By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
IT’S THE INEQUITY, STUPID
Re: the Weekly’s articles commemorating the 1992 riots [cover stories, April 26–May 2]. Ten years after the riots, I reviewed my own involvement and the city’s involvement. I was 14 when the riots happened. I, too, participated in the reckless looting without a thought as to why I was doing it. I wanted products. I wanted a VCR, a stereo and new clothes.
The L.A. riots started about race — Reginald Denny and Rodney King were about race. But that’s where it ended. After that, it was about the byproducts of capitalism. If we construct a society that says you are not of value or whole if you do not have certain products, we should not be surprised when poor people and teenagers — who were practically 100 percent of the rioters — aggressively go after products. If you looked at the streets, it wasn’t about Rodney King — it was about consumerism. It was about economic inequity regardless of race, gender or age.
In Pat Alderete’s take on the events in Los Angeles 10 years ago [“California Gold”], he makes use of Huell Howser’s “corny” and supposedly benign cluelessness to point up the disparity of viewpoints toward the violence. “It seemed that people saw the same things differently.” I’ll say. I happen to have a copy of the on-the-street interview Alderete describes, which was taped live by a channel-surfing friend. Alderete manages to get nearly every detail wrong: It was on the first, wildly out-of-control afternoon of the riots, not the third; Howser was not smiling — he was visibly angry and upset, standing at a mini-mall at Melrose and Vine (barely two blocks from his home, a not terribly chichi address), and he described how he and several other men with him, whom he introduced, including men of color, were out to help keep their local merchants’ businesses from being ransacked. He spoke eloquently about the love he and his companions (formerly strangers) had for the Hollywood neighborhood, and how the people running amok at that very moment were not from their community, but were taking advantage of the situation to cause mayhem. The “black youth,” actually a young woman, was the only one smiling through the short interview; she mugged for the camera behind Howser’s head as he spoke, laughing and making gang signs, and repeated “He be lyin’ — he’s a fuckin’ liar!” over and over. I’d bet my VCR she had no idea what his name was. She certainly never said “Fuck Huell Howser.”
Just for the record.
A quick comment on John Powers’ On column in the May 3–9 issue [“This Is a Town Where . . .”]. I love the L.A. Weekly. I also happen to respect the L.A. Times, and the Times’ coverage of the 10th anniversary of the riots was far and above the best coverage I saw. Mr. Powers criticizes the rambling walk along Vermont Avenue reported by one of the Times’ writers. What did the Weekly counter with? Musings by Jonathan Gold. Um, yeah, deep. I’ll show that article to my grandchildren.
So, a little humility, please. The Times can do a lot better a lot of the time, but they do not always stink. And the Weekly is not always a glorious beacon of divine knowledge. You are equally susceptible to ho-hum reporting.
PLANET GO BOOM
Stephanie Grob’s article “Teenage Cassandra” [April 26–May 2] was very moving and admirable. I, for one, fully support the sentiments expressed therein. My generation — the “baby boomers” — has largely screwed up this beautiful planet. Young people such as Stephanie will save it. Please give her a big hug and lots of encouragement.
Having read “Teenage Cassandra” by Stephanie Grob, I fear for our nation. The youth of this country need to understand that the “Global Village” is more like Dodge City in the 1870s, and G.W. is the new Wyatt Earp. Those young people who march in the anti-American rallies, like those that took place recently in D.C., are in effect helping the terrorists.
Wow! Stephanie Grob has sure got her head on straight. Her article about her experiences in the classroom was excellent. I think she would enjoy reading The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I am 64 years old, and my 17-year-old son, Edward, introduced me to the thinking presented in this book.
CALL IN THE PMRC
Thank you, L.A. Weekly, for your theater awards ceremony. It’s about time that the L.A. theater scene received the recognition that it deserves. There are artists in L.A. who are doing the work merely for the love of theater, not to showcase themselves. As a member of Sacred Fools and Zoo District, I am â
surrounded by artists who want to challenge the audience and move theater forward. I challenge Hollywood to do the same.
Thanks again. I always turn to the Weekly for solid news stories (even when I’m staying in Florida doing a play!).
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