Letters From the Issue of Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Mexican Knowledge

Honky please!: I love your new "°Ask a Mexican!" column. I've noticed that there are New Times readers who completely miss the point about the column. These well-meaning, liberal Anglo idiots seem to think the column's demeaning to Mexicans (for example, "Distant Relations," Stephen D. Saulka, Letters, June 15). Far from it — we love the points it's making.

The central one is that a lot of white people have the fucking dumbest ideas imaginable about Mexicans! It's no wonder that the not-so-well-meaning anti-immigrationists have been able to spread so many falsehoods about us; we've lived among Anglos for hundreds of years, but they haven't bothered to find out much at all about us. As the letters prove, even the Anglos who're on our side are so clueless that they think your column is playing a joke on us — when it's playing a joke on them!

I love it when your columnist puts dumb-as-dirt white people in their places. Hey, all you Minutemen types: If you're going to hate us, at least try not to come across as ignorant crackers in the process. To all you politically correct liberals out there (at least the ones who're writing to New Times): You don't get it!
Arturo Ruiz, Phoenix

Look homeward, Anglo: Regarding the letters to the editor from readers who're offended by your new "°Ask a Mexican!" column, I don't think it's offensive to Mexicanos at all. In fact, it's a great way correct all you ignorant white people — finally!

The more ignorant your question, the more condescending the answer. I love it, love it, love it!

The letter-writers are insulted because by reading the column, they realize how stupid and racist they really are. The truth does hurt. Look, whiteys, stop asking us to go home! This is our home! We're here! Love us!
Cande of the Mexican Flavor, Peoria

House Warming

Beadle mania: It feels as though I've experienced more hot air from reading your "Haute Houses" article than has any homeowner you described (Robrt L. Pela, June 15). Your story shows a complete lack of understanding of the issues that you are trying to sensationalize.

My wife and I live in a Beadle project known as the Triad. It was built in 1964 as one part of the Case Study House Program and is still highly regarded today. Our unit features eight-foot-high sliding glass doors that stretch the entire 27-foot length of our living, dining and kitchen areas. Using your theory, with that large surface area of metal-framed glass, we should be screaming for mercy from the relentless heat of the desert sun.

Fortunately, your naive theory does not account for important variables like solar orientation and shading elements. These pieces of information were there in the interviews for your story if you had only chosen to ignore your obvious bias and listen objectively to some of the architects you interviewed.

Our unit faces due north and features a 10-foot overhang. These elements combine to eliminate any direct solar heat gain while providing plenty of natural daylight and a connection to the outdoor courtyard that makes our unit feel twice as large as it really is. Oh, and by the way, our electric bill in the summertime is rarely more than $100.

Another piece of your article that I find curious is your paranoid visions of Phoenix becoming a city of glass boxes. I am not quite sure what city you are seeing (perhaps you live in a place without windows to protect yourself from that evil sunlight), but the Phoenix in which I live is still a city where taco-deco (clay-tile-roofed builder homes) dominates the landscape. This is where the real problem lies.

Maybe you should take a moment to come out of the shadows and notice the home-construction boom happening in places like Verrado, Desert Ridge and Queen Creek. No attention is paid to the proper orientation of windows or shading elements in these new homes. Drive through any new subdivision and you'll see black-out screens and plantation shutters erected by the inhabitants to gain a little relief from the sun blazing through poorly placed, unprotected windows.

These houses are certainly less about this place than any of the modern houses you vilify.

Sure, there are some mediocre, if not poor, architects and designers doing work in our city. That doesn't mean that you should lump some truly innovative talents into the same category because they share a similar aesthetic. A wheelbarrow and a Porsche aren't the same just because they both have wheels.
David Grass, Adapt Architecture, Phoenix

Trend setters and trend followers: Applause to New Times for exposing the frivolity that passes for substance in our community's architectural culture. "Haute Houses" exposes what was once spoken only in subdued whispers among those "in the know."

Architects like Eddie Jones have only been interested (the proof is in his buildings) in whatever trend of the moment will result in elevated status.

Haute houses are much akin to haute couture. However, unlike practitioners of haute couture — who at least have the honesty to admit that they are solely interested in setting trends — haute architects insist on dismissing and/or hiding their ignorance of context-sensitive building behind lofty pretensions. The result is trendy fluff.
Effie Bouras, Phoenix

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