are immediately frustrated.

The first obvious barrier is that one really must learn the language. While it is entirely possible to live here and speak very little Spanish, people are much better off by speaking the language. Secondly, the culture is what it is, and it's not going to change, nor should it. Here, patience isn't a virtue, it's a requirement.

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SDaniels Nov. 1, 2009 @ 1:37 a.m.

"and I also know that they have used some of my writing in a promotional way, because I have plenty of positive things to say about Mexico (and I have actually caught them doing it!)."

Gringo! This is fabulous! Can you give us an example of where the govt. has used your writing promotionally?

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David Dodd Nov. 1, 2009 @ 1:50 a.m.

I'd rather not do that here.

But at some point very soon, I will certainly drop you a line about it :)

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