I read Howard Blume’s article “Dueling for an Education” [May 3–9] and almost choked on my Cheerios. Mr. Blume seems to think the LAUSD has an obligation to teach school in two languages. Sorry, but that’s laughable. I was a substitute teacher for the district for five years, and I hate to tell you, but we were barely succeeding in teaching one language.

What they tell you is all true: Resources are terrible, teachers get paid little, new enrollment is huge due to immigration. These challenges leave the district hard-pressed to teach the fundamentals properly. You cannot expand when your foundation is cracking. I taught the bilingual program for five years and never really figured out what it was — or if it really existed. I do know this: I was sending Hispanic kids off to middle school with third-grade educations because their curriculum was so half-assed in both languages. They paid the price.

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L.A. is a city of the future and will prosper through clear communication. At this point, we can only afford to choose one language, and that is English.

—Adam White Burbank



Re: “The Internationalist” [Weekly Literary Supplement, May 3–9]. Christopher Hitchens is correct when he describes how Orwell “got it right” regarding Stalinist Russia. Orwell’s experiences in Spain certainly confirmed the problems with state socialism, especially in its Stalinist variety. However, 1984 was set in England because — and this is clearly and explicitly set out in his essays from 1939 through 1946 — a similar totalitarianism was on the rise in that country. His experiences in wartime England somewhat mirrored the experiences of those living under Stalinism. Orwell feared totalitarian socialism not because it was socialist (Orwell was always a socialist), but rather because it was totalitarian (Orwell was a very libertarian socialist). States, corporations or mobs, as well as shadowy cabals of bomb throwers, were anathema to a man who characterized decency and fairness as the un-theoretical qualities of socialism. Unfortunately, these qualities were often abandoned, in his view, by those in power in any nation.

—Adam van Sertima Montreal, Canada


I’m an animation student working on my thesis film about Bruno Schulz. David Grossman’s article “Too Much Hurt” has reminded me of why I undertook this project in the first place, and I want to thank him for so eloquently describing how I felt when I read about Schulz’s death.

—Joshua Harrell Los Angeles


Your May 3 literary supplement “Writers on Writers They Love” should have been titled “White Guys on White Guy Writers They Love.” Couldn’t you have found one woman or someone of color to contribute? C’mon, it’s the new millennium.

—Tim Walton Los Angeles


EDITOR’S NOTE: For the record, Claire Messud and Shelley Jackson are women.


Re: Jay Babcock’s “Midnight Movies at the Planetarium” [May 3–9]. I’m curious as to why Babcock refers to Ariel Sharon as “a nutjob Israeli prime minister fat man with an arsenal of 100 nukes and an itchy revenge finger playing brinkmanship, congenitally incapable of thinking beyond the tit-tat exchange” without making any mention of his lunatic adversary Yasir Arafat, the grandfather of modern terrorism whose lips constantly flap like a Disneyland Audioanimatronic robot? It takes two to tango, you know. Maybe Babcock should stick to reviewing music and leave world affairs to the grown-ups. He appears to be in over his head.

—Todd Honig Hollywood


Re: “I, Bug” [May 3–9]. Manohla Dargis is the biggest jackass I’ve ever heard. To insist on changing the Spider-Man outfit and to say it’s a shitty movie is the biggest pile of shit I’ve ever read. I think Manohla needs to get his [sic] stick out of his [sic] ass and realize Sam Raimi made the movie to the comic. Changing the costume would have been awful. Doing anything out of line with the comic, let alone the cartoon, would have made any Spider-Man fan pissed. If Manohla is a big enough jackass to say the stupid-ass remarks, he [sic] better have good reason to back it up, because his [sic] reasons were the worst.

—Matt Landis Pittsburgh


The guy [sic] who wrote this review should be fired ASAP. This guy’s [sic] movie picks prob include A Very Brady Sequel and Scary Movie 2. This guy [sic] is dumb, and your city is dumb. New York makes way better movies, and we are not dicks. I’m all about detaching L.A., like in the cult classic Escape From L.A. with Kurt Russell. Serves you right. Dargis, since you were the only bad review I have read on my buddy Spider-Man, I send this hate mail to you, friend. Look out or you will be caught in spidey web.

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