THE SAN FRANCISCO MOOD
Regarding your article The San Francisco Myth (Jan. 15), I would be more than happy to personally escort Mr. Joe David Brown halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge and give him that well-deserved shove in the right direction. That is—with his back to the city—and tell him to take his typewriter with him.
CAROL A. TORNEY
Congratulations to Joe David Brown on one of the finest articles I have ever read in your magazine—or in any other magazine for that matter. His story The San Francisco Myth is unbelievably perceptive and true, for it states all the opinions that I myself feel about San Francisco but have never had the guts to express openly.
As a student of the University of California at Berkeley, I have had to live for the past three and one-half years on the fringe of this idiotic and second-rate city. And believe me, I can hardly wait to graduate so that I can return to the sunny, casual, easygoing life that Los Angeles offers.
I can't help but wonder if Mr. Brown were to analyze what makes a woman beautiful would he start in limb by limb, inch by inch...toenails, fingernails, the inner ear, knee joints, side face, full face, neck, chin line and so on. And if he did so, I wonder if the most beautiful woman would end up with any beauty at all. Rather, isn't it the composite picture that is the true one; the character, the personality, the humor and the funny little quirks plus the general physical features that give us the sum total?
January 29, 1962
San Francisco isn't so much a place as a mood. Sometimes gay, sometimes somber, always friendly. Where a longshoreman shares a beer with an Ivy Leaguer; where a sign in a beauty parlor reads: "If our operators don't curl your hair, our prices will." Where a creepy classified ad reads; "Why die in the basement? E-Z Blastproof Pyramidal Crypt for your backyard costs little more than Perpetual Care at leading Memorial Parks"; where a visitor asks a cab driver which way to Trader Vic's, and the cab driver answers, "Well, it'd be easier to lead you than to tell you. Follow me," and guides him the 10 blocks it takes to get there and then disappears into the night with a wave of his arm and a friendly beep of his horn.
This, Mr. Brown, is San Francisco. Come back again and sit with us on our deck, with glass in hand and, as afternoon turns to evening, we'll watch the hills of Oakland begin to blaze as 10,000 windows catch the light of the setting sun. Then almost imperceptibly the lights of the city will begin to glitter in the still, clear air. Like any other city, Mr. Brown?
Brown's lengthy account of the big bad city, low in athletic achievement and high in cirrhosis of the liver, will be a blessing in disguise if it only helps to accomplish one thing: the prevention of tourists (like Joe David Brown) pouring in by the thousands.
Joe David Brown's article did an excellent job of hitting the San Francisco nail right on its pointed little head. These people are so status conscious that I know one woman who refuses to leave a building through a door marked "Out" instead of "Exit."
Palo Alto, Calif.
I must confess I enjoy plodding around in my "minor league" city.
Why stop with San Francisco? Why not expose the whole state of California?
DAVID W. BAIN JR.
Circle Pines, Minn.
You show a picture of Candlestick Park and say that its "sad history is emphasized by empty seats." You don't mention that neither of the two teams in the picture represents San Francisco. The picture was shot at an Oakland Raider game.
You're too chicken to show a picture of a 49er game at Kezar Stadium because Kezar is always filled for the 49er games.
If ever something needed saying, it was this. Frisco has been getting away with this cable car claptrap and Barbary Coast blather far too long. The city is without question the world's largest man-made tourist trap and should long ago have been set aside by the National Park Service as a happy hunting ground for roistering conventioneers and vacationers. If you need any help opening the mail you'll be getting from San Francisco, just yell.
JOHN R. HUDSON
Golly, it must have been hard on Joe Brown to discover that San Francisco is not the American Utopia. But there may be even rougher days ahead for him. Perhaps some day he'll discover that every Texan doesn't own an oil well and a Cadillac, that the sun doesn't shine every day in Florida and that everyone in Hollywood, California isn't a movie star.
J.D.B. deserves to live in L.A.!
G. R. WALTERS