I don't mean to put a total damper on the whole idea. I grew up on the peninsula, and there's nothing I'd like to see more than less trash on the beach and some real surf. But it's not as easy as pulling down the rocks.
Thank you for Sara Catania's piece on KPCC and Larry Mantle ["Air Power," May 2127], who provide an important voice in the San Gabriel (and, for that matter, the Crescenta) Valley. The news that a controversy over priorities clouds the station's mission at present is news we need to know. One cannot divine from a short "issue-spotting" piece whether the various trade-offs in the Minnesota Public Radio proposed transaction outweighed the economic and exposure advantages of the deal. I must respectfully disagree with Ms. Catania's assumption that the job titles of the station's board-appointed committee somehow predetermine their devotion to public radio. Still, many of us care very deeply that Mr. Mantle and KPCC stand astride this important crossroad, and we are indebted to Ms. Catania for bringing the matter to light.
I have enjoyed Mr. Mantle's Air Talk since 1985, but this latest controversy has left me unmoved. Yes, I tuned into KPCC on May 19 and heard his "You won't have Larry Mantle to kick around anymore" speech. I listened as his voice rose from a quavering tone of regret and then took on an edge of simmering, righteous indignation.
The trouble is that we've heard it all before. Let's face it, Larry has threatened to retire from show business more times than Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and David Bowie combined. May I respectfully remind Mr. Mantle that many of us work for less-than-spectacular salaries in schools and libraries and local city-government positions? We do it because we feel as though we are making a contribution to our community, and we do it without turning into martyrs.
Was Harold Meyerson really the only participant in the recent Nation/KPFK "teach-in" on Kosovo who was actually capable â of making distinctions between this war and Vietnam, between humanitarian and imperialistic motives, between just and unjust wars? I agree with him that the war is being executed ham-handedly. However, I also believe it was right for NATO to act, and that this represents a new era, also seen in the Pinochet extradition.
That Marc Cooper and KPFK are still reacting, still being knee-jerk about virtually all U.S. government policies, shows a rigidity of thinking that is precisely why there's virtually no progressive movement in the U.S. today. I've given up on Cooper, but I'm astonished that The Nation isn't including other views (e.g., those of progressives such as Susan Sontag, people from the Human Rights Watch, etc.) holding that the NATO action was justified. From what's been said in promos (except for Meyerson), it sounds like a stacked deck. How arrogant. How passé.
Re: Dave Shulman's "Everybody Must Get Hestoned" [May 2127], could some sociologist offer a satisfactory explanation as to why media people as a group can be characterized as the most phobic and at the same time least knowledgeable when the subject is firearms? Maybe I am looking for a complicated explanation when a simple one along the lines of "The majority of media people are political liberals" would suffice.
The Weekly and the Los Angeles Times apparently have a few things in common. Both underestimate the number of readers who are rational, responsible gun owners. And both do their best to ignore the lessons that history and current world events provide . . . witness Kosovo. Those lessons prompted the framers of our Constitution to address what some people in our government (hey, Bill, that's you and your flunky Janet) would call an "insignificant and currently irrelevant" political freedom, codified in what is known as the Second Amendment. Get a cuppa joe and wake up, you media types. Or rather, should I say take two aspirin and see the doctor in the morning?
Manohla Dargis' review of Election [April 2329] was at once informative, touching, insightful, whimsical and, perhaps, in the style of the movie itself, just plain human. It's good to know there are writers out there who can, well, write -- and with aplomb. I recommend all efforts to keep her at your mag. Throw money, stock options, corner office, free Starbucks at her, if only to not lose her to Time or Newsweek.
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