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News and Features
August 16-23, 2006

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Letters to the Editor


GRIPES OF WRATH

I'VE JUST READ "Doc of the Bay" (Arts, Aug. 2) and I'm still picking my jaw off the floor. What a scandal-seeking, tabloid tale of a book review. It insults common sense and fundamentally the friendship between John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts.

The review is contradictory. The material of the books seems thin. Why else is John Steinbeck featured so heavily? Whose coattails are being ridden?

Okay. I began my read with a smile. The review starts out by acknowledging the deep bond between Ricketts and Steinbeck. A bond that survived for 18 years and ended only because of a fatal accident.

And then ... I learned ... "THE TRUTH BEHIND THE FRIENDSHIP" ... starring The Nobel Prize for Literature 1962 winner John Steinbeck. I picture him; sporting a Snidely Whiplash mustache; he is a writer of marginal talent jealously guarding a treacherous secret. This is the secret: his dear friend whom he regards as "the greatest man I have ever known" is the true talent and the true source of John Steinbeck's success! And in Steinbeck's bloodthirsty quest for fame and glory, his tracks must be covered and the "greatest man" Ricketts must never be given any credit. Not as a family man, co-author or inspiration.

The evil doer J.S. will stop at nothing. He burns personal letters he wrote, because hidden in those letters are not only private thoughts shared between the closest of friends (perhaps thoughts so private to be viewed a currency for truth seeking journalists and biographers), no, there's more- the truth is J.S. is a hack and E.R. must be denied the glory he deserves.

We only have affection for Cannery Row and the poetic license that created the beloved character Doc- because of J.S. (And please note Doc is a character based on E.R. He's not E.R.) J.S. shined the light on his dear friend, pulled him on the stage with him so to speak and introduced us to both the man E.R. and the fictional character Doc.

The final insulting piece of information in this absurd review is that J.S. seemed to "prefer his pal as a beer drinking, lonely womanizer." "The greatest man I have ever known"--see what I mean, very contradictory.

I'm not so attached to the illusion of days gone by and the innocence of a simpler time that I can't accept the truth behind a sweet story. Unfortunately not much of what I read rang true. There was nothing substantial presented to make the accusations worthwhile. So, what's left just becomes mean spirited.

So Geoffrey E. Dunn, Ph.D., I thank you for saving me 30-plus bucks, if I feel the need for cheesy smut I'll buy a National Enquirer and read all about the latest Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie drama.

Carol Baker, Capitola

DJ DISORIENTATION

WE JUST GOT BACK from a month in the Sierras and were disoriented when some of our favorite DJs were missing from the world's all-time best radio station KPIG. Fortunately, I was able to find out what was going when I was directed to your article on the Internet ("Hog Hell," Nüz, Aug. 2). What a sad situation! Is there anything we can do to prevent further cutbacks at the station, or to get "our" DJs back?

Sharon Miller, Pacific Grove

I AM NOT A ROBOT

CUSTOMER SERVICE goes two ways. I am a cashier who actually does possess excellent product knowledge, and was completely appalled by Jane Walton's one-sided ignorant view of minimum wage workers (Letters, Aug. 9). First of all, at $6.75/hour, it is not possible to survive in Santa Cruz. I'd say every single person working at a low wage job has to have something ELSE going on to pay the bills, like spouse or parental support, student loans or financial aid, a second job (which is also low wage), welfare, drug dealing, or worse. How can you expect us to devote 100 percent of our energy and skills on something that does not support us fully?

After reading your letter yesterday before work, I was seething and unable to be "genuinely interested" in helping my customers. Yes, that's right, I am not a robot and I have feelings and emotions. "The customer is always right" may be today's standard, but in reality, you're absolutely wrong and need to walk a mile in my shoes before you categorize me as stuck up and incompetent.

If you had a bad experience or two at the "anonymous" coffee shop, natural food store, and garden store you mentioned in your letter, don't over-generalize and say that most local businesses who pay low wages have bad customer service all the time.

"Demonstrate some interest in being good at your job before asking for my vote to raise your wages"?!?!?! Maybe if we got paid enough to turn these measly jobs into a permanent career, decreasing turnover rates and training time, we would emotionally invest ourselves in your unrealistic high standard.

Keli Baker, Santa Cruz


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