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Friday, July 20, 2007


posted by on July 20 at 13:40 PM

Yesterday, I got an email from Toby Thaler —the Fremont Neighborhood Council’s land use chairman— about my article in this week’s Stranger, where I quoted Thaler about growing problems with bland townhome design in Fremont.

In my piece, I say:

Toby Thaler—the Fremont Neighborhood Council’s land-use chairman—says he’s happy to have more housing in the neighborhood, as long as it fits in with Fremont’s traditionally kooky aesthetic. “It’s not the density that’s a problem for us,” Thaler says. “We’d like development to be compatible with existing neighborhoods.

Toby took umbrage to my use of the word kooky, and sent me an email:

I appreciate your coverage of the problems of largely uncontrolled development in Seattle’s neighborhoods, including Fremont. While you accurately quoted me, you added your own adjective to my characterization of “…Fremont’s traditionally kooky aesthetic.” I did not say that. In fact, I get nauseous at the overuse of “whimsical” and “quirky” by real estate agents and other Fremont boosters.

“Kooky” may apply to the street life in downtown Fremont, but not to the sometimes artsy residential areas.
Toby Thaler

Wait, isn’t “artsy” just an evasive way of saying kooky? Will in Seattle, Fnarf? Care to weigh in on this one?

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I thought artsy was a polite way of saying absurdly pretentious.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 20, 2007 1:48 PM

Yes please Fnarf and Will in Seattle please respond! The rest of us are apparently worth shit on this one.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 20, 2007 1:54 PM

Nah Cato, I still care about you. They're just from Fremont.

Posted by Jonah S | July 20, 2007 1:55 PM

"Artsy" is definitely different from "kooky," but they are in the same category, along with "whimsical" and "quirky," of words that make me wince.

I can't think of anything better right now, though . . . "Playful"? "Non-traditional"? "X-treme"?

Posted by Levislade | July 20, 2007 2:01 PM

the word you're all searching for is "unique".

Posted by maxsolomon | July 20, 2007 2:04 PM

I'm not sure what the hubbub is all about. You're clearly not quoting him, and the "kooky" feels much more like editorializing than paraphrasing.

And yes, artsy, when not followed by fartsy, shouldn't be used at all.

Posted by dirge | July 20, 2007 2:11 PM

If kooky is that semi-craftman condo that looks like it's being overrun by brushed metal Tim Burton crabgrass then... yes, I call that kooky.

Posted by monkey | July 20, 2007 2:23 PM

No, not unique either. Unique is thoroughly overused, and usually used incorrectly.

Unique New York. Unique New York. Unique New York. Unique New York. Unique New York.

Posted by Levislade | July 20, 2007 2:25 PM

The "kooky" buildings are the new ones, like that condo with aluminum arabesques all over it that freaked Savage out awhile back. The older stock in Fremont is about as boring, cheap, and ugly as Seattle gets. Take a walk up Francis Ave sometime.

Posted by Eric F | July 20, 2007 2:28 PM

How about we get some land developer to commission three hundred Gaudi style townhouses and make Fremont truly kooky?

Posted by Gitai | July 20, 2007 2:30 PM

When I was in college an apartment described as 'funky" usually meant walls at odd angles, carpet that sort of matched, and maybe a few wall holes spackled over. A cool place to live, usually cheap as fuck.

Now, long after college, when I see an apartment described as "funky" I read "a strange smelling dump of a place". But still cheap as fuck.

Posted by Phenics | July 20, 2007 2:31 PM

I wasn't called out, but as a Fremont resident, I'll add my $0.02:

Kooky scares away the donations that the FNC is looking for, while artsy sounds good to the average middle-aged granolas who wants to relive the splendor of their youth, and accordingly makes it easier to open their pocketbooks.

Posted by chunkstyle | July 20, 2007 2:46 PM

Jonah - I believe this isn't the first time you have been called out on the mat because you misquoted someone's intentions or thoughts.

You are a piece of shit - and your reporting sucks.

Get out of the city!

Posted by Andrea | July 20, 2007 2:50 PM

The reason he wanted us to respond is we live here (Fremont).

Kooky is a polite way for better-than-everyone Hillers to pronounce that their CD one-size-fits-all esthetic is better than all the peasants in the rest of the city.

Artsy is what it actually is.

And that brushed-metal condo you are referring to is actually one giant building, not five buildings as you've been led to believe.

A good example of artsy are the ones next to Rain City Video.

Should we be MORE artistic? Probably. But compared to the rest of the city, we're still doing pretty darned well.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 20, 2007 3:06 PM

Since you didn't attribute the word "kooky" in Toby's quote, I think he is overreacting. He should know that it wouldn't be a Stranger article without the reporter's opinion being expressed often.

Posted by elswinger | July 20, 2007 3:10 PM

When i think of Kooky, i imagine Tamy Fay Baker, or Charo - so i really don't think it's a synonym for "artsy" at all.

When i think of fremont, i think of "character". It has character. Of course it has faux character goin in lately such as the oft mentioned condo with with bizarro sculpturing. blech.

Posted by longball | July 20, 2007 3:13 PM

Fremont Mayor and Rick Santorum supporter Suzie Burke doesn't care what you think, just keep paying your rent and she'll continue funneling it onto Dubya, Reichert and Rossi.

Posted by DOUG. | July 20, 2007 3:34 PM

I do NOT live in Fremont. Geez.

"Art" in Fremont does not mean the same thing it means in most of the rest of the world. It DOES mean "kooky", insufferably so in the most banal, infantile, look-at-me childish ways imaginable. There are a lot of things to like about Fremont, but the art isn't one of them. Neither is the kookiness.

Case in point: Fremont Troll. This is close to the single worst piece of art in America, worse than the entire collected works of Thomas Kinkade, and nearly as bad as Dale Chihuly's masterpieces.

Posted by Fnarf | July 20, 2007 3:35 PM

I'm glad you responded to this, Fnarf.

Posted by Callie | July 20, 2007 3:59 PM

yeah get it right! fnarf is from west seattle, endorses gold-bond medicated powder and holds court at the old-time country buffet!!! sheesh

Posted by hipsterlite | July 20, 2007 4:23 PM

Sorry Fnarf, my mistake. I thought you said you lived in Fremont too.

Posted by Jonah S | July 20, 2007 5:41 PM

Eric F @9 has a solid point. My girlfriend and I have been looking at places around Wallingford/Fremont to move in, and so far non-dumps are the exception.

At least if we keep to only partly insane rents. If we could afford $3-$4/ft^2, it'd be a lot easier to find the kind of funky that used to be cheap.

Posted by lostboy | July 20, 2007 6:22 PM

Mr. Fnarf wrote "Case in point: Fremont Troll. This is close to the worst piece of art in America, worse than the entire collected works of Thomas Kinkade, and nearly as bad as Dale Chihuly's masterpieces."

Thank you, I always appreciate good words from my fans. The Fremont Troll is too gritty to appear in one of my, paintings. Hence, my paintings are better than the Fremont Troll.

Posted by Thomas Kinkade | July 20, 2007 8:50 PM

Holy whatever, if I had realized what a simple email calling Jonah on his almost-mis-quote would generate! I shouldn't even have said arty or artsy or anything like it; I agree in retrospect that along with whimsical et al. it is a boosterism and has little meaning.

What we want (and what the article clearly pointed out) is that regardless of the adjectives applicable to any particular neighborhood, we want more control over what happens in them.

Also, as an "average middle-aged granola who wants to relive the splendor of his youth" I never thought of money for the FNC. In fact, the dues are very low, and membership has more to do with increased political legitimacy for the organization than with paying our bills.

Posted by Toby Thaler | July 29, 2007 5:32 PM

capsules Celebrex

Posted by Celebrex vi | August 3, 2007 4:12 AM

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