ENOUGH WITH THE "CREATIVITY"
DEAR MERCURY—Please never, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do the Internet Edition again [Annual Halloween Dress-Up Issue, Oct 29]. I spend enough time staring at a computer screen during the day, the last thing I want to see when reading a NEWSPAPER is to have it be in the format of web browers. Such a terrible idea... BOOOOO! NEVER AGAIN!
LOCAL FILM IN FOCUS
MERC—I wanted to make a suggestion about your coverage of local films/film festivals. Your reviews for local fare are almost always negative, and more than that, somewhat condescending. Even while I often agree with the critiques you're making (such as your review of Selfless ["You Without You," Film, Nov 5]), as a local filmmaker it disheartens me to know that though there [are] a ton of really awful bands out there you don't tend [to] open your editorial gates [and] fling invectives at [them], you just ignore them and give positive reviews to bands you enjoy as a way of boostering the music community. I'm sure the cause of this is that there is no revenue to be created for your paper by being a booster for the film scene; trashing local movies can't get you blacklisted by a big time promoter and cut down your ad revenues, so you're free to be honest. Reading your paper you wouldn't think NWFVF [the Northwest Film & Video Festival] was much fun, or that local directors ever accomplished much of anything decent, etc. It would be a loss for the good bands in Portland if they knew that no matter how hard they worked there was a good chance they would be dismissed by the local press. I think if you handled local cinema with the same reverence, picking only the stuff you liked, you could help generate better films, a better film community, better festivals, and ultimately: readership.
THE MERCURY RESPONDS: Outside of your erroneous perception that ad revenue allows us to be nice in the music section and mean in the film section, you may have a point: Perhaps if we were nicer to local film as a whole, people would have a better perception of the local film scene. But if we did that, we wouldn't be doing anyone any favors. We think of the film section as a place people can turn to learn about new movies in general, local and national, to decide what's worth their money and time. Sometimes that'll be Indiana Jones, and sometimes that'll be The Auteur. It's not our job to reinterpret or refocus the film scene in Portland to make it better or more loveable; it's our job to write about it as it is.
DEAR MERCURY—As a former energy professional, Sarah Mirk's fact-thin, scandal-mongering article on coal use in Oregon rankled me ["Oregon's Filthy Secret," News, Oct 29]. I know it's easier (and cheaper) to pass out leaflets than it is to get laws changed, but few folks probably know that Oregon's public utilities are mandated by law to offer the least expensive energy mix available at any given time. As it is, Oregon's lone coal plant represents only about seven percent of the electricity actually generated within our state (the majority is hydropower). Both major utilities offer, under the purview of the Public Utilities Commission, a 100 percent renewable option for 10 percent more on your bill (for the average ratepayer, about what a pitcher of Pabst costs). Until coal becomes a prohibitively expensive fuel source (and it will), PGE is unlikely to change their mind. Need something to feel good about in the meantime? Only two states have fewer coal plants than Oregon's one. Pennsylvania alone has 40! The sky remains intact for another day, folks.
CONGRATULATIONS TO GRIFFIN for dropping some perspective science, there. Griffin wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at No Fish! Go Fish! where you can have a satisfying meal for less than the 100 percent renewable option on your PGE bill.