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Going Postal

A tip for whiners
The column "A Stiff Problem" (CL, Sept. 16) gave me a laugh. What self-centered whining tripe!

In the first place, a tip is a reward for good service. Good Service. Too many tip-jockeys merely sneer an "enh?' (if that much) when a customer approaches, rather than put their energies into smiling, making eye contact, welcoming the customer, asking him how he is, and providing quick and accurate service and follow-up. They then waste their energies complaining about getting stiffed? Go figure.

In the second place, the business exists for the benefit of the customer, not the server. I realize this is a hard concept for the terminally narcissistic to grasp, but it's true. The server should be thanking the customer for patronizing the place of business that gave his lazy butt a job, not the other way around.

Just because you put out a tip jar doesn't mean you deserve it. Give me something to tip for. If you can't live on your present salary, maybe you should find a real job that pays well, perhaps one that doesn't rely on groveling before others (admit you resent it) for spare change.

I think the tip-jockeys should tip the customer for putting up with bad service and whiny attitude.

-- Tom Kowalski, Atlanta

Police Dept. lethargy
The article written by Stephanie Ramage ("The Key to Saving Buckhead," CL, Sept. 16) on the police issues in Buckhead was right on. Since the Olympics, the city has had a lethargic approach to almost anything which criticizes the police department. They need a plan like the ones outlined by the Chicago and New Orleans PDs. But, as usual, our mayor has played the bastard child that doesn't want help from others because that is who he will blame for any problems occurring within the city limits. As a native Atlantan, I think it's time to make something in this whole damn town work right ... and not sit around and let it fester in the wound of city hall corruption. So Mr.Boazman and all of his buds crying racism, blame the police department and city officials for sitting on their ass and watching everything go to hell. I used to go there prior to the Olympics but I grew up and saw the way of actually being a local and not a suburban-local.

-- Brent Holt, Decatur

Portrait of an artist
Thank you for visiting my show and for the review in your paper ("Common Thread," CL, Sept. 9). I am sorry you did not think much of it but art is a very personal thing and narrative art is not appreciated by many people in the media, but it does get to the masses. The idea that I cleverly make the canvas to indicate the chaotic clutter of the city credits me with something I never intended, the canvas is product of my background, yes it is filled with items you will find in urban setting, and I am a city boy. But regardless of the subject matter these are the canvases I use and will use until I exhaust all the possible combinations of subject matter and canvas configuration, I am sorry you missed this extremely important point but that is my fault for not making it clearer in my work. I will endeavor to improve on this in the future.

As for your last sentence about this type of art being favored by city arts councils, airports libraries and government offices, except for a piece I did on the disabled I have not had any luck in getting those organizations interested in my work (they object to many of the articles included in the canvas) but I will keep trying and if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them since I want my work seen my the most people as possible. Unlike you I do not have any writing talent or abilities but I do have a story to tell. Again thank you for coming to my show and I hope you continue to come to future shows and I would like to discuss art in general with you since we definitely have different slants on how to tell a story visually (yours is as valid as mine).

-- Fred Budin, Atlanta

'Crush' on you
As a licensed psychotherapist with a specialty in sexual paraphilia, I am writing to correct Jeff Berry who spouted off recently about "crush" videos, fetish films made for those who enjoy identifying with a small rodent which is crushed by a woman in sexually stimulating garb. Mr. Berry is dead wrong when he calls the audience for these films "mentally disturbed."

There are individuals who simply enjoy films of domination and submission. These audience members are sexually stimulated by scenes form these films just as others may be stimulated by scenes from a man and a woman having vaginal sex. Ironically, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the book which book which mental health professionals use to diagnose pathologies, defines a fetish as "involving the use of nonliving object." So, you see, a man or woman who is sexually stimulated by a "crush" video is no more mentally disturbed than a man or woman who is stimulated by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the movies Eyes Wide Shut. Fetishes are not mental illnesses but are crimes when the involve men or women having sex with individuals under the age of consent, or when they involve an individual masturbating in front of a non-consenting individual, and in other cases of someone harming another for sexual pleasure.

I'm afraid if Jeff Berry had his way, we would all be open to searches by the "sex police." Fetish films would be illegal. No, "Chuck and Buck." No magazines for men and women who crave female breasts. And the Chamber would have to close. As a citizen of a free society which tolerates sexual fetishes, I say let's get the government and Jeff Berry out of our bedrooms! We should all be free to "get off" to whatever stimuli we like as long as we don't harm another person. As far as caring about the small rodents such as mice and rats which are killed in these "crush" films, it's not great but Mr. Berry's hardly defending these animals. He's attacking free speech and freedom of expression and we should be outraged about that. (Thank you Bob Barr for defending our freedom to be sexually stimulated.)

-- Jack Franco Handmacher

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