Apart from being obnoxious, the “SD on the QT” column called “High School Musical Opera” (June 24) is an example of unethical journalistic behavior.
William Reed’s musical, Affair of Honour, performed at the La Jolla Country Day School several weeks ago, is a serious and moving piece of work about important events in American history. If the “SD on the QT” author didn’t like it, why didn’t he just say so or parody it himself? But no, he put his opinions into the mouth of Courtney Flanagan, who teaches drama at the Bishop’s School and is the city’s greatest high school drama teacher, peerless as both an educator and a director and the inspiration to generations of students. Where is the humor in these lies?
Flanagan’s actual comments on the musical were highly approving and, where critical, were astute and contributory. It is an outrageous insult to her to imply that she would even think of making the comments ascribed to her in the column.
Moreover, it is perplexing that the author and editor of “SD on the QT” could possibly find it funny or entertaining to assert pointless lies about private individuals in pseudo-factual language, ascribing to them statements that they never made. I repeat, where is the humor in it?
The Reader justifies this kind of writing by calling it in one place “Almost factual news” and in another “parody.” But parody, to be effective and funny, must be recognized to be parody and take its liberties in order to make some kind of critical point. What was the critical point in falsely accusing Flanagan of wanting to make a musical about a serial killer? And “almost factual” leads readers to gather that some truth may lie amidst innuendos that are in reality all false.
There is no parody in the column on high school musicals. There is only a pathetic attempt to get a little frisson from the mention of a dead serial killer by telling lies about one of the most dedicated and contributory members of the community. Does the column exist just so that the author may laugh at the gullibility of readers who are not in on the joke?
Previous letters to the editor have asserted similar complaints about previous “SD on the QT” columns, among them one from members of the North County Transit District and another from the chief of the Coronado Police Department. Isn’t it about time that the Reader reconsider the intent, style, and value of this pointlessly offensive column? Must one or more innocent victims of these poor excuses for parody actually go to law and sue for libel before journalistic ethics is rediscovered at the Reader?
Wanted: One Slacker, Full Time
John Reese (Letters, June 24) apparently missed the point on finding a job. Employers are interested in educated, ambitious, dedicated employees with a good attitude. Unfortunately, San Diego is known for surfers, potheads, and slackers. Tattoos don’t help much. Remember the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High? That was based on Clairemont High, and I don’t think things have gotten better.
I’ve lived in Eastern cities and San Diego. The work ethic back East is generally head and shoulders above that in our land of perfect weather. Maybe those students study during bad weather and prepare for the future.
Name Withheld By Request
I had to laugh when I read about “Bob” being lifted from a restaurant in Temecula by some kids as a school prank (“Kids Steal Bob,” “Stringers,” June 24). Reading this story brought back some fond memories from high school for me. I attended Upland High School in Upland, California, from 1979 to 1983. Some 28 years ago, the same thing happened where I grew up. The seniors involved pulled this prank before graduation. The parties involved did this in the middle of the night and these kids didn’t get caught and no charges were filed. It was hard to actually ascertain who the culprits were (I’ll never tell!), and if the school administration knew, they wouldn’t have outed these students anyway.
Bob spent a day on the administration building of the school and was returned to the restaurant at the end of the day. After the trauma of this incident, Bob was moved inside the restaurant.
That Bob’s Big Boy restaurant has since closed, and Bob is gone forever but not forgotten. Reading the story about the kids in Temecula made me smile and laugh and recall some fun from my past. Thanks for the story.
Kelly O’Neil Donivan
Stinky, Big Time
By allowing South Bay Community Services’ Kathie Lembo, a person with a financial relationship with David Bejarano, to help select him as police chief, Chula Vista’s process seems hopelessly tainted (“I Don’t Work Here. Just Send Me Checks,” “City Lights,” July 1). I can’t imagine why city management would allow this had Lembo disclosed her $97,000 contract with Bejarano. I find it interesting that this contract was not disclosed to the IRS by Lembo as well. Meanwhile, state law on self-dealing contracts is just ignored on the same issue? This stinks all over, and I don’t see how the troops can follow a chief chosen under such circumstances and how discipline can be fairly maintained when the City seems to allow the chief to violate what is clearly a zero-tolerance rule.
Barry John Johnson
Given all of the obvious successes that Orchestra Nova has had during the past season, we were shocked to read the article about one of our May concerts (which, incidentally, was packed with enthusiastic guests) that completely distorted comments, taken out of context, made by our musicians and others (“Beethovenus Interruptus,” Classical Music, June 24). Obviously, the goal of the interviews and subsequent article was to dig for dirt and present a negative feeling about the concert and Orchestra Nova, even when there was no dirt to find. The reporter even told the interviewees that what they were saying was “too rosy — my editor wants the dark, seamy side.” They responded that there wasn’t a “dark, seamy side” and proceeded to explain why this orchestra is unique with the obvious positive connection between the musicians, the conductor, and the guests.
Last season was a banner year for us — a new name, a new image, a new venue (Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley) in addition to three other venues, sold-out concerts, guests that gave us the highest marks possible in a professionally administered audience survey, the highest rating possible awarded by the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, a $275,000 grant from the Irvine Foundation, professional musicians (the best!) who support and respect Jung-Ho Pak, our artistic director and conductor, whose revolutionary vision for classical music is bringing people in from all walks of life. We’re one of the few successes among arts organizations in the country today.
All we’re asking for is a fair and balanced story about Orchestra Nova. Are you willing to do that? Your readers deserve more than a journalistic assault with no basis of fact. I can assure you that we can give you some positive, interesting stories that will capture the attention of your readers.
Director of Marketing
Orchestra Nova San Diego
I met John Brizzolara when he was doing a “T.G.I.F.” piece on the Friday night warehouse jam sessions I helped Gilbert Castellanos run back around the turn of the century. I told him I’d been reading everything he wrote for the Reader since the ’80s, and he answered, deadpan, “So you’re the one.”
When his novel, Wirecutter, was serialized in the Reader, I couldn’t wait for each week’s chapter. It’s a classic San Diego noir. A must-read for anyone interested in crime fiction set in this sprawling mirage that has been home to, and written about by, Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson.
John’s sincerity, intelligence, compassion, humor, and love for his craft have always kept me engaged and involved as a reader through all his highs and lows, struggles with life, and coming to terms with grave illness.
In short, he is a local treasure. His work has encouraged me to keep writing even when I stopped believing I had any business doing it.
We write for rival publications, but I’m no rival. He has been a mentor and inspiration.
Thank you, John. Your voice and gift are very important to me.
San Diego CityBeat
Gather ’Round, Kids
Representative Susan Davis loves to spend money, especially other people’s (“Under the Radar,” July 1). She is also the debt queen of the San Diego house delegation. Susan Davis has voted yes for the USA to borrow and spend more money than all of her colleagues combined. How will she explain all this debt to her grandchildren who will have to help pay it all off?
Send The Other Guy
I always read “Sheep and Goats,” the main reason I pick up the Reader. And I’ve always enjoyed Matthew’s reviews. But I’ve been terribly disappointed the last few weeks because Matthew seems to be on vacation, and I don’t know who this guy is that they’ve got writing these reviews. But this last one this week (July 1) for the First United Methodist Church was really a shocker. I was there at that service, and I can’t believe that he attended the same church at the same time I did. The review was so poor, and the caption under the picture has no relationship at all. I don’t understand what he’s talking about, and it’s kind of too bad. You should send Matthew down to review First United Methodist Church and get a good review.
Name Withheld by Request
You’re Part Of The Problem
Re “I Can’t Push the Shopping Cart Past America Anymore” (“America in the Age of Sneer,” Cover Story, July 1), by Patrick Daugherty.
So, “the bastards had lied to [you],” Mr. Daugherty. Grow up. I did not read a single word about what you are going to do to right the wrongs you list. Instead, you are going to spend more time listening to music and watching birds. If this country is on the decline, as you suggest, it is because of self-centered attitudes like yours.