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Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

SIT & SPIN = REDNECK TV (A True Tale From The Castro. Eat your heart out, Armistead!) © 2004 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin May 17, 2004 Dear Editor, I am very impressed with the lovely decor and cleanliness of our new Castro laundromat, Sit & Spin. However, upon my third visit, I was dismayed to have to see and listen to their overhead television blaring out a hunting show, while doing the laundry. It discussed various types of rifles and ammo, and scenes of deer and other wildlife being stalked by yahoos in red-checkered felt jackets. All in all, it was quite a redneck experience...completely out of line with what one expects in a liberal city, especially in the most famous gay neighborhood in the world. (Now, if the show were a lesson for how queers could protect themselves from homophobic attack, and how to properly use a weapon in self defense; then I'd be very pleased.) When I returned two weeks later, I was assaulted again by their loud TV: this time a televangelist preaching the usual insulting dogma that has become a plague of bigotry across our nation. Other times I've stepped into Sit & Spin to see whether these phobic shows were an anomaly, or perhaps a kind of joke. However, to my continued dismay, such shows seem to be a regular part of their laundromat atmosphere. And the volume was so loud, one could not possibly ignore it by reading a newspaper, or conversing. I've found the folks who work there to be extremely friendly...and thus am even more weirded out by their seeming unconsciousness as to the very gay-unfriendly material loudly broadcasting from their own television. Other obnoxious shows play there too, such as Jerry Springer and Texas Justice. This is not what I expect to be exposed to, anywhere in San Francisco...not just in a laundromat in The Castro, or anywhere else. I cannot in good conscience continue using their laundromat and cafe, until they put an end to forcing their LGBT customers to listen to, and see, this offensive trash. I for one, cannot find any enjoyment in being needlessly exposed to the very same broadcasting idiots who promote the persecution of our own good sexual minorities. I'd rather put up with any of the other, older laundromats in our 'hood, albeit dirty and sometimes populated by street trash addicts (many of whom are homophobic, too...but at least they're not loudly broadcasting that fact in your ears). If Sit & Spin can afford a glamorous HDTV for their customers, they can certainly afford to switch to another station that presents quality shows. Is this too much to ask...or must the nightmare of redneck Bible-thumping 'phobes also invade our own queer premises, through the hands of our own queer-run businesses? I understand that one of the two owners also runs Fuzio, another new, upscale establishment that The Castro so sorely needs. I've never been inside, but I like to think the same televised crap is not part of their service, too. I started going to Sit & Spin, to support their obviously considerate desire to help improve the quality of life in our devastated neighborhood. So I have struggled with my conscience, in deciding whether or not to speak out. Obviously I chose the latter, as here I am, composing this letter. Unless I see the elimination of terribly redneck dogma being broadcast at their establishment, I will boycott both Sit & Spin, and Fuzio. In hopes that--if the owners are as nice as they've been to me, personally--then they'd appreciate my criticism, and correct this very unfortunate form of anti-gay oppression. But if my plea falls on deaf ears, the owners will likely never understand why their business in The Castro never really took off. There are two other issues about Sit & Spin I may as well bring up, which pale in comparison to the TV shows, but are nonetheless significant: 1) Allowing customers' large dogs to block the walkway that laundromat customers must use. This is not only rude, it's intimidating. Does anyone really care what happened to Diane Whipple? Dogs--especially large ones--should not be tied up in the corridor, but outside.( I also recommend using a muzzle, to show the public they are not one of "those" dog owners that give all pet owners a bad name.) Also, it's simply a matter of civil decency. 2) Some of the dryers don't work, and customers are never alerted to this fact. So you'll think your clothes are drying, when all they're really doing is spinning around. (Maybe we should rename the place "Sit & Sit & Sit & Spin & Spin & Spin".) Granted, when you point this out (with hindsight, of course) the employee gladly reimburses the necessary quarters...but your valuable time is still wasted. I understand the owners' desire to maintain a quality, clean appearance...for which "out of order" signs would only add a certain tackiness. But surely, a better solution can be worked out without compromising customers' good faith. Such as: securing the bad dryers with a lock, or some other non-visually unpleasant method whereby customers do not use these defunct machines until repaired. Oh, and I may as well bring up one more item of concern, while I'm on a roll: The title "Sit & Spin" is a sexual innuendo that only serves to affirm to the homophobic public, that we are indeed, unhealthily obsessed with sex. Surely, we can come up with cute, gay-relevant names for small businesses, without acceding to unwholesome, stereotype notions. (I have the same complaint about "Squat & Gobble", though it is not promoted as gay-run, it is in The Castro; and nonetheless is another sexual innuendo, along with toilet humor...certainly not something that whets my appetite!) Sincerely, Zeke Krahlin Queer street activist & resident of The Castro since 1983 ---finis