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Response to Rockers' Ralphs

August 13, 1992

There really is no other supermarket in the world quite like the "rock 'n' roll Ralphs" on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood ("Shaved Heads and Pop-Tarts," July 8).

It's a place where long-haired rockers, the elderly and people of most ethnic backgrounds can shop together without being self-conscious.

That's why it was rather disappointing to see that Jeannine Stein chose to go the finger-pointing, gawking-at-the-freaks journalistic route.

This kind of story is nothing new; there has always been an implied cultural/generational gap in the past few decades whenever a presumably "normal" objective writer seizes up the visually unusual, whether it was beatniks in the 1950s or hippies in the '60s or punk rockers in the '70s.

Consider the loaded descriptions for rockers who eat food in the aisles or the broad generalization that "it's fair to say that most rockers who shop here aren't stocking up for the long haul."

Such gross categorizations would be reprehensible if they were made on a racial basis.

At a time when one's mere appearance risks one being beaten up by drunks or hassled by police, Stein's attempts at humor are at best stilted and at worst hatemongering.



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