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Not funny

Never in my life have I been so disgusted and offended by what I suppose someone thinks of as comical than the "cartoon" by Callahan depicted in your March 23 edition. To in any way suggest that finding the body of a kidnapped woman falls anywhere in the realm of humor, black or otherwise, is beyond the pale. I understand that comics or "humor writers" take potshots at celebrities in trouble, even in poor taste, but to bring a kidnapped pregnant woman into the picture in the hopes that her "body will be found" (not even hoping to find her alive, but assuming she's been slain) is a hideous thing.

If you don't fire this Callahan and print a sincere apology to your readers, then shame on you, you have no humanity.

— Lisa Paxson
Bainbridge Island

The emperor's new homes

Thank you for the utterly entertaining article in Pacific Northwest on the AIA homes of the year (March 16). Except for the Bridle Trails structure, the homes selected clearly illustrate the spartan, sterile and bleakly utilitarian nature of current design that can be found in any region of the nation and that is at home in none.

I'm not sure whether to laugh at "the emperor's new clothes" selections or to despair about the level to which home architecture has sunk in order for such barren boxes to be celebrated as the best in show.

To add insult to injury, the photographs of the Central Area home by Mark Travers and the Mount Baker home by Mary Johnston show how the insertion of Lego houses into established neighborhoods destroys the ambience of those neighborhoods. Living in Magnolia in a modest and architecturally inconsequential 1937 house within blocks of several new or remodeled monstrosities, I can feel the pain of those neighbors who reside near the carnival edifices you have displayed.

May I make a suggestion? Next year, why not publish this feature as close to April 1 as you can?

Thanks for making that edition of Pacific Northwest more fun than the comic pages!

— Stan Orr,

spacer spacer spacer Just who is "us"?

While I read the cover story "Totems" (Pacific Northwest, March 2) I couldn't help but note a couple interesting lines: "Painted in blacks and earthy reds, those sculptures were instantly recognized as distinctly us." "Today, our icon belongs to the world."

Exactly to whom is Mr. (Ross) Anderson referring when he says "us" and "our"?

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that totems belonged (and continue to belong) to the Native Americans. I do not recall any law or treaty being passed wherein any tribe has ceded such an important part of their culture. The totems — and any other part of Native culture — belong to the people and tribes that have made and used them since time immemorial, not those who have killed, plundered and tricked their way onto this land.

By using such terms, Mr. Anderson relegates the Indian to the past, regardless of the intent of the article. The underlying tone is one of "the totems survive, as do the Indians; it's a wonder they're both still around."

Additionally, the terms "us" and "our" further assimilate Indians into "white" culture, taking them further and further from their Native heritage to the point of relegating that culture to the mists of antiquity.

Once again, The Seattle Times has reported a story with little regard for the culture it invades. Might I suggest some sensitivity training?

— Dave Burlingame,
Cowlitz Indian Tribe member
Salkum, Lewis County

Letters to the editor are welcome. Write Editor, Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98101, or e-mail and in either case include a telephone number for verification.

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