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Letters to the Editor - She's strong September 11 2003

I know Stacy Chastain casually through the News Observer and a number of e-mails we've exchanged (Fishwrapper, "Stacy's tale of courage," Sept. 4). I look forward to reading every issue of the paper, especially her column.

Thanks for your article on Jimmy and her. Life takes unpredictable turns for us all. How we respond to it speaks volumes about who we really are. My money is on Stacy.

-- Bill Franklin, Atlanta


br>?None for you!
What to do about beggars (Ruffled Feathers, "Begging for a downtown begging ban," Sept. 4)? The simple fact is that beggars will stop begging if people stop giving them money. Wake up, bleeding hearts. Beggars laugh at you. They feel that you're an idiot for wasting your life working. They don't want to work because they know fools like you will hand over the money you worked for.

If you really want to help them, inspire them to work by not giving them any money. If Atlantans just slapped a lock on their Dumpsters and agreed to never give money to beggars, the "panhandling" problem would go away very quickly. If you don't want cockroaches, don't leave food lying around.

-- Steve Riley, Duluth


br>?Blinded by expectations
Generally, I respect your viewpoint and opinion on restaurants, and look forward to your page every week. However, I was overwhelmingly disappointed by what was, in my opinion, a misguided critique of Pastis (Food & Drink, "Location, location ... location?" Sept. 4).

I will not mention the fact that your rating of two stars is inconsistent with the praise that you heap on at least three of the entrees, three of the appetizers and two of the desserts. I will also not mention the fact that two out of the three dishes you described as quintessentially French have appeared in some variation in the previous two menus. I will not comment on the fact that in your quest to find Provencal, you seemed to ignore the inherently hearty, friendly and pleasantly filling nature of all of the dishes on the menu.

No, it seems to me that your review was motivated by one concept: expectation vs. realization. You expected traditional French (trite?) Provencal cuisine. What you received was a chef who dares to challenge the conventions of the cuisine and take them a few steps further. I think it's the extensive Asian influences that make this restaurant stand out — not suffer.

Your last paragraph defines the entire problem with your assessment: You came in with such an overt desire (based on the name, the co-ownership, whatever else) that it was not rose-colored glasses that you ended up wearing. Rather, they were heavily darkened, thick frames that blinded you to the culinary mastery and experimentation that thrives in staid, sober Roswell.

I am deeply saddened by your review, because it seems that a neighborhood gem is again being overlooked for much-less-worthy — albeit more "hip" — intown restaurants. I hope you come back and visit again. Maybe next time you will take the glasses off and open your eyes.

Cheers.

-- Mark Krotov, Roswell


br>?Don't change a thing
I think your review of Pastis grossly understates the fact that suburbanites are not going to flock to any restaurant for fish soup (Food & Drink, "Location, location ... location?" Sept. 4). Oh, and by the way, since menus change from season to season, the chef removed his mushroom tart. It will likely be back this fall, when it would be better received.

Unfortunately, "Pastis ... the Americanized Provenciale Restaurant" couldn't fit on the sign, but are you really surprised that the chef chose to make it palatable to the masses? Is it not a business? Asher, a very fine restaurant just down the street, closed its doors. I certainly hope Pastis doesn't change to suit your need to feel like you are in the French countryside because, like Asher, it would soon close its doors. Joe and Sue Suburban think it is just French enough.

Finally, I think you could have commented a bit more on the food, even if its roots were ambiguous and not plucked from the Earth by a French maiden. I think you "lamb"-basted the wrong restaurant.

-- Kristi Remick, sister of the chef, Decatur


br>?Campy comics
ZAP! KAPOWEE! Faster than a speeding bullet, Curt Holman appears to have dashed off his three-page cover story on the comics industry ("Holding out for a hero," Aug. 28). Had he actually applied some thought to this article — clearly timed to coincide with Dragon*Con crowds — he might have noticed that his dated gags (and the inane visuals accompanying the story) prove his point in all the wrong ways.

Holman asks, "Why don't comics get respect?" But in his list of "nefarious forces" (cue the cheesy lettering gag), the author misses the Joker in this particular lineup: the complete disdain other media outlets have toward the sequential graphics form. While criticizing the general public for missing the value of comic books, Holman and his graphic designer litter the article with campy elements the comics themselves outgrew decades ago — elements that, in cases like "Look, up in the sky," often didn't originate with comics at all. (The line comes from the Superman radio show, serial and TV adaptations, not from the comic books.) Despite decades of maturity and diversity, comics still suffer from campy jibes whenever a pop-culture journalist addresses their existence at all. With this article, Creative Loafing continues that tradition while bemoaning its effects.

Instead of pushing the usual cliches, Holman might have noted vibrant comic titles that — unlike Maus and The Dark Knight Returns — are less than 15 years old. He could have mentioned satires like Transmetropolitan, experiments like Kabuki, yarns like Leave It to Chance, or serial strips like "Liberty Meadows." He could have provided a sidebar of suggested titles, or even mentioned Scott McCloud's excellent sequential art critiques, Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. But no — not a word about those comic books. Campy TV shows and 30-year-old superheroes inform Holman's perceptions. So why don't comics get any respect? Gee, Curt, you just answered your own question.

Speaking of omissions: Holman claims that comic books have yet to produce the likes of the Harry Potter series. Untrue. Meridian has been out for years. Published by CrossGen Comics, the award-winning Meridian follows a young woman's journey from naive princess to statesman, outlaw and demigod in one. Excellently written and illustrated, the series features all the elements Holman admires.

So why hasn't Meridian become a pop-culture phenomenon? It's not for lack of quality — just recognition. If journalists would spend their efforts on homework rather than cheap shots, such comics might do better in the marketplace.

-- Phil Brucato, Burlingame, Calif.

?No. 1 fan
I find the latest columns by Bob Barr so profound, I am his new biggest fan (News & Views, Flanking Action). But why don't these things get a wider audience? Everyone in America should be reading this stuff before it is too late. I feel like we live in Germany in the '30s.

You go for it, Bob, and try to get someone on TV to give you a talk show. I would be an avid fan. I used to think that all your critiques of Clinton were partisan carping (even when I agreed with you). But now I see you are someone who genuinely and deeply believes that the freedom in the American approach to government is something very valuable that needs protecting. It is a tragedy you are no longer in the government.

-- Juliet Rake, Madison, Wis.


br>?Romanticizing the truth
I was disappointed in this article's mitigation of the likelihood of abuse in mail-order bride marriages ("From Russia with love," Aug. 21). Scott Henry glossed over the fact that a differential in power between husband and wife, which is intrinsic to this type of relationship, is the very essence of abuse.

Abuse is more than just physical violence or indentured servitude, the two examples that the article discusses. Abuse is a systematic choice of behavior by one partner to establish control over the other. It can take many forms: one partner isolating the other from family and friends; or prohibiting access to the household finances; or setting rules that the other must obey. Specific to "mail-order brides," an abusive husband may threaten bodily harm or deportation; or provide her with false information about the American criminal justice system (like what would happen if she tried to leave him); or prohibit her from learning English or even leaving the house.

I do not suggest that every man who seeks a mail-order bride is abusive. I do believe, however, that this industry is an ideal outlet for men who do have abusive and controlling tendencies. Scott Henry's article failed to take seriously the idea that "returning to a simpler, golden era, when the man was head of the household" is in many cases a romanticized description of domestic violence.

-- Kristin Traicoff, Atlanta