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Dec 22nd
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From the Editor

greg archerPlus letters to the Editor 

One of the pleasures of living in Santa Cruz County is, perhaps, knowing that we reside in somewhat of a protective bubble. (To some extent.) Most locals may like to believe that we are often shielded from the “outside world.” “Life is more more manageable here,” we think.

Or ...“We can relax; express ourselves.” Or ... “the pace is dramatically different than in larger cities.” All these observations may be true, but if we’re spending most of our time with our eyes glued to a small screen—smartphone, iPad, computer, etc.—what’s the point?

As a creature who craves real connection, I was reminded about all this recently during my interview with Jonathan Franzen (see page 14 and learn more about the Bookshop Santa Cruz event), whose new collection of essays, “Farther Away” often touches upon our relationship with modern technology and the ripple effect it has on our lives. The book goes into much more than that, but it was that topic that sparked something deep within me and got me thinking: How much do we really connect with each other? Recently, a friend/colleague admitted to me a significant health concern that arose in their life—it had taken this person weeks to reveal what was really unfolding to “close” friends. When I asked why, one of the responses really opened my eyes: “People lead busy lives and ... it’s so easy to hide right in front of people.” I thought about that for some time, and then thought about it some more the next time I asked somebody how they “were doing?” Did I really want to hear? Did I have the time? Was I really concerned? Was I really holding a space for them to share? Or, was I wondering how many “likes” a recent Facebook post received? Maybe I was rushing off to do something else ...

In the wake of so many life-altering events, such as the tragic murder of business owner Shannon Collins, we’re reminded that life is valuable and precious. But how willing are we to take it to the next level and really act upon that? I question this because I need to ask myself these very same questions. Franzen so wonderfully illuminates all this in his new read and it gives me hope ... hope that we can start to unplug [more] and relate to each other, eye to eye (even more).

Maybe that’s a good goal to have this week.

Onward ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


Letters to the Editor

Burn Baby, Burn?
I read your cover story about Burning Man, and although I have never attended it, since I hate hot weather, huge crowds and it is too expensive, I still have a few comments on it as a social phenomenon. Burning Man is promoted as being a festival in which “there are no spectators,” that is anti-commercial, and as a “temporary autonomous zone” in which surrealism runs rampant and is a Dionysian free-for-all for everyone. I notice, however, that most of the participants are young, able-bodied and affluent and mostly white, unlike Mardis Gras in New Orleans, or Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, which involves people of all social classes and races, or the May uprising in Paris, France, in 1968, which brought students and workers together, and actual surrealist slogans were painted on the walls of the Sorbonne. Burning Man, like Las Vegas, is another example of the post-modern, in which the kuxtapositions may seem “surreal” but you still have to pay to get in, and everyone has to have all of their own camping equipment and assorted gear. And a gentrified surrealism is no surrealism at all, since the unconscious and the imagination are possessed by all people regardless of age, race, gender, or social class. “Poetry” must be made by everyone” as the notorious and dark poet Isadore Ducasse once said.

On another note, in response to letter writer Kathy Cheer’s piece demonizing the homeless in the aftermath of Shannon Collins’ tragic death: how would this community feel if some handsome, “normal looking” middle-class white male had perpetuated this crime? After all, serial killer Ted Bundy was a preppie and a white male, as well as a misogynist. Alas, it is the demonized “other” that people inevitably project their shadow onto. Erich J. Holden Santa Cruz


Online Comments

On ‘Santa Cruz Warriors’ ...
Why try to make Santa Cruz into San Jose or Oakland? This is a unique beach community with a lot to offer and many people like to live here. There are tons of cities that have sports franchises. Can't imagine why we need one here.
—Anonymous

On ‘Foreclosures’ ...
It is true that our mortgage system worked quite well for hundreds of years, but that was before MERS, Robosigning, & the creation of MBS (Mortgage-Backed Securities) which bundle many loans together, after first paying Rating Agencies to falsely rate them as AAA investments. About two-thirds of all U.S. mortgages have gone to MERS, where they can be securitized many times over, resulting in no one knowing who actually owns the loan. And only the owner of the loan has the legal right to foreclose. The bank servicers of the loan are often pretending to own the loan and starting the foreclosure process.
—Jeri Bodemar

On ‘Shannon Collins’ ...
If I can go online and find anyone's criminal history with minimal info, why can't the shelters and police combine together to screen the individuals at the shelter. If 39 percent of police calls in Santa Cruz involve the homeless shelter as a home address, then to me it seems like a simple and viable solution for them to work together to screen everyone who comes through the shelter.
—Doesn't Matter If You’re A Local

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