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Lots o' letters

Uncovered

My name is Sabrina and I am 19 years old. I'm featured on the cover of the Reader and interviewed for the article (“Cosplay in the Park: Adorable When I Dress Up,” January 10), along with numerous friends. [Author] Siobhan Braun was completely biased in her article and didn’t take the time to understand her topic, as if she wasn’t even interested. Sure, she came up with a last-minute costume when she came to Balboa Park, but her heart and soul wasn’t into it and she made me and my friends out to be complete losers with no lives, even after my friends and I told her we all are currently in school and/or working.

She didn’t ask certain people what our cosplays were and gave very bad descriptions on them. If she'd stopped making out that the entire cosplay association in San Diego is rude and conceited, she could've asked us all questions and been more involved instead of observing us like monkeys in a cage. She didn’t understand that the 47-year-old man called David actually has mild autism and isn’t just a low life with no job. She conveniently left out small details that made my group of friends look bad, like when the engaged couple asked if we were going to be in the Organ Pavilion all day. We replied, “Yes, but we can move.” Siobhan claimed we just snubbed our noses at the couple.

Please hear me out because I actually know what I am talking about as a cosplayer myself. Cosplay's a lot of hard work because you’re always pushing yourself to be the best. The goal is to completely recreate a character and some people even go as far as to diet and cut their hair to fit into wigs better. Some cosplayers sew and make all of their costumes and props themselves, and if they are successful at it they can even make a business of it by offering commissions and selling their products. I, for one, took makeup artistry school to learn makeup techniques to look better in photographs. Like any other ordinary person in the world, we all have hobbies. Whether it is reading, gardening, music, cosplay, it’s all the same thing and our cosplay community should not be discriminated against.

At first I was ecstatic at seeing myself on the cover, because the knowledge that San Diegans everywhere will be reading about us and learning about who we are and what we stand for really excited me. Alas, it was all in vain, and I had angry tears running down my face at the end of the article. What is weird to some people is normal to us. If I must be the poster girl for this opinionated article, I want something done about this. An apology at the least.

Sabrina Tucker
via email

Another Serving of Tuna

Jeff Smith’s series describing pole-fishing for tuna out of San Diego has been a good read. While the description in prose is well done, readers can supplement their understanding by viewing the action on YouTube. To see a vivid ten-minute historical video of a San Diego–based tuna boat, readers can go to the oddly-named “The Ironman of the Tuna Fishing.”

Bob Spaulding
via email

Why Bother?

On page three of the January 3 Reader, you have a story called “We Don’t Bang” by Eva Knott. You have something called “a map of gang turf — Barrio Carlsbad.” Why did you even bother? I can’t even make this thing out with a strong magnifying glass. The gang territory is darker grey, on a background of lighter grey. You can barely even read some of the street names. Why the devil do you bother printing something like that that’s illegible, for Pete’s sake? Print it with better definition, a little darker print, or blow it up bigger. The names of the streets are so faint!

And the picture of the guy there, on the right end of the panel with the tattoos on his face — what in the heck is the white patch on the side of that asshole’s face? Is the tattoo so obscene that you had to white it out? Is it some silly white tattoo? Or is it a white Band-Aid or something? I wouldn’t want my daughter to have anything to do with any jackasses like that. What kind of idiot would have his face tattooed?

Name Withheld
via voicemail

Lacking Digits

My name is James Neal from the Big Toe Band. I read your “Rinse and Repeat for SDMTV” article (Blurt, January 3), and all about Joseph Stevens. I want to appear on his show, but the article doesn’t say anything about how to do that. You may have heard of our band. My partner Mark Goffeney is in it — that’s the guy with no arms, the guitar player.

James Neal
via voicemail

WTF

On page 66 of the January 3 Reader there was an advertisement for Porter’s Pub Sumerian Metal Fest, and the name of one of the bands is S-t-a-rfucker. I was really surprised. I didn’t think advertising like that would be allowed. It’s vulgar. I’m also going to call the UCSD campus, Porter’s Pub. For a public campus, I think that’s pretty vulgar. I want to know if you will look at your policy for accepting ads and edit them better.

Name Withheld
via voicemail

Attention, Carlos

I laughed while reading Carlos’s sad plight (“But he seemed so...single!” December 27 cover story). He seems to hint that since women “have their pick of the litter,” we can be superficial and demand to date only funny men who make “$150,000-plus a year.” Then he goes on to declare such zingers as “Women age quicker than men. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same shelf-life.” And “I don’t want to date someone that looks old.”

Carlos, I have some advice for you. When you’re accusing someone of something (i.e., being superficial), take a look in the mirror.

Deanne Schaleger
via email

Why Not BC and AD?

I want to comment on Patrick Daugherty’s “End Times Edition” in the December 27 issue (Sporting Box).

As far as I know, you’re either a Christian, or the son of Christians, or the grandson of Christians. So, what’s all this BCE and CE nonsense in your story, talking about the Olympics and Julius Caesar and so on? You are not Jewish; you are not Mohammed. As far as I know, you have no reason not to say BC and AD. Instead of 776 BCE, why not 776 BC? And instead of 394 CE, it should be 394 AD. You’re just annoying when you use these BCE and CE terms, like you don’t want to acknowledge that the European and American world is mostly Christian in background. You remind me of some liberal college professor or something. Normal people talk about BC and AD, not BCE and CE. SO, get off your pose, Patrick. Don’t be an asshole.

Name Withheld
via voicemail

Ban Anonymity

Your policies concerning the voices you print in the letters section are very unprofessional. I don’t mind some of the angry or actually loony ideas that people are espousing. It’s their right and your right to print them. However, printing long transcriptions of someone’s angry voice mail doesn’t promote a healthy debate because, being voiced over the telephone, it’s often just a self-indulgent rant with no organization or cogent thought.

The worst part of it is that you allow them to be anonymous! That includes e-mail, as well. If someone has something to say, they should put their name to it! You’re allowing some real nut-cases to espouse crazy conspiracy theories and others to fling invectives at others without any responsibility at all. At least insist that everyone include their real name and verify it! That is responsible journalism.

Richard V. Lawhead
via email

Homeless Myths

The article about sign-beggars (“Will Work for Food,” October 25) was like every other article about homeless people I’ve ever read — long on impressions and speculations, but short on facts. The author got his information from the sign holders themselves, either directly or secondhand through police officers and social workers, and others who got their information, likewise, from the sign holders themselves. Problem: No one but the sign holders know what the true facts are about themselves and they are not well known being eager to share these facts with others. They might be homeless, and they might not be. You never know.

It seems to me that about 90% of what is believed about the “homeless” in general, including the sign-beggars, is wrong. I’ve been homeless or close to it for several periods of time, so have some standing to sound off on about the matter, and, furthermore, I don’t intend to have my name printed below this letter and, therefore, have no reason to lie. Here below are what I consider to be ten misconceptions about street people.

One: The homeless are “homeless.” Wrong. If home is where the heart is, then a person living in a mansion can be homeless, and a person camping in his or her car or under a bush can be at home. Four or more walls do not a home make. (Were the Sioux Indians who were thriving out there on the Great Plains homeless? Are nomads? Eskimos?)

Two: The homeless have no guaranteed income. Wrong. Some, especially veterans, are on disability, which is $1500 and up per month. Some receive over $900 per month in combined SSI and SSA payments. (Note that this amount is insufficient to pay a San Diego rent.) Many receive something over $250 per month for general relief.

Three: The homeless don’t do any work. Wrong. Many of those without cars walk as far as a mailman does every day, and are “paid” two or three meals for it. Standing by the freeway for hours holding up a sign is more work than most job-holders put in per day. Collecting cans is hard work, demanding and promoting physical fitness, benefiting the environment, and making for more camaraderie and pride than is found in most work places.

Four: Homeless people don’t have any friends. Wrong. Street people or urban survivalists are above average in conviviality and gregariousness and in number of friends. The chatter at a free meal tends to be louder than the chatter at a faculty gathering, for instance. There are some loners living on the street, of course, but many of them, even, become more social after being on the street awhile.

Five: Homeless people feel worthless. Wrong. Most of them have had conventional jobs and homes in the past and know that, back then, they didn’t perform a service on the job other than doing whatever they were told to do — nothing to feel proud about. They didn’t love their neighbor back then as much as they do now. They’re just as smart now as they ever were. Their lack of possessions frees them from the necessity to haul around a bunch of nonessentials, and also guarantees that if anyone wants to be their friend it’s because of who they are, not what they own.

Six: Homeless people are all criminals or crazy or retarded or addicted to drugs or alcohol. Mostly wrong. The high visibility down-and-outers you can see sprawled out on downtown sidewalks in the daytime almost certainly include higher-than-average numbers of psychotic and low IQ persons; but when it comes to addiction, I’m sure the housed/employed are as well or better represented than street people. And street people, I think, are not apt to be serious criminals. If they were criminals they would probably have a lot more money or else be in jail. Except for the downtown derelicts and the occasional dirt-covered psycho looking for dregs of food or drink in trash cans in all neighborhoods, I have found street people to be within the normal curve in intelligence, sanity, and addiction, and less criminally inclined than most people. The majority of them might be short on formal education, but they solve most problems as well or better than most.

Seven: Homeless people take, take, take, and give nothing back. Wrong. There are whole, huge networks of medical and psychiatric and social service bureaucracies whose workers depend on the homeless for their jobs and incomes. Street people, you might say, make a career out of making providers feel good about themselves. They make social workers feel helpful, church members feel moral, psychiatrists feel powerful, and nearly anyone feel superior. They do this willingly and in their own best interests. They know they are looked down on, but they also know that the public’s assessment of them is wrong. They smile inwardly and they think, “I have seen the ‘superiors’, and they are us.”

Eight: Homeless people refuse to be helped. Wrong. Some of them refuse to be turned into drug addicts or casualties by the mental health system. They don’t refuse affordable housing; they just have to wait five or ten years to get it. They don’t refuse permanent free housing because there is no such thing in San Diego.

Nine: Homeless people choose their lifestyle. Often true. They choose it over crime, mooching off of relatives, or suicide. Sometimes, once they get used to it, they prefer it to the rat race and to the costs (financial, psychological, physical) of getting and staying off the street.

Ten: Homeless people are the least fit to survive. Wrong. Whether or not a person is fit to survive depends completely on what environment he or she is in. Wait until the big tsunami or the big earthquake hits San Diego and then see who the most skilled urban survivalists are.

Name Withheld
Pacific Beach

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Comments

Sabrina ---- I am so glad they published your letter. Just so you know the article was passed around here at J!NX and we all had mild fits of rage. I loved the cover photo so I was excited to read the article being as I am planning to cosplay a lot this year. The article was in a word "icky" but do not be sad because us that are in the know..well ...we know and anyone who doesn't can go find their own hobby. :)

Kudos to Sabrina for taking the time to respond to such a slanted article on cosplayers!

So glad to see Sabrina share her side of the story and her thoughts on the "Cosplay in the Park" article. When I read it, I was extremely disappointed with the way that the interviewees and cosplayers in general were portrayed. The writer's bias and lack of respect for and interest in the subject were obvious from beginning to end. Thanks to the San Diego Reader for publishing her letter and thanks to Sabrina for speaking up!

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