Chew on This

To the Editor,

I really miss Diza Sauer's restaurant reviews. She knew how to do them right. A restaurant review isn't just an article that someone writes after visiting a restaurant so they can tell you what they ate and how it was. A restaurant review ideally does that, but also educates you about techniques of cooking, veins of culinary approaches and trends in the local restaurant business.

Rebecca Cook (Sauer's predecessor) aimed for that, but in the end didn't succeed because she spent too much time with her thesaurus looking up synonyms for "tasty." Your current approach of rotating the restaurant review doesn't even aim for thoughtful writing; it's just a run-down of what happened when they visited the restaurant.

Please check out some other reviewers in non-Tucson papers to see how good food writing can be. I suggest the food writers at the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle as examples. And please find another person who can approach that kind of quality. I really miss that part of The Weekly.

--Rachel Wilson

Class Dismissed

To the Editor,

I read Molly McKasson's article ("Working and Not Making It," January 23) and it was excellent, as far as it went. She discussed the problem but said nothing about "why" it exists, not only in Tucson but in every country in what we call "the developed world."

The cause is really very simple. The USA is turning back to a two-class society. In fact, we had a two-class society until the invention of the cotton gin, steam engine, the steel mill and the automobile. All of them needed workers with mechanical skills but not much education. The Middle Class was born.

Now many of these jobs are being done by computers. Visit your local Fry's and watch people check out via computers. What is this going to do to the people who used to ring up the cash registers? Go to the meat counter, you don't see any butchers; the meat comes ready to be sold to the customers.

--Stuart A. Hoenig

We Should be More Charitable

To the Editor,

I was disgusted and disappointed at the jab you took at Jim Click in The Skinny of Jan. 2. Although the success and wealth he has achieved as a car dealer and banker might be admired by some, and should be emulated by many, you had the gall to criticize his $25,000 gift to a charity that benefits the needy citizens of this community as a "relative pittance."

I have always found it ironic that the individuals in the "growth lobby" and other local businesses who generously give of their time and money to worthwhile civic and community causes are often chastised by your newspaper and others in the community when they are the very ones who keep many of these charities going year after year. Instead of sarcasm and criticism, maybe you should think about what would happen to many of the local charities if people like Jim Click were not so generous.

And, speaking of the Star sucking up to a valuable advertising account, how much does The Weekly receive from its listings of sex-related advertisers?

--David Cohen

As Time Goes By

To the Editor,

I have not seen The Hours, although I've read more good reviews than bad about it. James DiGiovanna could have made his point without being crude and obnoxious ("Time Bomb," Jan. 16). He degrades your paper.

--Jack Nolte

The Dick Vitale School of Cinema Review

To the Editor,

The myriad problems with James DiGiovanna's recent review of director Stephen Daldry's excellent film The Hours ("Time Bomb," Jan. 16), are embodied in a single sentence from his self-important, inaccurate and ultimately foolish hatchet job: "The Hours is ostensibly a movie about the different ways that lesbians had to cope with themselves at different historical periods." That kind of skin-deep-only review would easily qualify DiGiovanna to be a charter graduate of the Dick Vitale School of Cinema Review.

In point of fact, the film is not principally about lesbianism but actually about depression, and the fact that the three principal characters, whose lives are severely inhibited by depression, happen to be lesbians is secondary to the story's main line. That, Jimmy G., is why Vita Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf's "real-life girlfriend," does not appear in the film--she is irrelevant. What is far more relevant is the way in which Woolf and her husband, Leonard, interact regarding her mental instability. And, as Woolf's suicide note to Leonard amply demonstrates, she has real, if platonic, affection for him.

As I read and re-read Jimmy G.'s rant, I was reminded of the spoiled child who says, "I'm not going to like this, and you can't make me!" What other mind-set can be offered to explain his mean-spirited take on both Nicole Kidman and her make-up? Kidman gives the performance of her life, he says, but, "It's not exactly a career marked by great performances, mind you." Jimmy G. giveth, and he taketh away. Well, Kidman's performance would be a great one in anyone's career: in every way, she becomes the complex, remote, afflicted and ultimately doomed genius that Virgina Woolf was. And as for the nose that Jimmy G. finds so loathsome: Jimmy G., have you ever seen a photo of Virgina Woolf? She had a large nose, just like the one Kidman was wearing! It was part of Woolf, and no director worth anything would dream of sending an actor out to portray her without it.

The same mind-set is on full display in Jimmy G.'s gratuitous attack on Meryl Streep, "America's most overrated actress," in his words. (Question to anyone: How has this keen observation managed to elude every other worthwhile critic in the western world for more than two decades?) Not content with that wholesale denunciation, Jimmy G. goes on to observe that Streep's performance is "comically uncomfortable," and that she "would have been helped by a prosthetic nose." These and the countless other, sophomoric observations that litter Jimmy G.'s reckless attack on these extraordinary actors and the wonderful film that they helped to create lead me to an inevitable conclusion (utilizing Jimmy G.'s own professional vocabulary): Jimmy G., your review of "The Hours" is sucktacularly idiotic.

--Thomas Sanders

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