Letter to the SF Chronicle…


from humble beginnings…. the cars that I sold to buy that bar… that I sold to buy the house… that is now the campaign headquarters…. humble beginnings indeed….

They keep asking me for content. Interviewing me. Want me to go to an endorsement meeting. What a joke. They wrote an article, and the online version (now gone) was titled Gavin and the 11 dwarves. I decided that that was enough. It’s a shame that the SF Comical is our newspaper. But I’m done talking to them.

They had this project they wanted me to contribute to. 10 ways to improve San Francisco. I wrote this instead. Lets see if they print it.

I’d like to offer something to the people of San Francisco in response to your request for me to weigh in on the issues. Your newspaper called me a dwarf on 10/27. Your newspaper has referred to me as a “colorful character,” “an outsider,” “wacky,” and “a joke”. The problem with San Francisco, and all the issues that you bring up, is quality. Not that we don’t have it, just that we don’t use it. We are surrounded by generous people, but they never get a chance to explore that generosity. There are innovations galore here. SF is a beacon to brilliant artists of every variety. But we are not taking advantage of these resources properly. We are settling for second best or third best or worse all the time. The SF Chronicle, for example. It’s a shitty newspaper. And I just can’t think of a reason for why that would be, except that you’re probably not paying your writers a living wage in this overpriced city. But whatever the reason, I’m just not interested in providing content for your paper that has been the architect of a single candidate election since the beginning.

You’ve asked me to weigh in on the issues, but let’s be honest. You don’t care what I think about homelessness. Your newspaper has become a tabloid. Journalism is replaced with some hero-worship fan-boy/girl crap for our rock-star mayor. The cult of celebrity complete, you now throw the other candidates a bone so it all looks fair. So it looks like it’s balanced journalism.

Here’s a story for you to cover. My campaign qualified for matching campaign funds from the city. I raised $XX,XXX dollars from XXX San Francisco residents in XX days. But the Ethics commission (all appointed by our handsome mayor Gavin Newsom) refuses to give my campaign the funds (until after the election, maybe). Is gross subversion of the democratic process not newsworthy enough for your paper?

Or perhaps you’re not into reporting serious news. So how about this story: 400 people dressed like zombies attacked the library after the mayoral “forum” that Gavin and I and the other candidates participated in. How does that elude the pages of your paper?

You want to report news? I have a truck that runs on coffee grinds. Zero emissions. How can that not find its way into your paper? News? How about the simple fact that most organizations are choosing to not endorse anyone for mayor?

With headlines like “Gavin and the 11 dwarves”, you gotta see it from my side when I tell you to take a flying leap rather than fill out your form to see where I’m aligned on the ‘issues’.

The issue is that this is a one candidate election. There is a powerful, well-calibrated machine in place to make sure no inconvenient facts get in the way of the candidate. You are part of that machine. You want to talk about the issues in SF? Go ahead. But it’s insulting to your readership to imply that this mock-dialog is going to achieve anything. With reporting like yours, we are powerless to do anything but watch this administration mandate the aesthetic of our city and the content of our culture. At the very least we can choose not to watch it through the template of the SF Chronicle, littered with typos, grammatical errors and tabloid spin that is embarrassing to a city of over-achieving intellectuals.

in disgust, chicken john


7 Responses to “Letter to the SF Chronicle…”

  1. Yeah!
    That’s right, you tell ’em!

    way to go

  2. 2 James Lamb

    Actually, the Chronicle’s problem was that they had been suffering from staff bloat, people with whatever connections being on the payroll, but rarely showing up to work, or getting a full salary for writing very little.

    The dot-com bust and loss of advertising to the internet is slowly taking care of that problem, like a slow-motion train wreck. Oh, and the typos were due to a new computer system that none of the senior editors knew how to use. We’re talking senior editors who are wistful for the days of typewriters and blue pencils. The people on staff who remember when knowing the spelling of a word was more important than finding the shortest acronym for text messaging.

    They say, “never argue in public with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” Nearly every publication has its sacred cows, and that would be #1. major advertisors, and #2. friends of the publisher. …and any in-depth reporting is carefully vetted through those channels (the reporter answers to the editor who answers to the publisher who answers to #1 and #2). While the internet is making inroads, much is still just chatter among the “people who don’t matter.” Democracy ? It’s really a game of tossing the piece of meat in one direction or another among the pack of wolves.

    p.s. I was once rather dismayed that a “journalist” who was quoted in my blog was upset that the quote was actually attributed to them. So I cite no sources for the info above, and as bland as what I said may be, in the rarefied social world of those tenuous connections, may have burned what remained of that bridge. I’ll no longer be invited to “White House press conferences,” so to speak.

  3. 3 dod

    well put. the chron is a sham. the examiner is a far superior rag to read in the shitter.

  4. 4 #3

    i’m looking at the ARTWORK out front-very realistic rendering ofDEBRIS, STREWN ACROSS THE GROUND with intuitive flair-and to think of culturaly deprived MENIAL ZOMBIES decimating this ….bhgnmiluhrmgnfhrujkmmxcck ovate

  5. 5 Buffy V

    Chick, you are already doing such an excellent job of representing and speaking up for your constituency, as well as articulating the needs of the community at large. I knew you’d be good but you’re better than that, even! All that courageousness over the years picks up momentum and serves mankind.

    The world’s traditions say the alchemist’s stone is always found in a pile of dung. Keep diggin, man, you are onto something so big.

  6. Wow, that’s about the most lucid pithy thing from Chicken John I’ve ever read. Not to mention the best spell-checked.

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